Apr. 11, 2023 By Bill Parry
Police from the 104th Precinct have been searching for a group of men who robbed a 60-year-old man at a Maspeth bank in February, but it turns out the NYPD is hunting for the same crew who have allegedly been targeting seniors at ATMs across New York City over the past few months.
In the Maspeth robbery, police say the victim was completing a transaction in the ATM vestibule of a Citibank located at 51-10 Metropolitan Ave. just before 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, when the group approached him and asked if he had dropped money on the floor. While the victim was checking to see if he dropped anything, one of the suspects swapped out his debit card.
The victim did not know that a switch occurred until he was notified that a total of $21,500 was withdrawn from his account using the stolen debit card, police said. Investigators believe the perpetrators were able to obtain the man’s pin number by observing him before they approached him. No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.
The same suspects allegedly struck at several locations around Queens in February and March.
On the night of Tuesday, Feb. 14, a 93-year-old woman was inside a Citibank located at 107-01 71st Ave. and while she was completing a transaction, two men approached her and asked if she had dropped money. While she was checking, one of the perps swapped out her debit card and she was later notified that $4,500 had been withdrawn from her account using her stolen card.
An 83-year-old man fell victim to a similar scam the following day inside a Citibank located at 80-19 Roosevelt Ave. in Jackson Heights. The victim lost $7,000 from his account, police said.
The crew returned to Forest Hills just after noon on Friday, Feb. 24, when they approached a 71-year-old man as he completed a transaction at an ATM in the same Citibank on 71st Avenue. The victim was later notified that $5,700 was withdrawn from his account using his debit card, police said.
The crew returned to the very same Forest Hills Citibank branch on Saturday, March 4. The scammers approached an 89-year-old man as he finished his transaction and snatched his debit card. This time, $5,000 was withdrawn from his account using the stolen debit card, police said.
The NYPD said the same pattern has been repeated at ATMs in every borough and at least 15 times by the same group. To date, the crew has accrued nearly $80,000 using stolen debit cards to date.
The NYPD released surveillance photos of the suspects on April 10 and asked anyone with information to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.