NORTH WOODMERE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A family was ambushed and robbed just feet away from their front door, and the suspects are still on the run.
A surveillance camera recorded the early Tuesday morning driveway heist as the victims returned to their North Woodmere home from a birthday party, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
Nassau County police are hoping clues left behind will lead them to the two men responsible.
“By the time we got out of the car. (I was) getting my wife out of the front seat and there is two guys with guns at the back of us,” Johnny Ali said.
Ali said they thought they were going to die right there in their driveway.
“He actually put a gun to my head and threw me to the floor,” Ali said.
Two violent perpetrators had been waiting in a getaway car to surprise and snare the four victims — Ali, his wife, their teen son, and a family friend, an off duty law enforcement officer who was driving them home. The victims were ordered to take off watches and wedding rings.
“For a birthday, you want to dress their best,” Ali said, adding all the valuables and sentimental jewelry were taken. “Whatever cash we had, they took everything.”
The Ali family owns three West Indian restaurants and are about to open a fourth.
“We have three restaurants — two in Brookyn and one in Queens,” Ali said. “It’s all like cash money coming in every day.”
The birthday took on added meaning when Ali’s wife wore a new gold and diamond necklace in public for the first time.
“It’s a very valuable necklace, close to $250,000, with 110 karats of diamonds,” Ali said.
The Ali’s younger children were asleep upstairs. All of the brutality took place on the driveway.
Police said one suspect stands around 5-foot-8 with braids, while the other is closer to 5-11, with short black hair. They were not wearing masks or gloves and may have left behind hand prints and footprints.
“Well, we are coping with it right now,” Ali said.
The Ali family has proud roots in Trinidad and India. They said they had never encountered any crime in all their years owning their restaurants or living in North Woodmere. Police said they are eager for tips from the public and from pawn shops.