The latest armed robbery of a Queens cell phone store happened on Christmas Day, around noon, when two men stole several smartphones and cash from a Metro PCS that was open for the holidays, the NYPD said.
Police say it was the fourth cell phone store holdup in Queens the men have pulled off since late November. In all, they have stolen roughly 300 smartphones and tablets from the locations, along with more than $5,000 in cash. They have followed a similar pattern, entering the stores around 12 p.m., and forcing customers and employees to the back at gunpoint, in some cases tying them up with duct tape.
Police are seeking the public's help and have released surveillance video and photographs of the suspects. In most of the photographs, the suspects are difficult to discern, wearing hooded sweatshirts and caps, their faces obscured by either dark glasses or a shirt covering.
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One of the men is described as 5 foot 10 and 200 pounds with a Caesar style haircut.
The other is 6 foot 2 and 250 pounds with dreadlocks.
Investigators have also released photos of another man and a woman, who they believe helped in the Dec. 25 robbery.
In that Christmas Day heist, the two men struck the Metro PCS at 97-14 Queens Blvd. in Rego Park, police said. They entered the store with handguns, forcing three employees and two customers to the back of the location. One of the suspects put down his gun to tie up a 56-year-old customer with duct tape, and was tackled by three employees. The suspect managed to escape, and the thieves fled into a waiting vehicle with the devices and cash, police said.
A few days earlier, the suspects stole 218 electronic devices and about $2,000 cash from a Sprint store at 37-50 Junction Blvd. in Corona, the NYPD reported. The noon holdup on Dec. 21 followed a similar pattern. The suspects pointed a gun at employees and customers before forcing them to the back of the store. They bound the four people with duct tape then looted the location, stealing iPhones, iPads Samsung smartphones and tablets, authorities said.
On Dec. 3, authorities say the same two men robbed a T-Mobile store at 86-16 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst. They stole $600 worth of store property after pointing a gun at employees and forcing them to the rear of the store. The suspects fled, and one fired his gun in the direction of a store employee who had begun chasing them, authorities said. No one was injured.
The first reported incident happened on Nov. 20, at a Sprint location at 46-31 Greenpoint Ave. in Sunnyside. Again, around noon, the men pointed a gun at a store employee before stealing 45 iPhones and $3,500 cash.
Anyone with information should call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-8477, or for Spanish 888-577-4782. Tips can also be submitted at the Crime Stoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting to 274637, then entering TIP57. All calls are confidential.