At approximately 12:25 p.m on Wednesday, Nov. 3, an alert teller at TD Bank’s Warwick branch stopped a Brooklyn man from withdrawing a large amount of money from an account that was not his.
Bank employees questioned the validity of the identification documents presented to them and notified the Town of Warwick Police.
The first arriving officer approached the male outside of the bank to interview him when the suspect suddenly ran. After a foot pursuit that lasted several blocks he was taken into custody.
He was identified as Kenneth Vasquez, 55, of Brooklyn.
Warwick TD Bank Manager Leon Dixon was unable at this time to comment or provide any details while the incident is under investigation.
Police: forged papers
Police said Vasquez had a forged New York State-issued Identification Card and a forged United States Passport card.
He was charged with felony counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Document, first-degree Attempted Identity Theft, third-degree Attempted Grand Larceny, second-degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Document, second degree Forgery and and a misdemeanor count of third-degree Unlawful Possession of a Personal Identification.
However, under the terms of the New York State Criminal Reform Act, Vasquez was released with an appearance ticket to appear in Village of Warwick Court on a later date for arraignment.
Recent weapon and assault charges
It was learned during the investigation that Vasquez had also recently been released on felony weapon and assault charges under the same terms of the Criminal Reform Act within the past month in a different jurisdiction.
Officials believe that the likelihood of Vasquez returning to appear in Village of Warwick Court, is doubtful.
The impact of the 2019 bail reform law
The 2019 bail reform law went into effect last year, eliminating cash bail and expanding pre-trial release for some misdemeanors and felony charges. Since then local law enforcement officials have complained that it’s led to an increase in crime.
At that time Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton, for example, reported that because of those requirements he had to appropriate more than $300,000 in his town’s 2020 budget for additional police expenses such as supervision and overtime.
Orange County officials who also opposed the legislation at that time included County Executive Steve Neuhaus, District Attorney David Hoovler and Sheriff Carl DuBois.
They all agreed that the bail reform law, which included taking away the judges authority or discretion to arraign defendants and only issuing appearance tickets for serious offenses, would make the community less safe.
The recent budget, however, includes adjustments to the law but judges are still not given full discretion in holding offenders.
“The catch-and-release policies of bail reform,” said New York State Assemblyman Karl Brabenec, referring to the TD Bank report, “continue to haunt us years after passage. This incident and its result is another example of these failed policies and how they negatively impact our law-abiding residents. These awful laws must be repealed immediately and I will continue to fight for our residents.”
Legislation has recently been introduced to blunt the negative consequences of New York’s controversial bail reform law, without gutting it.