2018-01-03 / Front Page

‘Hole In The Roof’ Bandits Plead Guilty To Queens Bank Heist

By Liz Goff
A crew of Queens bank bandits pleaded guilty last month to a Rego Park bank heist that led federal law enforcement agents to dub them the “Hole In The Roof Gang.”

Charles Kerrigan, 40, Michael Mazzara, 44, Christopher Kerrigan, 40, 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 four 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 then-NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton and then-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 thieves to the crimes when they made the same mistake as a character in the 1995 crime flick, “Heat,’ authorities said. “They left some of their equipment behind at the crime scenes,” Rodriguez 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,”

The crew 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 vaults. The men also cut the bank’s alarms and phone lines, authorities said.

The men 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 crew struck again on the weekend of May 20, at a Maspeth Federal 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.

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.

Bank officials said earlier this year that 135 customers have filed claims totaling $3.5 million in losses they suffered as a result of the heist.

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 men were each charged with conspiracy to commit bank burglary and two counts of bank burglary. Mazzara, Mascuzzio and Christopher Kerrigan each face up to10 years in federal prison, if convicted. Charles Kerrigan is facing a maximum of 20 years in federal prison, if convicted.

“Like a scene from a movie, these defendants used blow torches to cut into bank roofs and subsequently vaults and safety deposit boxes, to steal ore than $5 million on cash and customer valuables,” acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said.

“But the scene in court was of guilty pleas under oath and the prospect of real-life prison.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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