Despite Arrests, ATM Bandits Strike Again... and again
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 14- Police are asking the public's help in identifying a lone individual wanted in connection with a string of as many as 54 burglary's since the beginning of the year-- and despite four arrests in June, thieves recently hit three stores in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx.
On Tuesday, October 28 Detective Michael DeBonis, an NYPD spokesman confirmed that two separate burglary patterns have now been linked together, saying, "Yes, it's a citywide burglary pattern and their wanted for all of these incidents."
After police announced three arrests at a heist at the Spin City Laundromat on East 204 Street in the Bronx on July 30, it was revealed that the suspects were wanted for 32 similar jobs in Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester, the thieves often targeted businesses with ATM machines.
The bandits would either steal or dismantled the businesses surveillance equipment before stealing cash and other valuables.
The same group is now credited with 20 additional thefts that occurred in Queens and the Bronx.
The brazen burglary teams list of jobs now include a break-in at the popular Mar y Tierra Restaurant on Bainbridge Avenue in June and another business on Prospect Avenue as well as a dozen cases in Queens.
In the most recent incident that took place on Monday, October 22, thieves smashed their way into Connie's Laundromat, the Bedford Park Cleaners and the Wai Kang Kitchen along East Bedford Park Boulevard.
Thieves again made off with cash from all three registers as well as security cameras and equipment, before they reportedly cleaned-out the ATM machine inside the Wai Kang Kitchen.
According to Mar y Tierra manager Nelson Fernandez, "They took the ATM machine and moved it over to there," pointing to an open floor in the back of the restaurant, and continued, "and they sawed it (open) and took the money out."
He added thieves removed $4,000 from the ATM, $1,000 from the register and also removed several bottles of the restaurant's best liquor.
The restaurant shut for a day so police could conduct their investigation and Fernandez could make repairs to the ventilation system, where the thieves smashed their way through the roof and squeezed through the vent and into the restaurant.
Now open minus the ATM machine, Fernandez responded to a question about the missing ATM machine, with his own question, "Do I look stupid?" Customers will now have to bring cash or credit cards or visit the nearby bank.
Police have released a lone security camera photo of one suspect, but police could not immediately say where it was taken. The subject is wearing blue jeans, a sweat shirt and a baseball cap.
Anyone with any information on the case is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1 (800) 577-TIPS.