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Bank robber phoned in bomb threat

The Mitchell man accused of calling in a diversionary bomb threat to Wal-Mart shortly before robbing a CorTrust Bank branch pleaded guilty to two felony charges Tuesday in Davison County court.

Kenneth Edward, 27, pleaded guilty to falsely reporting a threat, a Class 6 felony, and admitted to first-degree robbery, a Class 2 felony.

During court proceedings, Edward told Judge Tim Bjorkman that he planned the Sept. 16 diversionary tactic to divert law enforcement to one area of town so he could rob the bank. Wal-Mart is on the city's extreme south side; the CorTrust Bank branch he robbed is in north Mitchell.

Edward said he used a convenience store telephone to put the plan in motion.

"I stopped at the Kum and Go, used the pay phone and called Wal-Mart," he said. "I said there was a bomb and you have an hour and a half.

"I sat in the (Wal-Mart) parking lot. When there were a lot of cops, I drove down to Main Street and circled the bank for about 20 minutes or so and then I robbed the bank."

Police have never disclosed how much money Edward stole in the heist.

Edward said he walked into CorTrust, went around the counter to the first teller and said, "Give me all the money and put it in the bag."

A person standing beside the teller began to laugh and asked if this was a joke, according to Edward.

"I said, 'Shut up and don't look at me and get on the ground,' " he said Tuesday in court. "The teller then gave me the money."

Brandishing a fake gun, Edward admitted to waving the gun around the teller in an effort to scare her. She was within three feet of Edward at the time.

In exchange for Edward's guilty plea, the state has agreed to drop other charges in an unrelated case and dismiss a second count of first-degree robbery. The state will recommend to Bjorkman that the two sentences run concurrently.

Falsely reporting a threat carries a maximum penalty of two years in the state penitentiary and a $4,000 fine; first-degree robbery has a maximum punishment of 25 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Bjorkman ordered a pre-sentence investigation set a sentencing date for Feb. 3.

Edward remains in the custody of the Davison County Sheriff's Office.