On Jan. 19 at a Chase bank branch on William Floyd Parkway in Shirley, Eric Roderka walked in and handed the teller a note at 12:45 p.m. demanding cash. The teller complied, and the 20-year-old Florida native, who resides in Mastic Beach, grabbed an undetermined amount of cash and fled on foot.
Suffolk County police yesterday arrested Roderka, who turned himself in, for the robbery. But his crime is only one of six robberies perpetrated so far this year — and none of the other robberies have thus far been solved.
Two banks have been robbed in Suffolk County and four more were robbed in Nassau — and experts say a spike in heroin use, a dismal economy or desperation all could be contributing factors.
“One man robbed two banks on one day. That’s the actions of a desperate man,” Nassau County Detective Kevin Smith told Metro. “Most professional bank robbers will plan out the robbery, commit it, then lay low.
“It’s hard to say why someone would rob a bank, but often it’s an addict who needs quick money for a fix and there has been rampant heroin use in Long Island,” Smith added. “The two could be related.”
While no one is saying that was Roderka’s motivation, “Heroin addiction on Long Island is skyrocketing,” Jeffrey Reynolds, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, told Metro. “The first time someone does heroin, it’ll cost $10 for a bag. As their addiction increases it can easily turn into a $150-a-day habit, and addicts will do anything to get the money to feed their habit.”
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