WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)Long Island residents are calling for greater police security after a tourist from Connecticut allegedly pulled a gun on a hotel manager.

For 90 years, the Jones Beach Hotel has been right in the middle of a residential Wantagh neighborhood, and CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reports it’s now the scene of a violent robbery.

(Credit: CBS2)

Police say a 35-year-old man with a gun walked into the hotel lobby and accosted the male desk clerk and female manager, demanding money and threatening harm. They eventually disarmed the suspect and held him for police.

The suspect, from Hartford, Connecticut, has not yet been arraigned on the robbery and assault charges.

“It seemed like it was under control, but then this happens and it’s scary. It’s really scary,” Wantagh homeowner Michael Lynch said.

“Jones Beach Hotel has had different owners. It’s had a tremendous series of problems over the years,” Nassau County Legislator Steven Rhoads said.

Since complaints surfaced of drugs and prostitution, Nassau Police intensified safety sweeps and some residents say that’s making a real difference.

“There’s been a lot of police going back and forth on a daily basis, so it’s better,” said Roy Miller, with the Wantagh Neighborhood Watch.

Behind the hotel, there’s a new bike path to Jones Beach and park upgrades. Cameras and new street lights have been installed nearby. There are no more hourly or day rates at the hotel and structural repairs are underway.

Rhoads is working with residents and hotel staff.

“They do want to be good neighbors in the community. There’s still a long way to go,” Rhoads said.

The hotel charges $90 a night. Some guests stay up to 30 days in a row.

“We’ve never had a problem with this hotel, never. I don’t know why anyone would bring a gun in there,” Wantagh homeowner Paul Caperna said.

Wantagh, the Neighborhood Watch, police and Rhoads plan to have another meeting with the Jones Beach Hotel owners next week.


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