Today’s news:

DA: Bank robber arrested in attempted Bayside heist

A Bayside man was arrested last week and charged with attempting to rob the Citibank near his home and possession of crack cocaine, police said.

John Pinerio, 44, of 38-15 214th Place was apprehended Feb. 4 shortly after he allegedly passed a note demanding money from a teller at the Citibank at 39-01 Bell Blvd., said 111th Precinct Executive Officer Capt. Steven Braille.

Pinerio was arrested within half an hour of the 11:05 a.m. robbery in front of a laundromat on 39th Avenue and 215th Street, where he had allegedly stashed the coat and hat he had worn during the heist, Braille said.

The officer said Pinerio was “well known in the 111th.” Crack cocaine was found in his coat at the laundromat, according to a criminal complaint filed by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

“He’s got some drug problems,” Braille said.

Pinerio’s attorney could not be reached. A woman who answered the phone at Pinerio’s home declined comment.

A note found near the laundromat read, “Give me a thousand dollars” and “don’t f--- up,” Braille said.

“He got nothing,” the officer said. “Apparently he got spooked, asked for the note back and fled the scene.”

Police conducted a search of the entire area, including side streets, local businesses, bus stops and the Long Island Rail Road station. Officer Daniel Corry of the 111th Precinct’s anti-crime unit arrested Pinerio outside the laundromat just a block and a half from the Citibank, Braille said.

“We believe he was waiting for a cab,” Braille said.

The bank teller who was passed the note identified Pinerio, Braille said.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney said the Baysider was arraigned last Thursday in Queens Supreme Court on charges of robbery, attempted robbery and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Judge Lenore Gerald set bail at $15,000.

Pinerio was not a suspect in the robbery two days earlier of the North Fork Bank on Northern and Bell boulevards, Braille said. The thief in that heist got away with $3,200.

In a letter Friday to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) expressed his concern about the two bank robberies and asked for more officers in the 111th Precinct.

“The 111th Precinct is well below the minimum,” Avella wrote. “We cannot jeopardize public safety.”

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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