Grandfather sentenced in robberies
BY JAMES HALPIN
A 56-year-old grandfather convicted of robbing three banks – including one while wielding balloons he claimed were filled with acid – was sentenced Friday to serve between six and 13 years in state prison.
Girard John Kalinay pleaded guilty in January to three felony robbery charges in connection with a spree that began Nov. 22, 2011. In exchange, prosecutors dropped additional felony robbery and theft charges.
Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough on Friday sentenced Kalinay to 80 to 160 months in state prison and ordered him to pay $56,765 in restitution, including $22,167 to First Liberty Bank and Trust in Monroe Township, Wyoming County; $21,291 to PNC Bank in Mocanaqua; and $8,807 to Luzerne Bank in Dallas Township.
The one in Wyoming County occurred Jan. 27, 2012.
Kalinay was remanded to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in Wilkes-Barre.
Prosecutors said Kalinay, who had no criminal history, had a steady job that paid $80,000 a year and he lived in a $400,000 home at Harveys Lake. But he was also deep in debt, and prosecutors said he reported he “felt horrible” about committing the crimes to pay his bills.
Kalinay’s first robbery was at the Luzerne Bank in Dallas Township, where he armed himself with balloons he claimed were filled with acid, but in fact contained ammonia. He told investigators he used a pellet gun in the next two robberies because the balloon method “did not work so well,” authorities said.
Kalinay was arrested last May, when he crashed his motorcycle fleeing the PNC Bank holdup in Mocanaqua.