Kerry Johnson told Charleston Police that he got to the Mardi Gras Casino in Nitro around 10 a.m. Tuesday and was there for more than six hours, until around 4:30 p.m.
But sometime around 3 p.m., police say, Johnson got up from the blackjack table, put down a $25 chip to hold his spot, and left the casino.
That’s when, police say, Johnson went to City National Bank in the South Hills neighborhood of Charleston, handed the tellers a note saying he had a bomb and a weapon, and robbed the bank.
Then Johnson went back to the casino, got his spot back at the blackjack table, and kept gambling, police say.
Johnson, 52, of Charleston, was arraigned Wednesday afternoon and charged with felony bank robbery. He faces 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted and is being held pending a $50,000 cash bond.
“Reminds me of that song,” Kanawha Magistrate Ward Harshbarger told Johnson at the arraignment, chuckling. “What were you thinking?”
Walking toward court, Johnson said that he was not guilty and had no recollection of the events that police described in a criminal complaint.
Sometime after the Tuesday afternoon robbery, police got an anonymous tip that a man who matched the description of the suspect given by bank employees lived on Churchill Drive in South Hills.
When they arrived at the house they found a green Mazda Miata, the same car they’d been told that the robber fled in, the complaint says.
Johnson was inside the house, sleeping.
When police searched the house, according to the criminal complaint, they found a yellow legal pad, similar to the type of paper that the note had been written on. They found a blue-and-gold West Virginia University hat, similar to the one the robber had been seen wearing. They found a white towel, similar to the one that the robber had wrapped around his neck during the robbery.
And, stuffed between couch cushions, police say they found a “large sum of U.S. currency.”
Police say that money taken during the bank robbery was later found at the blackjack table where Johnson had been gambling.
Johnson, while being arraigned, said that he earns about $10,000 a month, but has no money. Prosecutors said that, in an interview, he had said he had a gambling problem.