SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Police say two years after a Scranton bank robbery, a Luzerne County man is facing charges after his DNA was found at the scene of the crime.
According to court papers, on December 30, 2019, just before 3:00 p.m., police responded to Wells Fargo Bank at 101 North Main Avenue in Scranton for a reported bank robbery and bomb threat.
Police say the suspect entered the bank and handed the teller a note that read, “I have a bomb!!! Calmly give me all your money, no ink or trackers, or else!!!” The teller then handed the money to the suspect and he fled on foot.
The handwritten note was taken by crime scene detectives and processed for DNA. It was determined to contain DNA belonging to the suspected bank robber and was sent to the PSP Crime Lab for further testing, the affidavit reads.
Officials say on August 9, 2021, the Forensic DNA Division of the PSP sent a report indicating the DNA on the handwritten note was uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System or CODIS, and as a result, the DNA matched samples from a man identified as Vasiliy Chinikaylo, 31, of Gillespie Street in Swyoersville.
According to law enforcement, this was considered a preliminary report, and police needed to get another DNA sample for a final comparison. The CODIS match allowed detectives to obtain a search warrant for a DNA swab of Chinikaylo for comparison.
Police say Chinikaylo was already on probation in Luzerne County for a robbery that occurred after the Wells Fargo bank robbery.
Officers say they spoke with Chinikaylo and explained to him that he was a suspect in a bank robbery investigation due to evidence collected containing his DNA, and that they did have a warrant to collect his DNA.
Police say Chinikaylo agreed and allowed them to collect a sample. The swab was then sent to the PSP lab for further testing.
On October 26, 2021, The lab concluded the DNA swab from Chinikaylo was indeed a match to the DNA recovered from the handwritten note from the Wells Fargo bank robbery in 2019, the affidavit stated.
Chinikaylo was taken into custody and remanded to Lackawanna County Prison. He was unable to post the $100,000 bail that was set.
He faces four felony counts of robbery, a misdemeanor count of recklessly endangering another person and one felony count of terroristic threats.
A preliminary hearing for Chinikaylo is scheduled for Monday, January 24 at 10:00 a.m. in front of Magisterial District Judge Laura M. Turlip.