Controversial bail reform springs serial robbery suspect – who then pulls off fifth heist

https://nypost.com/2020/01/11/serial-robber-released-with-no-bail-then-immediately-robs-another-bank/

Controversial bail reform springs serial robbery suspect – who then pulls off fifth heist

January 11, 2020

He’s laughing all the way to the next bank.

A John Dillinger wannabe is on the loose thanks to lax bail laws that set him free despite his arrest in connection to four Manhattan bank robberies.

Sprung on Thursday, he promptly robbed a fifth bank, in Brooklyn, on Friday, law enforcement sources told The Post.

So cops spent Saturday hunting once again for fugitive Gerod Woodberry, who allegedly pulled four heists at Chase banks in Chelsea, the Upper West Side and the West Village between Dec. 30 and Jan. 8.

Because Woodberry allegedly robbed using a note, rather than a gun, no New York jail can currently hold him, no matter how many times he strikes.

His alleged grand larcenies are classified as non-violent felonies. And under the bail reform law that took effect Jan. 1, most non-violent felonies — including bank robberies carried out without a weapon — are no longer bail eligible, meaning no judge can order him held pending trial.

Should cops pinch Woodberry on the fifth alleged heist, he’ll only be sprung again.

The insanity of the new law clearly wasn’t lost on the prime suspect.

“I can’t believe they let me out,” Woodberry marveled as he retrieved his vouchered property at One Police Plaza in lower Manhattan, sources told The Post. “What were they thinking?”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea voiced his frustration after The Post broke Woodberry’s story online Saturday.

“What motivation does this suspect have to return to court? None,” Shea tweeted.

“This makes NYPD cops’ jobs harder, and makes New Yorkers less safe.”

Woodberry’s alleged spree began Dec. 30, when he slipped a note demanding money to a teller at a Chase bank at Ninth Avenue and West 16th Street, taking off with more than $1,000, police sources said.

He struck next at a Chase bank at Broadway and West 90th on Jan. 3 at about 3:30 p.m., again handing a teller a note, but leaving empty-handed, police said.

Three days later, he struck in the West Village, making off with more than $1,000, sources said.

On Jan. 8, he passed a note to an Upper West Side bank teller and left empty-handed, police said.

Patrol cops caught up with him in Manhattan on Thursday after the NYPD sent a photo of him to “1,000s of NYPD smartphones,” Shea wrote on Twitter.

“A dedicated @NYPD25Pct cop saw it while on his way to work, spotted the man, [and] safely made the arrest.”

Less than a day later, Woodberry took advantage of his unexpected freedom to rob a fifth bank in Downtown Brooklyn, ­police said.

In that heist, he allegedly passed a note to the teller at a Chase bank on Flatbush Avenue and made off with more than $1,000, police said.

In surveillance footage released by cops Saturday, the suspect is seen walking into the bank wearing jeans, a black puffy coat, and a baseball cap.

Woodberry, a South Carolina native, has at least one previous arrest for possession of marijuana from August 2007 in Brooklyn, police said.

A Facebook page that appears to belong to Woodberry shows him playing an online TexasHoldem Poker game multiple times.

Woodberry’s lawyer did not return a request for comment.

“Another unfortunate example of what we are facing under the new bail reform law. Certain individuals need to remain in jail for the safety of our city,” Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker said. “Judges must have the discretion to make that happen.”

Tweeted Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon, “Nobody in NYS is arguing cash bail is the ideal system. However, this case makes crystal clear why forbidding judicial discretion is a recipe for disaster. Let’s join EVERY OTHER STATE in the nation and give Judges discretion to consider public safety!”

The hope, one law enforcement source said, is that victimized banks complain — loudly — about the misguided reform.

“Once the banks start complaining, hopefully the politicians will listen and change the law,” the source said.

The Manhattan DA’s office did not respond Saturday to requests for information on the cases.

January 13, 2020. Tags: , , , . Politics.

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