Chief Jamie Wallis, of Pioneer, Louisiana, is calling the Johnson robber duo a “modern day Bonnie and Clyde.” And considering that the couple allegedly made it all the way from North Carolina to Louisiana on their bank-hitting spree, before being chased and arrested last week, the moniker is not far off.
Wallis told the Macon County Times that April Elizabeth Johnson, 34, and Jonathan James Johnson, 26, admitted to a string of four bank robberies in North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas—in that order.
Although he didn’t know the exact town in Tennessee that the two hit, he noted, “I do know each of the robberies was done close to the state line.”
Lafayette Police Chief Stacy Gann would not comment on whether this duo is the same that robbed the Citizens Bank on Scottsville Road on July 8. The FBI, he said, would release the information as the investigation progressed. The FBI Memphis office had not returned calls at press time.
Readers can take a look at these mug shots, compared to the photos released last week of our Citizens Bank robbers, and see what they think.
The two were arrested in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana, on Tuesday, July 16—one week after the Citizens Bank robbery.
Louisiana police were alerted to be on the lookout for the pair, who had just robbed a bank across the state line in Arkansas. Chief Wallis was the one to spot their vehicle on a main highway. They were eventually chased by several units for about 25 miles, before they stopped their car and gave themselves up without violence.
“Speeds never got over 90,” said Wallis. “When they turned onto [a gravel road] they went down about 50 yards maybe and just stopped. And I got on my PA and gave them a command to turn the vehicle off and stick their arms out the window, the whole nine yards. They complied with each command, and gave up without incident.
“But we found out later, that basically the reason they gave up was they were about to run out of gas. In fact, when the wrecker got back to the body shop with it, and rolled it off the truck, they cranked it up and drove it inside the fence and it went dead. So another half a mile, and they’d have been out of gas.”
Wallis said the vehicle they were driving was a red Chevy pickup—the same description given of the vehicle that pulled into the Citizens Bank parking lot two weeks ago.
“They’re like a modern day Bonny and Clyde,” said Wallis. “She admitted to having a heroin problem. And that’s the reason for the robberies, basically; to supply their need.
“Actually she had a college degree and used to work for TWA Airline. And I think that the narcotics swayed her to pick a new life, I guess you could say. But you could ask her, and she’d tell you she was a bank robber. That’s what she did. She robbed banks for a living.”
Wallis also mentioned that the couple said in an interview they’d been married five years. The woman was a veteran, having already spent five years in a federal prison in Florida for eight bank robberies. Her husband was new to bank robbery, this recent spree being his first.
Wallis said that the couple never asked for a very large amount of money in any one location. “I know in Tennessee the total amount was $4,000,” said Wallis, “and in Arkansas the total was $1,300.”
A Mt. Airy news source reported that the couple’s last known addresses are 635 Fish River Church Road, Mount Airy, and 111 Dunbar Lane in Pilot Mountain; both of these are located in North Carolina.
Wallis said that the Arkansas bank robbery was done without a weapon. A note was simply handed to a teller. This is the same method used by the couple who stole an unspecified amount from Citizen Bank on Tuesday, July 8.