Suspect Arrested in String of Robberies, Including Two Downtown

The suspect, captured by a bank security camera, was arrested for a string of six bank robberies. He is said by police to be Spencer Heelan. Photo: NYPD

Aug. 11, 2018

The sixth crime was the charm for a 1st Precinct plainclothes team. The Anti-Crime Unit cops arrested a suspect wanted in a string of bank robberies shortly after his alleged attempt on Thursday to hold up a HSBC bank at 374 6th Ave. in Greenwich Village.

Spencer Heelan, 31, who police said carried out the half-dozen robberies or attempted robberies within a span of one week, was apprehended at 222 Varick St. in the late afternoon of Aug. 9, eight blocks from his sixth hit. Just 15 minutes earlier, police said, he had displayed a note to the HSBC teller that said, “No dye money, be careful,” but fled with no loot.

Heelan’s alleged heists included one in Tribeca and another in the Financial District.

Police said they found four small envelopes containing heroin on Heelan, who they said is homeless. The suspect is charged with four counts of robbery, two counts of attempted robbery and possession of a controlled substance. No weapon was displayed and no one was hurt during the robberies, police said.

Heelan’s first heist, police said, was on Aug. 2, when he allegedly entered an Investors Bank at Fifth Avenue and 29th Street and passed a note to a teller demanding money, but left empty-handed. Less than half an hour later he moved on to a nearby TD Bank at 885 Sixth Ave. and fled with $600, police said.

Video, supplied by NYPD, allegedly shows suspect Spencer Heelan robbing TD Banks at 885 6th Ave. and, in Tribeca, at 165 Chambers St. 

That weekend Heelan allegedly struck at two Lower Manhattan TD Banks. On Saturday, Aug. 4, they said he got away with $500 after passing a note to the teller at the Tribeca branch at Chambers and Greenwich Streets. The note, according to police, said: "I have a weapon. Give me the money." Police said he also stated: "Don't give me any 20s." Again showing a note to a teller on Sunday, Aug. 5, police said, he left with $736 from the TD Bank at 182 Broadway near Maiden Lane. The note, according to police, said: "No die [sic] packs, no bundles, no straps."

On Tuesday, Aug. 7, the robber fled with $1,000 from a Chase Bank at 302 W. 12 St., police said.

Following Heelan’s arrest on Thursday, the 1st Precinct’s commanding officer,  Capt. Angel Figueroa, tweeted his congratulations to the Anti-Crime team. “You removed a dangerous criminal off our streets and undoubtedly prevented other crimes from occurring,” he wrote. “Great work.”