01/15/15 12:38pm
01/15/2015 12:38 PM
The manager of this MCN Distributors in Riverhead says he was forced at gunpoint to help robbers steal inventory from his store. The robbery lasted three hours, he said. (Credit: Paul Squire)

The manager of this MCN Distributors in Riverhead says he was forced at gunpoint to help robbers steal inventory from his store. The robbery lasted three hours, he said. (Credit: Paul Squire)

A manager at MCN Distributors in Riverhead was staying late at the office Tuesday night. He is usually the last person to leave the Main Road office, and that night he had more paperwork to do.

It was about 5:30 when the men, armed with a gun, burst in the unlocked door.

It was the beginning of what would be an hours-long ordeal at gunpoint that ended with the manager tied up, having been forced to load his inventory into one of his own trucks, which was stolen by the suspects.

“They were like professionals,” the manager, who asked not to be identified, told the News-Review. “They knew what they were doing.”

Riverhead police said the incident is still under investigation.

“Detectives are handling it,” said police Lt. David Lessard. “They are looking into all aspects of that story.”

The manager said the two men came in after-hours through the unlocked front door. He said he tends to keep the door unlocked, since he’s never had trouble in the 14 years of working at MCN.

The robbers ordered him to operate a forklift to load the company’s heating and air conditioning inventory into a company truck.

The manager loaded up one of his box trucks and when one of the robbers drove it away, the other remained, keeping him at gunpoint and demanding he ready more items.

“I was thinking about my wife and kids,” he said. “I didn’t want to get shot.”

The robber returned with a third man, the manager recalled. The manager said the robbers left three times with his truck, always coming back with it empty.

He said one of the men was dressed in camouflage; another wore a green sweater.

“Half of it is just a blur,” he said.

There is one thing he distinctly remembers about the robbers: their black Sketcher’s sneakers.

After loading up the truck for a fourth time, the robbers tied up the manager using wire sold in his shop. Then one of the men picked up a broken pallet and struck him across the face.

On Thursday, the manager pointed to the red mark on his left cheek. They didn’t have to hit him, the manager said.

“It’s like they hit me just for fun,” he said.

With the men gone, the manager struggled until he was able to get his feet out of the restraints. He said he dialed 911 with his tongue; his hands were still bound behind his back.

A police officer arrived on scene within minutes, the manager said. In all, the robbery lasted three hours.

Police later found the truck used in the robbery on Reeves Avenue near Doctors Path.

The robbery was reported not long after a man robbed the Damaris Multi Service, located at 725 East Main Street around 7:15 p.m. The suspect was described as wearing a ski mask and holding a handgun. Police have not said if the incidents are related.

The manager said the company had an alarm system, but it was only used when no one was in the office. He said MCN is planning upgrades to its security system.

He also said he won’t stay late at the office anymore.

“The paperwork can wait,” he said.


01/14/15 4:35pm
01/14/2015 4:35 PM

Riverhead Cops police HeadquartersPolice said that on Tuesday night, shortly after an armed robbery was reported at an E. Main Street business, another was reported just a few miles to the east at a Jamesport business.

According to police, around 8:30 p.m. the manager of MCN Distributors reported that three males entered the business, pointed a handgun at him, and removed cash and heating/air conditioning equipment from the store.

Police said the men used a company box truck to take the proceeds, and the truck was later recovered on Reeves Avenue near Doctors Path.

The robbery was reported not long after a man entered the Damaris Multi Service, located at 725 East Main Street around 7:15 p.m. Tuesday wearing a ski mask and holding a handgun.

Police asked anyone with information about the incident to call 727-4500, ext. 302.

01/06/15 2:57pm
Police say this man robbed Capital One Bank in Jamesport on Tuesday. (Credit: Riverhead Town Police Department)

Police say this man robbed Capital One Bank in Jamesport on Tuesday. (Credit: Riverhead Town Police Department)

Update 8 p.m.: The suspect that robbed Capital One Bank in Jamesport on Tuesday is described as a tall black male with a large build wearing a white-hooded sweatshirt, according to a Riverhead Town police press release.


12/24/14 3:00pm
12/24/2014 3:00 PM

A Flanders man told police he was robbed at knifepoint on Flanders Road in Flanders last Thursday at 6:27 p.m., according to a report.

Police said the victim gave up $200 in cash and that the suspect fled on foot in a westbound direction.

No one was injured in the encounter, according to police, who did not release a description of the suspect. (more…)

11/12/14 9:17am
11/12/2014 9:17 AM
(Credit: Google Maps)

(Credit: Google Maps)

Two men are being held on bail after their arraignment Wednesday on a slew of charges — including felony robbery and assault — related to a Tuesday night hold-up at a Hampton Bays home, according to Southampton Town court documents.

The two men, 22-year-old Jairo Arteaga of Riverside and 21-year-old Jimi Valdez-Banegas of Hampton Bays, are accused of physically attacking a man in the home Mr. Valdez-Banegas lives in, according to the court filings.

About 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Mr. Arteaga attacked the 29-year-old victim — whose identity is being withheld — inside the home on Penny Lane, striking him in the shoulder with a baseball bat and causing “substantial pain” and a “large” bruise, the court filings show.

At the same time, Mr. Valdez-Banegas held a knife up to the throat and head of the victim while threatening to kill him, according to the court documents. The two men stole the victim’s wallet, keys, and $600 in “assorted U.S. currency,” according to the report.

The victim ran from the house and flagged down someone who then called police, said Southampton Sgt. John Boden. Officers on patrol got to the house soon after and caught the two men, he said.

Sgt. Boden declined to comment on why the victim was targeted inside the house, or if he had any relationship with the attackers.

Both men were charged with felony robbery, assault and unlawful imprisonment, as well as misdemeanors for weapons possession and menacing.

Mr. Arteaga and Mr. Valdez-Banegas were arraigned in Southampton Town Justice Court and held on $755,000 and $505,000 bail, respectively, a court clerk said.

Both men are due back in court on Monday.

Editors note: Police originally said Mr. Arteaga lived in Riverhead in a news release. Court paperwork attached to the charges filed against him lists Mr. Arteaga’s address as being in Riverside. The story has been altered to clarify his place of residence.


10/20/14 8:46am
10/20/2014 8:46 AM

An Aquebogue gas station was robbed at gunpoint last night, according to Riverhead Police.

Police said a clerk reported that a man — only described as tall — wearing a ski mask and black hooded sweatshirt entered Empire Gas Station on Main Road just after 10 p.m. and forcibly removed cash from him. The clerk said the man cut him across the face with a razor blade during the robbery, and then proceeded to flee on foot.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Riverhead Police at 727-4500, ext. 633.

07/08/14 8:00am
07/08/2014 8:00 AM

RiverheadPD HQ - Summer - 500

Update: Police have arrested the second suspect in an alleged robbery that happened outside the Riverhead DMV early Monday.

Bobby Riddick, 46, turned himself into police after learning he was a wanted man, authorities said.

He was charged with second-degree robbery and held for arraignment.

Original story: A Riverhead man who recently pleaded guilty after he was caught stealing candy from a Mattituck home with a weapon was arrested again early Monday — this time, according to police, for mugging a man near the DMV and taking $300 from him.


05/29/14 5:22pm
05/29/2014 5:22 PM
Surveillance footage released by police of

Surveillance footage released of the robbery suspect prior to Robert Santoro’s arrest. (Credit: Riverhead Town police)

Just over two months after pleading not guilty to robbing the Capital One bank in downtown Riverhead, Robert Santoro changed his plea to guilty on Wednesday to charges of third-degree robbery and petty larceny.

Mr. Santoro robbed the East Main Street bank on March 26, handing the teller a note “indicating that he had a gun,” assistant district attorney James O’Rourke said at the 46-year-old’s arraignment.

The note demanded “100s, 50s, 20s, and 10s” and said he had a gun, but that he didn’t want to use it because he didn’t want to hurt anyone, according to court documents.

Mr. Santoro fled the scene on foot after the robbery, police said at the time, and was later caught at the Budget Host Inn in Riverside with cash in his car. After his arraignment, he was held on $300,000 cash bail.

He is due to be sentenced on June 27.

The top charge for third-degree robbery is 1 to 15 years, according to state penal code regulations.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that Mr. Santoro had pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery.