Police arrest suspect in Manhattan bank robbery spree



By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 43-year-old homeless man Abdul Harley for robbery last Thursday after he allegedly attempted to rob five different banks earlier that day, in addition to five other robberies that police said that he has committed since November. The suspect had been seen on surveillance video wearing a blue painter’s jumpsuit while running away from the scene of robberies he allegedly committed in January.

Harley’s alleged spree last Thursday began at 9:24 a.m. inside a Bank of America at 800 Sixth Avenue. Police said that he walked into the bank and demanded money but when the teller refused, Harley fled empty handed. He was more successful after an alleged robbery from a Banco Popular at 345 Park Avenue South between East 25th and 26th Streets at 10:47 a.m.

Police said that after Harley demanded money, the teller complied and he fled with an undetermined amount of money.

Later that afternoon at 1:09 p.m., Harley allegedly attempted to rob a Chase Bank at 1221 Madison Avenue on the corner of East 88th Street but police said that when he demanded money from the teller, the teller walked away from the window and Harley fled empty handed. He then went to the HSBC Bank at 1340 Third Avenue, between East 76th and 77th Streets, and approached an empty teller window. Police said that he motioned to an employee to come over but the employee, who recognized Harley from surveillance photos that had been handed out by police, ignored him and Harley then fled the bank.

Police said Harley then made his way to a TD Bank at 1470 Second Avenue, also between East 76th and 77th Streets. He entered the first set of doors leading into the bank but when a security guard recognized him from the wanted flyers, he held the second set of doors closed so that Harley couldn’t get into the bank, and he fled.

Anti-crime officers were able to track Harley’s location through alerts that were sent out to their department-issue smart phones that notified them of any bank alarm or robberies in progress.

Using the alerts, the officers were able to respond to the incident at TD Bank before the call went out over the department radio and using the description from the 911 caller at the bank, police caught up with Harley in front of a Dallas BBQ at 1265 Third Avenue, about four blocks from the bank, and arrested him.

Police said that Harley confessed to all of the incidents and he was charged with robbery in connection with the eight incidents in which he allegedly approached a teller to demand money.

Police said that Harley was responsible for multiple robberies on the east side from last November to January. He allegedly hit the Chase Bank location at 611 Sixth Avenue on two different occasions, first on November 24, 2015 and then on January 12. On both dates, he allegedly demanded money from a teller and fled with an undetermined amount of cash.

Police said that Harley was also responsible for two robberies and an attempted robbery on the afternoon of Friday, January 22. He entered the Wilshire Bank located at 308 Fifth Avenue between East 31st and 32nd Streets at 1:10 p.m. and allegedly demanded money but the teller didn’t comply, so Harley fled from the location empty handed. That same day at 3 p.m., police said that he entered the Chase Bank at 941 Lexington Avenue between East 68th and 69th Streets and demanded money. The teller complied and Harley allegedly fled the location with an undetermined amount of cash. Five minutes later, he allegedly entered an HSBC Bank at 1165 Third Avenue about a block away and demanded money. Police said that he also made away with an undetermined amount of cash from this location as well.

There were no reported injuries in any of the incidents.

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