Robbery suspects held on bail following arraignments

Brian Houpe Jr. (left) and Spencer Khashif. (Credit: Riverhead police)
Brian Houpe Jr. (left) and Spencer Khashif. (Credit: Riverhead police)

The two suspects charged in recent robberies in Riverhead were issued grand jury notices and held on bail pending another court date following their arraignments in Riverhead Town Justice Court Saturday morning. 

Brian Houpe Jr., 26, who allegedly robbed Barth’s Drug Store and Uncle Joe’s Pizza at gunpoint, was held on $250,000 bail and is due back in court Monday, according to Judge Allen Smith.

He did not have an attorney present.

Mr. Houpe told the judge he had worked as a manager at Salvation Army and had been fired last month. He has no prior convictions, Judge Smith said.

Mr. Houpe allegedly wore a mask as he demanded money from an employee at Barth’s Drug Store May 8, Riverhead police said. He allegedly told the employee ‘This ain’t no f—— joke,” Judge Smith said during the proceedings. An employee handed over $325 from the register and Mr. Houpe allegedly fled with the money, police said.

The second robbery he’s charged with occurred May 12 at Uncle Joe’s Pizza on West Main Street, police said. The manager handed over $485 from the register.

Mr. Houpe is facing two counts of first-degree robbery. No plea was entered Saturday since he was not represented by an attorney yet.

The second suspect who was arraigned is charged with second-degree robbery after forcibly stealing a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro from a woman in the parking lot of Target Friday night.

Spencer Khashif, 29, was held on $100,000 bail and will remain in the Suffolk County Jail pending another court appearance Monday.

He did not have an attorney present and requested legal aid.

Mr. Khashif has two prior misdemeanor convictions, according to the prosecutor.

Mr. Khashif, who was wearing a dirty, gray tank top during the arraignment, told the judge he grew up in Greenport and has since bounced around different temporary homes through the Suffolk County Department of Social Services. He had lived in Port Jefferson before recently moving to Main Street in Riverhead, he said.

He told the judge he’s currently unemployed.

Mr. Khashif said to the judge that he would “like to update funds for the bail.” Unsure what he meant by that, Judge Smith explained the bail process several times to him.

Mr. Khashif also faces a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving after leading police on a brief chase on Sound Avenue.  He was allegedly driving 80 mph westbound on Sound Avenue and crossed into oncoming traffic twice, forcing cars in the other lane to pull over to avoid an accident, police said.

The chase ended when the car’s owner and police notified OnStar — an in-vehicle security and navigation system — which disabled the car to bring it to a stop, police said.

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