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Man arrested in robbery of Flushing bank

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Chan Lin, 19, was charged at the federal level with bank...

By Chris Fuchs

A 19-year-old man was arrested inside a bank in downtown Flushing Friday morning after allegedly grabbing a worker by her hair, holding a knife to her neck and demanding money, the police said.

Chan Lin, 19, was charged at the federal level with bank robbery and incidental crimes, said Laurice Arroyo, an assistant with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District. Lin was being held without bail, she said. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Lin entered the Cathay Bank at 40-14 Main St. in Flushing, which is next door to the Wendy’s restaurant, around 11:30 a.m. Friday, said Detective Carolyn Chew, a police spokeswoman. Once inside, he walked up to a customer service supervisor, Irene Mei, and allegedly clasped her by the hair, putting a knife to her throat, and demanded money, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. attorney’s office and the bank’s general manager.

After witnessing what was happening, the customers emptied out of the bank, spilling frantically onto Main Street, said Pin Tai, the general manager of Cathay Bank of the New York Region, in a telephone interview Monday. “I was in the third-floor office,” he said. “The staff called me when they saw the robber.”

With a knife still held to Mei’s neck, Lin allegedly brought her into a back room, where the tellers tend to customers, Tai said. But Lin was unsatisfied that they had only small bills, so he ordered Mei to take him downstairs to the safe, the complaint said.

Some time during the attempted robbery, an employee triggered a silent alarm, and before Lin and Mei left the lobby, the police had arrived, the complaint and Tai said.

Through a bank supervisor who spoke Chinese, the officers repeatedly ordered Lin to drop the knife, but he refused, the police and Tai said. Lin was then sprayed with mace and put under arrest, the police said. Mei, who had some minor cuts on her head, was taken to the hospital and later released, Tai said. The bank reopened around 3:30 p.m., he said.

Reach reporter Chris Fuchs by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 156.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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