Police say that James Johnson came up behind a woman outside of a St. Louis drugstore, "shoved a knife into her lower back," and said he would kill her if she didn't give him her purse.
She fought back -- but he pushed her into her car and ran away with her belongings. He then, according to the Circuit Attorney's Office, went home and threw the stolen purse into a Dumpster behind his apartment.
That made it pretty easy to pin the crime on him, officials say, and now Johnson has formally been sentenced.
How long will he be locked up?
Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, with an announcement recounting the violent robbery in December 2011, says he has been sentenced to fourteen years behind bars.
Prosecutors had recommended twenty years.
The arrest and prosecution of Johnson was successful in part because there was a lot of evidence.
"He may have thought he could run away from the scene of the crime unknown, but police officers were able to retrieve the surveillance footage from the store," Joyce's office writes. "The entire robbery was caught on tape."
The man attacked the woman as she stood by her car organizing her purchases.
The manager of the store recognized Johnson as someone who had been panhandling that day. His photo was sent around the metro police department, and an officer identified him from a previous encounter.
They found him at his apartment -- wearing the same jacket he had on in the video. He took them to Dumpster where the stolen purse was recovered.
Here's the full announcement from the circuit attorney's office.
Knife Wielding Robber Gets 14 Years
In December of 2011, one woman's trip to the neighborhood drugstore went terribly wrong. As she stood by her car organizing her purchases, a man suddenly shoved a knife into her lower back. The victim fought back, the he threatened to kill her before grabbing her purse. He shoved the terrified victim into her car and ran away.
He may have thought he could run away from the scene of the crime unknown, but police officers were able to retrieve the surveillance footage from the store. The entire robbery was caught on tape. The store manager recognized the man as someone who had been panhandling outside the store earlier that day. The suspect's photo was sent to officers throughout the SLMPD, and an officer identified him from a previous encounter.
When police arrived to arrest James Johnson for the robbery the next day, the distinctive jacket he was wearing in the video was in his apartment. Johnson took police to the dumpster behind his apartment where they located the stolen purse.
Thanks to quick police work and ACA Orwick, Investigator Graves and team, Johnson was charged with Robbery 1st and Armed Criminal Action. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 14 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. We had recommended 20 years.
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