String of high-figure bank jobs solved, FBI says

by  Jerry DeMarco, special from

NEWARK — Nathaniel Barreto of Newark admitted to being “the Black Stocking Robber” and Juan Perez of Clifton the wheelman in a string of bank holdups in Paramus, Boonton and elsewhere from North to Central Jersey that ended when they were tracked down following an armed robbery Tuesday, the FBI said.

Bureau investigators believe the pair is responsible for the string of bank holdups that quickly drew attention to them, thanks to the FBI’s custom website: Bandit Tracker East and electronic billboards.


At the FBI’s request, amounts aren’t being published on CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM because the bureau is the agency that provided the web site with the full, initial report. Most holdups yield a few thousand dollars, but every now and then a Baretto tandem turns up and makes off with more than most others: It’s no coincidence that they’re ordinarily caught the quickest.

Baretto, 28, entered the PNC Bank branch on Route 10 in Whippany at 2:15 Tuesday afternoon, wearing a black stocking mask, clothing and gloves, the FBI said.

He was carrying “a plastic bag in one hand and a black handgun in the other….,” a complaint filed in Newark says.

After walking out with several thousand dollars in cash, Baretto apparently ditched the gun and some cash outside the bank before getting into the getaway car, it says.

But a witness described the green Acura, including the license plate.

Police later found the car abandoned on a dead-end street, with some cash strewn outside, in Hanover Township.

In the woods nearby, they found Perez, 20, who they said was carrying some of the money. A canine unit was brought in and tracked down Barreto about two hours later, they said.

Agents said both men admitted to their roles in the holdup. Barreto copped to a half-dozen others, as well, they said.

The FBI said the string began June 25 at the Wachovia branch on Broad Street in Bloomfield, followed two weeks later by a holdup of a Mariner’s Bank on Oradel Avenue in Paramus. The rest were in Whitehouse, West Orange, Boonton, West Pine Brook and Woodbridge, as well as a failed attempt at a PNC branch in Bloomfield Aug. 9, the bureau said.

Perez was released on $125,000 bond following a federal court appearance. Barreto was being held pending upcoming court appearances.

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