Three New Yorkers were arrested and charged today after criminals blow-torched their way into bank vaults and stole more than $5 million in a plot akin to Robert de Niro’s heist film “Heat”.
The Brooklyn suspects were detained after a painstaking police and FBI investigation into the robberies at an HSBC in Brooklyn in April and a Maspeth Federal Savings Bank branch in Queens in May, officials said.
They were part of a crew that cut through roofs and into the vaults using acetylene torches – in Queens hiding from view by building a plywood shed on the roof.
Breaking open deposit boxes, they snatched millions in cash, diamonds, jewelry and other valuables, prosecutors said.
That included $330,000 in cash and a valuables from HSBC, and $296,000 in cash and $4.3 million in valuables from the Maspeth bank.
“These heists resembled scenes from the movie ‘Heat’ – the work of a crew that was well organized, meticulous, and elusive to law enforcement,” said New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
The 1995 film, starring de Niro and Al Pacino, follows a group of hardened bank robbers who mistakenly leave behind a clue.
“Left with few clues after the heists, our crime scene teams hunted for every shred of evidence,” added Bratton.
The arrests came after officers tracked down the plywood they used to a hardware store and the torches to a Brooklyn welder, police said.
Michael Mazzara, 44, Charles Kerrigan, 40, and Anthony Mascuzzio, 36, were due to appear before a federal magistrate judge in Manhattan later today. All three risk 20 years in prison if convicted.