Detective Thomas Powrie of the Yonkers Police Department said it was just after 7:00am when Mary Fitzgerald and fellow employee John Franchi arrived at the bank to start their work day by opening the vault and taking cash boxes to the counting room. While Miss Fitzgerald started counting the contents of one of the boxes, Mr Franchi went downstairs to a community room in the basement that had been used for the local cancer society the night before, the detective said. It was there that Mr Franchi was confronted by a man with a gun and a second robber who also may have been armed. Both men wore ski masks over their faces and carried hand radios. A vice president of the bank, John Dwyer, said the robbers had acted in a ‘highly professional manner’. Authorities first went on the assumption that the robbers might have gained access last night during the community meeting in the bank’s basement and hid on the premises until morning. But late yesterday, Robert Besley, special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in New Rochelle, reported that investigators had found a hole in the basement wall, indicating that the men had broken through from the outside of the bank, which is surrounded by a parking lot. Mr. Besley said the hole had been hidden from view by a soft-drink vending machine and appeared to have been dug from an areaway outside the basement. He added that a bank janitor had told investigators that he had first noticed the 16-inch hole about three weeks ago and that he had reported it. Mr. Besley said, however, that the bank management denied having been informed of it.
excerpt NYT 2/23/77 Wolfgang Saxon