A bomb threat called into the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove yesterday was just a part of a robber's elaborate plan to rob a Centereach bank, but soon after the robbery, he was under arrest and the money recovered, police said.
Alexander C. Haje, 22, of South Setauket, was charged with bank robbery and falsely reporting a bomb scare.
"He obviously put some time and effort in - a lot of planning in putting his disguise together," said Det. Sgt. Robert Doyle of the Major Case Investigations Unit. "But he didn't realize where the precinct lines cross, so his plan went a little awry as far as calling in the bomb scare."
Doyle said Haje called in the bomb threat just a few minutes before 10 a.m., and then walked into the Bank of Smithtown branch on Route 25 in Centereach and announced a robbery. Haje hoped that police units would first respond to the bomb threat at the mall before responding to a Centereach bank robbery, Doyle said. But the mall is in Suffolk's Fourth Precinct, Doyle said, and the bank is in the Sixth Precinct. Plenty of police units were available to respond to both calls, he said.
Haje tried to disguise his appearance with black face makeup, a long black-haired wig and a hooded overcoat, police said.
Haje removed the outer clothing he wore in the bank, as well as the wig and makeup with a wash cloth, police said, but to two police officers who were canvassing the area, he looked suspicious.
When Officer Christopher Wood and Sgt. Thomas O'Shea stopped to question Haje, they noticed makeup residue on his face and later a black pellet gun that fit the description of the semi-automatic handgun, police said.
Haje was to be arraigned Tuesday in First District Court, Central Islip on charges of second-degree robbery and falsely reporting an incident.