Today’s news:

Woodhaven officer admits robbing bank

A suspended Woodhaven rookie police officer admitted that he lived a secret life on the other side of the law Monday, a U.S. District Court clerk said.

Christian A. Torres, 21, of 86-01 94th St., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Reading, Pa., to armed bank robbery and using a firearm for the incident that occurred April 10 at a Sovereign Bank in the town of Muhlenberg, Pa., according to the U.S. District Court clerk, who read from the case docket.

Torres admitted to robbing $113,000 in cash from the vault of the branch and threatening workers with a pistol, the clerk said.

"It has been a very difficult road for Christian," Paul S. Missan, Torres' lawyer, told the Reading Eagle newspaper. "He is happy to have this portion of the case resolved."

Torres, suspended from his position as an NYPD transit officer after the holdup, was hit with a mandatory seven-year sentence on a weapons charge and faces additional prison time for the robbery charge, the paper reported.

The tarnished officer is currently in federal custody and is facing charges on two other robberies in 2007 at Sovereign banks in Brooklyn, according to the District Court.

The former officer approached the Pennsylvania bank the morning of the robbery, held up a worker with his silver Glock and entered the branch, Mulhenberg, police said. Another teller noticed what he was doing and sounded a silent alarm.

After forcing the bank's employees to stuff bills into a CVS shopping bag, Torres, disguised with a wig, was arrested outside the building by a police officer who responded to the alarm, according to the authorities.

A day after he was arrested, the NYPD issued a search warrant for his Woodhaven residence and federal prosecutors charged him with additional crimes involving two previous holdups.

Investigators said he robbed $16,000 from a Sovereign branch in Brooklyn on June 8, 2007 and stole $102,000 from the same bank five months later. He used the money from the second robberies to buy a new Scion car and a diamond engagement ring for his girlfriend, according to police.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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