A 31-year-old Queens man was being held Tuesday on robbery charges after police said alert employees of a Merrick bank called to report he acted suspiciously before leaving their bank Monday -- without conducting a transaction.
John Graham, of 119-70 178th St., Jamaica, was charged with third-degree robbery and two counts of attempted third-degree robbery after his arrest on the exit ramp of the Southern State Parkway at Nassau Road in Roosevelt, Nassau County police said.
Police said the arrest followed a traffic stop -- after employees at the TD Bank on Merrick Road in Merrick phoned to say he'd left their bank and entered a silver Toyota Yaris.
Police said they later linked Graham to the robbery of a TD Bank on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream on Dec. 10 and the attempted robbery of a Dime Savings Bank on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream on Dec. 4.
Graham got away with slightly more than $2,200 during the Dec. 10 robbery, according to court papers.
He was remanded on $75,000 bail, cash or bond, at his arraignment on Tuesday in First District Court in Hempstead. He is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 16.
During their investigation, police said, Graham admitted he had "intended to conduct a robbery at the bank" on Monday.
"I was going to, but I left," he told police, court records show.
And he apologized, according to court records.
"Really, man, you have to let me go, I only tried to rob the bank. That's not my note," he said. "Well, it's my note, but I didn't do anything."
According to police and court records, Graham walked into the Merrick bank with a written demand note and a BB gun at about 12:20 p.m. and was "observed" by employees "acting suspiciously." Employees were already on heightened alert, police said, because of a previous bank robbery, which had occurred nearby 45 minutes earlier.
Police said the earlier robbery appears to be unrelated to the call about Graham. But, police said, the employees called 911 when Graham left the bank without conducting any business transactions, and they provided police with his vehicle description.
Bureau of Special Operations officers then spotted Graham driving the vehicle on Sunrise Highway in Freeport, leading to the traffic stop near Nassau Road, police said.