Cops close in on armored truck heist crooks

Au­thor­it­ies think they’ve iden­ti­fied the masked gun­men who pulled off a brazen ar­mored truck heist out­side a May­fair bank last Thursday morn­ing, al­though the cul­prits re­main on the lam.

A law en­force­ment source told the North­east Times that in­vest­ig­at­ors from an FBI-led task force be­lieve that the same rob­bers were also re­spons­ible for the heist of an­oth­er ar­mored car on Hal­loween out­side a Holmes­burg bank. Yet, in­vest­ig­at­ors have ruled out a con­nec­tion between the rob­bers and a fatal shoot­ing on New­town Av­en­ue in Cres­centville on Thursday af­ter­noon, the source said.

The latest heist oc­curred at about 8:55 a.m. at TD Bank, 6635 Frank­ford Ave., when a Garda ar­mored truck ar­rived to make a de­liv­ery. Two men with bandan­nas cov­er­ing their faces con­fron­ted the truck’s two-man crew with semi­auto­mat­ic rifles. The ban­dits grabbed bank bags con­tain­ing about $105,000 cash and fled in a white minivan.

Po­lice soon found the un­oc­cu­pied minivan parked on the 6600 block of Tack­awanna St., two blocks from the TD Bank. Wit­nesses told po­lice that two men aban­doned the vehicle and got in­to a wait­ing white Ca­dillac Es­cal­ade that ap­peared to have two ad­di­tion­al men in­side it. 

Ac­cord­ing to a law en­force­ment source, fed­er­al agents and po­lice already had de­veloped in­form­a­tion re­gard­ing sus­pects in a sim­il­ar ar­mored truck rob­bery at the Wells Fargo Bank, 8001 Frank­ford Ave., on Oct. 31 that net­ted the crooks about $310,000 cash. In­vest­ig­at­ors had linked the sus­pects to a row­house at 42nd and Penns­grove streets in West Phil­adelphia.

In the hours after Thursday’s rob­bery, FBI agents raided the same West Philly row­house and en­countered a wo­man, who left the scene in a red sedan, the source said. State po­lice later spot­ted the sedan on the west­bound Schuylkill Ex­press­way, but lost her. FBI agents re­portedly found bags of cash in the West Phil­adelphia row­house.

Mean­while, Phil­adelphia po­lice used li­cense plate in­form­a­tion to loc­ate the Es­cal­ade at an apart­ment build­ing on the 7900 block of Henry Ave. in Roxbor­ough. The vehicle was re­gistered to a car deal­er, who re­portedly told po­lice that he had al­lowed a man to take the Es­cal­ade off of the sales lot in ex­change for a prom­ise of later pay­ment. The deal­er had in­stalled a GPS trans­mit­ter in the vehicle pending pay­ment.

As po­lice were search­ing the Henry Av­en­ue apart­ment build­ing, the wo­man in the red sedan ar­rived at the scene, the source said. Of­ficers ques­tioned the wo­man and searched an un­oc­cu­pied third-floor apart­ment, emer­ging with a large amount of cash.

After learn­ing of last Thursday’s rob­bery, au­thor­it­ies im­me­di­ately sus­pec­ted a con­nec­tion with the Oct. 31 rob­bery. In the earli­er in­cid­ent, rob­bers wore Scream masks and sim­il­arly am­bushed a Garda truck crew out­side the bank. The rob­bers fled in a minivan that they soon ditched on a nearby street and got in­to a second vehicle. No in­jur­ies were re­por­ted in either rob­bery.

Au­thor­it­ies re­leased sur­veil­lance video of the earli­er crime to the pub­lic, but dis­closed little ad­di­tion­al in­form­a­tion about the in­vest­ig­a­tion. ••

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