A Key West man who was fired from his job three months ago at the Key West Citizen is accused of robbing a Michigan bank by claiming he had a bomb in his backpack.
Paul Donnelly, 50, faces federal charges in the June 14 bank robbery in which a man in a floppy hat and sandals handed a teller in Plainwell, Michigan, a note that read: “I have a bomb in the bag. Put all non-marked money in a bag.”
The robbery set off alarm in the small town of about 4,000, with nearby businesses being evacuated and the Michigan State Police bomb squad called in, according to WOOD TV Channel 8 in Grand Rapids. The backpack only held old clothes.
When his family saw the surveillance photos, they called the cops.
Fourteen hours later, Donnelly was found walking on the U.S. 131 highway, about eight miles from the PNC Bank in Allegan County, Channel 8 said. He had stolen about $4,700, spending about $300 of it on lottery tickets, according to police.
Donnelly's family told the TV station he is a nonviolent man with no criminal history who has struggled with alcoholism his entire life and also a reoccurring brain tumor. He worked in accounting for 20 years. They called the robbery a cry for help.
When Donnelly was arrested, police said his blood alcohol content was 0.24, three times the legal limit.
In March, Donnelly was fired from his job as controller for the Key West Citizen, the island's only six-day-a-week newspaper, and escorted out of the building by police. He was fired at the same time as the publisher, Paul Clarin.
Donnelly, a native of Jackson, Michigan, graduated from Eastern Michigan University, according to his LinkedIn profile. He had worked at the Citizen since 2012.
"My bachelor's degree in accounting and in information systems has helped me to build a strong background working for some of the world's most recognized companies such as Accenture LLP and PACCAR Inc.," his profile reads.
“Please consider me for any local positions you may have."