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Bank Robbery ‘Mastermind’ Suspect Held in Series of 9 County Heists

Cedric Johnson, arrested at his parole agent’s L.A. office, is accused of La Mesa, Santee crimes.

A 33-year-old parolee was behind bars Saturday on suspicion of being the “mastermind” behind nine strong-arm robberies in bank parking lots in 2011, including two in La Mesa and one in Santee, according to police and media reports

Cedric Garnett Johnson was arrested Tuesday at his parole agent’s office in Los Angeles, said San Diego police Lt. Andra Brown. He is being held on $100,000 bail at South Bay jail in Chula Vista.

His arraignment is set for 8:15 a.m. Aug. 20 in San Diego Superior Court.

He is charged with violating parole, conspiracy to commit a crime and numerous robbery counts involving incidents from May 19 to June 24, 2011, according to police and jail records.

The arrest stemmed from the investigation into a series of strong arm robberies that occurred in San Diego, La Mesa, Santee and El Cajon bank parking lots, Brown said.

In each of the nine robberies, a group of suspects allegedly pushed or kicked the victims and took bank or deposit bags. One of the victims sustained a broken hip, Brown said.

Investigators suspected Johnson was the leader of the robbery crew and allegedly directed the others, Brown said.

Another suspect, Alex Smith, was arrested immediately after one of the robberies in El Cajon, Brown said.

In June 2011, a 24-year-old woman when he attempted to steal her deposit bag as she walked toward the Bank of America branch in Grossmont Center, police said. The incident has been depicted as one of the series.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

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