Out on bail, he targeted 9 more banks

Nathaniel Barreto


By Karen Zautyk

A Newark man who was released on bail after being arrested for a North Arlington bank robbery last year wasted no time getting back into the sting of things, robbing eight more banks – and attempting to rob a ninth – over a two-month period, authorities reported.
The culprit, Nathaniel Barreto, 29, pleaded guilty in Federal Court in Trenton last week to one count of bank robbery, but admitted to the others, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced.

The saga began  March 26, 2010, when a lone gunman held up the Bank of America branch at 119 Ridge Road, North Arlington.
Less than two weeks later, on April 7, Barreto surrendered  to North Arlington police after township detectives had identified him and tracked him to Florida. He was arrested and remanded to Bergen County Jail in lieu of $350,000 bail.
Lesson learned? Not quite.
Barreto’s bail reportedly was reduced, and he walked out of jail on April 22. Two months later, almost to the day, he revived his criminal career, launching a five-county spree that lasted from June 25 to Aug. 17, 2010. It also included two heists in one day – one in Bergen County, one in Hunterdon.
Court records show that Barreto’s targets were as follows:
• June 25 – Wachovia Bank, 1080 Broad St., Bloomfield
• July 8 – Mariner’s Bank, 242 Oradell Ave., Paramus
• July 8 – Bank of America, 396 Route 22, Whitehouse
• July 23 – Kearny Federal Savings, 487 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange
• July 28 – Lakeland Savings Bank, 321 Main St., Boonton
• Aug. 2 – Bank of America, 32 Route 46, West Pine Brook
• Aug. 4 – Sovereign Bank, 541 Rahway Ave., Woodbridge
• Aug. 9 (attempted) – PNC Bank, 424 Broad St., Bloomfield
• Aug. 17 – PNC Bank, 500 Route 10, Whippany
The banditry binge ended after the Whippany holdup, when a witness saw Barreto get into a car driven by an accomplice and noted the  license plate number,  Fishman’s office said.
The vehicle was found abandoned near a wooded area, and Barreto and his buddy were apprehended among the trees.
During the two-month crime wave, Barreto apparently took to wearing a black stocking mask over his face, but in North Arlington, despite a hooded jacket, hat and ski mask, his eyes and nose had been visible. And he was clearly caught on security video.





Security cameras caught armed robber entering North Arlington bank and confronting teller.

In the North Arlington incident, Barreto had entered the bank at about 3:15 p.m. and announced a holdup, brandishing what appeared to be a large black and silver automatic.
He handed a teller a plastic shopping bag, ordered her to fill it with cash, and then fled with an undisclosed amount.
After his subsequent surrender at North Arlington police HQ, officers armed with a search warrant  went to Barreto’s address in Newark where they reported finding six bundles of cash, each wrapped in a Bank of America currency band.   The total amount recovered was $1,114, police said.
Barreto’s biggest haul was approximately $42,500 from the bank in Whitehouse.
Last week, North Arlington Police Chief Louis Ghione credited now-retired borough Det. James Gangi with “dogged police work” that helped authorities finally nab the serial bandit. Gangi “was monitoring bank robberies in the tri-state area” and saw that there were several with “a similar M.O.” to that of the local heist, the chief said.
Barreto faces 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced Jan. 13.

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