Thief cut hole through bank in safe deposit box heist

Thursday, May 26 2016 04:29 PM

By Kenneth Garger, Lorena Mongelli and Michael Gartland May 23, 2016 | 3:23pm

Cops are searching for a sophisticated crew of thieves who break into banks through rooftops — and who could be connected to as many as 10 heists, officials said on Monday.

Most recently, the burglars cut a hole through a Queens bank and cleaned out several safe-deposit boxes over the weekend.


The exterior of the bank
Photo: Ellis Kaplan


An employee at Maspeth Federal Savings Bank in Rego Park showed up to work at about 8:30 a.m. Monday morning and discovered the hole, along with the looted boxes, police said.

The hole was surrounded by black wood boards that the thieves apparently used to hide their handiwork.

The burglars left behind dozens of empty safe-deposit boxes on the bank’s roof along with a ladder they’d used to climb to the top.

It’s still unclear how much money the bandits managed to grab.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said the burglary is part of pattern cops have observed for about year — and described the thieves as “pros” who even cut surveillance video before they slipped inside the bank.

“It’s a 10-case pattern,” he explained. “Generally they seek to get the boxes inside, and they stack them up on the roof.”

He added that the break-in is “probably” connected to an April heist, during which a thief slipped into a Borough Park bank through a rooftop hatch and made off with $280,000 in cash and safe-deposit items after cutting a hole into a vault.

That burglar also climbed a ladder to the roof — and has not been caught.

John Greco, who lives near the Maspeth Federal bank, said he called the cops on Saturday afternoon after noticing a hole in his fence and a mysterious black ladder hidden near his garage.

He also said he spotted what looked like a black box on the roof of the bank and “thought something was strange” — but no one came out to investigate.

“Then on Sunday afternoon, the ladder was gone, and I find out this morning that the bank was robbed,” he said.

“What’s heartbreaking is all those people with safe-deposit boxes may never recover their stuff. People in this neighborhood aren’t walking around with mounds of cash — they mostly use the safety boxes for heirlooms, documents and jewelry.”



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