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Long IslandCrime

Officials: Getaway driver takes deal for role in Hewlett bank heist

The getaway driver for a bank robbery crew pleaded guilty Tuesday in the holdup of a Hewlett bank and also admitted his role in two other bank heists with a group that made off with more than $70,000 last year, the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District said.

Troy Tavares, 22, of Far Rockaway, faces up  to 25 years in prison for armed bank robbery and a minimum of 7 years to life for firearms possession during the Aug. 21, 2017, heist at the Bridgehampton Savings Bank, prosecutors said. He waited in the getaway car while an accomplice with a gun, Pedro Benitez, ordered people in the bank to lie on the floor, then took more than $12,000, which was split with others in the robbery crew, authorities said.

The robbers stole more than $70,000 from four banks between July and September 2017, prosecutors said. Benitez was sentenced to 130 months in prison, officials said, while two others await sentencing and trial is pending for a fifth defendant, officials said.

As part of a plea deal, Tavares did not plead guilty to hitting the Roslyn Savings Bank in Valley Stream and the Queens County Savings Bank in Fresh Meadows, but he had to admit to being the getaway driver in both cases, a confession that the judge can consider in handing down a sentence, authorities said.

Under the plea deal, Tavares must help pay restitution, the U.S. attorney's office said. According to the indictment, the crew took $2,216 from Roslyn Savings, $12,068 from Bridgehampton Savings and $50,360 from Queens County Savings.

Tavares' attorney could not be immediately reached Tuesday night.

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