QUEENS — This prowler didn't even need to buy a mask for his bank break-in.
A clever raccoon looking for a shelter broke into a Chase bank in Forest Hills Monday night in advance of the snowstorm — clambering up to the window and sitting on a bank chair to make himself at home, witnesses said.
Marc Elkaim, 50, who lives nearby, spotted the critter inside the then-closed branch at 118-30 Queens Blvd. around 8:30 p.m. Monday on his way home from work.
“I thought, 'I’ve seen everything',” he joked.
“It started coming to the window, it climbed on the chair, then on the branch representative's desk and the partition," Elkaim said. "It was so strange.”
Elkaim, who snapped several photos of the animal, tried to reach the bank, before calling 311 which transferred him to 911, he said.
“There is a big park four blocks away,” Elkaim said referring to Forest Park. “I assume they [raccoons] are just looking for food elsewhere.”
The raccoon spent most of the Nor'easter inside of the bank, which was closed Tuesday, until experts from Wildlife Removal Service came to the location around 3 p.m., and captured the animal.
Steve Nelson, a state trapper with the company who came to the bank Tuesday said that the raccoon got into the bank through an opening in the roof.
"It might have gotten through the vent," he said.
The critter was later “transported into a designated area where we were allowed to let it go,” Nelson said.
He declined to say where specifically the animal was released but noted it was private property about four miles away from the bank location that belongs to “people who are animal lovers.”
Erich Timmerman, a Chase spokesman, joked that while the bank has "a strict “no mask” policy within our branches, we made an exception here because the raccoon was just seeking a little shelter from the snowstorm and was also unable to remove his mask.”
The story was first reported by the New York Post.