Arrest in Bank Robbery in Lackawanna County

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- State police caught the man they say held up a bank in Lackawanna County.

Troopers say Petr Alexanderovich Kostenetskiy of Thornhurst robbed NBT Bank in Mount Cobb around 1:30 p.m. Monday.

According to state police, he admitted to robbing NBT Bank in Jefferson Township Monday afternoon.

Troopers said Kostenetskiy was wearing a camouflage ghillie suit when he walked into the bank around 1:30 p.m. when he slipped and fell, before getting up, showing a BB gun, running off with more than $4,000.

Law enforcement from several communities swarmed the area around the bank searching for the robber. State police could be seen on Routes 247 and 348 for hours.

Carol DeFelice works at a gas station across the street.

“What I seen was a bunch of cops everywhere. I saw the dogs, the forensic van,” said Defelice.

Hours later, police spotted him coming out of the woods, wearing flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt.

Troopers say Kostenetskiy told them he was hiking but saw a man wearing a ghillie suit, before admitting he robbed the bank.

He told investigators where to find his gun, suit, a bag of money and a knife hidden under brush in the woods.

"I used to work in a bank so as an employee, it's one of the fears. You just want them to get in, take what they want or give you the note or whatever. You just give them that and just get out, not do anything stupid," said Mildred Scieber of Spring BrookTownship.

The bank posted a sign on its front door as well as the drive-through window, alerting customers the bank was closed due to an emergency.

“The drugs and everything, their backs are against the wall and nobody wants to work for money. They just want to take from other people,” said Schieber.

Schieber used to work at a bank and says at least no one was injured.

“As an employee, it's one of the fears. You always wanted a professional bank robber to get in, get out, not do anything stupid to injure somebody,” said Schieber. “You just give them the dye packs or whatever and then just get out and leave us alone.”

Troopers say Kostenetskiy also tried to rob a different NBT Bank in Elmhurst Township on July 10 but couldn't get inside because the bank was not open yet.

Kostenetskiy told state police he drove to the nearby Elmhurst reservoir the night of July 9. He swam across it then sprinkled chili power on the ground to throw any police K-9s off his scent.

He climbed the bank roof, planning to jump on top of a bank employee and use that person to get into the vault.

When he realized the roof was too high, Kostenetskiy said he hid in the woods and waited for morning, trying to walk through the front door around 8:22 a.m. but the door was locked. The bank was not open yet. He tried the back door. That was locked, too, so he ran off.

Kostenetskiy is charged with robbery, attempted robbery, aggravated assault, criminal trespass, and theft.

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