Dec. 26, 2017 By Christian Murray
Four men who cut through the roof of a Rego Park bank with a blow torch and took off with about $4.5 million in cash and jewelry last year have pleaded guilty, authorities announced earlier this month.
The men, who were involved in two bank heists, broke into the Maspeth Federal Savings Bank branch at 64-19 Woodhaven Blvd between May 19 and May 22 by using a blow torch to cut through the bank roof, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s office in Manhattan.
The men then cut their way through the bank vault and safe deposit boxes. They constructed a plywood shed on the roof of the bank to shield their activities.
The crew nabbed $296,000 in cash and $4.3 million in valuables from the safe deposit boxes, which included jewelry, coins, diamonds and baseball cards. The bank was trashed and there was cash left all over the bank floor, according to court records.
The bank said earlier this year that 135 customers put in claims for a total of $3.5 million.
The defendants—Michael Mazza, 45, Charles Kerrigan, 42, Anthony Mascuzzio, 38, and Christopher Kerrigan, 40—pleaded guilty to two bank burglaries, according to the US Attorney’s office.
The men also used a blow torch to break into an HSBC bank branch in Brooklyn over the weekend of April 8 to April 10 last year. They took $330,000 in cash and valuables, according to court documents.
“These heists resembled scenes from the movie ‘Heat’ — the work of a crew that was well organized, meticulous, and elusive to law enforcement,” said William Bratton, who was the police commissioner at the time of their July 2016 arrest.
Mazzara, Mascuzzio and Christopher Kerrigan face maximum sentences of 10 years apiece while Charles Kerrigan is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years.
“Like a scene from a movie, these defendants used blow torches to cut into bank roofs, and subsequently vaults and safety deposit boxes, to steal more than $5 million in cash and customer valuables,” said Joon H. Kim, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a statement on Dec. 13.
“But the scene in court today was of guilty pleas under oath and the prospect of real-life prison.”