Suffolk County police arrested a Centereach man allegedly involved in a string of robberies that began Wednesday when he allegedly took a vehicle left running at Centereach Mall, authorities said.

Joseph Tusa, 35, was taken into custody around 5:50 p.m. Friday when a Sixth Precinct officer spotted the stolen vehicle on College Road in Farmingville, police said. He was charged with two counts of third-degree robbery, third-degree and second-degree attempted robbery, and grand larceny.

Tusa’s alleged robbery spree started 30 minutes after he allegedly stole the vehicle from the mall, police said. He entered Robie’s Cards and Gifts on Middle Country Road in Centereach demanding cash and stating he was “armed with a weapon,” police said in a news release. The employee handed over the money and Tusa fled, police said.

He returned to the same store two days later but fled in the stolen vehicle after the employee refused to hand over more cash, police said. Six minutes later, according to police, he entered OK Patroleum on Middle Country Road in Centereach but fled again empty-handed. Shortly after fleeing, he stopped in Sue’s Cardsmart in Selden and made the same demands, police said. This time, the employee complied and gave him the cash.

Tusa will be arraigned Saturday at First District Court in Central Islip.


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