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PISTOL-WHIPPED ON AVENUE H - Gunmen beat clerk, rob store

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A recent robbery at a Flatlands bodega may signal the return of the gun-toting bandits sought for a series of brazen heists last year. Once a description of the thieves, as well as their trademark silver-plated pistol was reported on the night of January 4, area cops scoured the area but turned up nothing, except for a drunk driver originally believed to be connected to the robbery crew, said sources. Officials said that three suspects entered the Father and Son Grocery, 5604 Avenue H, Thursday night, cracking an employee over the head with the butt of their gun. The suspects robbed the place of an undetermined amount of cash and property and ran off into the night. In the hour that followed the robbery, responding officers reportedly spotted a car that fit the description of one used by the robbery suspects. A brief pursuit ended abruptly at the corner of Avenue I and East 54th Street, where the car being chased slammed into another car at the corner. The occupants of the car scattered. Cops managed to catch one of the four men, who admitted later that they had refused to stop for police because they had all been drinking. Investigators later determined that the four males in the car were not connected with the gunpoint robbery. As this paper was going to press, police were investigating the possibility that the heist was committed by the established robbery crew that plagued the borough last year, sources said. “It could be connected to robbery pattern 205,” said one police source. “Then again, it could be a copy-cat team.” Robbery pattern 205 focused on the activities of a handful of masked men responsible for holding up at least 15 stores in the 63rd Precinct, in Flatlands and Mill Basin, the 67th Precinct in East Flatbush and the 69th Precinct in Canarsie. But, according to officials, the thugs wanted for committing robbery pattern 205 were identified and apprehended. By late last year, investigators had been working off the theory that at least half of the team had been arrested on October 25. Since that date, the number of robberies fitting the pattern dropped drastically – that is, until recently. Cops did not disclose how many new robberies have been connected to the pattern so far this year. While cops had first believed that the suspects were responsible for the murder of Avenue R grocer Ahmed Shaibi, investigators later determined that the robbery was committed by another, less organized crew. Still, Shaibi’s murderers, as well as the men wanted for the robbery on the Father and Son Grocery, are still at large. Cops are asking anyone with information regarding these two cases to come forward. Calls can be made to the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

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