Queens Bank Robber Disguises Himself as Mailman
QUEENS — His next delivery might be to a jail cell.
An armed robber donned a mailman's uniform to rip off a pair of Queens banks during a two-hour run Monday morning — and cops were trying to determine if a third robbery committed during the time frame was connected.
The bandit in the first two incidents, described as a Middle Eastern man dressed as a postal worker, first hit a Capital One Bank at 69-09 164th St. in Pomonok at 9 a.m., according to cops.
"I'm very concerned because my money is in that bank," said Ronnie Afzali, 45, the manager of nearby Napoli Pizza. "It's ridiculous as you never know who will be next."
About a half hour later, he struck at a Capital One Bank just over a mile away at 75-21 Main St., in Kew Gardens Hills, right across the street from a Post Office.
Then, just before 11:20 a.m., a robber hit the Astoria Federal Savings Bank at 179-25 Hillside Avenue, in Jamaica Estates, and was spotted by witnesses fleeing surrounded by a cloud of smoke.
"He was running and I was thinking 'Why this man had to run so fast out of the bank?'" said bystander Kent Fann, 56, who described the suspect as wearing a blue outfit and carrying a white tote bag.
"He was holding some newspaper by his right side and the red smoke came out from there."
Willy Salomon, an MTA dispatcher who was working outside the subway station at 179th Street, also said that he saw smoke when the suspect fled.
"The whole sidewalk was covered with smoke. Orange smoke," said Salomon, 55. "It blocked the view and my eyes were teary."
Police said described the suspect in the third robbery as a black man wearing a blue shirt, a blue hat and glasses.
Police are trying to determine if the same suspect is responsible for all three robberies.