Nassau County Police said that they have arrested a couple in connection with the robbery of a gas station in Wantagh. The robbery occurred at American Gas Station on Merrick Road around 8:40 p.m. on Friday, August 22.
According to police, John P. Vitali, 20, and Rachel Recht, 19, entered the gas station on Friday night. Recht then left the gas station as Vitali approach the 34-year-old cashier with a hand in his pocket. He then demanded the cashier to give him money from the register.
The cashier backed away from the register as Vitali allegedly grabbed an undetermined amount of money. Both suspects then fled the scene on foot, heading north on Beach Drive.
Officials from the Seventh Precinct Police Officers, Nassau County Police Canine Unit, Nassau County Air Bureau, and Officers from the Nassau County Bureau of Special Operations Unit launched an investigation into the robbery. The two suspects were observed in the back of a taxi cab on Beach Street by officers from the Bureau of Special Operations.
The cab was stopped by police and Recht and Vitatli - both from Wantagh - were arrested without incident. The stolen money was recovered and no weapons were found on either suspect. Police did find 19 packs of brownish powder on Vitali. The packs were believed to be filled with heroin. Neither suspect nor any officer was injured during the arrest.
Vitali is facing charges of Robbery 2nd Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th Degree. Recht is being charged with Robbery 2nd Degree. Both suspects were scheduled for arraignment on Saturday at the First District Court in Hempstead.