2008-03-21 / Community

Robbed Bank,Fled By MTA Bus,Captured

By Howard Schwach

A Rockaway man was captured shortly after he robbed a Nassau County bank because he attempted to flee the scene on an MTA bus and was recognized from his description, County police officials say.

The suspect, identified in court documents as Oscar Portillo, 48, of 172 Beach 114 Street in Rockaway Park, allegedly went into the Bank of American branch on Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown shortly before noon on Tuesday, March 11, and passed a teller a note demanding money.

A teller in the bank told police that Portillo appeared to have a gun inside his shirtsleeve and she turned an undisclosed amount of money over to him.

Police say that seven employees and one customer were in the branch at the time of the robbery and that none of them, with the exception of the unnamed teller, was aware that a robbery was taking place.

Portillo got on an MTA bus that was heading westbound towards New York City on Hempstead Turnpike. When it reached the corner of Oak Street in Hempstead at 12:37 p.m., police say, Nassau County Police Officers John Fred and Thomas Policcolo of the Eighth Precinct saw him on the bus and recognized him from his description as a suspect in the earlier bank robbery.

He was arrested on the scene and the money was recovered.

Portillo was arraigned on Wednesday on charges of robbery in the second degree at the First District Court in Hempstead.

Appearing before Judge Bonnie Chakin, he was held on $300,000 bond or $150,000 cash. His next court date is set for next week.

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