A sophisticated crew of bank robbers, wanted in connection to possibly ten heists, cut a hole in the roof of a Queens bank to steal safe deposit boxes, have been caught by the police. The three men were arrested Tuesday morning for brazenly raiding some $5 million in cash and diamods from several New York City bank vaults, officials said.
The crew comprised of Michael Mazzara, Charles Kerrigan, and Anthony Mascuzzio, used a welding torch to cut through the banks’ roofs and vaults.|They pocketed money and items such as jewelry and baseball cards, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office alleges in a new criminal complaint.
Police Chief Bill Bratton said the bank burglars reminded him of a Hollywood movie as they pulled off two nighttime heists, snatching about $5 million in cash, diamonds, jewelry, coins and baseball cards from safe deposit boxes before they were caught, authorities said Tuesday as they announced the arrest of three men.
“These heists resembled scenes from the movie ‘Heat’ — the work of a crew that was well organized, meticulous, and elusive to law enforcement,” Bratton said.
Investigators are expected to used amassed evidence in the case which includes surveillance footage of the men as they prepared for and executed the burglaries, as well as video surveillance of two of the men buying supplies used in one of the burglaries
NY Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton creditedthe arrests to “painstaking persistence” by investigators left with few clues as they looked into a string of recent bank burglaries. He said they learned that plywood used by the burglars was bought at a nearby Home Depot and that torches from a Brooklyn welder were used to poke into bank vaults.
An HSBC Bank branch in Borough Park, Brooklyn and the Maspeth Federal Savings Bank branch in Maspeth, Queens were hit the weekends of April 8 and May 20, respectively.
They face conspiracy to commit bank burglary and bank burglary charges for the daring heists.
They were expected to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.
Mazarra’s lawyer, Sanford Talkin, tsaid his client “maintains his innocence and we’re waiting to see the specific charges against him.”
Kerrigan’s lawyer declined to comment.On a bank roof in Queens, the burglars left behind empty safe deposit boxes, grinding wheels and a fuel tank for a cutting torch. Near a hole in the roof was a black plywood structure that the burglars apparently built to shield themselves from view.
In Brooklyn, the burglars cut interior vault alarm wires along with phone wires a block away, authorities said. The investigators said they relied in part on telephone and financial records, cellphone data and a confidential source to build their case.