Detectives in Nassau County believe a rash of armed robberies that targeted home heating oil delivery drivers are related and now police are looking to the public for help identifying the culprits, authorities said Monday.
At a Jan. 27 news conference, Det. Sgt. John Giambrone, the commander of Nassau’s Robbery Squad, said detectives believe the same crew is responsible for four robberies since last month in Baldwin, Roosevelt and Hempstead.
“These men [the drivers] are grabbed by two or three subjects and generally grabbed from behind,” he said, adding the armed thugs demand whatever cash the workers have on them. Investigators believe the men think the drivers may be carrying large amounts of cash after making deliveries, but that hasn’t been the case.
“Only one of the cases was it an actual cash delivery,” Giambrone said. “In three of four robberies, the subjects have only obtained the personal property of the oil deliverymen.”
The most recent robbery occurred around Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. on Margaret Drive in Roosevelt, which police said was the first instance that just one of the alleged suspects was involved in a stickup.
The mugger – described as being between 15 and 20 years old and dressed in all black – allegedly watched the driver pull up and passed him as the worker was hooking up the fuel line, before the suspect popping out from the back of the home with a gun.
“The subject produced a handgun and demanded whatever cash he had on him,” Giambrone said. The driver, he said, threw the cash to the ground and the suspect snatched it up before taking off.
The first robbery in the pattern was reported on Dec. 16, when three men approached a 49-year-old delivery driver on Linkwood Drive in Baldwin. One of the men, police said, put a gun to the back of the driver’s head and asked, “Where’s the money?” They snatched an undisclosed amount of money from the victim’s pockets and fled the scene.
During another robbery on Jan. 14, detectives said a 43-year-old victim was flagged down by “a male black subject on the street who impersonated himself as the homeowner” who ordered a home heating oil delivery. Cops said the man “simulated that he was armed with a gun” and stole the driver’s wallet, cash and credit cards. Giambrone said the money also contained cash he was carrying from a prior delivery.
Three days later, the men allegedly targeted another driver on Coolidge Avenue in Baldwin. There was no weapon displayed during that robbery, but one of the two suspects allegedly threw the victim to the ground before they grabbed the victim’s wallet and iPhone.
Police said the three suspects are described as being between 15 and 25 years old with varying heights and weights. In some of the incidents, the suspects were spotted driving a blue Chevrolet sedan. The models were either a Malibu or Cruze, Giambrone said.
Anyone with information is urged to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.