By Patrick Donachie
Police were trying to determine what was stolen from a number of safety deposit boxes during a brazen burglary committed at a Rego Park bank over the weekend.
Early Monday morning, an employee of the bank discovered that a hole had been cut in the roof of the building and an unknown number of security deposit boxes in the bank had been raided, the NYPD said. Police discovered a number of empty safety deposit boxes on the bank’s roof.
The NYPD responded to a call from the Maspeth Federal Savings Bank at 64-19 Woodhaven Blvd. at about 8:30 a.m. The employee had discovered the hole when opening the premises, according to the NYPD.
Police at the scene said the suspects neatly cut through a fence in the back of the property and used a ladder to climb up to the roof. Officers said the suspects brought a large black plywood box up to the roof and worked to create the hole underneath it so people in surrounding houses would not be able to see them. After the suspects broke in, they stole the contents from safety deposit boxes, according to the officers.
“They went through people’s personal lives,” one officer said.
Police subsequently conducted a canvass of the area adjacent to the building. The NYPD could not definitively say when the burglary occurred, and they also could not confirm what contents had been stolen from the bank.
The Rego Park branch will remain closed during the course of a forensic investigation by the NYPD and an internal investigation by the bank, Maspeth said. According to the statement released by the bank, they had hoped to reopen the branch by the end of the week. Bank officials said they would be contacting the individuals whose bank deposits were affected by the robbery. All of the deposit boxes were covered by insurance as part of the rental agreements, according to the bank.
“We are hopeful that the breach will have only affected a limited portion of the boxes rented on site and for those that were breached that some of the items may have been left behind by the perpetrators and be recoverable after the police finish investigating,” the bank said. “This is an unfortunate day for the community, but we are hopeful the authorities will bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Police have said the burglary has similar characteristics to a number of burglaries that have taken place over the city in the past several years, including an April heist from a bank in Borough Park, Brooklyn.
The robbery occurred at the bank, which is located on busy Woodhaven Boulevard, as National Grid crews repaired work on the gas lines over the weekend. The jackhammers created a noisy backdrop to the traffic.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona