Kew Gardens Hills woman robbed 5 businesses with toy gun: DA

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A Kew Gardens Hills woman with no prior record was arraigned Tuesday night on charges she allegedly used a toy gun to rob five businesses in the borough, the Queens district attorney said.

Jodi Mendelowitz, 48, allegedly held up three liquor stores, a Chinese restaurant and a bank last week, according to DA Richard Brown. She has been charged with four counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery, the DA said.

“The defendant is accused of robbing five commercial establishments of various amounts of money, ranging from $50 to $200, over a four-day period while wearing a hat, a long wig, sunglasses and a blue dress and armed with a black and silver handgun,” Brown said. “Fortunately, the gun turned out to be a toy and nobody was physically injured. The defendant now faces the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence.”

Mendelowitz’s attorney, Marla Grossman, said “there are an awful lot of angles” to her client’s story “that we are not free at this point to divulge.”

“Hopefully, when it all comes out in the wash, justice will be served in the end,” Grossman said.

Mendelowitz, who the DA’s office said does not have a previous criminal record, allegedly first entered Expressway Wine & Liquor in Kew Gardens Hills at 9 p.m. Friday and said, “I have a gun, give me all the cash, I have a gun,” according to Brown.

She repeated the same action the next day when she allegedly robbed Flushing Wine & Liquor on Main Street a little after 8 p.m. and Panda Garden, a Chinese restaurant in Flushing, just before midnight Saturday, the DA said.

Around 2 p.m. Sunday, Mendelowitz allegedly sported her toy gun at the Citibank on 188th Street in Jamaica Estates and handed the teller a note that read, “Please press no alert buttons! I have a loaded gun in my bag. Give me all the cash. Make it look like a normal withdrawal and I won’t shoot a customer,” according to the DA.

When the teller stood up, Mendelowitz allegedly panicked and fled empty-handed, Brown said.

About 15 minutes after leaving the bank, the middle-aged robber allegedly hit JR Discount Liquor in Kew Gardens Hills, where she made off with money before fleeing in a red car — but not before the clerk jotted down the license plate number, according to the DA.

Mendelowitz  is being held without bail and will return to court Sept. 16, Brown said.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 6:10 pm, October 10, 2011
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