The 69-year-old ex-convict who attempted to rob a Chase Bank near Penn Station just a day after being released from federal prison has a long criminal history. John Daniel Stolarz was last free in 1988, when he robbed 14 banks in seven states (including four in NYC), and then spent 22 years in prison for those robberies. The Post reports, on Wednesday, "He took $100 in prison cash and headed to Philadelphia to pick up a ticket to Utah. Instead, he blew it at the Ascot Motel in Atlantic City. Then, riding a Greyhound to New York the next morning, he looked for a toy gun at the Kmart near the Garden, couldn't find one, and spent $2.29 for a steak knife to hit 'the first bank he saw.'"

The Chase Bank at 2 Penn Plaza had ATMs and tellers, but on the second floor; the Daily News suggests Stolarz was "possibly confused by modern bank layouts" when he demanded money from the customer service desk. He left after a manager approached him, and police officers followed him into the Penn Station complex, where he allegedly refused to drop his knife so a police officer shot him in the leg.

Stolarz has been free for only 82 days over the past 30 years (Brooks reference here). He was once nicknamed "Johnny Shades" for the sunglasses he wore and after his 1988 bank robbery spree, the News reports, "He told the FBI that he pulled in up to $100,000 in his 81-day banking blitz, using a routine he had perfected. Stolarz claimed he always told tellers he was carrying a bomb in his briefcase and would open it to reveal a homemade mesh of wires, flashlights, batteries and a clock." the CityRoom has the long rap sheet that begins "In 1959, Mr. Stolarz was arrested in Virginia for illegally wearing a uniform of the United States Air Force."