This week’s feature story details a heist: three men, dressed as cops, stole $200,000 in just three minutes from a check-cashing outlet on Valentines Day 2012. They carried guns and doused the doors and counters with bleach to erase any DNA trace. They wore masks so realistic that the witnesses didn’t realize the robbers were disguised. It had all the marks of a professional job. They had meticulously prepared and then executed nearly to perfection.
Within seven months they were in handcuffs, facing charges.
Robbing a bank projects the illusion of ease. Anybody can walk out with the money. The trick is getting away with it. As of this week, at least 16 bank robbers in New York City are working on that second part. Like the robbers in our feature story, these 16 suspects are listed on the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers website.
See also this week’s feature story on the Valentine’s Day Heist of 2012: Who Were Those Masked Men, Anyway?
Seven robbed banks in Manhattan, four in Queens, three in Brooklyn, one in the Bronx, and one in Staten Island.
All of these wanted men employed robbery techniques far less sophisticated than those of the Valentine’s Day robbers. Yet all have also evaded capture for at least five months, half of them for a year or more.
The suspect at large for the longest pulled his robbery in February 2009. His only bit of disguise was a hood. If he has been identified, police have not yet listed his name. One bandit, on the loose since March 2012, wore a hat and sunglasses. The man who robbed three banks in July and August 2012 wore only a hat. Police also did not identify these latter two.
Across the board, the suspects used minimalist methods to conceal their faces from the cameras. Five wore only a hat. Three wore a hat and sunglasses. One wore only sunglasses and two more simply wore hoods. The man who robbed three Queens banks on a single day in October wore a hood and sunglasses. Another saw no need to conceal himself at all, wearing nothing on his head but reading glasses.
For those 13 suspects, the NYPD provides only a still from surveillance footage because the they still remain unidentified. Police have released the names and mug shots of the other three suspects: Rolan Wilberto, Anthony McGee, and Leon Carter.
According to Crime Stoppers, Carter was the only one to flash a gun. One of the unnamed suspects claimed he had a gun and reached in his pocket, but he never pulled one out. The rest simply passed the teller a note.
The note to the teller is by far the most common bank robbery strategy, according to Department of Justice statistics. This explains why the average bank robbery take is around $4,000–the cash the tellers grab from the drawers below the counter.
The site does not list how much each suspect is alleged to have stolen.
Send story tips to the author, Albert Samaha