For more than a month an energetic robber with a dark sense of humor kept the police in Queens very busy. But yesterday the police announced that they had finally gathered enough evidence to charge the man they think is the bandit.
''He's a real character,'' said Sgt. William Jantzen of the Queens Robbery Squad.
The police said the suspect, identified as Robert Martino, 25 years old, used a pellet gun and chutzpah while he and an accomplice committed 30 robberies and stole up to 10 luxury cars in Queens from June 29 to Aug. 15.
On Aug. 7, a man, whom the police said was Mr. Martino, approached two men who had just parked their car in front of a topless bar in Middle Village, Queens, the police said.
''This is valet parking,'' Sergeant Jantzen quoted the man as telling the bar customers before he handed them a fake parking stub.
The men gave the robber their car keys and headed into the bar as the robber climbed behind the wheel of the car, the sergeant said.
Before driving off, the robber asked the unsuspecting men a question. ''Are you going to be in there long?'' ''No,'' the men replied. ''O.K. I'll park it in the front.'' Liked Clean Cars In another incident, the robber took a 1987 Lincoln Town Car from a Queens car wash after posing as an employee, the police said.
''He'd only steal clean cars,'' the sergeant said, adding that 6 of the 10 cars have been recovered.
The police said Mr. Martino, who lives in Middle Village, was released from prison on parole about four months ago after serving six months for possession of cocaine. They accused him and a woman they said was his accomplice, Robin Gresh, 25, of Maspeth, Queens, of committing the robberies to support a $300-a-day crack habit, the police said.
The police said the couple were responsible for 15 gas station holdups and as many sidewalk armed robberies. They were both charged with armed robbery and auto theft.
The pellet gun was fired twice during the series of robberies, Sergeant Jantzen said, but no one was hurt.
The two were arrested Tuesday night in Middle Village about an hour and several blocks apart as the police staked out two of the stolen cars, Sergeant Jantzen said.
Mr. Martino was arrested about three weeks before when only a handful of the robberies had been committed, but the victims failed at that time to identify him during police lineups, the sergeant said.He was released on bail and ''once he got out the robberies resumed and increased,'' Sergeant Jantzen said. ''We had no doubt he was the guy,'' he said. ''We just had to find him.''