‘Holiday Bandit’ crime spree continues with Astoria bank rob: FBI

The FBI is seeking Marat Mikhaylich, dubbed "The Holiday Bandit," in connection with a string of seven bank robberies in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Photo courtesy FBI
By Rebecca Henely

The Holiday Bandit has struck again.

Ukranian immigrant Marat Mikhaylich, who has allegedly amassed more than $50,000 by threatening tellers at six banks for cash since late December, is suspected to have robbed another Astoria bank, his second this week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

Mikhaylich, 35, walked into the Investors Savings Bank at 35-02 Broadway in Astoria wearing a black hat, dark sunglasses and a dark coat, the FBI said. When inside, he allegedly showed a note and a weapon and asked for money, then fled on foot, the FBI said.

The bureau, which is working on this case with the New York Police Department through their Joint Bank Robbery Task Force, said this modus operandi has been consistent across his alleged robberies. Most robberies have been centered in western Queens, the FBI said, with four including the latest in the Astoria and Long Island City area.

“The Holiday Bandit continues to raise the stakes, becoming more aggressive and his hold-ups more frequent,” said Michael Rourke, assistant special agent in charge for the FBI, in a statement.

Mikhaylich’s alleged crime wave began in Astoria, at the Sovereign Bank at 37-10 Broadway Dec. 9, the FBI said. He struck again in Brooklyn, at a Ridgewood Savings Bank at 85-22 Third Avenue Dec. 23, the FBI said. These Christmastime crimes led investigators to dub their suspect “The Holiday Bandit.”

He returned to Queens a week later on Dec. 30, robbing another Sovereign Bank at 24-29 Jackson Ave. in Long Island City, according to the FBI. Next he robbed a Capital One Bank at 31-17 Broadway in Astoria Jan. 19, the FBI said.

Mikhaylich’s next alleged crime occurred Feb. 4 at a Capital One Bank at 1411 Forest Ave. in Staten Island, the FBI said. He robbed another Capital One Bank Feb. 13, located at 4612 13th Ave. in Brooklyn, the FBI said. The 13th Avenue robbery makes this latest crime in Astoria the second Holiday Bandit holdup within a week, according to the FBI. Mikhaylich has stolen more than $50,000 in total, the FBI said.

The FBI described Mikhaylich as a white man, approximately 6 foot 3 to 6 foot 5, weighing about 200 pounds. Mikhaylich speaks Russian and usually calls himself “Mark” to English speakers. Those who have any information about the case should call either the task force at 212-384-1000 or the NYPD’s CrimeStoppers line at 1-800-577-TIPS, the FBI said.

The bureau said it is offering a reward for information “that breaks the case.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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