Cops charge ex-con in Wading River bank robbery

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Bridgehampton National Bank in Wading River.

An ex-convict and parole violator already under arrest for multiple burglaries in Nassau County has been charged in connection with a bank robbery in Wading River last month.

Robert Fornal Jr., 41, of Bethpage robbed the Bridgehampton National Bank in Wading River on Feb. 16, making off with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to police reports. While in Nassau police custody, Mr. Fornal was arrested by Riverhead police on Monday and charged with third-degree robbery, a felony, officials said.


Wearing jeans, boots and a dark colored sweatshirt, Mr. Fornal entered the bank at the corner of Route 25A and Wading River-Manor Road about 1:30 p.m., handed a teller a bag and demanded cash, according to a police report.

Det. Sgt. Joseph Loggia said Riverhead police arrested Mr. Fornal after he had been apprehended last month in connection with jewelry burglaries at two Bethpage homes.

“We were on to him as a suspect but before we caught up to him, Nassau got him on those burglary charges,” he said.

Nassau police said Mr. Fornal broke into a home on 10th Street in Bethpage on Feb. 3 and stole jewelry, which he later sold at a pawn shop. On Feb. 7, Mr. Fornal allegedly broke into another home in Bethpage by prying and kicking the rear door open. He stole more jewelry and fled the scene, police said.

Mr. Fornal also stole chimney caps from two homes in East Meadow in late January, police said.

Nassau Bureau of Special Operations officers found Mr. Fornal at the Great Neck Railroad station on Feb. 20, four days after the Wading River robbery, and arrested him for the jewelry burglaries. He was taken to a local hospital where he was admitted for “heroin-related detox” treatment, Nassau police said.

Mr. Fornal has an “extensive arrest history” with seven separate arrests dating back to 1999 and previous jail time, Nassau police said. He was arrested for burglary in 2000, convicted of attempted assault and criminal possession of stolen property in 2003, arrested for another burglary in 2004 and for public lewdness in 2011, Nassau police said.

He served three years and seven months at the Queensboro Correctional Facility in Queens for the attempted assault and criminal possession of stolen property conviction, from October 2004 until May 2008, according to the New York State Department of Corrections. He was released from prison then broke parole and was held for another three months in 2009. He was released again in October 2009 but broke parole again and was returned to prison in February 2010. He was released from prison in May 2010 and from parole in July 2011.

In Nassau, Mr. Fornal is being charged with two felony counts of burglary, two counts of petty larceny and one count of aggravated unlicensed driving, all misdemeanors, according to state records.

He was arraigned in Riverhead Justice Court on the Wading River robbery charges Monday morning, police said, and is being held on $20,000 cash bail in Nassau for the jewelry burglaries.

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