Authorities have apprehended a suspect wanted for allegedly killing a Jericho gas station attendant and robbing at least a dozen other gas stations in a crime spree that sparked a massive manhunt, Nassau County police said.
U.S. Marshals helped investigators track down Joshua Golson-Orelus, who pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of first-degree murder, robbery, attempted robbery and criminal possession of a weapon. Additional charges are anticipated in the ongoing investigation.
“It has been the top priority for the past six months,” Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter told reporters during a news conference at police headquarters in Mineola.
Homicide Squad detectives alleged that the 23-year-old construction worker from Westbury gunned down Hany Awad, 56, of Levittown, at a BP Gas Station on Jericho Turnpike shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28. A customer found the victim lying on the floor behind the counter, police said, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities suspect that Golson-Orelus also is responsible for 12 armed robberies between December 2013 and March, police said. Investigators caught a break when a K-9 Unit officer spotted him allegedly fleeing the robbery of a Citco gas station in Westbury last weekend, police said.
“This event led to his apprehension,” Chief of Detectives Kevin Smith said.
Detectives tracked the license plate number on the getaway car to the Hempstead home of the suspect’s friend, police said. Then investigators believe he fled upstate. He was found at a relative’s home in Utica.
Police did not disclose a motive for the robberies or the murder.
“This arrest has taken a menace to public safety off of the streets, and we will prosecute this case aggressively to ensure that he’ll never threaten our communities again,” Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.
Judge Paul Meli ordered Golson-Orelus, who was previously tried for felony assault, held without bail. He is due back in court Monday. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.