NEW YORK — The cigarette bandit is stealing smokes citywide.
Police are looking for a masked man who has allegedly held up 15 bodegas at gunpoint all across Manhattan and Brooklyn, demanding cash and cartons of cigarettes.
The suspect first struck on Feb. 16, holding up Andy's Deli at 142 Ninth Ave., near West 19th Street, police said.
He then allegedly robbed three other stores in East Harlem and Chelsea, police said. Now, he has been connected with 11 other robberies in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
There have been at least four robberies in Bedford-Stuyvesant, starting with holdup of the Seven and One Deli at Fulton Street and Throop Avenue on March 25 about 10 p.m., police said.
The suspect also allegedly hit up two bodegas in East Flatbush, first the Romona Grocery at 735 Utica Ave. about 9 p.m. May 21 and then a bodega at 560 Remsen Ave. about 6:40 p.m. June 11, police said.
The most recent robbery was on June 24 at a deli on Eighth Avenue and West 21st Street about 4:51 p.m., police said.
No one was injured during the holdups, police said.
Police described the suspect as 20 to 30 years old, 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8 and 160 to 180 pounds. He has been seen wearing a red hat, blue jeans and a red sweatshirt, with a white bandana across his face.
Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. You can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting tips to 274637(CRIMES), then entering "TIP577."