WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Banks, gas stations and convenience stores were struck by a flurry of armed robberies this fall in Westchester and Putnam counties.
Several of the highest profile cases were closed by arrests in Rye , Eastchester and in Dutchess County, where the so-called "bicycle bandit" confessed Thursday to 15 robberies in four counties. Those armed robberies included seven gas stations and stores in Peekskill, Ossining, Mount Kisco , Scarsdale and Eastchester in Westchester County as well as Deli Land in Kent, Putnam County.
Bernard Kilkenny, 34, of Wappinger, N.Y., was arraigned Thursday in U.S. District Court in White Plains and charged with robbing gas stations and convenience stores in Westchester, Orange, Putnam and Dutchess counties after brandishing a BB gun. The suspect fled on a black BMX bicycle which was recovered by state police when they pulled him over in a red Ford F150 pickup truck, according the United States Attorney’s Office, which declined to release Kilkenny's mugshot.
Despite heightened publicity surrounding the frequency of robberies in the Hudson Valley this fall, bank robberies have actually fallen nationwide since their peak of 12,000 in 1994, to about 5,000 in 2011 and 3,870 in 2012, the latest years such statistics were available.
The "clearance rate" for bank robbery is among the highest of all crimes -- nearly 60 percent, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2012. The average take for a bank robber in the U.S. is just over $4,000 per holdup, according to FBI stats. A reward recently was offered for the robbery of a Webster Bank in Yonkers.
Kilkenny was arrested at 10:55 p.m. Wednesday on Route 9D north, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He was pulled over in a red Ford pickup by a state trooper for a malfunctioning tail light. The trooper found a black BMX bike in the pickup's bed and a black BB gun inside. In each robbery, the suspect covered his face with a black scarf and wore gloves with a black “X” on the back.