Man charged in Wake County armed robberies


It's the same man seen in surveillance photos circulated by the Raleigh Police Department earlier this week - who detectives said they wanted to speak with. Sources said he was picked up in a traffic stop on Glenwood Avenue near Pleasant Valley Road around 1 p.m. Friday. The same sources said he was in possession of items that may link him to one or more of the crimes.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison identified the suspect as 28-year-old Walter Kevin Johnson. He is charged with 23 offenses including:

  • nine counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon
  • one count of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon
  • three counts of first degree kidnapping
  • three counts of second degree kidnapping
  • one count of first degree burglary
  • one count of possession of stolen property
  • one count of larceny of a firearm
  • two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
  • one count of extortion
  • one count of larceny of a motor vehicle

Johnson has left several Northwest Raleigh and Wake County neighborhoods on edge for weeks.

ABC11 went to his home Saturday and found a moving truck. A family member told Eyewitness News that Johnson's wife is having a hard time processing what happened and that she is leaving with their infant son.

His neighbors in Northwest Raleigh said they never would have thought the man police were intensely searching for lived in their community.

"It's shocking that he would be this close," said Johnson's neighbor James Studley.

"That's very scary knowing that he lived right down there," added Johnson's neighbor Jill Glenwinkle.

Johnson previously served prison time for other armed robbery convictions in Orange County. According to an arrest report, Johnson is a server at the Washington Duke Golf Club in Durham. Online reports show he is also the owner of 1855 Media, web development and marketing company.

The latest incident was the armed robbery of a woman at a home in the 6200 block of Ridgefield Street in Wake Forest Tuesday night. The victim told investigators a man put a gun to her head in her garage. About $2,000 worth of jewelry was taken along with a set of car keys.

Deputies have also linked Johnson to the home intrusion in Cary that took place Oct. 3. A woman reported that she awoke to find a man in her bedroom armed with a gun demanding valuables and cash.

There have been more similar robberies in Raleigh and Wake County. In each case, the victims were approached as they were about to enter homes and held at gunpoint. Some were forced to drive to ATMs to withdraw money.

"That does not make me feel good knowing that he lived here, but it does make me feel good knowing that he got arrested. And hopefully he'll be brought to justice for the things that he's done to people who didn't deserve that," said Glenwinkle.

ABC11 confirmed Sunday that Johnson worked for 1855 Media after receiving an email from a woman who claimed she was duped by him through a marketing company he owns.

She said he sold her a corporate logo and then saw that logo on somebody else's website. When she confronted him, she said he directed her to a Canadian based contact who then told her she had no rights to what she said she purchased.

Despite the woman's claims, it seems Johnson earned some positive recognition for his company. A photo on the company's website shows Johnson getting an outstanding achievement award from the now former Governor Mike Easley, who would later find himself in trouble for a campaign finance violation.

Johnson is being held on $3.5 million bond. His first court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

The charges Johnson faces are related to the offenses committed during crimes that occurred:

  • September 22 in the 4800 block of Pleasant Valley Road (RPD);
  • September 22 in the 4300 block of Furman Hall (RPD);
  • September 24 in the 1000 block of Collins Drive (RPD)
  • September 25 in the 1400 block of Hopson Downs Court (WSO);
  • September 26 in the 5000 block of Stonebridge Drive (WSO);
  • September 27 in the 4900 block of Wynneford Way (WSO);
  • October 4 in the 2400 block of Chelmsford Drive (WSO); and,
  • October 8 in the 6200 block of Ridgefield Street (WFPD).

The Wake County Sheriff says the investigation is not over, more charges could be coming, and he believes there are other people involved.

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