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Homeless Men Charged in Long Beach Bank Robbery

Crimes Nearby: Patch reports about local crimes and arrests near home.

The following crimes were reported by Nassau and Suffolk county law enforcement authorities. An arrest is only an accusation; it does not indicate guilt.

Long Beach

Police arrested two homeless men they say acted together to last week.

David Traversa, 19, and George Armstrong, 20, were charged Saturday with a robbery at at about 12 p.m. on June 8.

The Long Beach Police Department detective division and Nassau County Police Department robbery squad investigated the incident and charged Traversa with second-degree robbery after he was taken into custody in Baldwin at about 2:50 p.m. Saturday.

Based on a further investigation, police arrested and charged George Armstrong with second-degree robbery at the Capri Hotel, at 5 Freer St. in Lynbrook, at about 7:30 p.m. on May 9.

According to the LBPD, Armstrong walked into the bank and approached a teller at a window, demanded that the teller put money on the counter, left with an undetermined amount of cash and fled on foot eastbound on East Fulton Street.

“Armstrong entered the bank and made a verbal demand for the cash, and Traversa stayed outside and served as a lookout,” said Sgt. Eric Cregeen.

Both suspects took a taxi to and from the bank, but the driver was not a party to the crime. “He was just waiting for one of the guys as the other guy was looking out and had the cab waiting,” he said about the driver. 

Traversa and Armstrong were arraigned in on Monday and will be held on $30,000 bail. The LBPD declined to reveal the amount of money that was robbed from the bank.

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East Meadow

An East Meadow man was arrested Saturday afternoon after allegedly using a real estate scheme to defraud several people out of more than $15,000.

According to Nassau County detectives, Jamel Smith, 38, of East Meadow, acted as a real estate agent between Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 and Wednesday, May 9, 2012. In that time he secured down payments for rental properties in Elmont, Hempstead and West Hempstead.

An investigation by detectives from the Nassau County Police Department's Third and Fifth Squad, along with Hempstead Police, discovered that Smith would place an ad on Craigslist to arrange a meeting with the victims at which time he would secure a payment, police said.

Similar meetings occurred at least eight different times for a loss of more than $15,000 to the victims, police said.

New Hyde Park

The on Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park was robbed Monday afternoon.

According to police, a white man about 40 years old, 6’ tall, wearing a green camouflaged t-shirt and a dark baseball cap with a Mercedes Benz logo, entered the bank at about 1:08 p.m. and presented a demand note to a teller.

Garden City Park

Nassau County Police have apprehended a man reportedly responsible for several burglaries in Garden City Park which occurred on June 7.

Steven Wohnsigl, 49, of Hicksville, allegedly broke into homes on Birchwood Drive and Morris Drive in Garden City Park as well as Betty Road in Garden City.

Smithtown

A homeless man and a Port Jefferson woman face felony robbery charges following a May 24 incident during which police said they robbed a woman of jewelry and her purse.

According to police, a woman was walking behind Arthur Avenue, near the Smithtown train station, around 9:45 p.m. when Luke Guggino, 22, and Franchesca Guttierrez, 25, approached the woman and stole the necklaces hanging around her neck, as well as the purse she was carrying.

Both were later caught by police and arrested on charges of robbery in the second degree.

West Babylon

Suffolk police arrested a Copiague man last week on charges of robbing two local banks and attempting to rob two others.

Vitaliy Vershov, 27, of Copiague, was arrested outside of his home last evening following an investigation by Suffolk County Police detectives. According to the police, Vershov entered the West Babylon HSBC on Route 109 on May 17 and demanded money from a teller. He then fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

On May 30, detectives say he entered a Bank of America location in Copiague and gave a teller a note stating he needed money or his daughter would be killed. He fled the location, however, without cash. About an hour later, Vershov entered the Copiague Chase on Sunrise Highway and presented a similar note demanding money or his daughter's life would be threatened. He also left this bank without cash. On June 4, detectives said Vershov entered the Bay Shore Chase location and handed a note to the teller, who refused to give him any money before he fled.

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