Ronkonkoma Man Charged In String Of Purse Thefts At Gas Stations

Sophia Hall
September 11, 2019 - 1:49 pm

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — A Long Island man is accused of stealing purses from unlocked vehicles at service stations across Suffolk County as the victims were pumping gas.

The thefts happened in the blink of an eye, according to WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. It only took about 20 or 30 seconds for the suspect, Craig Mastandrea, to allegedly snatch the purses, police said.

Police say that while the drivers were pumping gas, the 47-year-old from Ronkonkoma would sneak around the vehicle, open the passenger door and grab the woman’s bag.

Mastandrea was arrested and charged Tuesday in connection to at least eight thefts.

He faces multiple charges including seven counts of grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and petit larceny.

Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart says it’s important to keep an eye on your valuables at all times.

“It really reaches over to even when you're shopping, right, you put your pocketbook in the shopping cart, turn your back for a moment to pick an item off the shelf – those are all times when you just need to be really, really aware of your surroundings,” she advises.

Hart says everyone should be cautious and always lock their car doors, even when they think they’ll be running into the store for just a second.