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A man suspected of stealing cash and cigarettes from a series of bodegas and delis in southeast Queens and Brooklyn shot himself in the leg while struggling with an off-duty officer early Saturday morning after he allegedly robbed a Brooklyn store, police said.
Police arrested Mohammed Mohammed, 31, of 120 Veronica Ave., Brooklyn, about 9 a.m. as he attempted to flee after allegedly robbing a 99 Cents Store at 794 New Lots Ave., said Carmen Melendez, a Police Department spokeswoman.
Melendez said the owner of the 99 Cents Store and his brother chased Mohammed and detained him while catching the attention of an off-duty police officer.
Officer Vincent Phillips grabbed Mohammed and a struggle ensued, Melendez said. As the two men wrestled on the ground, Mohammed fired his 9mm handgun, hitting himself in the leg.
Melendez said police were looking into whether Mohammed was the man responsible for a string of 20 robberies dating from March 13 to Aug. 14 in Queens Village, Fresh Meadows, Springfield Gardens, Jamaica, Ozone Park and various Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Phillips, who sustained minor injuries during the struggle, was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was treated and released, police said.
Melendez said Mohammed was arrested at the scene and taken to Brookdale University Hospital where he was in stable condition. She said he was charged with robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and assault.
Police said the robbery was similar to the robbery pattern of bodega and deli robberies disclosed two weeks ago by detectives from the Queens and Brooklyn robbery squads.
The Queens Robbery Sq ad said it had identified eight similar incidents, while the Brooklyn Robbery Squad said there were 10 robberies that followed the pattern.
Police said the serial robber would enter the store and buy some items while talking on a cell phone and carrying a multicolored bag. He would leave only to return armed with a gun with a laser sight. Once back in the store, he would demand money and cigarettes and then flee, police said.
The Queens locations hit by the robber are: 157-23 Rockaway Blvd. in South Jamaica; 143-15 Springfield Blvd. in Laurelton; 192-21 Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows; 157-23 Rockaway Blvd. in South Jamaica; 188-23 Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows; 118-02 Rockaway Blvd. in Ozone Park; 143-45 Springfield Blvd. in Laurelton; 116-79 Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica; and 78-21 Atlantic Ave. in Woodhaven.
Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2001 Community Newspaper Group
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