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‘Holiday Bandit’ spree ends with arrest: FBI

The FBI says Marat Mikhaylich (l.) robbed nine banks in 2010 and 2011 and was captured on three surveillance footage images. Photo courtesy FBI
By Rebecca Henely

The holidays are over.

Marat Mikhaylich, a Ukrainian immigrant alleged to be the “Holiday Bandit,” was arrested without incident Tuesday after the Federal Bureau of Investigation was tipped off to the location of a 2007 Toyota Camry Mikhaylich had allegedly stolen in New Jersey, the agency said.

The FBI had been on the lookout for Mikhaylich for months ever since he allegedly began a crime spree that involved nine banks robbed in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and New Jersey.

A spokeswoman for the FBI said the car was found near Queens Boulevard and 108th Street at around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

“The Holiday Bandit’s three-month bank robbery spree has come to an end,” said Janice K. Fedarcyk, FBI assistant director in charge, in a statement. “This should serve as a stark reminder to anyone who wishes to brandish a weapon, rob a bank and put the lives of innocent civilians at risk: We will find you and bring you to justice.”

Mikhaylich allegedly carried out the robberies by entering banks wearing a black hat, dark sunglasses and a dark coat; giving the bank teller a note asking for money; and waving a weapon at the teller, the FBI said.

The first robbery occurred Dec. 9 at the Sovereign Bank at 37-10 Broadway in Astoria, the FBI said. Next, Mikhaylich is suspected of robbing a Ridgewood Savings Bank at 85-22 Third Ave. in Brooklyn Dec. 23, the FBI said. On Dec. 30, Mikhaylich allegedly returned to Queens and committed another robbery at the Sovereign Bank at 24-29 Jackson Ave. in Long Island City, the FBI said.

Even when the holiday season was over, the Holiday Bandit’s alleged crimes continued. Three Capital One banks in a row were robbed, the FBI said. The first was at 31-17 Broadway in Astoria Jan. 19, the second Feb. 4 at 1411 Forest Ave. in Staten Island and the third at 4512 13th Ave. in Brooklyn Feb. 13. Mikhaylich is believed to have robbed an Investors Savings Bank at 35-02 Broadway in Astoria Feb. 16, thought to be his final crime in Queens, the FBI said.

The agency said Mikhaylich then took his operations to the Garden State. Mikhaylich is a suspect in the robbery of a Sovereign Bank at 541 Rahway Ave. in Woodbridge, N.J. Feb. 25, the FBI said. His arrest took place after he allegedly robbed his ninth bank, a Cathay Bank in Edison, N.J., March 28, the FBI said. The car Mikhaylich was found in was one he allegedly stole after fleeing the Cathay Bank, according to the FBI.

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

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