Bank robber causes panic/Uses bomb scare diversion to hit 2nd bank

The NYPD bomb squad responds to reports of a suspicious package left at the Citibank in Pelham Bay on Thursday, October 12. The package was later determined to be a distraction for a robbery of the Citibank in Throggs Neck.
Photo by Aracelis Batista

The suspect in an attempted bank robbery of Citibank, 3924 E. Tremont Avenue, on Thursday, October 12, was charged with robbery and criminal possession of a firearm, according to NYPD detectives.

Anthony Bari, 56, told arresting officers from the 45th Precinct that he was homeless, according to police detective Sophia Mason with the NYPD public information office.

Bari’s master plan to divert police manpower failed.

First, he allegedly left a suspicious package at about 9:30 a.m. at Citibank, 1766 Crosby Avenue.

Police were alerted, sparking an intense response from the NYPD bomb squad, which cordoned off Crosby Avenue near Westchester Avenue to check the package for explosives.

While police inspected the package, a 911 call was placed reporting a “stabbing” at Pete’s Coffee Shop, 3725 E. Tremont Avenue, according to the diner’s staff.

When police responded to the coffee shop waitresses working the morning shift were startled.

There were few customers that morning and no one had been stabbed, but “the police were looking for traces of blood” in the diner to indicate that a stabbing had taken place, a waitress said.

Police could not confirm that the fake 911 call was linked to Bari, but it was received just before the Throggs Neck bank robbery call arrived.

The main event occurred at about 10:15 a.m., when Bari entered the East Tremont Avenue Citibank and allegedly pointed a black pistol, later determined to be a pellet gun, at a teller.

But another banker reportedly disarmed Bari, suffering a laceration to his head during the altercation, according to police detective Annette Shelton.

Mason and Shelton said that the FBI took over the investigation from the 45th Precinct, and that Bari would be prosecuted federally.

The bank manager, who said he was not allowed to confirm or comment on what happened, referred the Bronx Times Reporter to Citibank public affairs spokesman Andrew Benson.

Benson emailed, “The safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority. We are relieved no one was injured.”

Community leaders expressed their reactions to the attempted bank robbery.

Irene Guanill, president of the Pelham Bay Merchants Association, said, “I thought that the bank robber was trying to be very clever.”

She mentioned that the “45th Precinct caught him right away. It was impressive. It was sad what they had to go through, but they put all the right protocols in place and that was impressive. It’s (Pelham Bay) basically a very safe neighborhood and everybody’s on top of their game.”

Bobby Jaen, president of the Throggs Neck Merchant Association, said, “It’s never a good thing when someone tries to rob a community store or someplace in the area. It’s never a good move, but evidently it’s a sign of the times.”

Jaen said he heard that the banker employees captured the robber and turned him over to police, adding, The bottom line is it was a very planned-out robbery. I have a hard time believing it was just one guy.”

Reach Reporter Bob Guiliano at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at bguiliano@cnglocal.com.
Police from the 45th Precinct respond to a bank robbery at the Citibank on East Tremont Avenue in Throggs Neck on Thursday, October 12.
Community News Group/Bob Guiliano

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