MANHATTAN — Police are looking for an armed bank robber who hit a slew of Manhattan branches after keeping a low profile for several months, according to the NYPD and FBI.
The suspect, who police nicknamed the “Avenue of the Americas Bandit,” robbed three branches last year before going on a six-month hiatus. But he popped up again in June, hitting three branches in the vicinity of Sixth Avenue in the West Village, police officials said at a press conference Monday.
During each robbery, the suspect walked up to a bank teller, handed over a note with a handwritten “threat” on it and brandished a “small semi-automatic firearm,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.
Here is what police know about the man's recent robberies:
► On June 27 at 12:20 p.m. the suspect entered a Bank of America branch at 670 Sixth Ave., at 21st Street, together with a female accomplice, police said. The pair went up to the counter, passed the teller a note demanding money, and then fled with an unspecified amount of cash.
► On July 5 at 3:47 p.m., police said the duo entered a NorthEast Community Bank at 242 W. 23rd St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues, and slid a teller a note demanding money. The robbers again got away with an unspecified amount of cash, police said.
► The most recent robbery was on July 9 at 10:30 a.m. when police said the suspects hit a Chase branch, at 204 W. Fourth St. and Seventh Avenue South. The robbers once again fled with an unspecified amount of money using the same method, police said.
Police said the rash of bank robberies were linked to a spree last year. On Sept. 25 the suspect robbed a Chase branch at 340 Sixth Ave. but didn't get away with any cash. About 20 minutes later, the suspect hit 204 W. 4th St. — the same location he'd return to on July 9 — and managed to get away with $1,175, according to police.
The suspect struck again on Dec. 21 at 395 Sixth Ave. and got away with an unspecified amount of cash before going underground until June, police said.
Boyce called the robber's choice to brandish a weapon during the robberies “unusual.”
“We don’t get a lot of armed bank robberies in New York City, thank God,” he said.
Michael Harpster, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Criminal Division, said the suspect, who is in his 50s, has sported different clothes, facial hair and hats for each robbery.
Authorities are also looking for the woman, who Harpster said is also in her 50s, for her role in at least the last two robberies.
The FBI has promised a $5,000 reward to anyone who can provide information about the case that results in arrests.
Boyce said the robbers have gotten away with at least $9,500, and that the robberies likely won't stop until they're caught.
“It happens so quickly and most people are busy in Manhattan so people don’t even realize,” he said of the robber's subtle note-passing method. “We believe it’s going to happen again.”