-- Thieves robbed a New York City bank over the weekend, apparently by cutting a wide hole in the roof, police said, noting that the sophisticated heist at the Maspeth Federal Savings branch in Rego Park, Queens, is the tenth of its kind across New York City.
A bank employee first saw the gaping hole in the roof of the building upon arriving for work shortly before 8:30 a.m. Monday, police said. A ladder was also found in the back of the bank. The hole apparently gave the thieves access to the vault area, which houses safety deposit boxes and teller’s cash.
“There is wood on the roof. They cut directly through the metal that sits underneath there. They go after the safety deposit boxes, normally this crew,” New York Police Department Detectives Bureau Chief Robert Boyce told ABC News. “They are pros, because they cut the video cameras.”
An unknown amount of safety deposit boxes, which customers rent from the bank to keep important documents, valuable jewelry and other prized possessions, were found to have been removed from the vault. Police discovered dozens of empty boxes piled on the roof of the building.
“Generally, they seek to get the boxes inside and they just stack them up on the roof and they go through it,” Boyce said.
The burglary is part of “a 10-case pattern” across the city that’s been occurring since 2011, Boyce said. The one at the Maspeth Federal Savings branch is likely connected to another through-the-roof raid that happened in Brooklyn’s Borough Park in April, in which thieves pilfered nearly $300,000, Boyce said. No arrests have been made in any of the cases and the investigation is ongoing, police said.
Maspeth Federal Savings said in a statement today that its Rego Park branch will remain closed while authorities conduct a forensic investigation over the coming days. The bank will then perform its own internal probe before allowing customer access. The bank will begin setting up appointments this week with clients whose safe deposit boxes were pilfered and then will meet with those who rented boxes but were not opened. All boxes are covered by insurance as part of the rental agreement, the company said.
"The exact number of boxes that were breached, and who they belonged to, is still being determined," Maspeth Federal Savings said in the statement. "The majority of boxes were not breached."