By Denise M. Bonilla, staff writer
Copyright 2006 Newsday, Inc.
Two men captured after an intense manhunt in Valley Stream Friday and believed to have been involved in a string of crimes were on their way to commit a robbery when they were arrested, police said yesterday.
Brandon Alexander, 20, of 135-34 233rd St., Laurelton, and James Gadson, 19, of 114-65 203rd St., St. Albans, were caught after fleeing from a stolen 1998 Jeep Cherokee, Nassau police said. Two others remain at large.
Two officers from the Fifth Precinct had tried to pull the vehicle over on Merrick Road in Valley Stream, but the Jeep took off, going west on Merrick Road for about a half-mile before being abandoned in the driveway of a house on Brook Place, police said yesterday. The four men inside fled into the neighborhood, police said. Previously, police reported witnesses seeing three men leave the vehicle.
The extensive manhunt Friday covered a four-block area that included a lockdown of area schools, helicopters overhead and police in riot gear searching through backyards.
Police said the men were on their way to another robbery, although they would not disclose the location. Police recovered a .44-caliber gun but would not say exactly where it was found. Police also recovered a substance believed to be heroin on Gadson.
Police said the stolen Jeep matches the type of car used in a robbery pattern in at least 28 armed robberies that have taken place since April in Nassau and Queens.
Police linked Alexander to two robberies: the DA Wireless Store on Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park on Feb. 14 and a June 18 heist at Citgo gas station, also on Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park.
Alexander is charged with two counts of first-degree robbery. He and Gadson were charged with first-degree attempted robbery, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and third and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Gadson also was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Alexander and Gadson were both being held; Alexander without bail and Gadson in lieu of $250,000 cash.
A string of robberies
Two men arrested Friday and two still being sought are believed to be part of a group that has pulled off 18 heists in Queens and 10 in Nassau County in recent months.
In all the robberies, two armed suspects demanded cash and escaped in stolen cars - mostly Jeeps and Audis - driven by a third man.
Brandon B. Alexander, 20, of Laurelton was arraigned yesterday on first-degree robbery charges in two New Hyde Park heists, police said:
Feb. 14 at the DA Wireless Store, 410 Jericho Tpke.
June 18 at the Citgo gas station, 205 Jericho Tpke.
Both Alexander and James T. Gadson, 19, of St. Albans, were arraigned on charges of first-degree attempted robbery, criminal possession of stolen property and criminal possession of a weapon. Police said they were on their way to commit a robbery in a stolen 1998 Jeep Cherokee when police stopped them.
2 N.Y. suspects caught on their way to commit another robbery