Man leaves casino, robs bank, returns to casino, police say

Man leaves casino, robs bank, returns to casino, police say

Charleston police lead Kerry Stephen Johnson, 52, to Kanawha County Magistrate Court on Wednesday. Johnson is accused of robbing the City National Bank branch on Bridge Road on Tuesday afternoon. He told police he was gambling at the Mardi Gras Casino in Nitro when the robbery happened, but police say he interrupted his stint at the blackjack table to rob the bank.

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.

Reach David Gutman at, 304-348-5119 or follow @davidlgutman on Twitter.

Funerals for Saturday, December 14, 2019

Akers, Trela - 1 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Mount Hope.

Cochran, Jacob - 3 p.m., Gatens-Harding Funeral Home, Poca.

Cosby-Matthews, Hattie - Noon, First Baptist Church of Charleston, Charleston.

DeMarino, Jane - 1 p.m., John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer.

Gunther, Jewell - 1 p.m., Calvary Baptist Church, Chapmanville.

Hall, Betty - 1 p.m., St. Andrew United Methodist Church, St. Albans.

Holbrook, Linda - 1 p.m., St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Pinch.

Johnson Jr., Delbert - 11 a.m., Allen Funeral Home, Hurricane.

King, Edna - Noon, St. Christopher Episcopal Church, Charleston.

Kiser, Kenneth - 6 p.m., Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Lawrence, Mamie - 2 p.m., O’Dell Funeral Home, Montgomery.

McCutcheon, Alice - 1 p.m., Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, Alderson.

Mills, Melinda - 5 p.m., New Baptist Church, Huntington.

Rannenberg III, Thomas - 2 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Ray, Sandra - 1 p.m., Crooked Creek Church of Christ.

Roach, James - 1 p.m., First Baptist Church, Ravenswood.

Tyler, Gloria - Noon, Grace Bible Church, Charleston.

Ulbrich, Sandra - 11 a.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Williams, Laura - 2 p.m., Stockert-Paletti Funeral Home, Flatwoods.

Wood, Ruby - 11 a.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.