A former United Nations employee and Nigerian journalist was arrested for allegedly robbing four New York City banks on his lunch hour, authorities said.
Abdullahi Shuaibu, 53, was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of robbery and two counts of attempted robbery in connection with a string of robberies carried out at four Manhattan banks over the past two months, the New York Post reported.
All four banks are within walking distance of Shuaibu’s office at the Foreign Press Center inside the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, which is located right across the street from the United Nations building.
Police said the Nigerian-born man works as a journalist for an African news agency.
Authorities were led to the suspecct after a retired police officer who works as a guard at the U.S. Permanent Mission to the UN recognized Shuaibu from surveillance footage released by the NYPD.
Surveillance footage from the banks showed a man wearing white-tipped gloves carrying out the robberies while on a cell phone, NBC New York reported.
“It wasn’t hard [to recognize him],” the guard told the Post. “He comes in and out of here every day.”
In the first robbery, Shuaibu allegedly walked into a Santander Bank on Madison Ave. near E. 43rd St. on February 27 and told the teller he had a gun. The bank employee handed Shuaibu an unknown sum of money out of fear.
He allegedly tried and failed to rob the Bank of America on Third Ave. near E. 47th St. on March 13, but successfully robbed the Santander Bank on Third Ave. and E. 63rd St. on March 27.
On Monday, Shuaibu allegedly 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 dismissed the note and asked him for identification.
Police said he demanded that the teller read the note while he kept his hand in his back pocket to make it look like he was reaching for a gun.
A UN spokesperson said Shuaibu worked for the United Nations briefly in fall of 2013, but has not had access to the facility since November 2013.
“[He] is not an employee of the United Nations nor is he an accredited journalist to the United Nations,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.