Itasca Co. Prosecutors: Bank Robber Said He Ran Out of Cash on Trip

A homeless man has been charged in connection with a bank robbery in the Grand Rapids area. A homeless man has been charged in connection with a bank robbery in the Grand Rapids area. |  Photo: Itasca County

Updated: April 18, 2019 04:03 PM

Itasca County prosecutors have filed four felony charges against a homeless man who allegedly said he robbed a bank after running out of money during a cross-country trip.

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Twenty-three-year-old Connor David Johnson is charged with two counts of first-degree aggravated robbery and two counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.

According to a criminal complaint, Johnson told an investigator that he was on a trip from Michigan to California but ran out of cash.  The complaint says Johnson declined to tell investigators how he had arrived in Grand Rapids.

Johnson allegedly said he thought the La Prairie branch of the First National Bank of Coleraine would be good to rob because it's on the edge of town near a trail for getaway, and that he thought police response time would be slower in a smaller community.

On Tuesday afternoon, Johnson allegedly pointed a weapon at two bank employees, who put cash in a backpack before Johnson fled into the woods.  The weapon was later determined to be a flare gun that had been painted black.

Johnson was arrested about an hour after the robbery following a two-mile pursuit through the woods involving multiple law enforcement officers, including a DNR conservation officer and K9 dog.  His abandoned vehicle was later found on U.S. Highway 2.

Prosecutors say Johnson previously served prison time in Michigan for two convictions of felony breaking and entering with intent.

During a court hearing Thursday, a judge agreed with the prosecutors' request to set bail at $400,000 without conditions or $200,000 with conditions.  Johnson is scheduled to appear in court again later this month.

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