FRANKLIN, Ind. – A “real nice guy” had it rolling at the Horseshoe Casino earlier this month, winning thousands of dollars.
Michael J. Brown definitely noticed, police said, and tried to make his own luck, following the man home and stealing a $6,000 bundle of cash. The 58-year-old Brown is now charged with robbery resulting in bodily injury after the 84-year-old victim said Brown punched him, kicked him and then took off with his wallet.
The assault happened on the evening of Feb. 7. The victim called the Franklin Police Department to report he’d been robbed in his driveway. Police said the man was bleeding from his left ear and had a knot on his head; he refused medical treatment.
The attacker, later identified as Brown, initially asked him for water and directions to Batesville.
Soon after that, the victim said Brown attacked him, took his wallet and cash, and then got into his car and took off. The victim told police he remembered seeing his attacker at the blackjack table; the victim had won a “considerable” amount of money that day and believed that was why Brown followed him home, according to court documents.
The victim provided police with a description of Brown and the white Ford SUV he’d been driving. Investigators tracked him down using Flock license plate cameras, which showed the vehicle was registered to Brown. Police also worked with the Indiana Gaming Commission to review surveillance footage from the Horseshoe Casino in Shelbyville.
Footage showed a man matching Brown’s description following the victim out of the casino around 5:05 p.m., about 40 minutes before the robbery was reported. Other footage showed the same man at the blackjack table with the victim, while additional footage showed him following the victim to the parking garage and waiting outside in his vehicle until the victim left so he could trail him.
A Franklin detective went to Brown’s home in Indianapolis, but his vehicle wasn’t there. Police later located Brown and the vehicle using a Flock camera; Indianapolis Metropolitan police stopped him near 10th Street and Post Road, where officers took him into custody on Feb. 9.
During interviews, Brown initially denied having any involvement in the robbery. He conceded he “frequented” casinos but denied ever being in Franklin. When confronted with evidence from Flock cameras showing his Ford Edge in the Franklin area, Brown claimed he was “driving around looking for houses to buy,” according to court documents.
Investigators showed Brown footage from the casino; he disputed it. He expressed disbelief when informed that investigators found evidence of blood on the floorboard near the accelerator of this vehicle. Again, Brown “didn’t believe” what police were telling him. Police noted he was wearing the same red and black shoes seen in surveillance footage. His build matched that of the victim’s description and the man seen in surveillance video.
Eventually, Brown stated, “The truth will set you free,” according to court documents, and told police what happened. He arrived at the casino between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Feb. 7. While there, he noticed the victim with a large roll of cash in his pocket. He followed the man out and hurried to his vehicle so he could tail him.
After the victim got home, Brown told police he drove past the driveway and then turned around so he could park. The victim went to his mailbox; Brown asked for directions and some water. As the victim turned around, Brown said he pushed him from behind, causing him to fall. Brown then took the man’s wallet and cash from his pockets and left. He threw the man’s wallet out the window along I-65 “a mile or two north of Franklin.”
Brown denied hitting or kicking the victim, telling police that the man was “a real nice guy.”
Brown apologized for what happened. He claimed he was behind on rent and about to be evicted. According to court documents, Brown deposited $4,200 into his landlord’s account on the morning of Feb. 8 and kept the rest. Police said he had about $390 in cash on him when he was taken into custody.
Police arrested Brown after questioning and took him to the Johnson County Jail. Prosecutors filed a formal robbery charge last week.