Bandit bags bevy of beers in three-day, two-store spree

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A Bud Light Bandit made three illegal beer runs in as many days this week – and left behind a surveillance still Wednesday.

Kilgore Police Officers shopped that image around and netted an ID on the man: they’re seeking 52-year-old Keithen O’Neal Johnson.

“He is from the Dallas-area,” KPD Lt. Johnathan Gage said Friday. “He was last known to be driving a 1990 Honda Accord two-door, license plate GBB-5346 – that car was reported stolen out of Gilmer, Texas.”

KPD developed a simple description of the suspect from the incidents earlier this week: a middle-aged or older black male, perhaps in his mid-40s, “heavyset around the waist” and sporting a skullcap or bandana during the day-to-day robberies Oct. 15-17.

The M.O. was pretty straightforward, according to Gage.

“He comes in and he grabs two 30-packs of Bud Light at different stores and he walks out with them,” leaving the premises in an older Honda, “described as ‘beat-up,’” Gage said.

On Monday, about 7:40 p.m., the suspect reportedly entered Zippy J’s No. 8 on Hwy. 42 and left with a stolen 18-pack of Corona. Tuesday found him at Buy and Ride No. 6 at 9:27 p.m., leaving with two 30s of Bud Light. He repeated the run at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the same location.

“This will be the third time today that I know of for sure,” Gage said Oct. 19, pulling a surveillance shot of the suspect, since identified as Johnson, dressed in track pants and a sweater.

Multiple officers spent time Wednesday afternoon checking local hotels, motels and apartment complexes in the general direction the suspect left his most recent robbery.

“We’ve just been tracking around to local areas where we thought he might end up,” Gage said. As of Friday, “We think he’s probably still around somewhere. He’s also wanted for felony warrants out of Dallas County.”

Gage was not aware of any additional crimes involving Johnson since Wednesday’s incident. Anyone with information on the robberies can call-in leads to KPD Det. John Rowe via the department’s non-emergency number, 903-983-1559.

If a person spots the suspect, Gage noted, “Do not approach him, just notify the police.”

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