Bumbling bank robber shows teller his ID, police say

August 12, 2009 

A man walked into a Midtown bank last week, gave his name and account number to the teller and showed his ID. It was his real name and it was his own account. The ID had his picture.

Then he handed over a piece of paper -- a receipt -- with a note scribbled on the back.

"I have a gun. Give me all the money in your drawer."

The FBI said the man walked out of the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union on Juneau Street with about $600.

It was a less than perfect crime and now the man is in jail, the FBI said. They identified him as Jarell Paul Arnold, 34, and he's being held on a federal bank robbery charge.

According to charges filed in court, the robber walked into the credit union about 1:05 p.m. Friday and inquired about the balance on his account. The teller, Letecia Chroust, asked for his name, account number and photo identification, according to an affidavit filed in court.

After complying, the man slipped Chroust the note, the charges say. He didn't show a gun, but had his hand in his jacket like he had one, the charges say. The robber stuffed the cash in his jacket and took off.

The suspect eluded capture as police and FBI agents closed in following the heist. But FBI agent Steven Payne's curiosity was aroused when he recalled that he had previously arrested the owner of that same bank account, Arnold, on a charge of bank robbery back in 2004, according to the affidavit.

In that case, Arnold pleaded guilty to the bank robbery charge and was sentenced to 57 months in prison, according to court records.

After confirming through surveillance images that Arnold provided his correct identity to the teller, FBI agents arrested him Monday. He subsequently admitted he was the robber, though denied he actually had a gun, according to the affidavit.

Arnold remains in custody at the Anchorage jail, according to the Department of Corrections.

Find James Halpin online at adn.com/contact/jhalpin or call him at 257-4589.

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