Hapless Poker-Playing Bank Robber Receives 65-Month Sentence
It’s a busy weekend full of seedy poker– and gambling related tales here at Flushdraw, with the opening salvo being the sentencing of a hapless Kansas City-area bank robber who was down on his funds… errr, luck… and wanted to continue his full-time pastime of playing poker at a Kansas City casino. Timothy Karpovich, 39, was recently sentenced to 65 months in a federal prison for the robbery of a KCB branch bank in Bonner Spring, Kansas, which netted him the glorious sum of $1,052 in easily tracked $10 and $2 (!) bills.
Karpovich was arrested within 12 hours at the Harrah’s Kansas City casino, where local authorities and FBI agents had already ventured, having been tipped off that Karpovich was the likely robber. The tale was so hapless, and with apologies to the poor bank teller, do darkly comedic, that it would have been a prime tale for the old Wicked Chops blog’s “Stupid Poker Criminals” recurring features back in the day.
In truth, however, this is better viewed as one of those problem-gambling tales where the perpetrator isn’t quite sane any longer, and the whole tale might be a Freudian cry of sorts for help. You’ll see why, if you scan through a copy of excerpts from the complaint, below.
This is also one of those tales that didn’t get much press, because the local Kansas City outlets that reported it don’t seem to be in Google News. CardPlayer caught up with Karpovich’s sentencing a couple of weeks back but offered a short, neutered report that sucked the life out of what could have been an entertaining, interesting tale, something we’ll rectify today.
And now, on to an excerpt from the criminal complaint against Karpovich. Honestly, I can’t improve on this:
1. On January 22,2018, at approximately 10:25 a.m., an unknown male (suspect) entered KCB Bank, 13010 Commercial, Bonner Springs, Kansas, and robbed the bank. The victim teller, S.S., was interviewed by FBI Special Agent Jonathan Spaeth. S.S. advised that the suspect approached her teller counter and presented a hand-written demand note that read, “this is a robbery.” S.S. said the note was written on an envelope in black sharpie. S.S. complied with the note and turned over approximately $1052.00 in U.S. Currency (in ten and two dollar denominations). S.S. said she went to the dispenser machine, which dispensed 100 ten-dollar bills. KCB Bank personnel informed investigators the serial numbers for each of those ten-dollar bills (“bait bills”) had been recorded. During the interview, S.S. said the suspect kept his right hand in his front pocket. S.S. said she was worried the suspect had a gun in his pocket. S.S. indicated she was afraid and just complied with the demands to get him out the door. After receiving the money, the suspect fled the bank on foot.
2. S.S. described the suspect as an Asian male, approximately 5’6″, approximately 40 years old, wearing a black hat, a blue pull-over style coat, a gray scarf, and light-colored sneakers.
3. On January 22,2018, Bonner Springs, Kansas Police Department Captain Chris Nicholson contacted FBI SA Trisha DeWet. Captain Nicholson said he received a tip that the robber was Timothy Karpovich. The tipster said Karpovich was a chronic gambler at Harrah’s Casino. 1 Riverboat Drive, North Kansas City, Missouri.
4. In response to this information, SA DeWet responded to Harrah’s Casino and interviewed casino employee, S.B. S.B. has worked at Harrah’s for approximately six years and currently manages the Poker Room. S.B. advised that she received a message from S.B.’s friend. S.B. said the message contained the bank robbery suspect’s photograph that was posted on the Fox 4 News Facebook page. S.B. said she recognized the person in the photo as “Tim,” who was a regular gambler in the poker room. S.B. said Tim had been in the casino earlier today (1122118), at approximately 2:51 p.m. S.B. said she contacted the casino’s surveillance department and learned Tim “bought in” with ten-dollar bills. S.B. then called the Gaming Division to report Tim looked like the bank robber. S.B. estimated Tim has been gambling at Harrah’s for a couple of years. S.B. described Tim as a thin Asian male, with short dark hair, in his late 30’s, and with a quiet personality.
5. SA DeWet then met with Missouri Highway Patrol Gaming Division investigators, Corporal Greg Prussman and Sergeant Brian Vemon. Corporal Prussman and Sergeart Vemon showed SA DeWet video footage of Timothy Karpovich. The video footage showed Karpovich purchasing casino chips, with what appeared to be ten-dollar bills, in the poker room and main casino exchange. The ten-dollar bills (from the poker room and main casino exchange) were removed to conduct a comparison with the ten-dollar bait bills from the bank robbery. SA DeWet, Corporal Prussman, and Sergeart Vemon responded to the poker room to compare the ten-dollar bills. Ten of the ten-dollar bills from the poker room matched the bait bills, which were compared by serial numbers.
6. While inspecting the ten-dollar bills in the main casino exchange, investigators learned Timothy Karpovich had retumed to the casino. Karpovich was taken into custody, without incident, by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Gaming Division. During Karpovich’s arrest, Karpovich was wearing a gray scarf. Investigators noticed the scarf was similar to the one worn by the robber, as described by the victim teller and as depicted in the bank surveillance video.
7. SA Jonathan Spaeth and SA DeWet conducted a post-Miranda intewiew with Karpovich at Harrah’s Casino. During the interview, Karpovich admitted to robbing KCB Bank. Karpovich said he was paid on Friday (1/19/18) and lost all of his money playing poker. Karpovich contemplated robbing a bank. Karpovich decided he would rob a bank on Monday (1122118), since he had the day off from work. Karpovich said he wrote a note on an envelope that read, “This is a robbery.” Karpovich said he had to eat, obtain his laptop that he pawned, and needed gas money. Karpovich said the hat and gloves he wore during the robbery were at his residence. Karpovich said the $2 dollar bills he took from the bank, along with the demand note, would be in his car’s center console.
8. Karpovich gave consent for agents to search his white 1994 Lexus, bearing Missouri license plate CK2 S3M, which was parked in the casino’s parking garage.
9. On January 22,2018, at approximately 8:21 p.m., SA Spaeth and Kansas City, Missouri Police Department Detective Craig Horalek conducted a search of Karpovich’s Lexus. Investigators located the $2 bills (taken from the bank), the demand note, and the bluejacket worn by Karpovich during the robbery.
This is all just so weird and sad and… whatever. From the FBI’s standpoint, solving a case doesn’t get any easier than this. And as for Karpovich, he’s been recommended to serve his sentence in a Texas federal prison, allowing him to be closer to family there. And so ends, one can hope, this tale.