A Nigerian, Abdullahi Shuaibu, who is a United Nations employee has been arrested by the New York Police for allegedly robbing four Manhattan banks.
The 53-year-old who works at the UN headquarters was apprehended on Monday, and is alleged to have committed the crime within two months during his lunch hours, when he was allowed to leave his workplace.
Shuaibu’s arrest came after a retired police officer, who works at the UN, recognised him from a surveillance image previously released by the police.
In the first robbery, Shuaibu reportedly walked into a Santander Bank on Madison Avenue, near E. 43rd Street on February 27 and told the teller he had a gun. The bank employee was said to have complied and handed him an unknown sum of money.
Law enforcement sources say he hit two more banks in March, first striking out at a Bank of America on Third Avenue near E. 47th Street. He also succeeded in robbing a Santander Bank on Third Avenue and E. 63rd Street on March 27.
However, Shuaibu ran out of luck on Monday when he walked into an HSBC on Third Avenue and E. 40th Street. around 2.30pm and passed a note demanding cash to the teller.
According to police reports, 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.
The 50-year-old bank teller Rani Ahme said a “regular guy” in a blazer slid her a note but “did not let go of it.”
“I asked, ‘How can I help you?’ and he said, ‘Check it, check it,’ looking at the note, but he did not let go of the note,” she said.
Abdullahi Shuaibu who was arrested later in the day by the police when he returned to the UN, confessed admitting he spent all the stolen money paying bills, sources said.
He has been charged with two counts of robbery and two counts of attempted robbery, and is awaiting arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court.
Surveillance videos from the banks show a man carrying out the robberies while on a cell phone and wearing white-tipped gloves.
Shuaibu who on his LinkedIn page, describes himself as a “communications specialist at United Nations” was an employee of the News Agency of Nigeria and served as its UN correspondent between 2006 and 2009.
However, the agency, terminated his appointment in April 2013 following his refusal to resume work in Nigeria at the expiration of his duty and an extended period which he requested to enable him to complete an academic programme.
A UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, has denied that Abdullahi Shuaibu was a worker of the organisation. According to Dujarric:
“Contrary to what was reported, the suspect, Abdullahi Shuaibu, is not an employee of the United Nations nor is he an accredited journalist to the United Nations nor was he arrested at the United Nations.
“Until 2010, he was a resident correspondent representing the News Agency of Nigeria.
“He did work very briefly for the UN in October and November of 2013 but has never worked for the United Nations since.”