VALLEY STREAM, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Nassau County police are searching for a man they say is behind dozens of robberies.
The suspect has been holding up stores at knifepoint since last February and has been linked to 21 robberies, investigators said.
The crimes have been in the Valley Stream, Franklin Square, Hewlett and Lynbrook areas, CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported.
The suspect was caught on surveillance video last February at Evan’s Corner convenience store on Rockaway Avenue in Valley Stream. The video shows the suspect pull out a butcher knife, point it at the owner and then yank out the cash register drawer.
When the owner fought back, the suspect slashed him in the arm, Gold reported.
“I work for myself to the pay bills. How can he take my money? If he takes my money right away, he’ll come back again,” said Pete Patel, with Evan’s Convenience Store.
He was also caught on surveillance video at a Carvel in July. The video shows the suspect holding a butcher knife and threatening a worker behind the counter as he demanded money from the register.
The most recent incident was Sunday at a Valero gas station in Valley Stream, police said.
Investigators said the suspect stakes out small businesses, waits for customers to leave and then holds them up.
“He showed me the knife and asked me for money. I opened my cash register for him. So he took the money and he ran out,” said Jazz Singh, with Charlene’s Stationery.
Singh said the suspect held him at knifepoint twice at Charlene’s Stationery on Central Avenue in Valley Stream. Charlene’s Stationery has been targeted a total of four times since July.
“(Gold: Are you afraid he’s going to come back?) Maybe, who knows if he’s crazy or something,” Singh said
In addition to cash, police said the suspect is also stealing lottery tickets and cigarettes.
“Store owners need to be extra vigilant at this time and call police if they see anything suspicious,” Detective Lt. Richard Lebrun said. “Keep your stores well lit and do not block your windows in any way so that passersby can see in and out of your store at all times.”
In all the crimes he was wearing a mask and hooded sweatshirt. He is believed to be driving a white Honda Accord-type vehicle with yellow New York plates.
Police are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS (8477).