Cops arrest bike-riding bank robbery suspect

Surveillance image of suspect who allegedly robbed Ponce de Leon on First Avenue and also tried to rob other banks

Surveillance image of suspect who allegedly robbed Ponce de Leon on First Avenue and also tried to rob other banks

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday, police arrested Michael Sancinella, a 42-year-old homeless man they believe to be responsible for robbing one bank near Stuyvesant Town, the Ponce de Leon branch on First Avenue, and attempted to rob two other banks, all in the same day. Three more banks were hit the next day. In each incident, the man arrived on his bike and then strolled into the bank where he handed a note to a teller demanding cash.

Cops say the pattern is as follows.

On Thursday, September 10 at approximately 9:37 a.m., the man walked into a Chase Bank, located at 225 5th Avenue and 27th Street, but fled empty handed.

Three minutes later, he tried his luck at the Chase Bank at 386 Park Avenue South and 27th Street, but again, left without any money.

Then at 10:03 a.m., he walked into the Ponce De Leon Bank, located at 319 First Avenue between 18th and 19th Streets, and got away with $1,000 in cash.

Police also said the man continued his robbery attempts (key word being attempts) the following day at three more banks farther north.

On Friday, September 11 at 9:08 a.m., he allegedly walked into the Apple Bank at 371 Seventh Avenue at West 33rd Street, but left empty-handed.

Then at 9:18 a.m., he headed to Valley National Bank at the Textile Building, 295 Fifth Avenue and 30th Street, but left without any loot.

By 10:03 a.m., he was at the Capital One Bank located at 991 Third Avenue and 59th street, but also left that branch without anything to show for his efforts.

The suspect, captured on video, was described by police as having a pointy nose and tattoo on his ankle, which was visible since he was wearing short pants.

The news of this pattern comes on the heels of police announcing that there were two other bank robbers hitting the 13th Precinct.

On the usually high amount of bank robberies in the area, a spokesperson for the NYPD told Town & Village, “We are actively conducting investigations in regards to the bank robberies and the bank robbery patterns.”

He said he couldn’t answer a question asking if this meant there were more police officers patrolling the area.

This is an updated version of a story that we posted last Friday. This version of the story appears on the front page of the September 17 issue of Town & Village.

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