Queens District Attorney Richard Brown on April 5 charged two Queens residents with participating in the robberies of two borough gas stations and a deli, then leading police on a dangerous car chase to avoid being arrested.
The defendants, 32-year old Ravinder Dharamshot of 89-32 Lyman St. in Queens Village and 23-year-old Umair Farooq of 62-89 214 St. in Oakland Gardens, face charges of robbery, criminal use of a firearm and possessing an imitation pistol. Dharamshot is additionally charged with first-degree reckless endangerment. The defendants face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
“The defendants are accused of taking part in a brazen crime spree by which they robbed gas station and deli employees at gunpoint,” Brown said in a statement. “Days after the robberies — when spotted by police — one of the defendants allegedly drove recklessly through the streets trying to evade capture.”
Dharamshot and Farooq allegedly robbed a Gulf gas station at 241-15 Hillside Ave. at approximately 5:40 a.m. on March 16, taking about $800. They also allegedly robbed an Exxon gas station at 137-21 Liberty Ave. at approximately 4 a.m. on March 19, taking approximately $500.
Finally, they allegedly robbed the Braddock Super Bazaar, 237-08 Braddock Ave., at approximately 3:20 a.m. on March 23, taking approximately $200. The defendants allegedly used an imitation pistol during each of the robberies and fled in a blue Mercury Villager minivan.
A police officer saw Dharamshot in the minivan at around 5 a.m. on April 3 at Utopia and Cross Island Parkways. The defendant then allegedly sped off, pulled into a driveway and exited the car.
When the officer approached the defendant, Dharamshot allegedly jumped back into the minivan, put the car in reverse and nearly struck two police cars.
Finally, Dharamshot is accused of driving through several stop signs and red lights, onto the Clearview Expressway in the opposite direction and causing other vehicles to swerve out of the way.
He then allegedly exited the Clearview Expressway and drove up onto a sidewalk for an entire block, almost striking pedestrians, before finally crashing into a police car at Colden Street and Elder Avenue in Flushing, causing injuries to two police officers.
Farooq, who was allegedly a passenger in the minivan, was apprehended shortly after the crash. Dharamshot allegedly fled the scene and was arrested later that day.
— Joseph Orovic