Two gunmen who assaulted a clerk and robbed a convenience store in Jamaica on Sunday morning were apprehended a short time later by transit police on a Manhattan-bound F train.
According to police, the two suspects, Raheem Bailey, 28, of Cambria Heights, and Alonzo Jones, 25, of Woodbury, Connecticut, were arrested after transit police conducted a search of the train while it was stopped at the Briarwood/Van Wyck Boulevard station.
The victim, Nagi Alborati, 45, of Jamaica, said the two suspects first came into the store at 87-74 168th Street around 11 a.m. and bought sodas. But when they returned roughly 20 minutes later, he became suspicious.
Alborati, who has worked in the store for 27 years, said, “I’ve never seen them before in the neighborhood, but I didn’t have a worried feeling. But when they came back, right away I had a bad feeling.”
According to Alborati, both men quickly brandished pistols upon entering the store, demanding that he empty the cash register. When he complied, they continued to demand more money, forcing him to open up the lottery ticket case. When they found no money there, one suspect hit Alborati on the back of the head with his pistol.
“They finally ran out when another customer came into the store,” he said. “When they left, they turned and ran toward Hillside Avenue.”
Alborati quickly called the police, who arrived within five minutes. Witnesses at the scene then told police they saw the two suspects duck into the subway entrance at 168th Street and Hillside Avenue, which is less than 15 yards from the store.
Transit officials halted the Manhattan-bound F train at the Briarwood/Van Wyck Boulevard station, which is three stops from the 169th Street station. This allowed several transit police officers to sweep through the subway cars, looking for suspects who matched the description given by Alborati. During the search, Transit District 20 Police Officer William Doyle apprehended the two suspects, recovering cash and a loaded handgun.
After word of the arrests, Alborati said the police drove him to the Van Wyck Boulevard station to identify the suspects. While he waited in the car, the two gunmen were brought out of the subway.
“One of them, the tall one who hit me, saw me through the car window,” Alborati said. “He looked at me and said, ‘I didn’t do nothing,’ but I told the police it was them.”
Alborati was treated at the scene for bruising and a cut to his head. Both suspects were charged with robbery in the first degree and second-degree assault.