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.

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Kid on bike hits woman on PCV path

By Sabina Mollot

While normally the sight of speeding bikes in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper is blamed on deliverymen from nearby restaurants, recently it was an eight-year-old child whose speeding resulted in an accident that left one woman in a cast.

The woman, a resident of Stuyvesant Town, said it was on July 13 at around 6 p.m. when she was walking her dog along a path in Peter Cooper near 541 East 20th Street and was knocked down from behind when a child on a bike crashed directly into her. Instinctively, she put out her arms to protect her head and ended up landing on them, fracturing her left wrist. Then, adding insult to injury, she said, was that the boy’s father berated her for being there. The woman, who asked that her name not be published, added that soon after she was hit, Public Safety officers were at the scene and when she gave her name and address to them, the boy’s father, a resident of PCV, asked what she was doing there.

“He said, in front of me, ‘You don’t belong here; you live in Stuyvesant Town,’” she said. She added that he initially resisted giving his own information to the officer, but ultimately admitted that when the accident occurred he was distracted by something on his phone. Meanwhile, the boy, she noticed was frozen in shock.

Fortunately, another man who lives nearby and saw her was friendlier, helping her into a cab so she could get treatment at NYU Langone Medical Center.

The woman, a longtime resident, said she contacted T&V for a couple of reasons. First, she said, she wants parents to make sure their kids’ bikes have bells or horns, and she also wants to make sure parents whose kids are learning to ride bikes actually do supervise them.

“If I was an older person, or a more frail person, I could have died,” she said. “This is a busy community.”