Queens Man Pleads Guilty to Armed Bank Robbery and Weapons Possession
Defendant Was a Getaway Driver for a Crew That Robbed Four Banks in Queens and Nassau Counties
Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Troy Tavares pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Joanna Seybert to armed bank robbery and a firearms possession charge related to his role as the getaway driver in the gunpoint robbery of the Bridgehampton Savings Bank in Hewlett, New York. When sentenced, Tavares faces up to 25 years’ imprisonment for the bank robbery and a minimum of seven years’ imprisonment and up to life in prison for the firearms charge.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Patrick J. Ryder, Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD), announced the guilty plea.
According to court filings and prior public proceedings in the case, on August 21, 2017, Tavares drove a coconspirator, Pedro Benitez, to the Bridgehampton Savings Bank. While Tavares waited outside in the vehicle, Benitez entered the bank and ordered customers and employees of the bank to the floor at gunpoint and demanded money from bank employees. After Benitez fled the bank with over $12,000, Tavares drove him to a nearby location where they met with other conspirators to split the proceeds. At his guilty plea, Tavares admitted that he had also participated in two additional robberies that the crew committed during the summer of 2017, one in Nassau County and one in Queens. In each of those robberies, Tavares had acted as the getaway driver for Benitez, who entered the banks and robbed the bank employees of the banks’ cash. In total, the robbery crew stole over $70,000 from four banks between July and September of 2017.
In March 2018, Benitez pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm. He has been sentenced to 130 months’ imprisonment. Two other members of the bank robbery crew also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentence. One other member of the robbery crew is awaiting trial.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Maffei is in charge of the prosecution.
Far Rockaway, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-572 (S-1) (JS)