NYPD Officers Share How They ID’d Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested Thursday

Officer Jack Etter and partner Officer Delilah Solis, both 20th Precinct NCOs.

By Joy Bergmann

A suspect in a spree of five recent bank robberies — four on the Upper West Side — was arrested Thursday morning, Capt. Neil Zuber, commanding officer of the 20th Precinct, told attendees at the 20th’s Community Council meeting held Thursday evening at the New York Historical Society. 

“That arrest was made because our NCOs [Neighborhood Coordination Officers] were able to do an extended video canvas and go above and beyond and identify this perpetrator,” said Zuber. “I promised I wouldn’t embarrass anybody, so I’m not going to tell you that it was Officer Jack Etter.”

According to NYPD, Derek Graves, 52, allegedly committed the robberies by passing a note or making a verbal demand to tellers at the following banks:

Zuber and Etter shared the sleuthing details with WSR following the meeting. 

Video footage from the April 1st robbery of Chase at 73rd and Broadway was Etter’s starting point, they said. 

Etter then tracked the suspect past video surveillance at Rutgers Church. 

The suspect next ducked into the Bloomingdale’s Outlet at 72nd and Broadway, where, according to Zuber, “He goes in and starts shoplifting…and Officer Etter is able to get a very good picture of him.” 

 

Based on that, Etter found other footage nearby that captured the suspect’s distinctive walk. “He was limping,” said Zuber.

Back at the precinct, Etter started hitting the databases, looking at recidivist bank robbers and their old booking pictures. One man seemed to be a strong match. 

Etter looked at the man’s most recent arrest record. “It wasn’t for a bank robbery; it was something lower level,” said Zuber. Etter pulled up the body-worn camera footage from that arrest and “noticed the same limp.” 

Etter and his colleagues dug in further. Once satisfied they had a prime suspect, Etter sent his information to detectives at the Major Case Squad. “Within a day, they had him positively identified and confirmed that that is definitely him,” said Zuber. With probable cause in hand, a judge issued a search warrant and NYPD were able to make the arrest, “not here in the 20th Precinct, a little bit uptown.” 

According to an NYPD spokesman, Graves has at least 24 prior arrests, including two from 2010 for bank robbery or attempted bank robbery in the Upper West Side’s 24th Precinct. Many of the arrests related to “controlled substances,” he said. 

WSR reached out to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for information on Graves’s arraignment charges, custody status and lawyer. We will update this story if we hear back.

NEWS | 20 comments | permalink
    1. Lisa says:

      Well done officers !! Captain Zuber, I like your sense of humor 🙂

    2. Lisa says:

      I passed by the Capitol One branch right after the robbery attempt. Yellow crime scene tape was blocking the entrances, and police officers were handling the matter inside the branch. But still, an elderly New Yorker was insisting on being let into the bank and was arguing with the officer at the door. “But I just need to get over to the–” Only in New York.

    3. Leon says:

      Excellent job – thank you to NYPD for your hard work!

      Someone who has 24 arrests, including multiple for bank robberies, should not be free to walk the streets. We all make mistakes and should not have overly punitive sentences for the first or even second offense of a minor crime. But 24 offenses deserves a life sentence. These are not false arrests or one-off petty crimes anymore. I cannot imagine how frustrating it is to be a police officer and see the same people over and over again.

      • Sarah says:

        We’ve seen EXACTLY how cruel and inequitable “three-strikes laws” are in California, but go off. (Notice that many of the arrests relate to “controlled substances.” How many of you are willing to experience a lengthy prison term for jaywalking because you’ve smoked a lot of weed?)

        I almost have to laugh at this guy a little. I too like to relax after a bank robbery with a little light shoplifting!

        • Leon says:

          You are skewing the facts to confirm your narrative. This guy had attempted to rob banks at least twice before. And it looks like he has recently tried five more times. Fine – forget about the controlled substances arrests. I think seven (or more) attempted bank robberies should be enough to put him away for a long time. I’m not sure how anyone could disagree with this.

          • Ellen Shell says:

            Thank you for calling this out. It is getting very tiring to hear criminal behavior being excused because the individual ALSO has petty crimes under their belt. It is a way to try to change the narrative and shift focus. It’s becoming old. Robbing banks is not OK. Shoplifting from stores not ok. They are not victimless crimes.

    4. Steevie says:

      So many hours of surveillance footage of every type is available. But it is a grueling task to look through it. Congratulations officer.

    5. jms says:

      “Based on that, Etter found other footage nearby that captured the suspect’s distinctive walk. ‘He was limping,’ said Zuber.”

      I trust he’ll be convicted on lame evidence.

    6. dkman says:

      Only 24 prior arrests? That’s not enough to shield hardworking people of the Upper West Side from? Something has got to change.
      Maybe a new mayor will help, Dumblasio has made things so much worse! Having someone with 24 prior arrests roaming our streets, is unfair to tax paying citizens!

      • maria says:

        It’s a joke. This was the fiar and equitable city they were talking about!

      • SincerelyUWS says:

        Agreed. My vote for local city council (Helen’s currently abandoned district) will go to the fist candidate who has openly voiced similar concerns. Is that Maria D?

        • Carlos says:

          I think she is likely your best bet. Who are likeminded people to choose for Mayor and DA? I think Crotty for DA. Not sure about the mayor. Police need to be held accountable but at the same time we need to be tough on crime, particularly for repeat offenders.

        • No, must be a different Maria. I always post with my last name.

      • Jonathan says:

        Prosecutions, sentencing and parole — are state kae issues over which the Mayor has zero control. Look to your local DA’s, the state legislature, and the governor. I’m not a fan of DeBlasio at all, but this isn’tt on him.

    7. Crankypants says:

      Congrats and thank you NYPD. God bless and protect you. If only our politicians would care enough to enforce laws keeping the criminals off the streets.

    8. Dumblasio says:

      Probably will be out in a few days. Can we jail these dumbos for longer than a week?

    9. Kayson212 says:

      Cool sleuthing story. I take it the suspect didn’t have a gun? Those must have been some compelling notes.

      • Compelling note says:

        Prob not, considering he left without $$ more often than not. Showing a weapon would also increase the severity of the crime (I believe but someone can correct me if I’m wrong).

        On the flip side, would you expect a banker teller to responded ‘show me your weapon before I comply” lol?

    10. Great work Officer Etter and Solis. Your hard work and dedication to the safety and well being of this community is admirable and greatly appreciated. I was in a bank the morning of these three robberies and the staff were really frightened. it is a great relief to know our local businesses and the hardworking employees of those businesses as well as the customers are safe, thanks to you.

    11. S says:

      Job well done for the entire 20th! I’m sure it was a team effort but Officer Etter has led many high profile UWS crimes and arrests – I think he deserves a promotion.