A bank robbery crew that pulled off brazen break-ins compared to the movie “Heat,” was broken up Tuesday when authorities arrested three of its members.
Michael Mazzara, 44, Charles Kerrigan, 40, and Anthony Mascuzzio, 36, all of Brooklyn, were arrested Tuesday morning, and charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank burglary. Mazzara and Kerrigan have also been charged with a second count of bank burglary.
The three are accused of burglarizing banks in Brooklyn and Queens by breaking in through rooftops with a blowtorch and cutting into vaults. About $5 million in cash and valuables — including jewelry, diamonds and stock certificates — were stolen.
“In the dark of the night, these defendants allegedly blowtorched 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. 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, “ Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. 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.”
The “Mazzara bank robbery crew” allegedly began these heists in April. According to the criminal complaint, from about April 8 to April 10, Mazzara, Kerrigan and others burglarized an HSBC Bank branch in Brooklyn, and from about May 19 to May 22, 2016, Mazzara, Kerrigan, Mascuzzio and others broke into a Maspeth Federal Savings Bank branch in Queens.
The crew obtained about $330,000 in cash and an unknown amount in valuables from the HSBC branch, and about $296,000 in cash and $4.3 million in valuables from the Maspeth bank.
They allegedly used acetylene blowtorches to cut into the top of the banks’ vaults from the roof of the building, entered the vaults from above, and then broke open safe deposit boxes, taking the cash and valuables. At the Maspeth break-in, they allegedly constructed a plywood shed on the roof of the bank to conceal their activities.
Surveillance footage capturing both the preparation and execution of the burglaries, along with financial records and video surveillance showing the purchasing of supplies helped collar the suspects, officials 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.”