Serial robber behind nine bank heist attempts in Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Brooklyn busted

Photo via Google Maps/Inset courtesy of NYPD

A federal grand jury has indicted a Brooklyn man for his alleged role in nine bank robbery attempts across Brooklyn and Queens dating back to April.

Richard Wardell Johnson, 63, was initially arrested back on May 29; an indictment against him was unsealed in Brooklyn Federal Court on July 25 charging him with nine bank robbery counts in connection with the heist pattern.

“As alleged, Richard Wardell Johnson robbed and attempted to rob nine banks across three New York City boroughs in less than a month,” stated U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “This office and our law enforcement partners will ensure that criminals who endanger bank employees and members of our communities will be held responsible.”

“Shortly after Mr. Johnson’s last attempt to get some quick cash, our patrol cops got him – and he’s no longer a menace running around our neighborhoods,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. “By working closely with our federal partners at the FBI and the Eastern District of New York, the NYPD will continue to aggressively investigate and pursue all bank robbery cases to minimize the threat criminals like Mr. Johnson pose in our community.”

Federal prosecutors said that Johnson made his first robbery attempt in Queens on April 23, when he paid a visit to the Chase bank located at 89-21 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst.

As reported, Johnson allegedly approached a teller and provided a note demanding cash. The request went unfulfilled, and he ultimately fled the scene empty-handed.

Later that same day, authorities said, Johnson allegedly went to Brooklyn and swiped cash from a Chase bank at the MetroTech Center in the downtown area.

A week later, authorities said, Johnson returned to Queens on April 30 and swiped cash from the Chase bank located at 184-01 Hillside Ave. in Jamaica.

Johnson was finally caught May 18 shortly after he allegedly attempted to rob an M&T Bank branch on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Federal prosecutors said he had presented a demand note urging the teller not to press the alarm button and asked for $2,000 in cash without a “dummy pack.” He further wrote, “If I shoot someone, it’s on you!”

Federal agents said that the teller subsequently notified a security guard and pointed out Johnson. After the suspect left the bank, the security guard followed him on foot and called 911, and the information helped police arrest Johnson a short time later.

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