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Caught! Cops say they have the Commerce Bank bandit

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The bumbling bandit who tried to rob the Commerce Bank on Fifth Avenue twice in three days last month has been caught, police say.

Clenzo Thompson was nabbed last week in New Jersey, where he was visiting a friend. He was promptly turned over to the NYPD, which hit him with an array of charges stemming from his alleged attempts to rob “America’s Most Convenient Bank” on Jan. 12 and 14.

He was arraigned on Jan. 26 and remains on Rikers Island, unable to make the $1,000 bail.

In the first robbery attempt, Thompson walked in and slipped a note to the teller, who passed over $2,340, cops said.

But before the bandit could get out the door, a dye-pack that had been slipped into the cache of cash exploded. He dropped the bag and fled.

Two days later, police said, Thompson was back at the same branch making the same attempt at a withdrawal.

The same thing — right down to the exploding dye pack — happened. But this time, the never-say-dye Thompson hijacked a livery cab and fled, cops said.

He was arrested without incident in Boonton, New Jersey.

Thompson’s alleged efforts to rob the one-year-old Commerce Bank branch follow attempts by other crooks on Halloween and Dec. 26 last year.

Some neighbors blamed the victim, saying that the bank’s “customer friendly” approach — with no bulletproof Plexiglas, for example — is encouraging robbers.

But Commerce Bank spokesman David Flaherty said that just as many customers appreciate that the bank doesn’t feel like a prison.

“The safety of our employees and customers is first and foremost, but at the same time, part of the Commerce Bank model is the convenience and the one-on-one service we provide,” he said.

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