Joseph DiBenedetto, a serial bank robber who unleashed his crime spree in the New York area, was arrested Tuesday by the NYPD. DiBenedetto robbed a number of banks in the region and did so wearing a variety of hats and clever disguises.
The so-called “Mad Hatter” bank robber was finally cornered at the Popular Bank on West 90th Street in Manhattan after workers there recognized the dapper thief and his modus operandi. As reported by local outlet Pix11, the 34-year-old DiBenedetto tried to make his grand escape after realizing he was finally pegged.
Police sources told PIX11 that 34-year-old Joseph DiBenedetto of Staten Island was grabbed by cops on the street, after leaving the bank, because the money didn’t come fast enough.
DiBenedetto was still wearing sunglasses and a ‘newspaper boy’ cap when he was stopped as seen in a surveillance photo obtained by PIX11.
In the past, the robber would typically take off the hat, strip off a top layer of clothing and put on a different shirt on the street, as he made his getaway. He always wore sunglasses in the heists and had a reddish-brown beard.
Sources told PIX11 DiBennedetto confessed to the bank jobs, which started on March 15 this year, when he hit the Santander Bank at 34th Street and Lexington Avenue. His take was $2,200 in the first heist.
The Staten Island native reportedly robbed banks to fuel his drug addiction, this according to prosecutors by way of a report from DNAInfo. DiBennedetto was interrogated and said he was couch surfing with friends and supporting his heroin addiction with the robberies. Investigators noted that DiBennedetto used notes to carry out his crimes which included careful instructions and the threat of a gun.
DiBennedetto is being held in a federal Manhattan facility. He is due in court on September 13.