$30K in debt, man threatened by pro gambler arrested for bank robberies

Image 1 of 4

Nick Cinqueranelli has a good job, lots of friends and a beautiful family but he's behind bars accused of robbing several local banks.

"He unfortunatley is addicted to something in this case is worse than drugs," said David Griem. "And that's gambling."

Griem never thought this Cinqueranelli would be his client, he's known him since he was a kid - and the 27-year-old had never been in trouble with the law - until last week when the Grosse Pointe native allegedly robbed the Chase Bank near his family's home Wednesday evening.

"He handed the teller a note stating he had a gun and to put 100s and 50s into an envelope which the teller did," said Chief Stephen Poloni, Grosse Pointe Department of Public Safety. "The teller noticed he had been in the bank twice earlier that day without making any transactions also. So he was recognized but he escaped at that point."

Police say he only got away with about $2,000 and it wasn't nearly enough  - so he was back at it the next day.

On Thursday police say he presented another note to another teller at the Fifth Third Bank in Grosse Pointe Farms. He left before getting any money - it's alleged Cinqueranelli stopped outside another bank in Grosse Pointe but didn't go in, before heading home .

Someone had called police with his license plate and police spotted him.

"The lead detective on the case was in fresh pursuit, chased him into the house and arrested him at that point," said Poloni.

"It's potential life imprisonment," said Griem.

All, his attorney says, over gambling. Cinqueranelli bet on sports  and owed a total of $30,000 to two professional gamblers and one was threatening to kill him and his family.

Cinqueranelli was so desperate, Griem said, he called several friends the day before the bank robbery trying to get a loan.

"He did fear for his life," Griem said. "Nick went to a number of different people trying to borrow money to pay off the gambling debt."

When that didn't work, Griem says his client did the unexpected.

"It's inconceivable that this happened," Griem said. "I mean this is a good kid who had done everything right for 27 years. And then - like that - it's all gone.

"Sadly he's going to pay a significant penalty for those actions."

Cinqueranelli is out on bond he's due back in court in July.