Update (Video): Bogus Park Ridge Active Shooter Call, Bank Robbery Unrelated, Authorities Say

UPDATE (MAY 8, 2019): As coincidences go, it's odd: A bogus 911 "active shooter" call that brought a SWAT team and swarms of other responders to a Park Ridge home had nothing to do with a bank robbery across town that occurred at almost the same time, authorities said.

Questions of a possible connection arose after authorities last week announced that Austin Parks, 48, of Spring Valley had been charged with making the April 17 call.

However, a senior law enforcement official told Daily Voice that the call was "unrelated...oddly" to the robbery at nearly the same time of an Oritani Bank branch barely a mile away.

Parks used technology to block his number when he made the call of a domestic incident that he said turned into a shooting, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo said.

Parks "knew the names of the people [who] live at that address, adding credibility to the call," another senior law enforcement officer said.

The tactical team and various law enforcement agencies rushed to the South 5th Street neighborhood, while area schools were temporarily sheltered in place.

At the same time, a man wearing a bicycle helmet over a baseball cap and a scarf around his neck walked into the bank into the Oritani branch, in a Kinderkamack Road shopping center, and asked to speak with the manager.

The robber told the manager that he was "in possession of a bomb and requested that all employees accompany him to the vault," Calo said. "Once in the vault, he had the employees empty the safe and place U.S. currency into a large black bag."

He fled with more than $32,000 in what witnesses said might have been a white minivan.

Authorities released a video and surveillance images of the robber in the hopes that someone saw or knows something that would help catch him.

Meanwhile, detectives tracked the bogus 911 call.

Detectives from Calo's Cyber Crimes Unit and Park Ridge Police Department quickly pegged Parks -- formerly of Mahwah and Sloatsburg.

Parks has an extensive criminal record dating back nearly 20 years. He has repeated arrests for stalking, harassment, threats and violating court orders.

Two years ago, police in Stony Point charged him with violating protective orders at two Tomkins Cove homes after he tried sending a taxi to one of them.

SEE: Man Violates Orders Of Protection To Two Tomkins Cove Homes, Police Say

In an earlier protection violation, Stony Point police charged Parks with slashing a victim's tires and making harassing calls.

SEE: Tomkins Cove Man Arrested For Damaging Tire, Harassing Victim

Parks was in the Rockland County Jail when investigators identified him as the caller.

He was extradited early last week and remained held Wednesday in the Bergen County Jail, charged with causing false public alarm and violating a final restraining order.

Anyone with information that can help identify the bank robbery suspect is asked to contact the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office at (201) 226-5782.


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