By Mark Hallum
Three men were arrested Tuesday morning for allegedly executing two bank burglaries in Queens and Brooklyn which temporarily made them $5 million richer, law enforcement officials said.
When an employee from the Maspeth Federal Savings Bank in Rego Park arrived at work May 23, he discovered a hole in the roof leading down into the safe. An ambitious robbery, seemingly straight out of Hollywood, had taken place over the weekend resembling that of another heist, which happened at an HSBC Bank in Brooklyn in April.
Michael Mazzara, 44, Charles Kerrigan, 40, and Anthony Mascuzzio, 36, all residents of Brooklyn, allegedly left little evidence at the two crime scenes where they took cash and belongings from safe deposit boxes, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan said. At the Maspeth Federal Savings Bank, located at 64-19 Woodhaven Blvd., the crew had allegedly built a plywood shed on the roof to mask their operation, and had used welding torches to enter and rob the vaults, prosecutors said.
Anthony Mascuzzio comes from a legacy of crime. His father, also Anthony Mascuzzio, an associate of Gambino crime boss John Gotti, was found dead in the basement of a Manhattan discotheque after being shot twice in 1988.
According to the criminal complaint filed by the U.S. attorney, the alarm went off twice on Saturday morning at the Maspeth bank and was reset each time. Approximately $296,000 was lifted in cash from the bank and about $4.3 million in cash, diamonds and coins from safe deposit boxes, prosecutors said.
“These heists resembled scenes from the movie “Heat” – the work of a crew that was well organized, meticulous, and elusive to law enforcement,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said. “This investigation was conducted with painstaking persistence. Left with few clues after the heists, our crime scene teams hunted for every shred of evidence. From the plywood purchased at a nearby Home Depot, to the torches from a Brooklyn welder used to muscle into the vault, the picture slowly came into focus, resulting in today’s arrests and charges.”
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, the three Brooklyn men are facing charges of one count of conspiracy to commit bank burglary, which carries a maximum sentence of five years; and one count of bank burglary with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
“In the dark of the night, these defendants allegedly blow torched their way through the roofs and into the vaults of two different banks, stealing over $5 million in cash and customer valuables kept in safe deposit boxes,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. “Through their brazen bank heists, the defendants allegedly stole not just people’s money, but their memories, too, leaving in their destructive wake gaping holes and looted vaults. But these bank jobs also left enough of a trace for the FBI and NYPD, whose good old-fashioned police work led to the charges and arrests announced today.”
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall