ITHACA, N.Y. – An Ithaca man has been arrested after robbing a bank at knifepoint on Thursday afternoon.

Benjamin Brancato, 31, is charged with first-degree robbery after stealing nearly $200 dollars in cash from the Elmira Savings Bank located at 702 S. Meadow St.

Police say they responded to reports of a robbery at the bank around 1:21 p.m. Witnesses say Brancato came into the bank and brandished a red Swiss Army knife while demanding cash from a bank teller.

The bank employee said she gave Brancato an unknown amount of cash from her cash drawer. According to court records, an audit later determined that Brancato stole $193 dollars.

Records state Brancato ran in the direction of Tops Friendly Markets, located at 710 Meadow St., where he attempted to make a purchase. An IPD officer canvassing the area said he saw a subject who matched the witness description at 1:39 p.m. who was later identified as Brancato.

“I am thankful for the hard work by the officers who worked this case,” Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick said in a news release. “Catching a bank robber less than twenty minutes after the robbery is a testament to their hard work and great teamwork.”

Brancato was arraigned in Ithaca City Court and has been charged with first-degree robbery. He is currently in custody at the Tompkins County jail in lieu of $5,000 dollar cash or $10,000 dollar bail bond.

“I am once again proud of the hard work by our officers – great teamwork solved this case,” IPD Chief of Police Pete Tyler said. “Starting with the initial response by patrol, then broadcasting the description of the suspects to other units and the canvass of the area, and then spotting the suspect and making the arrest. It was a great job by everyone involved.”

Featured image courtesy of Mark Costa.

Alyvia Covert

Alyvia is a Crime Reporter with The Ithaca Voice. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Journalism and Photography.