PLATTSBURGH — The man who police believe robbed NBT Bank on Route 3 on July 2 is in police custody — and he is now a suspect in a second bank theft.
O'Neil O. Stephenson, 33, was apprehended by the New York City Office of the FBI on Monday afternoon on an arrest warrant, about seven weeks after the Plattsburgh robbery.
Police believe Stephenson entered NBT Bank at about 1 p.m. July 2 and handed a note to a teller stating he was armed with a gun and demanding cash.
The robber was thought to have fled on foot, headed in an unknown direction. The amount of money taken has not been revealed.
'NOBODY GETS HURT'
FBI spokesman J. Peter Donald told the Press-Republican that Stephenson was arrested without incident at 1490 Troy Ave. in Brooklyn at about 4:30 p.m.
The New York Police Department Robbery Squad and the Troop B Violent Crimes Investigation Team worked along with the FBI to find Stephenson and take him into custody.
The investigation into the Plattsburgh heist helped identify Stephenson as an alleged suspect in at least one other bank robbery, in Brooklyn.
According to the FBI Special Agent Kevin Ponder's affidavit in support of the arrest warrant from July 6, an unidentified black male entered Chase Bank at 1101 Avenue J in Brooklyn at about 10:15 a.m. April 28 and waited in line before approaching a bank-teller window.
The man passed the teller a note stating, "I have a concealed weapon. This is a Bank Robbery. Give me all the money in the draw (drawer)...NOW!!! Nobody gets HURT. Thank you."
While presenting the note, the robber revealed what appeared to semiautomatic handgun from his sweatshirt pocket. The teller handed over about $8,930 in large bills to the man before he left the bank, leaving the demand note at the bank teller's station.
Based on witness description and surveillance video, law-enforcement officials were unable to identify anyone as a potential suspect in the robbery.
But the note left behind at the Brooklyn burglary was sent to the New York City Police Department laboratory for testing, the affidavit said, and prints on the paper revealed a positive match to Stephenson.
In order to put a face to the name, law-enforcement officials contacted the Plattsburgh City Police Department to obtain Stephenson's mug shot from a March 2006 arrest for criminal possession and sale of a controlled substance.
Ponder reviewed the photo, along with his criminal history, and identified Stephenson as a suspect in the April 28 bank heist in Brooklyn.
Stephenson was taken to Metropolitan Detention Center until his arraignment in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn before Judge Lois Bloom on Friday.
Donald said Stephenson will be charged in federal court with bank robbery.
“It could potentially be multiple counts,” he added.
Assisting the Troop B State Police in the investigation were the Plattsburgh City Police Department, SUNY Plattsburgh Police Department, Clinton County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol, State Police Troop New York City, the State Police Violent Felony Warrant Squad and Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie.
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