Two armed bandits stole a bag believed to be stuffed with $250,000 in a late-night robbery at the Aqueduct Racetrack in New York last Saturday, according to police.
The robbers, who were wearing protective surgical masks, held three New York Racing Association (NYRA) employees at gunpoint as they were transporting the money through a corridor at the Queens racetrack.
Caught on tape
The New York Police Department released surveillance footage of the robbery on Tuesday. The thieves took the duffel bag of cash along with the employees’ cell phones and a two-way radio, according to police. The video does not show any footage of the employees, as you can only see the robbers leaving and entering the track. But they seemed to know their way around the facility and were able to strike at the exact moment the money was being transported.
An inside job?
An Aqueduct employee who preferred to remain anonymous told the New York Post that he believes the robbery was an inside job, and the Post’s police sources believe the same. But their identities are unknown at this time.
“The guards in the vault area and the office, they have guns. But the guard escorting the money ain’t got no gun,” the employee said.
“It’s a joke! They waited for them upstairs on the catwalk,” he continued. “It happened on the catwalk! They knew when they were bringing down the money and [that the guards escorting the money] didn’t have no guns.”
The robbery took place at about 10 p.m., four hours after the last race of the day. The NYRA employees were forced into a room and told to count to 1,000 while the crooks escaped.
“You tell me, how did they know exactly where they bring the money down? The exact route from upstairs to the vault downstairs? It had to be someone familiar with the procedure here,” he added.
The suspects have been dubbed the “Coronavirus Bandits” by the New York Times due to their donning of the surgical masks. Guards at the racetrack are not armed, according to the Times, confirming the anonymous employee’s assertion. The armed guards at the adjacent Resorts World Casino are, making them less of a target for such attacks.
Cops described both suspects as black men standing at about six feet tall, and one is believed to weigh between 200 and 240 pounds. He was last seen wearing the surgical mask over his face, a black hooded sweater, a black cap, black boots and camouflage pants while carrying a big black duffel bag. The second suspect was also wearing a surgical mask to go with a dark baseball cap, a black hooded coat, black shoes and blue jeans.
Nobody was injured during the incident, and this all went down after the Gotham Stakes Day race card. Mischievous Alex won the final race of the day, the Gotham Stakes (G3) for Kentucky Derby hopefuls. It went off at 5:42 p.m. ET.
Several police officers camped out in Aqueduct’s “camera room” early Sunday morning, causing a panic among racetrack employees.
“I just came into work and there are cops everywhere,” one security guard said. “There’s more s–t going on here tonight than you can believe, I don’t know what the f–k is going on.”
The NYPD’s investigation is ongoing.