Wantagh Grad Carjacked at Gunpoint in Bellmore

Juliet Watstein, Editor in Chief

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My uncle was held at gunpoint outside of Crunch Fitness in Bellmore only two days into the new year. 

Owen Watstein and his three brothers, one being my dad, are Wanagh alumni, who were on the varsity basketball team when they attended Wantagh High School. For twelve straight years there was a Watstein on the court. To this day, all of them are fit, active, and healthy. My dad is a Physical Education teacher/Assistant Athletic Director and coach of two sports at Long Island City HS; my uncle Stefan is an executive manager at The Carltun in Eisenhower Park; my uncle Adam works in advertising and film, and last but not least, Owen works as a financial adviser at CitiBank in Manhattan. 

For five days a week, Owen goes to Equinox Fitness and starts his day energized at five a.m. before work. However, on January 2, at 4 a.m., as he was getting into his car for work, he decided instead to go to Crunch.

 So, as he made his way to Bellmore, he parked and drank his coffee before heading into the gym. Allegedly, a man named Robert Wong, approached his car, twice, asking if he were the Uber driver. Then, Wong knocked on the window and asked if he could borrow Owen’s phone. 

“He asked me, which was crazy to me and a weird question, ‘Are you married and do you have kids?'” Owen said. He told Wong he had a wife and two teenage daughters. “He (Wong) took a step back. He goes into his sweatshirt, pulls out a gun, and says ‘Get the (expletive) out of the car.'” The man then forced him out of his car at gunpoint. The man took off in his white convertible BMW along with his phone and wallet. Minutes later, the NCPD spotted his car by license plate on the Southern State Parkway which led to a police chase. 

 Police officer Eric Evensen said, “Robert Wong fled in the car northbound on Centre Avenue, and, once spotted by police officers, ignored their attempt to pull over the car and sped away onto the Southern State, going westbound in the eastbound lanes. He made a U-turn, tried to exit the parkway, and as he lost control of the vehicle, crashed into the guardrail. That’s when he tried to flee, and the officers zapped him with the Taser because he was ‘actively resisting officers.’” 

Robert Wong, 21, from Plainview was held on a bail of $200,000 bond or $100,00 cash after his arraignment in First District Court in Hempstead. His official charges include first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, third-degree unlawful fleeing of a police officer in a motor vehicle and resisting arrest.

After the incident, Wong was treated at the hospital for minor injuries as well as the officer involved with a minor wrist injury. 

When Wong was being processed, Officer Evensen said, “detectives discovered that Wong was responsible for robberies on Sept. 2 at the Dunkin’ doughnut store on Old Country Road in Plainview and on Sept. 8 at the 7-Eleven on Covert Avenue in Stewart Manor, and for a carjacking on Dec. 21 on Railroad Avenue in Wantagh.”