Serial bank robber out on parole arrested in new violent holdup in Queens

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Thursday, April 27, 2023
Serial bank robber out on parole arrested in new violent holdup
Serial bank robber Gerald Derosse, 54, admitted he choked an 81-year-old woman inside a Ridgewood Savings Bank in Queens.

RIDGEWOOD, Queens (WABC) -- A serial bank robber is facing charges after his parole officer recognized him from surveillance video of another robbery.

Gerald Derosse, 54, admitted he choked an 81-year-old woman inside a Ridgewood Savings Bank in Queens on April 6 while demanding $205 from the teller.

Surveillance images from the violent robbery show the suspect's hand around the woman's neck. Police say he shouted he was going to "blow her brains out" if the bank teller didn't give up the money.

Cops searched for the suspect for weeks, but according to court documents, it was his own parole officer who identified him from the images and turned him over to detectives during their routine parole meeting on Tuesday.

Joanne Benner works at the dental office next door to the bank and was there moments before the robbery.

"That could've very well been me that day also," Benner said "I feel sorry for the woman that happened to but that could've been me."

Derosse went before federal judge Wednesday and admitted to the crime, but said he couldn't get a job since he was released on parole last month.

The judge ordered him held without bail.

Derosse is a serial bank robber, convicted of multiple bank robberies in 2011, while still on parole in an earlier robbery case. He was sentenced to 13 years behind bars and was just released on parole last month and living with his sister.

According to the United States Sentencing Commission, robbery offenders had the highest recidivism rates.

Legal experts like Richard Frankel say it's the fast money mentality.

"Generally the recidivism is in that if they're successful, they get money and they're going to do it again, because they're not getting a lot of money to be frank," Frankel said.

Frankel said the issue is much deeper in New York City and likely tied to the bail reform system that eliminated cash bail for most misdemeanors and some violent offenders, which opponents say allows violent offenders back on the streets.

In this case, the suspect was released on parole after completing his 13-year sentence, so he had already been adjudicated.

Either way, advocates for the reformed bail system say it's not a matter of recidivism, it's a lack of resources for offenders who are recently released.

"There definitely should be additional resources for these people getting out," Frankel said. "I do think Albany needs to look at what the bail reform package that came through in the past is. And where are major issues that need to be fixed. And the longer term solutions."

ALSO READ | Report finds 50% of working-age New Yorkers don't earn enough to meet basic needs

Half of NYC's households don't have enough money to comfortably hold an apartment, access sufficient food and basic health care.


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