2016-08-03 / Front Page

‘Hole In The Roof’ Bandits Eyed In 10 Other Bank Heists

By Liz Goff
Law enforcement sources last week confirmed that the FBI is investigating a crew of Queens bank bandits to determine if they are connected to 10 other unsolved burglaries that took place since 2009.

Charles Kerrigan, 40, Michael Mazzara, 44, and Anthony Mascuzzio, 36, were arrested by members of the FBI/NYPD Joint Bank Robbery Violent Crimes Task Force on July 26 and charged with cutting holes in the roofs of banks in Brooklyn and Queens, where they made off with millions of dollars in cash and valuables.

Mascuzzio is the son of Anthony Mascuzzio, Sr., a close friend of the late Gambino crime boss, John Gotti, authorities said.

The three men managed to evade arrest for months after they pulled a similar heist at an HSBC Bank branch in Borough Park, Brooklyn, authorities said.

“They bought new cars and motorcycles, Jet Skis and boats,” FBI assistant director Diego Rodriguez said at a joint press conference with NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton and Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

“They partied in Las Vegas and took trips to Miami while residents in Bensonhurst and Rego Park got taken to the cleaners,” Rodriguez said.

Investigators tied the three men to the crimes when they made the same mistake as a character in the 1995 crime flick, “Heat,” Bratton said. “They left some of their equipment behind at the crime scenes,” Bharara said. “Investigators were able o track the equipment to the people who bought it, and were able to link the men to the crimes through surveillance footage and cell phone towers pinpointing their locations.”

“These bank heists also left enough of a trace for the NYPD and FBI, whose good, old-fashioned police work led to the charges,” Bharara said.

The men first struck over the weekend of April 8, at a HSBC Bank Branch in Borough Park, authorities said. They got into the bank by jumping on its roof from a neighboring b building and used a blowtorch to cut a large hole in the roof of the bank building, then climbed down into the bank vault, authorities said. The men also cut the bank’s alarms and phone lines, authorities said.

They grabbed $330,000 in cash and valuables from safe deposit boxes and fled the scene, leaving oxygen and acetylene tanks on the roof, authorities said.

The men struck again on the weekend of May 20, at a Maspeth Savings Bank branch on Woodhaven Boulevard in Rego Park, where they used a blowtorch to cut a hole in the roof of the building, authorities said. They hid behind a makeshift wooden shed and climbed into the bank vault without a ladder, authorities said.

The men swiped $296,000 in cash and $4.3 million in valuables from safe deposit boxes, including rare baseball cards, coins and diamond jewelry before fleeing the scene.

Investigators recovered the suspects’ abandoned tools on the roof, including grinding wheels and acetylene tanks, authorities said.

“From the plywood purchased at a nearby Home Depot, to the torches from a Brooklyn welder used to muscle into the vault, the picture slowly came into focus,” Bratton said.

The three men were each charged with conspiracy to commit bank burglary and two counts of bank burglary. They each face 25 years behind bars, if convicted.

Mazzara was arraigned at Queens Criminal Court on July 26, where he was released on a $2 million bond and ordered to wear a tracking device on his ankle. Mascuzzio’s attorney was working on a bail package for his client, and Kerrigan was released on a $150,000 bond and ordered to wear a tracking device on his ankle, authorities said.

The FBI is probing the three suspects to determine if they are responsible for 10 other unsolved bank robberies dating back to 2009, authorities said. They could each face additional charges, pending the outcome of the FBI probe.

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