An increasing heroin habit is what led a Medford couple into committing a month-long armed robbery spree across Suffolk County since Dec. 9, officials said at a Friday press conference at Suffolk County Police headquarters in Yaphank.
Christopher Marino, 29, and Jamie L. Greco, 23, were arrested early Wednesday around midnight near a body shop in Medford.
Locations police say they hit included various Subway, Hess and other convenience stores in Lake Ronkonkoma, Nesconset, Patchogue, Medford, Farmingville and several other nearby areas.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said that heroin was the motivation behind the robberies, according to 12-page confessions by both Marino and Greco.
Spota said that Greco got out of jail at the end of November, and after leaving she and her boyfriend, Marino, went to get heroin. Marino supported their habit from his job at the body shop, Spota said, until their habit increased at the beginning of December and they needed more money.
“As a consequence, they resorted to committing robberies,” Spota said. “In each instance it was Marino who went into the stores, in each instance Ms. Greco participated to the extent that she was staking out the locations and she was driving the getaway car.”
Spota said all of the businesses were cash businesses, and that Marino would use different cars and license plates at the body shop to cover up their tracks.
Spota said officers “saturated” areas that they thought might be hit. William Madigan, chief of detectives, told Patch after the conference that these included Subway locations and similar businesses to those hit previously.
Spota said that during one of the few times Marino used his own license plate for a robbery, police were able to track it to the suspect. Spota said that plate readers located the car and that Marino and Greco appeared to be living at the body shop.
Marino and Greco did attempt to stop robbing stores for 10 days, which Spota said baffled the police. According to their confessions, Spota said, this gap took place when Marino saw media stories about the robberies, and that both suspects wanted to get clean from heroin.
However Marino said in his confession that they both started to get sick from drug withdrawal between Dec. 15 and Christmas Day, leading into them returning to robbing stores at the end of that last day, Spota said.
In all, Marino and Greco are charged for 13 counts of robbery in the first degree and two attempted robberies. They both plead not guilty in a Thursday arraignment, and had bail set to $1.5 million cash or $3 million bond said Suffolk District Attorney spokesman Robert Clifford.
The investigation leading to this arrest took up a large amount of the police department’s resources across multiple precincts.
“At times there were as many as 100 officers involved in surveillances of as many as 20 locations and roving robbery prevention patrols,” Edward Webber, police commissioner, said during the conference.Sara Walsh contributed to this report.