Brooklyn Men Arrested on Bank Heist Charges

     MANHATTAN (CN) — Three men accused of making off with at least $5 million by using blowtorches to break into banks in Brooklyn and Queens were collared Tuesday on burglary charges.
     Michael Mazzara, 44, Charles Kerrigan, 40, and Anthony Mascuzio, 36, were arrested Tuesday morning and charged with bank burglary for heists that occurred earlier this year, according to prosecutors.
     They will face U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis later Tuesday in Manhattan Federal Court.
     The men are accused of using blowtorches to push their way through roofs and into vaults of two different banks to take millions in cash and valuables.
     The spate of burglaries occurred in April 2016, first at an HSBC Bank branch in Brooklyn, then at a Maspeth Federal Savings branch in Queens.
     The men allegedly used plywood they had bought to create a shed on the roof of the Maspeth building to cover themselves from surveillance cameras.
     They got away with about $330,000 in cash and an additional unknown amount from HSBC, and also swiped at least $4.3 million in valuables from vaults at Maspeth, prosecutors say.
     The men also allegedly raided safety deposit boxes, only to discard family mementos that had no value.
     “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 in a statement.
     Diego Rodriquez, the FBI’s assistant director in charge, said the alleged burglars were after money, but also callously swiped “heirlooms, jewelry, documents and family photos” only to then just callously toss them aside.
     New York City’s top cop William Bratton said the heists resembled scenes from the movie “Heat,” calling it “the work of a crew that was well organized, meticulous and elusive.”
     He said the police 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,” Bratton said Tuesday.
     The three men, who all live in Brooklyn, each face one count of conspiracy to commit bank burglary, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in the clink. They each also face a count of bank burglary, which could get them up to 20 years.
     Mazzara and Kerrigan face an additional second count of bank burglary, which could add another maximum penalty of 20 years, feds say.
     Those potential sentences are “prescribed by Congress,” Bharara noted.

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