The hooded man who walked into a Roanoke bank one Friday afternoon last winter handed a teller a note and a black plastic bag.
“I have a bomb,” the message read. It demanded the teller put cash in the bag and warned her not to include any dye packs.
“He did have something that looked like or resembled a bomb,” Roanoke assistant prosecutor Andrew Stephens said in court Tuesday, but it was not an actual explosive. A search warrant in the case said that during that Jan. 18 robbery, the man placed that device on the counter at the bank, the BB&T branch in the 2000 block of Colonial Avenue Southwest.
The effort yielded $2,993.29.
On Tuesday in Roanoke Circuit Court, the action also brought the man three years in prison.
Michael John Colasanti, 47, of Nashville, Tennessee, pleaded no contest to one count of robbery and received a 10-year term, with seven years suspended. A related charge of making a bomb threat was dropped as part of his plea agreement.
In a summary of the prosecution’s evidence, Stephens said security footage showed a man walking into the bank and briefly speaking to an employee about 10 minutes before the robbery occurred.
That man wasn’t wearing a hood but did have on some articles of clothing very similar to those of the suspect. The employee told police the man had asked how to get to the Kroger across the street at Towers Shopping Center.
Soon after the robbery occurred, Stephens said, a tip led police to investigate a guest at the Days Inn motel on Orange Avenue. That person admitted to being the man who had asked for directions, and he was identified as Colasanti, but he denied committing the robbery. Bank employees testified at a preliminary hearing in February and the charges against Colasanti were certified.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Colasanti’s lawyer, Marshall Deaton Lukacs, said the video posed “a significant risk” at trial and called the plea agreement “very advantageous” for her client.
Stephens said that Colasanti’s three-year active term is within sentencing guidelines but skews toward the low end. Colasanti also must repay BB&T the nearly $3,000 that was taken but never recovered.
Although his legal issues in Virginia are resolved, Colasanti has also been charged with the Jan. 11 robbery of a Citizens Bank in Wilmington, Delaware.
In that incident, according to a Feb. 6 search warrant, a man approached a teller with a plastic bag and a note that read, “Stay calm, don’t act funny or I’ll set something off,” before walking out with $2,749.
The warrant said Colasanti had been visiting relatives in Delaware the week before he came to Roanoke, and the car he was driving when he was arrested bore temporary plates from that state.
It’s not clear when Colasanti’s next court hearing on that charge will occur.