Mattituck business owners react to ice cream shop holdup

Magic Fountain

Less than a week after an armed robbery took place at Magic Fountain ice cream shop in Mattituck, local business owners said they’re surprised such an incident could occur in the quiet hamlet on a cold winter day, but aren’t concerned for their safety.

At around noon Friday, an unidentified man entered the Main Road shop and pulled up his shirt, revealing what looked like a gun, said Southold police Det. Steven Harned. He made off with at least a “couple hundred dollars,” the detective said, but no one was injured.

The suspect reportedly fled north on foot to Factory Avenue, police said. Several police vehicles and officers, including Chief Martin Flatley, responded to the scene soon after and began canvassing the area. Police also called in a K-9 unit but were unable to find the robber.

The suspect was described in a police press release as a “light-skinned male subject wearing a green jacket, black baseball cap with red trim, gray sweat pants and black sneakers.” Detectives are reviewing video surveillance footage and the investigation remains active, officials said.

On Tuesday, a Magic Fountain manager declined to speak about the incident itself, saying she didn’t want to jeopardize the police investigation. She did say she was the only employee in the store at the time. Three surveillance cameras recorded the incident.

“Normally it’s a pretty safe town,” she said. “But I guess after a number of years, something can happen.”

The manager said some of the shop’s youngest employees include high school students, many of whom are female, and that they were “a little more scared” after the robbery.

She stressed, however, that any store could be targeted.

“It’s going to be like that with any job like this,” she said.

Tony Antongeorgi, owner of nearby Tony’s Repair Shop, said he noticed police activity at the store on Friday but didn’t know what was happening initially.

He said he was surprised someone would target Magic Fountain during the day and added that robberies aren’t common in Mattituck.

“We’ve had people sometimes take things off of cars here, but not in a long time. I’m talking maybe 20 years,” he said. “That’s why it was kind of surprising.”

Mr. Antongeorgi had just purchased a new set of surveillance cameras and Lisa Horton, his daughter and employee, said they still feel safe at the shop.

“Secure right up until someone walks in with a gun,” she said.

Last week’s robbery is Mattituck’s first in more than three years. In 2013, the former GameStop in Mattituck Plaza was one of nine businesses targeted in an armed robbery spree that spanned Suffolk County. That suspect was eventually caught.

Another Main Road business owner who asked to remain anonymous for his own safety said two armed robbers attempted to steal from his store four years ago, but only one was caught.

On nearby Love Lane, business owners said they were glad no one was hurt in the Magic Fountain robbery.

“It’s sad, but nobody got hurt, thank God,” said Greg Ammirati, co-owner of Ammirati’s of Love Lane.

Down the road at East End Sporting Goods, employees had the same reaction: surprised but not fearful.

“It’s not impossible. I think we all know it can happen, but it’s a shock because out here you don’t expect that,” said owner Steve King. “You gotta be kinda foolish to think it can’t happen.”

Mr. King’s wife, Jean, said Mattituck is considered safer than other Long Island hamlets. East End Sporting Goods doesn’t have bars on its windows and some residents leave their cars unlocked.

“I would wonder, from the outside looking in, maybe people see this town as ripe for the picking,” Mr. King said.

Ms. King said the robbery could be a “sign of the times,” of incidents to come, or of a change in the safety of the close-knit hamlet. But she doesn’t think those were factors in last week’s incident.

“I think it just sounded like a desperate person,” she said.

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File photo: Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley, right, was among those who responded to the robbery scene Friday afternoon at the Magic Fountain Ice shop in Mattituck. (Credit: Paul Squire)

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