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Update: Phenix City police say Newnan man will be charged in Sept. 8 bank robbery

Phenix City police say they will charge a Newnan, Ga., man with the Sept. 8 armed robbery of a CB&T bank on Stadium Drive.

Police Capt. Frank Ivey confirmed Thursday that investigators will file charges against John Ernest Johnston, 56, of 62 W. Washington St., who was arrested in Newnan Tuesday night on suspicion of robbing a BB&T bank at 6100 Whitesville Road in Columbus.

Ivey said Johnston, a tall, white-haired man, matches the description of the CB&T robber. Authorities tracked Johnston to Newnan after a witness at the Columbus bank got a partial tag number traced to the 2006 Honda Accord that Johnston was driving.

According to the Newnan Times-Herald, police there staked out Johnston's residence until he arrived home about 6:45 p.m. They stopped and arrested him when he tried to leave again. Serving a search warrant at the house, officers found evidence linking Johnston to the Columbus robbery, investigators told the Newnan paper.

Columbus police Sgt. Harvey Hatcher said Wednesday that when BB&T workers described the robber as a tall, gray-haired white man wearing a hat, police immediately were reminded of the suspect's description in the CB&T bank robbery.

In a Wednesday hearing before Judge Mary Buckner in Columbus Recorder’s Court, public defender Charles Lykins entered a not guilty plea on Johnston’s behalf and waived the hearing. Buckner sent the case to Muscogee Superior Court, leaving Johnston jailed without bond.

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