By Karen Zautyk
A Harrison woman arrested in February in connection with three bank robberies in the span of three weeks is in even deeper trouble now. Last Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark announced it was adopting the case of Valeria Parziale for federal prosecution.
As reported in The Observer, Parziale, 34, was nabbed Feb. 24 on a street in Newark by officers of the Newark Police Department.
She is charged with three counts of bank robbery for holdups Jan. 30 at the Valley National Bank, 433 Harrison Ave. in Harrison, and Feb. 14 at a Wells Fargo bank in Newark, and an attempted heist Feb. 20 at a Popular Community Bank (Banco Popular), also in Newark.
On the federal charges, Parziale faces a potential maximum penalty of 60 years in prison — 20 on each count — and fines totalling $750,000. There is no parole in the federal criminal justice system.
According to the complaint filed by the FBI, Parziale, wearing a dark hooded jacket, had entered the Harrison bank at approximately 1:40 p.m., Jan. 30, and handed the teller a note that read as follows:
“Don’t BE Stupid! Put $3,000 in envelope 50/lOO’s I got a gun! Hurry Up.”
Although she claimed to be armed, no weapon was seen, authorities said.
The suspect allegedly fled with approximately $3,000, leaving the note behind. Harrison police later reported that she had entered a cab several blocks away and was driven to Newark.
On the afternoon of Feb. 14, Parziale — this time wearing a hat, sunglasses and a wig — confronted a teller at the Wells Fargo Bank, demanding $3,500, again via a note that indicated she was armed, the FBI alleged. The teller handed over approximately $3,500.
The third incident occurred Feb. 20 at about 2:25p.m. at the Popular Community Bank. A note given to a teller again demanded $3,500 but this time set a 15-second time limit, authorities said. The complaint states: “The teller told Parziale to wait, but Parziale left the bank before she received any money.”
Following the Feb. 20 crime, a bulletin containing surveillance photos from the banks was circulated among law enforcement agencies. “Thereafter, a law enforcement officer who had prior contact with Parziale identified her as the female suspect . . . ,” the FBI reported.
When Parziale was arrested by Newark police four days later, she allegedly was in possession of a wig, sunglasses and a note that read, “I have a gun Don’t be stupid Give me $3,500 now! Put in envelope! You got 10 seconds! Don’t Risk Yourself.”
Parziale, who reportedly has 15 aliases, has been held in the Essex County Jail on $300,000 bail.
In announcing the federal prosecution, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman cited the Harrison, Kearny and Newark Police Departments for their “excellent work” on the case.