Two Suspected Bank Robbers Arrested by Stafford Police in NYC – Poker Players, One With a History of Fraud and Robbery Charges

Two men have been arrested in connection with a string of six bank robberies or attempted robberies from Jan. 16 to 26 in New Jersey and New York. Two of the incidents took place in Manahawkin, at the Chase Bank on Martin Truex Boulevard Jan. 18 and Wells Fargo Bank near ShopRite on the 26th.

The arrests of New Yok City residents James Boccanfuso, 41, and Sergey Demidenko, 38, were made Tuesday by Stafford Township Police Det. Drew Smith and Det. Sgt. David Johnson as a result of a joint investigation involving the Galloway Township Police Department, Stafford Township Police Department, the New York Police Department and the New Jersey and New York offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Investigation revealed the mens’ modus operandi: Demidenko entered the banks wearing a zip-front hooded sweatshirt and dark aviator-style sunglasses and passed a robbery note demanding cash. He then fled on foot after receiving an undisclosed amount of cash. Boccanfuso helped plan the robberies and acted as the getaway driver, parking his green 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee away from the scene. Demidenko and Boccanfuso would split the stolen cash and travel back and forth between New York and Atlantic City.

Boccanfuso is a professional poker player who was linked with numerous robberies in New York City in 2015 while still on probation from a guilty plea in a check fraud case in Atlantic City in April 2014, according to a 2015 report in the Staten Island Advance. He had also been in the news a few years prior, “following a legal battle over a reality-TV project he had hoped to star in with his then-wife Rebecca Kyrdyavsky,” the Advance reported.

“Boccanfuso had written eight checks totaling nearly $25,000 from a closed Chase bank account belonging to a company he ran, Next Adventure Airbrush LLC, according to the criminal complaint against him in that case. In January 2013, he asked a woman, identified in court papers as Alana Phister, to deposit those checks into her own account at Ocean City Home Bank, then withdraw the money and give it to him before the checks cleared. The checks didn’t clear, and the bank lost more than $18,000, authorities said.”

Demidenko is also listed as a player in the Hendon Mob, reportedly the world’s largest live poker database.

On Jan. 24, Boccanfuso and Demidenko robbed the Wells Fargo Bank on West White Horse Pike in Galloway, according to Galloway Township police.

After the second Wells Fargo incident, in Manahawkin, from which Demidenko fled, unsuccessful after a teller demanded he remove his sunglasses and hood, surveillance footage showed Demidenko leaving the scene in the Grand Cherokee with an unknown New York license plate, according to police.

Smith and Johnson contacted the New York Police Department, which had had similar bank robberies involving a subject matching Demidenko’s description: the Capital One Savings Bank in Park Slope on Jan. 16; Roslyn Savings Bank in Massapequa on Jan. 25; and another Chase, in Brooklyn, also on Jan. 25.

Smith and Johnson also traced the Grand Cherokee to an Atlantic City casino parking garage and were able to identify the license plate, the better to track the suspect’s whereabouts and activities.

On Tuesday, Jan. 30, they drove to Manhattan, where they caught up with the subjects and placed them in custody with the assistance of the NYPD. Demidenko and Boccanfuso were then turned over to the FBI, at which time they were lodged in jail, where they remain and are presumed innocent until proven guilty, pending federal charges by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Reposted from The Sandpaper