A 20-year-old man and his father have been accused in federal court in Los Angeles of taking part in a scheme to rob 20 Trader Joe’s grocery stores in LA, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties between August and December.
Gregory Eric Johnson and Gregory Johnson were arrested after a holdup at a store in Chino Hills on Dec. 4, and according to a new criminal complaint filed by an FBI agent, a gun and a bag of cash were found in their car.
The two are suspected of robbing the grocery stores by brandishing a handgun and ordering employees to fill a backpack with cash. The robberies almost always happened just after opening or just before closing, according to the FBI.
It was not immediately clear from the court filings which man was suspected of carrying out which acts, though information and parking lot security video from some of the holdups suggested the gunman was assisted by a getaway driver, court records said.
Court records showed the pair made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court and were ordered held in jail. They’re expected to return to court in January to set dates for the trial.
In 2018 the LAPD asked for the public’s assistance in identifying a man who’d robbed a number of Trader Joe’s stores and released a sketch of the man. Detectives said there was no initial information that the robberies in 2020 were connected to the unsolved cases in 2020, but said the cases were being compared.