Red Masked Bandit Arrested For String Of Deli Stickups In Brooklyn & Queens

It was the red bandana that did him in.

Feds say they have nabbed the man responsible for a series of recent bodega stickups in Brooklyn and Queens, reports the Staten Island Advance — thanks, in part, to one distinguishing item of clothing.

Charles Gelzer, 47, was arrested on November 17 for allegedly sticking up two men, ages 20 and 24, in the handball court behind behind I.S. 281 Joseph B. Cavallaro on July 21. Gelzer made off with the victims’ wallets, watches, cellphones, and cash, according to police.

When federal agents caught up with Gelzer in Staten Island last week, they found a red Trinidad and Tobago flag mask he wore in each of the deli heists in his pocket, tying him to the other crimes.

From the SI Advance:

The mask in his pocket, federal authorities allege, showed up in two stick-ups – the Sept. 3 stick-up of a grocery in Bensonhurst, and the Oct. 12 robbery of the M & M Bagel Store at 1609 Victory Blvd. in Castleton Corners.
In both robberies, two gun-wielding men – one of whom wore a black vest with two silver buttons on the lapel, and the aforementioned mask – directed store employees to lie on the floor while they raided the cash register.

The red mask slipped from Gelzer’s face in the September stickup, allowing authorities a full glimpse of his face on security cameras, according to reports.

Gelzer, who has a criminal record dating back to 1993, served a 20-year jail sentence for multiple first-degree robbery convictions before he was released on parole in 2012. He is currently being held without bail.