60 Safe-Deposit Boxes Emptied By Thieves at Boro Park Bank


cb028039Thieves hid behind a fake chimney to cut a hole in the roof of a Brooklyn bank yesterday – then made off with the contents of 60 safe-deposit boxes. The burglars – captured on surveillance cameras – operated heavy-duty blowtorches normally used under water to slice through the roof and enter the Astoria Federal Savings Bank on East Second Street and 18th Avenue in Boro Park.  Bank employees discovered the break-in yesterday morning. The powerful tools were left at the scene and at a nearby construction site. A perfectly extracted circular slab of concrete from the roof was found nearby.

The caper set off a panic among customers, dozens of whom rushed to the bank to see whether their valuables were stolen.

“I have my jewelry, my valuable papers in the box!” one elderly woman cried.

“What am I going to do? There’s no insurance.”

Nazme Begum, 23, said she had a safe-deposit box with gold and important papers, including her children’s birth certificates.

“I’m sick over this. I purposely use the bank because it’s supposed to be safer than my house,” she said.

Another woman said she has had her box for 40 years and was devastated to think she might have lost “valuable pictures of my family that I can’t replace.”

She stood for hours in front of the bank, hoping to find out whether she was one of the victims.

Last night, bank officials still couldn’t tell which boxes were broken into because cops were combing the safe area for clues.

On the surveillance video, taken from a neighboring restaurant, at least three bandits can be seen climbing a ladder to the adjacent building to gain access to the bank’s roof.

The crew set up a false chimney to hide behind while they worked.

Brocha Landau, who owns Dougie’s Barbecue, said he grew suspicious a week ago, when his surveillance camera was stolen from outside his restaurant.

“I warned them [the bank], but they just didn’t take me seriously,” he said.

Astoria spokesman Brian Edwards said it was unclear whether box holders would be reimbursed.

 {NY Post/Matzav.com Newscenter}