Yesterday, a man who tried to rob the Chase Bank above Penn Station was shot by a police officer. Now it turns out the 69-year-old attempted robbery suspect, John Daniel Stolarz, was just released from federal prison on Wednesday after serving time for a bank robbery. According to the Post, "Stolarz was supposed to have checked in at a halfway house as part of his federal parole, the source noted. Instead, 'it looks like he went and robbed the first bank he saw,' one source said."
The police say that Stolarz went the Chase around 12:30 p.m.: "Waving a 10-inch steak knife, he demanded cash from a clerk at the customer service desk. The hitch: there is no money at the customer service desk." NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said, "He demands fifties and hundreds. She says 'We don't have any money here.' He just repeats it... fifties and hundreds." But when the bank manager approached them, Stolarz left. The manager, who followed him outside, saw a police cruiser on Seventh Avenue and told the cops that Stolarz went into Penn Station. The NY Times says the cops then went into the station:
They followed as the suspect descended to the shopping arcade leading into the station, rode an escalator back to street level and emerged into a breezeway that stretches from 31st to 33rd Street.
There, the police said, he turned toward the officers, who were both in uniform, with a 10-inch knife in hand.
They told him to drop it. He did not.
He headed toward 31st Street with the officers a few paces behind.
Near a loading dock, they told him again to drop the knife. Once again, he did not.
Mr. Browne said that one of the officers fired twice.
The suspect was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center, where he was in stable condition Thursday night.
A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation said that Mr. Stolarz told investigators that he had just bought the knife he used to rob the Chase bank from a nearby K-Mart. The official said that Mr. Stolarz did not blame the officer for shooting him, and told them he would have “done the same thing” because he did not drop the knife when officers ordered him to do so.
One passerby, who the News says just got out of Rikers, criticized Stolarz, "It is the worst possible place to try and rob a bank. Don't try to rob a bank in midtown. Bottom line: Too many cops. You are gonna get caught."