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Taken from nydailynews.com.
By: Alison Gendar
Bandits have hit TD Bank branches 11 times this year – prompting the NYPD to send management a warning letter saying its banks are the most vulnerable in the city.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly wanted TD, which took over Commerce Bank, to beef up security.
“It is simply unacceptable to put business decisions before public safety,” Kelly wrote.
As if to prove Kelly’s point, a prolific thief successfully robbed $1,000 from a TD branch on Ninth Ave. Monday – after being rebuffed at three Chase branches.
The difference between the two banks: Chase tellers work behind protective barriers; TD’s transactions are in the open.
This same thief is wanted in 12 bank robberies in Manhattan since Jan. 26, police said.
Such repeat offenders are why heists at all banks jumped 57% last year and are up 26% through March 1 this year. TD, which has 69 city branches, accounted for 17% of the robberies this year.
Arrests are also up – 88% – but Kelly and the NYPD’s major case squad have launched a campaign to deter holdups by getting banks to redesign branches that look more like living rooms than places to safeguard cash.
The NYPD wants barriers in front of teller’s windows, eye-level cameras and countertops designed to leave clear fingerprints – and sources said Kelly might ask the City Council to mandate some security measures.
If banks don’t comply, the NYPD will push legislation requiring bandit barriers, high-ranking police sources said.
JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Capital One have started retooling security. TD has made no promises.
“We don’t believe saying that we have a disproportionate amount of robberies is a fair portrayal of us,” TD spokeswoman Rebecca Acevedo said.
Chase installed imposing teller barriers, new counters and eye-level cameras at its bandit-prone 355 Lexington Ave. branch. Similar changes are planned for its other WaMu branches.
In 2008, 21 of Wachovia’s 24 branches were robbed. Wachovia’s new owners, Wells Fargo, lost no time this year to revamp two branches. Capital One has put in bid to install so-called bandit barriers.
Anyone with information in regard to these incidents is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).