MANHATTAN – A $3,500 reward is now being offered for information leading to the arrest of an armed robber who pulled off a mid-morning robbery at the People’s Place Deli on Second Avenue– who police say is also wanted in a one man crime spree over the past three weeks, terrorizing people on the street and store employees across Midtown and the Upper East Side in fifteen separate robberies armed with an 8 to 10 inch knife. Monday’s deli robbery on the Upper East Side wasn’t even his first crime that morning.
Investigators say the crime spree started back on October 9th when he robbed his first victim at knifepoint inside the lobby of Chase Bank on 42nd Street, getting away with $150.
The crimes just escalated from there— and got more violent. The next day, the armed suspect viciously beat a clerk inside the Liberty Smoke Shop on 10th Avenue until he gave up the $580 in the register.
After that, police say the suspect went dormant for about two weeks before popping up in the West Village on October 24th to rob a 71-year-old man at knifepoint on the sidewalk— he didn’t get away with anything in that stick up.
On the 25th, the suspect changed his M.O.— instead of just flashing the knife and demanding money, detectives say he starts putting the knives to his victim’s necks or throats.
The next night, the suspect struck three times within fifteen minutes in Midtown— and struck another three times on Thursday, October 28th. Each time, the suspect held a knife to the victim’s neck. Two more robberies were reported on October 30th and just one on Halloween— in these robberies the knife wasn’t held against the victim’s necks.
After thirteen robberies in Midtown, the armed robber turned his attention to the Upper East Side— pulling off two robberies minutes apart in Lenox Hill.
In the first attempt Monday morning, at a building near Lenox Hill Hospital on Lexington Avenue the suspect targeted a 51-year-old woman who refused to give up any money— and he just took off empty handed.
Minutes later he would walk into the People’s Place Deli, pull his knife for a fifteenth time and robbed the store’s register of $600.
Investigators released a number of surveillance photos of the suspect from several different robberies— he’s described as being 20 to 30 years old, 5’8” tall, weighing 140 to 160 pounds. He’s seen wearing a mask in nearly every image— and riding a grey motor-scooter in one photo.
If you recognize the man in the surveillance images, you’re asked to call NYPD Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-8477.