Bnei Brak – US-Israeli Indicted For ‘Old Man Mask’ Heists

A man was indicted Monday for carrying out a series of armed robberies at banks, jewelry shops, and currency exchange kiosks, during which he disguised himself as an old man using lifelike masks and gloves.

The indictment was filed against Binyamin Bikovski, 26, of Bnei Brak, at the Tel Aviv District Court.

Bikovski was born in Russia and moved with his family to the US. He immigrated to Israel by himself three years ago.

Prosecutors said that in addition to the mask and gloves, Bikovski also obtained air pistols, capable of firing pellets, that had the appearance of handguns.

The aim was “to terrify his victims and cause them to comply with his demands and to hand over their cash and expensive items,” the indictment said.

The robberies were carried out over a the past few years in the Tel Aviv area and central region of the country, police said in a statement last month that announced Bikovski’s arrest.

Police said he was being held in connection with seven robberies.

Bikovski was arrested July 18 on Yehoshua Hankin Street in Holon after the owner of a currency exchange kiosk noticed him observing the premises and became suspicious.

Bikovski was also recorded on CCTV cameras, police said in the July statement.

Adding to the sharp-eyed kiosk owner’s suspicions was the fact that Bikovski appeared to be in possession of a gun.

Within minutes of receiving the kiosk owner’s call, officers rushed to the scene, police said. However, Bikovski, apparently realizing he had been spotted, tried to escape by boarding a bus.

Police gave chase and flagged down the vehicle as it headed toward Sokolov Street.

When confronted by cops, Bikovski first pretended he could only speak English; however, a search of his person uncovered an Israeli identity card as well as a pair of eyeglasses that matched those worn by the perpetrator of the various robberies, as seen in security camera footage.

Officers detained Bikovski and searched his home, where they found face masks and gloves, designed to look like human skin, that were allegedly used during bank robberies in Tel Aviv.

They also found pistols, as well as clothes that he is suspected to have worn during the crimes, the statement said at the time.

Prosecutors asked that Bikovski be denied bail.

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