Huntington Park man accused of months-long robbery spree targeting 15 Trader Joe’s stores throughout SoCal, some with his son

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In this Feb. 26, 2020, file photo, the original Trader Joe's grocery store in Pasadena, Calif., is viewed. Responding to calls for Trader Joe's to stop labeling its international food products with ethnic-sounding names, the grocery store chain said it has been in a yearslong process of repackaging those products and will soon complete the work. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

In this Feb. 26, 2020, file photo, the original Trader Joe’s grocery store in Pasadena, Calif., is viewed. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

A Huntington Park man was named in a 21-count indictment Friday, accusing him of robbing 15 Trader Joe’s stores throughout Southern California.

A federal grand jury named Gregory Johnson, 43, in a superseding indictment charging him with 15 counts of interference with commerce by robbery, five counts of knowingly using and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, the Department of Justice said in a news release.

Johnson was previously charged on Feb. 8 in connection with a Dec. 4 robbery of a Trader Joe’s grocery store in Chino Hills. Friday’s indictment adds 19 more felony charges.

From Aug. 28, 2020, to Dec. 4, 2020, Johnson is accused of robbing 15 Trader Joe’s stores, located in Eagle Rock, Sherman Oaks, Chatsworth, Pasadena, Culver City, Rancho Palos Verdes, Agoura Hills, Simi Valley, Brea, Santa Ana, Tustin, Corona, and Chino Hills.

He allegedly brandished a handgun during many of the robberies, officials said.

Johnson is accused of robbing the grocery stores in Rancho Palos Verdes and Brea on two occasions, returning to the same locations weeks later to rob them again.

On Dec. 4, Johnson and his 20-year-old son, Gregory Eric Johnson of South L.A., were arrested after authorities learned of the Chino Hills robbery. A witness gave police a description of Johnsons’ getaway car and license plate number, the DOJ said.

An arraignment for the older Johnson’s superseding indictment has not been scheduled, though a trial for the case was previously scheduled for June 22.

If convicted of all charges, he would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each robbery charge, seven years in prison for each firearms use charge, and 10 years’ imprisonment for the felon-in-possession of a firearms charge, according to the DOJ.

On March 15, the younger Johnson pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging him with interference with commerce by robbery for robbing the stores in Chatsworth and Chino Hills. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 12, at which time he will face a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison.

The FBI, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the matter.

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