On June 14, someone robbed the Cardinal Bank at 14000 Sullyfield Circle in Chantilly. Now, Fairfax County police have charged a 44-year-old Annandale man with the crime.
He is Eric Thomas Kjellson of 3503 Annandale Road, and police believe he's responsible for three other bank robberies, as well.
THE ONE in Chantilly happened just after 10 a.m. Police said a man walked into the bank, approached a teller and demanded money. The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash. No weapon was displayed, and no one was injured.
The suspect was described as white, about 6 feet 2 inches. And he wore a long-sleeved T-shirt, blue jeans, sunglasses and a safari-type hat. According to police, detectives later received information about a possible suspect and followed up on the lead.
The trail apparently led to Kjellson and, last Tuesday, July 3, police charged him with four counts of bank robbery. Conveniently for them, he was already incarcerated in the Adult Detention Center for parole violation, so that's where detectives served him with the bank-robbery, arrest warrants.
Besides the robbery at Cardinal Bank in Chantilly, Kjellson is also accused of sticking-up the following banks:
* May 2 — 11 a.m., United Bank, 3289 Woodburn Road in Fairfax;
* May 8 — 10 a.m., BB&T Bank, 11230 Waples Mill Road, in Fairfax;
* June 15 — 2:15 p.m., Bank of America, 7220 Columbia Pike, in Annandale.
Actually, these recent arrests aren't Kjellson's first brush with the law — far from it. He's been convicted in four, different jurisdictions, has already served time in prison and has a criminal history stretching back to 1994.
In Fairfax County Circuit Court, he was convicted Feb. 17, 1995 for a Sept. 19, 1994 robbery and later sentenced to 10 years in prison. In Prince William County, he received a five-year, suspended sentence, March 30, 1995 for stealing a credit card.
IN ARLINGTON COUNTY, Kjellson was sentenced April 4, 1995 to 12 months behind bars for a grand larceny. And on April 20, 1995 in the City of Alexandria, he received 10 years incarceration for robbery.
All those convictions left him with 20 years to serve. But since his crimes were committed before parole was abolished in Virginia in January 1995, he didn't have to serve all his prison time. Instead, he was paroled.
However, Kjellson broke the law again in 2005 and was convicted of obstruction of justice and parole violation in Fairfax County. So from Nov. 22, 2005 until Aug. 4, 2006, he was a resident of this county's Adult Detention Center before returning again to prison.
He was later released, but didn't stay free for long. On June 26 of this year, he was charged with parole violation and placed in this county's jail, once more. Kjellson is being held without bond and has a Sept. 11 court date for his new, bank-robbery charges.
In a July 3 affidavit for a warrant to search Kjellson's Nokia cell phone, Fairfax County Police Det. Earl Bowers — with the Robbery Unit of the Criminal Investigations Bureau — presented some details of the case against him. And he noted that several banks in this county were robbed between May 2-June 15.
"The suspect in those robberies matched the same physical description," wrote Bowers. "Videotape and digital images from security systems at several of the banks where the robberies occurred showed the suspect wearing hats to partially conceal his face and shield his identity."
The detective also wrote that the bank robber tried to disguise his appearance by wearing "artificial facial hair and a wig" during several of the heists. Bowers stated that he was investigating these crimes and, as a result of police efforts, Kjellson was identified as a possible suspect.
On June 27, a county magistrate issued two search warrants. One authorized the search of Kjellson's vehicle and the other authorized the search of a rented room where he lived. Police officers and detectives executed those warrants, the same day they were issued, and seized clothing items reportedly related to the bank robberies.
Also that day, Bowers saw a sealed, clear, plastic bag containing the property taken from Kjellson when he was processed into the Adult Detention Center, following his June 26 arrest.
"AMONG THE property inside the sealed bag was a black wristwatch which appeared to be the same as a watch worn by the bank robber in one of the robberies, as seen in the bank security-camera footage," wrote the detective. "The watch was seized as evidence. One of the other items in the bag with Kjellson's possessions was a cellular telephone."
Bowers then explained that, in his experience, suspects involved in criminal activities often use accomplices to drive them to and from the places where they commit their crimes. And communication between criminals and their accomplices is often done via cell phone — either through verbal conversations or text messages.
So Bowers wrote that he hoped to find the names and phone numbers of any possible accomplices of Kjellson's, stored inside his cell phone. And he noted that knowing this information might lead him to specific, cell-site and cell-tower locations which each number used to make phone calls on particular dates and times.
"That information — as well as information identifying the incoming and outgoing calls of the cellular telephone — will identify a particular, geographic location where the cellular telephone was used," wrote Bowers. "And [it] can provide evidence of the suspect using that cellular telephone in close proximity to the location of a crime or crimes."
The detective then specifically requested to search Kjellson's Nokia cell phone that was stored in the plastic bag with his other property. And last Tuesday, July 3, at 1:12 p.m., the warrant was executed and the phone was seized.