A Nigerian national has been arrested by the New York Police Department for allegedly robbing four banks in Manhattan. 53-year-old Abdullahi Shuaibu, who was a former United Nations employee, reportedly robbed the banks during his lunch break.
NYPD officers arrested the Nigerian on Monday on two counts of robbery and two counts of attempted robbery. Reports from United States media said the four banks were within walking distances from Shuaibu’s office at the Foreign Press Center inside the US Mission to the United Nations, which is across the street from the UN building.
The thief’s two-month robbery spree was brought to an abrupt end after a retired police officer recognised the Nigerian from a surveillance image, and reported to the NYPD. In the first incident, Shuaibu walked into a Santander Bank on Madison Ave. near E. 43rd St. on Feb. 27 and told the teller he had a gun. The bank employee complied and handed him an unknown sum of money.
He hit two more banks in March, first striking out at a Bank of America on Third Ave. near E. 47th St. on the 13th. He was also successful in robbing a Santander Bank on Third Ave. and E. 63rd St. on the 27th.
During the most recent incident on Monday, Shuaibu walked into an HSBC on Third Ave. and E. 40th St. around 2:30 p.m. and passed a note demanding cash to the teller. The teller did not read the note and asked him for identification.
He, however, instructed the teller to read the note, keeping his hand in his jacket pocket while simulating a gun, police said. Police arrested him later in the day when he returned to the UN.
Shuaibu was an employee of the News Agency of Nigeria and served as its UN correspondent between 2006 and 2009.
The agency, however, terminated his appointment in April 2013 following his refusal to resume work in Nigeria at the expiration of the duty tour and extended period which he requested to enable him to complete an academic programme.
The termination of appointment was formally conveyed to the UN. A UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric denied that Shuaibu was a staff of the organisation.
He said that the suspect was also not accredited to the UN after NAN withdrew his accreditation. Dujarric also said that the suspect only worked as a contract staff for three months in Darfur and his contract was terminated in 2012. With NAN