MURRAY HILL — A journalist covering the United Nations for an African news agency who also worked briefly for the UN was arrested for committing a series of bank robberies that netted him about $10,000, police and officials said.
Abdullahi Shuaibu, 53, of Holliswood, Queens, was arrested Monday after his most recent attempted robbery when a retired police officer working at the UN recognized him from a wanted poster, the NYPD said.
During the first incident, on Feb. 27, Shuaibu passed a note to a teller at the Santander Bank at 330 Madison Ave., at 43rd Street, saying he had a gun and wanted cash, police said. He fled with an unknown amount of money, police said.
On March 13, he tried robbing the Bank of America at 750 Third Ave., at 47th Street, again passing a note demanding money, but left empty-handed when the teller ignored him and walked away from the window, authorities said.
Shuaibu hit another Santander Bank at 1062 Third Ave. at 63rd Street on March 27 using another demand note, making off with an unknown amount of money, police said.
Finally, on Monday at 2:35 p.m., he tried robbing the HSBC Bank at 617 Third Ave., at 40th Street, by passing a demand note, but the teller didn’t read it and asked that he show identification, police said. Shuaibu told the teller to read the note while he kept his hand in his jacket as if he had a weapon inside, but ultimately fled bank empty-handed, police said.
He returned to UN building shortly thereafter, where police were waiting for him, authorities said.
A United Nations spokesman said Shuaibu worked there in October and November 2013, noting he also spent time as a resident correspondent representing the News Agency of Nigeria up until 2012. However, the spokesman denied he was arrested at the UN.
Shuaibu’s resume and social media accounts stated that he worked as a communications specialist for the UN from 2012 to 2013, as well working as a journalist for Panapress News Agency in Nigeria.
Police charged charged Shuaibu with two counts of robbery and two counts of attempted robbery, though he had not arraigned as of Tuesday morning, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
An attorney for Shuaibu could not be reached for comment.