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Blackjack bank bandit busted

Apr 21, 2010
Blackjack Robber

Joeseph Baer, 39, was arrested on Tuesday while playing blackjack at a casino in Atlantic City. Baer was suspected of robbing three banks in Philadelpha during the past week. He has been convicted of robbing banks before, and has a history of gambling. Police suspected he might show up at casinos in the area to gamble away the money he robbed.

ABC News Philadelphia: Serial bank robbery suspect in custody

Joseph Baer, a 39 year old man wanted for robbing three banks in the US state of Pennsylvania last week, is now in police custody. He was spotted around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning at the blackjack tables in the Trump Plaza Casino, where he was apprehended.

Baer is an avid gambler, and police suspected that they would find him in one of the local casinos.

Baer is being charged with robbing approximately $1,000 from the PNC Bank in Philadelphia on April 13th. He is also a suspect in two other bank robberies: one at the Citizens Bank and one at the TruMark Financial Credit Union last Friday.

The FBI says that Baer was also wanted for escaping from a halfway house the day of the PNC Bank robbery.

Philly.com: Bank robbery suspect nabbed at casino

For Joseph Baer, a recent trip to gamble in Atlantic City turned out to be a losing bet.

Baer, who was wanted in connection with three bank robberies that happened last week, was spotted playing blackjack at the Trump Plaza Casino by New Jersey state troopers. The officers took the suspect into custody without incident.

On Monday, Baer was caught on camera robbing a Citizen’s Bank branch in Northeast Philadelphia. Last week, he allegedly robbed a different bank in the city’s Mayfair section, where he was also caught on security cameras.

Baer was also wanted for escaping from a federal halfway house on the day of the first robbery. He recently served six-year sentence for robbing two banks in 2004, and had been living at the Luzerne Community Corrections Center in North Philadelphia. His caseworker told authorities that he signed out on April 12 to go to work at a McDonalds.

CBS News Philadelphia: Serial Bank Bandit Found In A.C. Casino

A suspected serial bank robber is in custody after police spotted him playing blackjack a casino in Atlantic City on Tuesday morning.

New Jersey State Police detectives detained 39-year-old Joseph Baer on the floor of the Trump Plaza Casino without incident at around 10 a.m.

Baer was wanted for robbing a PNC Bank in Philadelphia on April 13. Security images showed Baer wearing a Donovan McNabb Eagles jersey when he robbed the bank of $1,000 – the images earned him the nickname “McNabb Bandit”. Baer’s identity came to light with a member of the public recognized him from the photos.

Baer is also suspected of being involved in the robbery of two other area banks that were committed last week.

FBI officials say Baer was convicted of two different bank robberies back in March 2004.

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$1 Million in Illegal Gambling Cash Found Buried in Pennsylvania Yard

Apr 02, 2010
Dig

Joe Mastronardo, the son-in-law of the late mayor of Philadelphia has been arrested together with his brother John and charged with conspiracy, gambling and running a corrupt organization, due to an illegal bookkeeping operation that they ran. Over $1 million was dug up by law enforcement in Mastronardo’s lawn in a recent raid.

Fox News: Over $1 Million Found In PVC Pipes

More than $1 million cash was recently found buried in the yard of Joe Mastronardo, son-in-law of late Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo. County investigators and the FBI spent all Wednesday digging up Mastronardo’s the backyard in Abington looking for the hidden cash. Montgomery County DA Risa Ferman and the FBI moved to freeze bank accounts in Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Mastronardo and his brother were arrested in a federal bookmaking scheme in 2006. At that point, the brothers agreed to forfeit about $2.7 million dollars as part of a plea agreement.

John and Joseph Mastronardo are being held on $1 million bail each. They’ve been charged with conspiracy, gambling and running a corrupt organization. Preliminary hearings and bail hearings are set for next week.

ABC News: Pa. brothers charged with running gambling ring

This is the second time in 4 years that Montgomery County authorities have arrested the Mastronardo brothers for running a sports betting operation.

Court documents indicate that most of the evidence that lead to the arrests was gathered on wiretaps, including a conversation in which Joseph Mastronardo discussed NCAA March Madness tournament. Looking for cash taken in from sports bets, and they found more than a million dollars.

In Mastronado’s backyard and shrubbery, 4 PVC pipe tubes full of cash and capped at both ends were unearthed. Investigators executed over 46 search warrants yesterday at other homes owned by the Mastronardos. They also seized bank accounts in Florida, Tennessee and offshore.

This is the fourth time the Mastronardo brothers have been arrested on gambling charges since 1983. They forfeited close to $3-million and received probation 4 years ago. Now, they are being held without bail for violating the terms of their probation and are looking at long jail terms.

CBS News: Abington Yard Searched In Money Laundering Probe

The FBI, along with county investigators, dug up the yard of a Montgomery County mansion Wednesday as part of an alleged money laundering investigation. Eyewitnesses in the neighborhood of million dollar homes claim that they saw the FBI uncover what appeared to be bags of cash.

Sources also told Eyewitness News that the home belongs to Joe Mastronardo, who is the son-in-law of the late Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo. Mastronardo is currently in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility for violating probation. He was convicted of bookmaking in 2006. He is being held on $1 million bail.

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Palm Beach Princess may head to Haiti to aid relief workers

Feb 12, 2010
Palm Beach Princess Casino goes to Haiti

The gambling cruise ship, Palm Beach Princess, may be headed on a journey that differs greatly from its regularly beaten path. The ship may be headed to Haiti to provide aid and shelter to the relief workers that are currently working on the disaster-ridden island nation.

CBS News: Gambling Ship Headed to Haiti

Our area’s gambling cruise ship may be headed to Haiti. The Palm Beach Princess is now sitting at its berth at the Port of Palm Beach in Riviera Beach. The ship’s website indicates that cruises are suspended until further notice.

Port Director, Manny Almira, said the company that owns the Princess, has told him it will move the ship to Haiti in the next week in order to provide housing for aid workers there. The Princess has been having engine problems and labor troubles, recently. The company is bankrupt and regulators have given the Princess until fall to make major safety improvements to the ship.

Ocean Development decided to halt operations due to expenses. They are in negotiations to charter the boat as a recreational floating hotel to entertain relief workers in Haiti. The company hopes to resume a gambling cruise with a different boat in the future.

ABC News: Palm Beach Princess Headed to Haiti?

The Palm Beach Princess may be headed to Haiti. WPBF 25 News was informed that the day-cruise casino ship is ending its run at the Port of Palm Beach to entertain Americans in Haiti. The crew has been given the option to go to Haiti or quit.

The Princess’s officials told say they’re looking into sending the ship elsewhere “so that government workers in Haiti — U.S. volunteers — may have a place to sleep, have a hot meal, rest.”

In December, the ship’s certificate of compliance was revoked and it could no longer carry passengers in US waters after it failed to make repairs to its main engine, which failed during a trip. It has been operating with two auxiliary motors since.

The Palm Beach Post: Port-au-Princess? — Casino ship may become Haiti relief hotel

Captains of the Palm Beach Princess casino ship made a dramatic announcement to the crew Wednesday morning: We’re going to Haiti. They plan to go to the earthquake-ravaged nation next week to assist the international relief effort, most likely as a floating hotel for aid workers.

Foreign crew members may serve out their employment contracts in Haiti — one-year agreements that pay, at most, a few hundred dollars a month, plus tips — or pay their own way back home. “They are looking for the crew to resign, and if the crew resigns, it doesn’t pay the ticket — this is what they are looking to do,” said Mauro Sebben, the disgruntled co-owner of the ship.

The Princess has sailed only intermittently since the main engine died in September. Since then, it’s been dogged by crew strikes, layoffs and complaints of poor service. One of the boats co-owners intends on parking the ship in Haiti and providing shelter while at the same time freeing itself from having to pay for tugboats on a daily basis.

Princess managers have offered few details about their Haiti plans and what commitments they might have obtained there, other than to say in an interview last week that they were exploring a deal with a government and a humanitarian relief fund, neither of which they would name, to offer lodging for relief workers.

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