Nassau Legislature honors officers for response to Manhasset Dunkin Donuts robbery

Bill San Antonio

Nassau County lawmakers honored three county police officers on Monday for their actions in response to a robbery call in May at the Dunkin Donuts store on Plandome Road in Manhasset.

Officers Joseph Altieri, Edward Vilchez and Michael Taskov received citations from the Legislature and were declared September’s “Cops of the Month” in apprehending the suspect, Christian Wallace, 30, of Long Beach, who was later charged with first-degree robbery.

“Today is another opportuntity to thank three police officers for what they did,” said Norma Gonsalves, the Legislature’s presiding officer (R-East Meadow).

The incident took place around 7:40 a.m. on May 3, when Wallace was alleged to have entered the Dunkin Donuts, presented a demand note to the cashier and threatened him with a gun.

James Carver, president of the Nassau County Police Benevolvent Association, said Vilchez, who was patrolling the area at the time, reported to the department a description of Wallace and noted he may have had a gun, and the incident was pursued by Altieri and Taskov, who was conducting field training.

Altieri and Taskov investigated the nearby Royal Inn Motor Lodge at 1177 Northern Boulevard, which Carver said is frequented by drug users and dealers, and a clerk told them a subject matching the description provided by Vilchez had been living there.

A brief chase ensued before Wallace was placed under arrest and arraigned at First District Court in Hempstead.

“These police officers, with risk to themselves, did a great job apprehending this suspect,” Carver said. 

“This continues what we talk about month after month [about] the growing heroin problem in Nassau County,” he added. “That subject was there to rob that Dunkin Donuts so he could support his heroin habit. These officers were there immediately to take this threat off the streets.”

Nassau County Police Chief Steven Skyrnecki said their response was an example of the county’s proficiency in “intelligence-led policing,” coupled with “the everyday cop[s] in the street” who “get to someplace, get information, assess information, make a plan and execute the plan.”

“This is outstanding everyday police work that I am really so proud to stand next to,” he said. “I’m really happy to see the average cop in the street honored here and to see the performances they do day in, day out. They truly risk their lives every day for all of us, and this is another great example.”

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