Crime - Sacto 911

Bank-robbing spree leads to arrest of ex-credit union worker, authorities said

An Oakland Raiders cap and white T-shirt similar to those in this photo were reportedly found in Corey Lewis Johnson’s car.
An Oakland Raiders cap and white T-shirt similar to those in this photo were reportedly found in Corey Lewis Johnson’s car. Lincoln Police Department

A former Travis Credit Union employee was arrested Wednesday for allegedly robbing several Sacramento-area banks under the pretense of having a gun and using confidential information to steal from customer accounts.

Dixon police officers and FBI agents arrested Vacaville resident Corey Lewis Johnson, 31, on suspicion of robbery days after he allegedly stole money from his fourth bank in the last two weeks.

They found a handwritten note reading, “I have a gun, do not hit alarm,” “Give me your 20’s, 50’s, 100’s” and “Don’t be a hero” when they searched his person, as well as three bundles of cash totaling $301, according to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. Eastern District Court on Thursday.

Johnson spent approximately three years as a Travis Credit Union financial services representative before quitting on Nov. 28. His responsibilities were similar to those of a teller, including opening accounts, processing debit cards and helping customers operate the bank’s ATMs.

Travis security officers began investigating internal theft in early December after customers reported fraudulent activity on two accounts. Security footage showed Johnson entering Vacaville branches at 1650 E. Monte Vista Ave., where he worked, as well 2020 Harbison Drive, and using ATM cards he secretly created for the accounts to withdraw or advance money, according to the lawsuit.

He allegedly made about 16 transactions on each account between Sept. 7 and Dec. 10, taking about $36,000 in total, before Travis security officers reported him to the Vacaville Police Department on suspicion of fraud and embezzlement on Dec. 19.

From there, the robberies allegedly became more brazen. On Dec. 28, Johnson walked up to a Solano First Credit Union inside a Raley’s in Fairfield and handed a teller a note saying he had a gun and demanding money, according to the lawsuit. Phrases and handwriting on the note, which Johnson allegedly left at the scene, matched the note agents found when they arrested him.

Banks within Safeway grocery stores in Lincoln, Sacramento and Fairfield grocery stores were hit between Jan. 2 and Jan. 8. The four banks lost a total of $6,778.

Each of the robberies took place between 3:45 and 5 p.m., and the suspect wore the same outfit (black-and-gray Oakland Raiders hat, black hooded sweatshirt, white T-shirt, blue jeans, and black-and-white Converse sneakers) in all but the second Fairfield theft, when he wore a blue-and-yellow Golden State Warriors sweatshirt and gray pants.

A Travis Credit Union security officer called the FBI the same day as the final robbery to say they believed Johnson was the suspect in the three previous thefts. The bureau came to the same conclusion after staking out Johnson’s home in Vacaville and linking his license plate number to the Lincoln robbery.

Agents found a similar hat, Warriors sweatshirt, T-shirt and shoes in Johnson’s car when they arrested him about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday in a Dixon motel’s parking lot. The lawsuit does not mention Johnson being in possession of a gun.

When Lincoln police asked for the public’s help identifying the suspect captured on security video, the department noted a second person standing nearby who may have been involved in the robbery. A note found in Johnson’s pockets during his arrest allegedly said, “If you don’t follow the rules he will follow you home after your shift,” seemingly referring to an accomplice.

Johnson is being held in Sacramento County Main Jail without bail. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel