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Baltimore man sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for several 2019 bank robberies

A Northeast Baltimore man charged with robbing several banks in Baltimore and one in York, Pennsylvania, was sentenced this week to 12 years in federal prison.

Edward Omar Johnson, 37, made off with a little more than $6,000 from five banks before an anonymous tip to the Baltimore Police Department identified Johnson, who was eventually taken into custody in Pennsylvania in March 2019.

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His federal public defender did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Bank robberies in Baltimore and throughout the country have been on a downward trend because of increased security measures, and because robbers are generally getting away with less cash. Baltimore Police have reported only two bank robberies this year. Only nine were reported for all of 2020, down from 41 in 2019.

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Nationwide, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is recording fewer cases. The agency reported just under 3,000 bank robberies in 2018, according to the agency’s latest Bank Crime Statistics Report. That figure was more than double a decade earlier.

Johnson’s first robbery, Feb. 27, 2019, at PNC Bank in West Baltimore Street could have nearly ended in his arrest. According to his plea agreement, Johnson handed a teller a note asking for money and threatening that he had a gun. The teller handed him $2,099, as well as a GPS tracker. But the plea agreement said the tracker failed to transmit Johnson’s location.

Johnson attempted to rob two other banks in the city March 4 and 5, but did not receive any money. Three hours after an unsuccessful attempt, Johnson robbed the Wells Fargo Bank on East Monument Street, according to the plea agreement.

“I’ve got a gun give me all the 100′s and 50′s no dye packs no tracking devices or I will shoot,” according to the plea agreement. Johnson went on to rob two other banks a week later on March 12.

On March 19, at the People’s Bank in York, Johnson went inside the bank, saying he needed to cash a check, when the teller told him to remove his hood. That’s when Johnson handed the teller a note asking for money and threatening that he had a gun, according to Johnson’s plea agreement. Johnson took off with $450 and a GPS tracker that he later ditched in a dumpster, the plea agreement said.

Three days later, police in York arrested Johnson in connection with the bank robbery.

Johnson had been identified by an anonymous tip sent to the Baltimore Police Department after a news release and images of Johnson from bank surveillance video were published. When police arrested and searched Johnson they found a bank robbery demand note on him with language similar to the notes at the prior bank robberies, according to his plea agreement.

During an interview with authorities, Johnson admitted to the robberies, his plea agreement said. His fingerprints were also found on the demand notes at four of the robberies.

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