Blackjack Bank Robber Pleads Guilty to Robbery

Posted on: January 27, 2017, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: January 27, 2017, 12:32h.

A bank robber with a penchant for blackjack and recreational drugs pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery in a West Virginia courtroom on Wednesday.

Blackjack bank robber Kerry Johnson
Kerry Johnson, who appeared in court Wednesday, claims he has no recollection of leaving a casino in Nitro, West Virginia, to rob a bank before returning to his blackjack game. (Image: Chris Dorst/Charleston Gazette-Mail)

Kerry Johnson, 52, the owner of a marketing company in Charleston, told authorities after his arrest he had consumed “a lot of drugs” when he left the Mardis Gras Casino in Nitro to go rob a bank one afternoon last summer.

On August 2nd, at around 3pm, Johnson calmly left a $25 chip to save his spot on the blackjack table he had been playing at since 10am, and drove to the City National Bank in the South Hills neighborhood of Charleston.

There, he handed the tellers a note saying he had a bomb and a weapon and demanded they fill a bag with cash.

Escaping with around $5,000, Johnson returned to the casino and carried on his game as though nothing had happened, staking himself with the stolen money.

Beating the Bank

He later claimed to have no recollection of the incident. “Most of the day was a blur,” he said, and it was only when he saw footage of himself in the bank did he realize the enormity of what he had done.

Johnson was arrested several hours after the robbery. Police, acting on an anonymous tip-off from a caller who recognized the description of the perpetrator, visited an address in the South Hills area and found the car used in the robbery parked outside.

Inside, the found Johnson asleep on the couch, with large amounts of cash stuffed between the cushions. Police said they retrieved a further $500 of the stolen money from the blackjack table where he had been gambling.

Indelible Evidence

Officers also found a yellow notepad, which matched the paper the robber had used to scribble his threatening message to bank staff. Meanwhile, assistant court prosecutor Fred Giggenbach told the judge, Wednesday, that Johnson’s fingerprints were found on the note.

Police also found a white scarf and blue-and-gold West Virginia University cap, identical to those worn by the robber.

At his arraignment, Johnson said he made about $10,000 a month in salary through his marketing company, but was broke at the time of his arrest because he had a gambling problem.

As part of his plea deal, a charge of first-degree robbery, which carries a sentence of between ten and 20 years, was dropped. He faces between five and 18 years for the lesser charge of second-degree bank robbery.