2004-10-21 / Front Page

Fleeing Bank Rob Suspect Crashes Into Beverage Store

by linda j. wilson


A manager at Triboro Beverage helped a driver get out of a smashed livery cab after the vehicle crashed into the front of the store on Astoria Boulevard and 41st Street last Thursday—and unknowingly helped a bank robber. “I thought [the car driver] had a heart attack,” the manager said. “I helped him out of the car and the first thing he said to me was, ‘Go on back in the office—I have a gun.’”

The manager went to the store’s office on the second floor while the driver who, it developed, had robbed the Independence Community Bank at 37-10 Broadway moments before the crash, began retrieving a black bag from the car. The manager called 911 and police converged on the store. The suspect, a white man in his 30s wearing dark glasses and a hat with a New York Yankees insignia, fled on foot.

The Independence Community Bank at 37-10 Broadway was robbed last Thursday, October 14, when a white man in his 30s entered the bank, demanded money and threatened bank employees with a bomb. After the suspect fled with an undetermined amount of cash police discovered the bomb to be bogus. 
Triboro Beverage at 41-08 Astoria Blvd. is repairing the damage sustained when a car driven by a fleeing bank robbery suspect crashed into it last Thursday. The suspect fled on foot as police converged on the store. 
The Independence Community Bank at 37-10 Broadway was robbed last Thursday, October 14, when a white man in his 30s entered the bank, demanded money and threatened bank employees with a bomb. After the suspect fled with an undetermined amount of cash police discovered the bomb to be bogus. Triboro Beverage at 41-08 Astoria Blvd. is repairing the damage sustained when a car driven by a fleeing bank robbery suspect crashed into it last Thursday. The suspect fled on foot as police converged on the store. Police of the 114th Precinct said that the suspect had entered the Independence Community Bank at about 9:41 a.m. on October 14 and, telling bank workers that he had a bomb, demanded money. He climbed over the counter, snatched up an undetermined amount of cash and fled the bank.

The suspect flagged down a livery cab and fled the scene. At 28th Avenue and 37th Street, the suspect displayed a knife to the driver and ordered him out of the vehicle. The suspect then drove off in the car.

Police examined a bag left at the scene of the bank robbery and found it contained a hoax bomb device made of a bottle and wires. The bomb was not found to be a fake until stores on both sides of Broadway were closed and their workers and customers evacuated. “They kept us out on the sidewalk for about two hours,” one of the owners of K&T Meats, which is located across the street from the bank, related. The K&T staff and customers first realized something was amiss when they saw the bank tellers, some of whom patronize the meat market, standing outside the bank during what is normally a busy part of their work day. “We really didn’t see anything ourselves—we got the story from the tellers,” the K&T Meats co-owner said.

As of last Friday part of the Triboro Beverage storefront was covered in plywood and plastic sheeting. The car smashed a window and knocked bricks and concrete loose, the manager said. “The driver hit two pallets, one stacked with cases of bottled water and the other with beer,” the manager related. “If the pallets hadn’t been there, he might have driven right under the front loading platform.”

Monetary damage to the store had not been determined as of last weekend. “The insurance adjuster is coming Monday [October 18],” the manager said. “Then I’ll have to get a contractor in to start making repairs.”

The situation might have been worse, the manager added. “I’m usually standing at the front of the store, and so are other people,” he pointed out. “This time, thank God, no one was standing there—they would have got hurt, too.” No one, including the suspect, appeared to have sustained any injuries in the bank robbery or the crash.

The suspect, who was caught on bank security cameras in the act of committing the robbery, is still at large. Anyone with information can call the 114th Police Precinct Detective Squad at 718-626-9334.

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