By Kathryn G. Menu
Sag Harbor Village Police released a sketch this week of a man they say is a third suspect wanted for questioning in connection to a November 19 armed robbery of The Corner Closet on Main Street in Sag Harbor.
According to Seena Stromberg, the owner of the high-end vintage consignment clothing and jewelry store, around 5:50 p.m. a Hispanic man wielding a gun and a female accomplice entered the store, held a gun to her head before dragging her to the back of her store, restraining her arms and legs. The couple, described as Hispanic and in their late 20s to early 30s, proceeded to steal clothing and jewelry from the store, according to police, before fleeing in what police believe was a late 1990s or early 2000s domestic four-door white sedan.
This week both Stromberg and Sag Harbor Village Police Detective Jeffrey Proctor declined to detail what exactly was taken from the store, citing the ongoing investigation. What was taken, Stromberg allowed, was a substantial amount of goods from the store.
After about a half hour, Stromberg said she was able to free herself and around 6:25 p.m. asked someone on the street to call police to the scene.
In the meantime, this week Sag Harbor Village Police released a sketch of what they believe to be a third suspect involved in the case. Police say around 5:30 p.m., the suspect entered Illusions jewelry store on Main Street making a specific statement to the clerk that was identical to statements made to Stromberg prior to the robbery. The third suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 25 to 35 years old, 5’5 to 5’9, medium build with short black hair and a thin moustache.
According to Detective Proctor, police have also sent surveillance footage from cameras facing Main Street to the Suffolk County Police Electronic Investigations Unit for analysis.
“We do have some subjects in the videos that appear to fit the descriptions of the sketches and we are clearing up the tapes to see if we can make some kind of positive identification,” said Detective Proctor.
Sag Harbor Village Police have also increased foot patrols on Main Street.
“That was an order that came down by Chief [Tom Fabiano] to be more visible for the holiday season,” said Detective Proctor.
Police ask anyone with information contact them at 725-0623. All calls will be kept confidential.
On Tuesday, Stromberg said the incident has left her traumatized, her store front door rarely unlocked since the evening of November 19. Over $6,000 in new surveillance equipment has been installed at the store, she said, but the experience is still fresh her in mind.
“They were here to rob someone,” she said on Tuesday. “They knew Sag Harbor. They came to my side of Main Street. They knew about the parking lot and the back doors a lot of businesses have.”
Stromberg said she would like to see the village install more surveillance cameras in downtown Sag Harbor for the protection of other merchants.
“Shoplifting happens,” said Stromberg. “But who brings out a gun?”
Barbara Balsam, owner of b.b. balsam on Main Street, said she was shocked to find out an armed robbery had happened in Sag Harbor of all places. Balsam said she immediately reached out to business owners throughout the village.
“I wanted to know what their feelings were,” she said. “I heard so many different stories.”
While many, said Balsam, felt a sense of unease following the robbery, they all had different ideas about how the community should react to the situation.
Balsam said she is looking into cameras as well as a buzzer system for her store, which is already outfitted with alarms. She said she would also like to see a larger police presence on Main Street.
Debbie Rudoy, a Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce board member and the owner of life’style, a clothing and accessories boutique on Main Street, said she too was shocked to learn about the armed robbery after it had happened.
Rudoy, whose business is outfitted with surveillance cameras that capture what is happening inside the store but also outside on the street in front of life’style, said she would like to see the chamber initiate a dialogue amongst business owners.
“One thing I will say is since the incident, the Sag Harbor Village Police Department has been a presence on Main Street,” she added, noting one officer came and spoke with her personally about any concerns she may have.
“I think, unfortunately, things happen and we have to be prepared and protect ourselves, said Rudoy. “I am hopeful that what we can do as a chamber is raise some awareness on security measures and how we can deter theft.”
Looking to professionals like police or security experts to give business owners advice is something the chamber is considering for a forum.
“It would be nice if we had more cameras if there is an availability for them because the world as we know it is different,” said Rudoy. “We do not have to live in fear, but we have to be more aware, proactive and responsible.”
Business owners interested in attending a forum on security should email the chamber of commerce at firstname.lastname@example.org.