Ithaca, N.Y. — Three people piled into the Ithaca cab last Wednesday and told the driver to go to the Elmira Savings Bank on East State Street, just off the Commons.

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As the driver neared the destination, the woman in the group told the driver not to use the bank’s parking lot because she “had an issue at the bank and could not be at the property.”

He instead parked on the next block. One of the men then got out.

“A few minutes later he came running back across the street holding his front pocket of his hooded sweatshirt,” the cab driver later told police.

The man pulled $180 in cash out of his pocket and gave it to the driver. The driver then took the group to the Destiny USA Mall in Syracuse.

When the cab driver went back to Ithaca, he joked with the taxi dispatcher about the strangeness of the day, according to police records.

“I joked … that the way the guy ran out of the bank, it looked like he robbed it,” the cab driver told police. “At the time I was joking.”

It turned out that Ian Miles, 28, stole took $3,182 from the bank, according to Ithaca police.

Miles would be arrested Friday, sent to jail and charged with the felony of third-degree robbery. Miles had entered five banks and “chickened out on four” before robbing the Elmira Savings Bank, he later told police, according to records.

The teller told police that a man matching Miles description entered the bank around 3:10 p.m. staring at her. She asked Miles to put his hood down, and he didn’t.

“He then slid a note to me,” the woman later told police. “…He looked at me and stated, ‘Keep your (expletive) hands where I can see them; Keep them where I can see them.’”

The woman slid Miles the money: “He placed the money into the hooded pull-over(‘s) front pocket, turned around and went straight to the door and left.”

Destiny USA in Syracuse. (Courtesy of the mall’s Facebook page)

When Miles got back in the cab, according to records, the driver went to pick up an unrelated passenger on State Street.

The woman Miles was with didn’t like that, statements to police show.

“During this time the female was complaining about me picking up another fare and at one point stated that they would get out and get another cab,” the cab driver later told police.

“I told them, just wait, and I would get them there.”

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.