Spencer Estate store stickup

Cops hunting for a shotgun-toting bandit who held up an east Bronx pizzeria wish it wasn’t so merry a Christmas.

They had hoped to catch the bandit – and maybe a waiting accomplice in a getaway car – on a security camera on a store across the street.

Only problem was, the otherwise perfect view was blocked by holiday decorations.

Police said the bandit walked into the Country Bay Pizza shop in quiet, residential Spencer Estate about 7:20 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 12.

Waving the shotgun at the three workers in the shop at the time, he ordered them to “Open the register!” then herded them into a walk-in freezer before scooping up about $1,000 and running out the shop, at 3233 Ampere Ave. between Stadium and Research avenues.

A police source said investigators believe the bandit may have possibly had an accomplice waiting outside in a getaway car.

“It’s possible there was a getaway car waiting, since it was a really cold night and the shop workers said he didn’t look freezing cold like he had walked in off the street.”

Detectives had hoped to find some security cameras along the block, lined with small shops, that might have caught the bandit – and possibly any waiting getaway car – on tape.

But the only camera with a potentially line of sight on the pizzeria, formerly known as Casablanca Pizza, had its view blocked by the Christmas decorations.

It’s still possible the victims may gotten a good enough look at the bandit’s face to work up a police artist’s sketch, police said, since the bandit was not wearing a ski mask or scarf to conceal his face.

He was described as a male white or Hispanic, about 5-feet-11, weighing 180 to 200 pounds, and wearing jeans and a black jacket.

Anyone with possible information the robbery is being asked to call Detective Rogers at the 45th Precinct Detective Unit at 718-822-5414.

Spencer Estate is one of the quietest neighborhoods in the local 45th Precinct for crime.

Wedged in between the Bruckner Expressway to the west and Eastchester Bay, it sits just below Pelham Bay Park and north of Country Club.

Crimes in the neighborhood so far this year amount to about a dozen so grand larcencies, with no violence.

The 45th Precinct, covering a major swath of the east Bronx, has had a 13% drop in robberies, with 150 through Dec. 8 this year, compared to 173 for the same period last year, according to the nypd.org website.

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