Cops break up attempted robbery at Chase bank on Union Turnpike

Suzanne Ciechalski, Editor-in-Chief

New York City Police said they arrested two men attempting to rob the Chase Bank on the corner of Union Turnpike and Utopia Parkway this past Saturday, Jan. 28 at about 9:15 a.m, shortly after it opened.

The first suspect, who police said was armed and behind the teller area, was ordered to drop his weapon and promptly arrested. The second suspect was ordered to exit the teller area and then arrested.

According to police, a loaded .45 caliber firearm was recovered from the scene. Police confirmed that no patrons were present at the time, and none of the four bank employees there were injured.

At a news conference, Officer Harris Correa said, “We were at the location within less than a minute, it was very surreal.”

Officer Keith Gordon echoed Correa, saying, “It was something that, like, you see in a movie. And I’m like, ‘oh my God, this is real,’” he said.

“…A switch went off and our training just kicked in, and we did what we had to do,” Gordon added.

Correa said officers arrived at the location in less than a minute, and attributed it to how smoothly the situation was handled.

A spokesman for Chase told the Torch in an email, “The safety of our customers and employees is a top priority for us.”

The bank, which is just a short walk from the St. John’s campus, is commonly used by students. This isn’t the first time that the bank has been a topic of conversation on campus, though.

Last February, the Office of Public Safety informed students through an emailed advisory that a student had withdrawn money from an ATM at the bank and was robbed at gunpoint while walking down 175th street.

In an email this week, Tom Lawrence, the vice-president of Public Safety, offered NYPD tips for ATM security to the Torch following Saturday’s incident:

  • Be aware of suspicious people near the en­trance.
  • Use well-lit, well-populated ATMs.
  • Avoid ATMs that have unlocked doors or are directly out on the street.
  • Block a bystander’s view when doing your trans­action.
  • Use mirrors, positioned at the ATM, to see behind you.
  • Put your money away and take your card and receipt before exiting an ATM.
  • Your card is exclusively for your entry only. Make sure the door closes behind you.