‘Go back to taking our money!’: Beatingists in New York City Have Made a Lot of Damaging Robberies in Recent Months

The man’s horror as he took the crumpled paper off a bank teller’s hand would be replicated thousands of times in the coming weeks.

Jobs were posted at the cashier station at the Deutsche Bank branch. A panhandler stopped to hand over some change. Then another — more organized and aggressive than the first one — approached the teller, sat down and demanded cash before saying he had two pistols.

The first cashier worked, hoping to stay on her feet, but did take the paper off the teller’s hand.

“Go back to taking our money!” the man told her as he grabbed the cash box and hid it under his jacket. She wrote out a figure for him to put into the box, but as she went to check that he had done as he had told her, the second man — armed with a black balaclava, a gun and a worn backpack — came into the room.

“No wait a minute, put the money here!” he told her. He shoved the money box, which was in the teller’s purse, onto the counter and pounced. She turned around.

“Who is this man?” she asked.

“They caught him,” he told her.

The first woman fled the bank.

Not even two hours later, cashiers were called at a Chase Bank branch near Penn Station. A man walked into the bank, pulled his black jacket over his head and pulled a dark jacket down tight over his face. The man pointed a gun at a teller and said “Nothing to see here.”

When a woman working at the bank stood up and yelled, “It’s a bank!” the man pulled his gun to his right shoulder and walked off with the bag of cash.

After the Chase robbery, a New York City Police Department detective patrolling Fifth Avenue spotted the suitcase at a building in Murray Hill. Officers found an ATM used to deposit cash in it, as well as a notebook with a handwritten account of a robbery in New Jersey earlier that day.

Shortly before 7 a.m. on Saturday, November 17, a man with the same marker pen and short, dark hair walked into the TD Bank at 1264 LaGuardia Place, a building that fronts St. Marks Place. He shoved $11,600 and an iPhone to a teller and fled on foot.

“This episode is representative of what happens in New York City every day,” said Jonathan Mintz, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York chapter. “It is not surprising that and there are plenty of anecdotal stories.”

Mr. Mintz, who has made much of a rise in hate crimes since President Donald J. Trump took office, said the financial district robberies pointed to a larger pattern of religious intolerance.

“Whenever you have areas where you have radicalization, New York City is a natural spot for that,” he said. “Rooting out the remnants of radicalization is what the NYPD and federal authorities are focused on right now.”

The NYPD, which does not provide details about open investigations, said in a statement that there was no indication that the two men arrested had ties to organized crime groups.

Experts say it is difficult to single out a specific group responsible for the recent rash of robberies. In addition to the racial disparity among victims and robbers, the robberies appear to happen only on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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