September 2nd, 2009
10:31 AM ET

Cop busy breaking the law


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/02/art.vert.crime.torres.jpg caption="Christian Torres, 23, will be sentenced on November 6." width=292 height=320]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

Instead of upholding the law, one cop was busy breaking it.

Now, he’s paying the price.

A former New York City Police Officer was convicted of armed bank robbery and related charges, federal authorities announced Tuesday.

In a press release, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said Christian Torres, pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery, one count of bank larceny, and one count of conspiring to commit bank robbery.

Torres, 23, will be sentenced on November 6. He faces a maximum term of 30 years in prison.

His girlfriend, Christina Dasrath, who – as a teller – allegedly conspired with Torres to commit the heists, pleaded guilty last year to bank fraud, bank larceny and making false statements. She was sentenced in January to 30 months in prison.

Prosecutors said the couple worked together to steal from the same bank on two separate occasions, with Dasrath supplying Torres with help and information from the inside.

They also put on a show for customers and employees.

On June 8, 2007, Torres, who at the time was a police cadet, walked into the Sovereign Bank in Manhattan and approached Dasrath’s window. According to the indictment, Torres handed her a note demanding money. He also threatened to shoot people if his orders were not followed.

Dasrath removed $16,305 from her drawer and gave it to Torres. The couple later shared the proceeds of their staged hold-up.

The second armed robbery occurred on November 16, 2007, when Torres had graduated from the police academy and was serving as a NYPD officer.

On that day, Torres returned again to the Sovereign Bank with a more brazen and violent approach. As with the previous heist, his girlfriend provided him with confidential bank information.

The press release said Torres entered the bank as employees were opening the branch. He ordered them to walk to the vault. When one person refused, Torres brandished a gun and threatened to kill the employee if he did not comply with his orders.

Torres forced one of his captives to tie up the legs of another hostage. He then put on black ski mask and had one employee fill a duffel bag with cash. Torres then told them to remain in the vault for 10 minutes. He left the bank with approximately $102,000.

Prett Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York praised the F.B.I for their assistance in bringing Torres to justice.

He also called the disgraced ex-cop’s behavior an aberration for New York’s finest, saying "Officers of the NYPD put themselves in harm's way every day to protect the citizens of New York City. Today, Christian Torres admitted that he brazenly betrayed his badge by stealing from the very people he swore an oath to protect."

Follow Gabe on Twitter @cnnfalcon.

For more crime coverage go to cnn.com/crime.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    All cops aren't bad, but it doesn't help when a cop is hired only because he knows someone, this can prove to be very dangerous. Bank tellers are the most tempted and underpaid people in banking and often times prey on the elderly during their banking transactions, it happens every day.

    September 3, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  2. Scott Bast

    Reminds me of the old saying, "absolute power corrupts, absolutely". I've witnessed many examples of poor law enforcement in my US travels: officers making DUI arrests then heading off to local bars where they are protected by those on duty, for example. But I've witnessed incredible and selfless acts of law enforcement, as well. Corruption and excellency has always existed among the empowered. Too bad we place ourselves at such risk when reporting the corruption. As for this guy... he kinda stands out... twice! Gotta wonder what he was thinking!

    September 3, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  3. Zoe

    Police who break the law? Are we supposed to be shocked? Please tell me that anyone with any type of education knows this is not an isolated incident.

    For pete's sake!

    September 3, 2009 at 6:58 am |
  4. Tman

    Legalized criminals, what do you expect?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:16 am |
  5. just another one

    We all make mistakes, I'm not siding with him, but it's true, many of us should pray for others, instead of being so quick to judge. I'll admit though, I lost my faith in this country's law enforcement and legal system a long time ago, that is why I left law enforcement myself. God bless.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:52 am |
  6. Rose

    Sure seems out of character for just going through the Police Academy & for them to pull such a crime is brainless. This young handsome guy and the bank employee sure seem to lack any good sense.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:51 am |
  7. billmelater

    Leave it to a south american to do something like this...

    September 3, 2009 at 2:03 am |
  8. Mary

    I was shocked at the 30 yr sentence. You are right, many criminals get much less for rape. This wsd just pitiful.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:53 am |

    WOW! that is not really socking news. How many other N.Y.P.D. Officers are doing worse than that? Just think about it, if a new recruit will go out and rob a bank, how are they really training the new police cadets of the N.Y.P.D.? But for this individual, he should get no less than 50 years. Stupid.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:22 am |
  10. Prichards51

    yeah, 30 yrs seems kind of tought, but the way the system works, he should be out by Christmas of 2010.....

    September 3, 2009 at 12:51 am |
  11. Craig

    Well all I can say is he is going to make someone happy in jail, he is a cutie.

    September 3, 2009 at 12:07 am |
  12. Oren Unger

    Money trumps merit and this article comes at no great surprise to me since I've seen corruption on various levels. It doesn't surprise me the legal system punishes people severely for petty crimes but will probably let this guy go with a slap on the wrist because his previous occupation. It is a surprise to me that people still use the term "legal system" .. I mean, it's an oxymoron. Same as the term "criminal justice" .. another oxymoron. And yes, this nonsense will get written about and produced I'm sure.

    September 3, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  13. R. Vaters

    (Until they were caught) they must of been having an incredibly exciting and exhilarating time of it!

    This, to me anyway, seems to be just another example of "thrill-seeking" gone terribly awry. Fortunately, they were apprehended before anyone was seriously harmed.

    Although I agree, because this young man obviously committed a felonious act, that he must be punished, I very strongly disagree with the idea of incarcerating him into a prison system that will only worsen and further disturb his ...mentality.. rather than rehabilitate him.

    The monsters our prisons are creating and then unleashing upon society are far far worse than the people they were when the first arrived there.

    This man is a joke to many now....
    What I ask, will he be after 10 – 30 years in prison??

    September 2, 2009 at 11:47 pm |
  14. Mike

    One more story of a corrupt cop is barely notable.

    It is sad that he will serve 30 years for crimes committed against a bank, and the big bosses who engineered the financial collapse continue to be rewarded.

    September 2, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  15. aminah jones

    He is not the only law enforcement crook there are many of them. This creep just happened to get caught. If the police are not killing innocent people they are thieves.

    September 2, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  16. arc1929

    dhampton100 wrote:Worst yet, this is a kid, he’s 23 years old. He had no business enforcing the law at that age. People this young have not matured to a level to be in that sort of authoritative position. If he would “rob a bank“ what else has he been doing?

    Since when did 23 years old become a kid? This is an adult no other word to describe him. I know 10 year old KIDS more mature than him.

    September 2, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  17. dhampton100

    Sounds like there are some very naïve people commenting on this story. There have been corrupt cops out there for as long as there have been good ones. Worst yet, this is a kid, he’s 23 years old. He had no business enforcing the law at that age. People this young have not matured to a level to be in that sort of authoritative position. If he would “rob a bank“ what else has he been doing?

    September 2, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  18. Godfather.

    makes it sound like all cops are bad and that stinks.
    but he will get his own cell in a safe wing....

    September 2, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  19. garry pollack

    Would the NYPD get upset if we referred to this guy as a PIG ?

    September 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  20. betty little

    Yesterday I heard that the wildlife sanctuary outside Los Angeles was not going to be able to evacuate all the animals because they didn't have enough big cages. I saw beautiful tigers and bears and I felt so bad for them. People at the sanctuary were spraying them with water to keep them cool. Does anybody knows where does the situation with the sanctuary is?


    September 2, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  21. GF, Los Angeles

    I don't understand why he became a cop. He's suppose to be protecting the people he's robbing!

    September 2, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  22. Jax Cote

    WOW!!!! I can't believe this, but then again I can, because this goes to show just screwed up the Criminal Justice system is.

    September 2, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  23. Winston Roy

    What a disloyalty to the trust that his position as an officer of the law entitles him to!
    It is a sad day indeed.

    September 2, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  24. tea niy

    Yikes!Holy cow..whatever happens to background check??? To think that he WAS a cadet on his first act!

    September 2, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  25. eual stanga

    just another bad cop who thought he was above the law/ the badge goes to some of their heads so watch out America

    September 2, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  26. Kojenwa...Boston and sometimes New York

    Jesus. That's a Hollywood movie in the making if I ever saw one.

    September 2, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  27. Klaatu

    Yikes...that is going to suck...but I cant believe you can get 30 yrs for robbing banks and less than half that time for rape, molestation, and other person crimes against women and children....guess that shows where the American justice system's priorities are....sad

    September 2, 2009 at 11:23 am |