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Dive Teams Still Searching Peconic For Gun Allegedly Used in Robberies

No evidence has been found yet, police said.

The search continues for the weapon believed to be used in a rash of armed robberies in the Riverhead area.

Southampton Police Det. Sgt. Lisa Costa set up operations on the bank of the Peconic River, near McDonald's in Riverside, on Wednesday morning, along with members of the Riverhead Police dive unit, the Southampton Bay constable, the Suffolk County Sherriff's Department, and the Suffolk County Police dive team.

Costa said despite the search, nothing believed to be related to the crimes has yet been recovered.

Riverhead police said Lt. David Lessard was organizing the Riverhead dive team at the scene.

A similar search was held last week, when police converged upon the Peconic to search for a weapon -- after a rash of armed robberies in recent weeks, Southampton Town police made three arrests.

Southampton Town detectives arrested three Riverhead residents in connection with the Valero Gas Station Robbery and charged them with robbery in the first degree, a felony -- Larry M. Moore, 17, Erick C. Darden, 19, and Arnell Nash, 21.

On Halloween night, at 8:37 p.m., Southampton Town Police, Riverhead K-9 units, a Suffolk County Sherriff K-9 unit, and New York State Troopers responded to a robbery in progress occurring at the Valero Gas Station & Convenience Store on Route 24 in Riverside.

Police said three men dressed in dark clothing, wearing masks, and displaying guns entered the convenience store, hit the clerk several times, and then stole approximately $270 in cash from the register.  

The subjects fled the scene before the police arrived.

In recent weeks, Southampton Town Police have collaborated efforts with Riverhead Police, Suffolk County Police, Southold Police, the East End Drug Task Force, and the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department after a series of similar robberies.

On Oct. 20 at 9:30 p.m., two masked men armed with handguns robbed the Spirit Halloween Store on Route 58; on Nov. 7 at 6 p.m., three masked men robbed Barth's Pharmacy in Riverhead; and on Nov. 19, three masked gunmen robbed a Mattituck gas station.

Riverhead police said they were investigating a connection between all the robberies.

Last Wednesday, the Southampton Town Police dive team spent several hours in the murky waters of the Peconic River near the traffic cirlcle in Riverhead looking for proceeds of the crime and possibly an involved weapon, with no success.  

Police said further attempts will be made in the upcoming days to recover the items. It was not immediately clear if the three men charged are being investigated for the other armed robberies.

The armed armed robberies are still under active investigation and updates will be made as they evolve. Anyone with information on the violent crimes is encouraged to contact Southampton Town Police Detectives at 631-728-2230.

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