Police arrest suspect in robbery case

PARKERSBURG – A Parkersburg man being sought in connection with robberies at two video lottery parlors in Parkersburg was arrested Saturday by authorities in Beckley after allegedly robbing a grocery store using the same method.

Jonathon Rager, 38, of Parkersburg, was arrested about 3:30 p.m. Saturday at a hotel in Bradley, W.Va., by members of the Beckley Police Department, West Virginia State Police and the U.S. Marshal’s Service, said Det. Sgt. David Allard with the Beckley Police Department.

Allard said Rager is charged with allegedly robbing a Kroger’s store in Beckley on Thursday by approaching the customer service desk and using a note to claim he had a gun and demanding money. He was able to get away with about $3,300 in that incident, Allard said.

Beckley authorities viewed security footage of the incident and were able to identify Rager as the suspect based on that footage and on information provided by the Parkersburg Police Department and a warrant was obtained for his arrest, Allard said.

Beckley officials received information Saturday about his possible location and were able to take Rager into custody Saturday afternoon, Allard said.

Rager was being held in the Southern Regional Jail on a charge of first-degree robbery, Allard said. Rager also faces a second-degree felony robbery charge from Wood County and several other charges involving misdemeanors and parole violations, he said.

Rager was arraigned by video Saturday night through Raleigh County Magistrate Court. His bond was set at $100,000 – $50,000 each on the first- and second-degree robbery charges from Wood and Raleigh counties. He was also arraigned on three misdmeanor counts, including shoplifting, second-offense shoplifting and destruction of property and was being held on a parole violation, regional jail officials said.

On Wednesday, the Parkersburg Police Department identified Rager as the man they suspected of robbing two video lottery parlors earlier in the week by using a note claiming he had a gun.

Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin said a warrant issued at that time only related to last Monday’s theft of money from River City Perk at 1622 Seventh St., but Rager was also a suspect in a similar theft from the City Perk at 3509 Emerson Ave. on Tuesday.

In both incidents, the suspect presented a clerk with a note demanding money and saying he had a gun, although no weapon was ever seen in either incident, he said.

Rager is also wanted by the West Virginia Division of Corrections for violating parole following his release from prison on a 2008 second-degree robbery charge, Martin said.

He has also been convicted of armed robbery in 1995 and a variety of misdemeanors, including driving under the influence and petit larceny, all in Wood County, he said.