Swoyersville man pleads guilty to 2019 bank robbery in West Scranton

·1 min read

Jun. 27—A Luzerne County man who was linked to a 2019 bank robbery in West Scranton through DNA recovered from the holdup note he handed to a teller pleaded guilty Monday in Lackawanna County Court.

Vasiliy Chinikaylo, 32, Swoyersville, entered the plea to one felony count of robbery during a brief remote appearance before Judge Michael J. Barrasse.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Scranton police detectives charged Chinikaylo in January with holding up the Wells Fargo Bank branch office at 101 N. Main Ave. on Dec. 30, 2019.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Gallagher told Barrasse that investigators allege Chinikaylo entered the bank and handed a teller a note saying he had a bomb and demanding that the teller calmly give him money.

"No ink or trackers or else," Gallagher said the note continued.

The robber got away with $8,105, the prosecutor said.

"Sir, did you commit that crime?" Barrasse asked Chinikaylo.

"Yes, your honor," he replied.

Chinikaylo's attorney, Demetrius Fannick, told Barrasse his client understands what the guilty plea entails and that it is in his best interests.

During the robbery investigation, detectives collected DNA from the holdup note, which was written on a business envelope, and submitted the samples to a state police laboratory for analysis, according to the arrest affidavit.

After the lab found the DNA on the note preliminarily matched known DNA samples belonging to Chinikaylo, investigators obtained a new DNA sample from the defendant last September that confirmed the match, the affidavit said.

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