Today’s news:

Retired detective charged in St. Albans bank rob

A decorated and retired police detective who may be gravely ill was charged Friday afternoon with robbing a St. Albans bank in Queens Criminal Court.

Athelson “Kevin” Kelson, 59, a Queens resident, was arraigned on third-degree robbery charges for allegedly stealing cash from a Chase branch at 205-32 Linden Blvd. on July 10, the Queens district attorney said. Kelson is a Vietnam War veteran who earned a Silver Star and served with the NYPD for 33 years, according to the Detectives Endowment Association.

Kenny Sparks, the Detective Endowment Association secretary and a longtime friend who was at the arraignment, said he was shocked at the allegations because Kelson had worked a decade catching criminals as a detective in the Intelligence Division.

“This is not the Kevin Kelson I know. It is not the Kevin Kelson the rest of the detectives know,” he said outside the court.

Kelson, who retired in 2005, is also accused of robbing at least three banks in Long Island, according to the DA. He was remanded by the court and was ordered to undergo psychiatric and ontological tests to see if he is fit to stand trial.

Sparks said Kelson was diagnosed with cancer and noted that he had lost a lot of weight. He would not go into detail about the extent of his colleague’s illness but said that he was frightened after being diagnosed.

A follow-up court date was set for Sept. 12. If convicted, Kelson faces up to seven years in prison, the DA said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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