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Photog spots dapper bank robbery suspect: NYPD and freelancer

Police take a bank robbery suspect into custody. Photo by Roy Renna/BMR Breaking News
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MASPETH — Officers arrested a bank robbery suspect Tuesday, thanks to a freelance photographer and recent Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol recruit, authorities and the lensman said.

The photographer, Roy Renna, said he heard police discuss a bank robbery over the scanner and drove to the Chase Bank branch, at 66-02 Grand Ave. in Maspeth, He said he did not see any police, so he drove on.

The NYPD transmitted a description of the suspect over the radio. At that point, Renna said he noticed a man fitting the description hobbling toward the street corner.

“He was wearing a golden fur jacket and I saw the cop cars that responded to the bank. They flew right past us,” Renna said. “I was able to make a quick U-turn and catch up to the cop car and tell them.”

Renna said police followed him back to the intersection of Grand Avenue and 64th Street.

As soon as officers propped the suspect up against a wall, Renna said he started shooting photos.

Police said they received a call at 3:15 p.m. that a man had allegedly walked up to the teller at Chase, informed the employee he had a gun and demanded money.

The teller handed the suspect an unknown amount of cash, according to police.

The suspect then allegedly ran to a jewelry shop, at 65-43 Grand Ave., where he bought various items, according to cops.

Authorities said officers arrested a 56-year-old Staten Island resident at 4:15 p.m. and charged him with third-degree possession of criminal property, menacing and harassment.

Renna, who has been working as a freelance photographer since 2006, said he has never before had such an experience.

He said it was quite an introduction to his new role on the Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol.

Updated 3:49 pm, January 16, 2014
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