CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Charleston police are happy to have the man accused of robbing the Fifth Third Bank in Kanawha City last week off the streets.
They arrested Joseph Pike Dempsey, 31, of King Street in South Charleston, on Tuesday on felony charges of robbery for allegedly holding up the Kanawha City Bank during what officers have called a brazen daytime robbery.
"We're glad to get him," Charleston Police Sgt. Bobby Eggleton said. "We think he has problems."
Dempsey was already in the South Central Regional Jail for multiple unrelated charges stemming from an altercation in South Charleston last Friday night, the day after the bank robbery.
He is accused of entering the bank about 10 a.m. Thursday and brandishing what officers then believed was a handgun. They now believe Dempsey robbed the bank with a pellet gun, according to the criminal complaint on file in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.
He allegedly forced the bank tellers on the floor before going behind the bank counter and taking an undisclosed amount of cash.
"Bank takeovers are very uncommon and quite frightening," Eggleton said. "They usually just pass a note."
Eggleton, Charleston's assistant chief of detectives, said officers believe the bank robbery was drug related.
"He has a history of drug use," Eggleton said. "We've been told by people that he uses pain medication."
Dempsey appeared before Kanawha County Magistrate Julie Yeager for his arraignment on Tuesday. Yeager set his bond at $150,000 cash.
He sat with his hands cuffed behind his back and his head down except when answering the magistrate's questions.
The bank robber was originally described as tall, lanky and unshaven.
Dempsey is tall and skinny with a beard.
South Charleston police arrested him Friday on charges of felony assault on an officer, battery, obstructing an officer and destruction of property. All stemmed from an altercation with a neighbor. During the investigation, officers found evidence that led them to believe he was also involved in the bank robbery, Eggleton said.
According to that criminal complaint, Dempsey was walking his dogs along a street in South Charleston when his neighbor passed him in a car.
He began shouting at the car, accusing the driver of speeding. That prompted the neighbor, who has not been identified, to get out of the car with another person.