2010-11-17 / Front Page

Astoria Bank Teller Thwarts Indentity Theft Robbery

A hunch played by an Astoria bank teller put an accused identity thief behind bars saving an unsuspecting customer more than $4,000 the man tried to swipe from the victim’s account.

Police said Richard Adams walked into a CapitalOne Bank branch at 31-17 Bway. in Astoria about 3:10 p.m. on November 8 where he proceeded to fill out a form to withdraw $4,500 from the victim’s savings account using account information he obtained illegally.

Eyewitnesses said Adams then “walked casually” to a window and handed the slip to a teller. Adams also presented a credit card and a New Jersey driver’s license, both with the victim’s name, to the teller to verify his identification, police sources said.

The teller immediately sensed something was wrong and alerted a supervisor when she checked the items and realized that Adams, 51, who is black, was attempting to pass himself off as the account holder, a 42-year-old Asian male, the sources said.

Bank officials detained Adams until police at the 114th Precinct arrived.

Adams, of The Bronx, was charged with grand larceny, attempted grand larceny, identity theft, criminal impersonation and multiple counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument at his arraignment at Queens Supreme Court, where he was held in lieu of $12,500 cash bail or $25,000 bond. He could face up to 20 years in prison, if convicted.

Police did not release details regarding how Adams obtained the victim’s personal information.

 –Liz Goff

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