Today’s news:

Cops hunt for ‘baby blue’ bandit - Suspect wanted in a string of eight brazen bank heists

A husky thief with a penchant for airbrushed jackets is being sought for a slew of bank robberies throughout the borough. Police believe that the big-boned note-passing bandit, who was last seen walking out of a Washington Mutual Savings Bank in Bensonhurst sporting a baby blue jacket with a fluttering American flag painted on the back, has been wanted for at least eight heists stretching back to September. “We don’t think they made too many of these jackets,” Captain John Sprague of the 62nd Precinct told members of Community Board 11 Thursday as he passed around a bank surveillance photo of the suspect as he left the bank at 1901 86th Street on February 8. As with nearly all of the robberies, the suspect came into the bank and handed the teller a note claiming to have a gun. The thief ran off with $1,000, officials said. Later that day, cops connected him to a slew of other robberies in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Police believe that this robbery spree began on September 28, 2006, when he passed a note to a teller at the Independence Bank at 130 Court Street in Carroll Gardens and walked out of the bank with an undetermined amount of money. The sly scribe decided to pan for more gold a few months later, hitting the Commerce Bank located at 2173 86th Street in Bensonhurst at 1:20 p.m. on December 7. In the note he handed to the teller, the suspect claimed to have a gun, which he threatened to use if he didn’t get some money from the woman’s cash drawer. The teller reportedly handed over $2,500 in cash to the thief, who left without hurting anyone. As they tracked his activities, detectives discovered that the thief robbed the Sovereign Bank in Manhattan on December 21, but then returned to the borough of churches – and banks – to rob the Commerce Bank at 269 5th Avenue in Park Slope on December 27, officials said. Despite his size, the big guy dropped off the radar for a few weeks before resurfacing again in Manhattan in early January at the Independence Bank on Court Street, where an undetermined amount of money was stolen. Police said that the suspect’s last two heists took place on the same day. Officials said that the thief passed a threatening note to a teller at the Commerce Bank at 1122 Kings Highway at 10:45 a.m. on February 8 before going to the Washington Mutual on 86th Street, where a video camera snapped up the back of his patriotic jacket. Cops described the bank robber as a 200-pound Hispanic male in his early to mid 20s. He is between 5’9” and six feet tall and usually wears a dark-colored knitted cap, officials said. Anyone with information regarding this man’s identity and whereabouts is urged to call the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

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