Ex-officer Guilty In Bank Jobs Former City Policeman Thomas Delussey's Plea Involved A Three-year String Of Robberies.

Posted: September 11, 1993

Thomas Richard DeLussey Jr. was in an agreeable mood as he stood yesterday before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez.

Yes, he was among the robbers in Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon masks responsible for a series of bank robberies in Philadelphia and New Jersey in the last three years.

And yes, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Zoubek was correct in his outline to the court of how he and gang members threatened bank employees with guns and a cattle prod.

However, when the prosecutor described the 55-year-old former Philadelphia policeman as the leader of the robbers who struck in Northeast Philadelphia and in Bellmawr, DeLussey and his attorney, Raymond E. Milavsky, drew the line.

The defendant, wearing a light blue T-shirt, jeans and white sneakers, also refused to go along with the prosecution's version of the role that his son, Richard DeLussey 3d, played in the robberies.

The senior DeLussey told Rodriguez during the 45-minute plea hearing in Camden that his son had not been among the armed participants who entered the banks. "His involvement was to drive a backup getaway car," he said.

However, DeLussey admitted that his son had willfully taken part in the robberies and shared in the loot.

The younger DeLussey and Daniel Manning, 60, of Edgewater Park, pleaded guilty earlier this week to their involvement in three bank robberies. Rodriguez set a sentencing date of Dec. 10 for the pair.

The elder DeLussey is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 3.

Yesterday, DeLussey admitted his part in the robberies of the Continental Bank on Willits Road in the Northeast on Christmas Eve 1990, the robbery of the Fidelity Bank on Cottman Avenue on Sept. 3, 1991, and the robbery of the First People's Bank in Bellmawr on Jan. 22, 1992.

DeLussey also pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to rob a Provident Bank in Philadelphia early this year.

The plan was cancelled when they discovered the bank had hired a security guard.

According to Zoubek and FBI records, the gang wore Reagan and Nixon masks during the robberies. They struck after conducting hours of surveillance of the banks.

According to records and court testimony, the men stole vans or trucks and smashed them into the banks just after employees had opened the night deposit boxes. The boxes were opened before the banks' doors were unlocked, so there were no customers inside.

A court affidavit by FBI Special Agent Quinn John Tamm Jr. stated that the investigation began in November when Steven Falato, 40, of Willingboro, apparently angry with the others, walked into the FBI's Trenton office and told Agent Linda Keene he would cooperate with authorities about bank robberies in which he had been involved.

Proceedings against Falato and Thomas H. Baran, 29, of Somerdale, are scheduled this month in federal court in Camden, Zoubek said.

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