The NYPD-FBI Joint Bank Robbery Task Force wrapped up its formal on-site investigation, but now Maspeth Federal Savings officials are in the midst of their own inquiry into the break-in that occurred sometime between May 21 and 23. They are also working with the customers who had their valuables stolen or compromised during the burglary.
Anxious holders of safe deposit boxes at the branch located at 64-19 Woodhaven Blvd. came to the location after the burglary was reported on the morning of May 23, when a bank employee found that the suspect(s) involved cut a hole into the roof to get in. The customers were subsequently turned away as the investigation unfolded.
“As a community bank, we and our employees share the feeling of being violated by this burglary and know words can only do so much to help start the healing process,” Thomas Rudzewick, Maspeth Federal president and CEO, said in a letter posted on the bank’s website on Friday, May 27. “But in the face of criminals who thrive on fear and intimidation, we feel the only way to overcome it is to join together as a community, pick up the pieces and move forward.”
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyle told WABC-TV last week that the burglary appeared to fit a pattern of similar burglary attempts that occurred in other parts of Brooklyn and Queens dating back to 2011. All but two of the 10 incidents occurred in Brooklyn; the only Queens burglary, aside from the May 23 incident, was a break-in on Dec. 28, 2013, at the Santander Bank located at 75-15 31st St. in Astoria.
In statements released following last week’s burglary, Maspeth Federal indicated that it would contact the holders of safe deposit boxes that were breached during the burglary. While the bank is not liable for the damages, each box holder purchased insurance for their contents as part of their lease agreement.
“As we determine if a customer’s box was breached or not, we will be reaching out to them on an individual basis to schedule appointments to come to the bank,” according to a statement released late on May 25. Bank employees would assist each customer with applying for insurance claims.
The bank began notifying customers that day, and appointments were to take place as of Tuesday, May 31.
One customer, Joyce McDonough, told QNS she was informed that valuable jewelry and family heirlooms — including a pocket watch belonging to her father, as well as engagement and wedding rings — were gone, along with other personal papers. She is scheduled to speak with claims representatives to discuss compensation for the items lost, but acknowledged that the loss was as personal as it was financial.
“No matter what they offer, the things I lost and the things other people lost can never be replaced,” McDonough said.
The Rego Park branch will also remain closed while repairs to the damaged roof are made; Rudzewick said in his letter that customers would be notified when the branch resumes operations.
Maspeth Federal customers, meanwhile, can visit its other locations; visit the bank’s website for more information. Those having difficulty getting to them can contact the bank at 718-335-1300 and request a free shuttle to the nearest branch.
Through a spokesperson, Maspeth Federal declined to speak directly with QNS about the matter. QNS has also reached out to the NYPD for further comment on the investigation and is awaiting a response.