Feds Hunt Jackson Heights Bank Bandit
An armed, brazen bandit dressed in a UPS delivery service uniform last week took an employee hostage as he held up a Jackson Heights bank, authorities said.
A spokesperson for the FBI said the suspect walked into a Sovereign Bank branch on 31st Avenue at about 9:40 a.m. on January 6 where he pressed the barrel of a silver revolver into the back of a bank employee and demanded $20,000 in large bills.
The suspect grabbed cash from multiple bank tellers and fled on foot, making off with several thousand dollars, the FBI said.
The suspect is in his early 30s, stands about 5-feet, 7-inches tall and has a beard and dark skin, the FBI spokesperson said.
Anyone with information is urged to call the FBI at 212-384-1000. The agency is offering a significant reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest of the suspect.
According to FBI statistics, the number of armed bank robberies skyrocketed in 2011, increasing 69 percent from the previous year.
The number of armed bank heists jumped from 26 in 2010 to 44 in 2011, an FBI spokesperson said. Unarmed bank robberies also increased, from 192 in 2010 to 225 in 2011 – an increase of 17 percent.
Police officials last year pulled all six of the NYPD’s detectives from the FBI/Joint Bank Robbery Task Force and redeployed them throughout the five boroughs, authorities said.
An NYPD spokesperson said the spike in bank robberies had nothing to do with the redeployment that allowed commanders to deploy detectives to hot spots outside Manhattan.