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Bank-robbing duo hits two W. Queens sites in 1/2 hour

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One of the suspects, a 5-foot-8 white man with orange hair wearing blue jeans and a red shirt, had his arm in a cast, police said. The other, a 5-foot-9 white man, was wearing a white jogging suit and hat.

The first robbery attempt occurred at 11:15 at the Washington Mutual branch at 46-10 Queens Boulevard. The men passed a threatening note demanding cash but the teller refused, the Daily News reported. They fled without any money.

"They didn't say anything," a bank official who did not want to be identified said. "Nobody got hurt and we were able to reopen at 1 p.m. being concerned about our customers."

The official said that as police conducted their investigation inside his bank, he heard over the scanner that the same suspects had robbed another bank a short drive away.

Police said the two men entered the Independence Bank at 37-10 Broadway at 11:43 a.m., passed a note demanding money from the teller and fled with more than $1,000.

There were no injuries and the investigation was continuing.

It was the second time in four years that the Independence Bank was robbed. On Feb. 9, 2000, a man who pretended to have a handgun demanded a sack of money from a teller. He got as far as the door before dropping the stolen goods and fleeing, police said. No arrest was made.

The red-haired bandit and his partner were not the only bank robbers busy last week in western Queens. On July 6 two men robbed a North Fork Bank in a similar fashion on Woodhaven Boulevard in Glendale. They made off with $2,000 to $3,000, police said.

Cops said the pair, described as Hispanic men between ages of 27 and 32, are responsible for a June 30 robbery at another North Fork Bank on Hillside Avenue in Bellerose.

During both robberies, the men passed a threatening note to the teller, police said. On June 30, they fled with an undetermined amount of cash in a white automobile driven by a third person, police said.

Police ask anyone with information about these robberies to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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