A man arrested in a theft from a Copiague home improvement store this week has been charged with a Shirley bank robbery from last week, police said Thursday.
First, someone recognized Ben Mendolia, 32, of Mastic, from surveillance video taken during the April 26 robbery of a TD Bank branch in Shirley, police said. Then, police said, witnesses got his license plate number after copper pipe was stolen Tuesday from a Home Depot in Copiague.
Mendolia, of 5 Rutland Rd., Mastic, was arrested Wednesday on charges of fourth-degree grand larceny for the theft of copper piping from a Copiague Home Depot store and third-degree robbery for the bank robbery, Suffolk County police said. He faces arraignment Thursday in First District Court in Central Islip.
The bank robbery took place at the TD Bank branch at 530 William Floyd Pkwy. at 11:55 a.m. on April 26. Police said that the suspect entered the bank, handed the teller a demand note, then fled on foot with the cash -- but not before being recorded on surveillance video.
Images from that footage were released by police on Tuesday and Sgt. Ed Compagnone of the Pattern Crime Unit said a tip identified Mendolia as the suspect in a call to Crime Stoppers.
Meanwhile, police said, that same day Mendolia stole copper pipe from the Home Depot on Sunrise Highway in Copiague, and witnesses took down a license plate number that was linked to Mendolia and his home on Rutland Road.
Compagnone said Mendolia also was caught on surveillance video at the Home Depot and, following his arrest by First Squad detectives, the link was made between the two crimes using the video shots.
He stole $1,198.40 of piping and got $428 for it the same day from a West Babylon scrap yard, said Robert Clifford, spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney's office. He told scrap yard workers that a plumber did work at his house but messed up the job, Clifford said.