Update: This story was updated on Thursday with information obtained from a police briefing and witness account.
Two men armed with handguns attacked a Hewlett storeowner and a third robber grabbed an 8-year-old child by his clothes and threatened to harm him if the victims didn’t comply, according to witnesses and police. They then stole assorted jewelry and fled the scene.
The three alleged robbers entered in the Peninsula Shopping Center around 6:30 p.m. and pistol-whipped, punched and kicked the storeowner. The 8-year-old boy was the son of a customer who had stepped out of the store. The wife and daughter-in-law of the victim were also present.
“When the boy was trying to escape, [one of the men] got him back and said ‘step back or we’ll hurt the boy,’” said Dina, the daughter-in-law, who did not want to give her last name. “There was blood on the floor. He was so scared.”
She said that she remained still during the robbery, which lasted around 10 minutes. Her father-in-law was not complying with the robbers, she added.
More than three hours before the robbery, a black man and woman entered the store and requested to see a 2 carat round cut with Tiffany setting engagement ring estimated to cost $10,000, according to Det. Sgt. John Giambrone of NCPD’s Robbery Squad. He said the couple was casing the store.
“It’s a common ruse,” Giambrone said. “But they usually do it right there.”
The men took that same engagement ring and other assorted jewelry from display cases, as well as the owner’s watch. The proceeds were estimated to be worth between $40,000 and $50,000. The robbers then fled the scene in a dark colored auto, possibly a Nissan Maxima or Altima, northbound on Mill Road, police said.
The victim, who sustained a laceration to the head, was transported to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside where he is in stable condition and under observation, according to police. No other injuries were reported.
This is the first time the store has been robbed in the 10 years since it opened in Hewlett.
The subjects are described as black, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet 5 inches tall and thin builds. One of the men was wearing a red bandana across his face.
The man who had come in earlier in the day was described as 6 feet tall and wearing a white T-shirt with dark jeans.
The woman is described as black, 5 feet 10 inches tall with long braided hair and wearing a t-shirt that read "Don't interrupt me while I am ignoring you."
Detectives ask that anyone with information regarding this crime to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.
Dina said she wants people to know that Julia’s Place is still open for business.
“Everything is working regularly," she said. "It’s not usual usual, but we’ll try to keep it as usual.”