Suspect in string of knifepoint robberies held without bail
Khalif House, the man accused in 27 knifepoint robberies on Long Island and in Queens, was held without bail after his arraignment in Central Islip Thursday.
Police say House, of Hempstead, was arrested on South Tyson Avenue in Floral Park Wednesday morning. They say he was caught after trying to pull off two robberies in Queens Tuesday night - one at a Dollar Tree store in College Point and the other around 10 p.m. at a Dunkin' Donuts on Hillside Avenue.
Police followed House to Floral Park, where he was not spotted again until around 7 a.m. Wednesday, when a man living on North Tyson Avenue found the suspect asleep on his couch and called 911. That call launched a massive search and prompted dozens of law enforcement officers to descend upon the area.
House was apprehended just after 11 a.m. when police say he simply walked out from behind a home on Van Siclen Avenue. They say he had been hiding in the basement.
House's defense attorney, Murray Singer, says reports have suggested that his client is a "young man with a heroin addiction."
According to court documents, House's accused accomplice Lisette Veltri, of Valley Stream, is cooperating with the investigation and identified House in several surveillance videos of knifepoint robberies.
The knifepoint robberies had left police and the FBI on the lookout, and residents on edge since the beginning of March. The pattern stretches back as far as February in New York City, officials say.
Authorities say the suspect has been involved in 27 holdups in Queens and Nassau and Suffolk counties, primarily targeting Dunkin' Donuts, Subway, 7-Eleven and Carvel stores.
The FBI will be prosecuting the case as it says the robberies disrupted interstate commerce.
House is facing federal charges of conspiracy to commit robbery.