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Bank Robbery Suspect Ordered Held In Federal Prison

November 23, 1985

DETROIT (AP) _ A man accused of pulling off more than 20 bank robberies over 2 years from coast to coast by using various disguises on Friday was ordered held in a federal prison, authorities said.

Antonio Johnson, 26, was ordered held in the Federal Corrections Institute in Milan on bank robbery charges, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Lavoie.

In issuing the order, U.S. Magistrate Lynn Hooe said Johnson was a danger to the community, because evidence presented at Friday’s detention hearing showed that he confessed to robbing more than 20 banks and savings and loans, according to Lavoie.

Johnson surrendered Nov. 15 to the FBI in Detroit, offering information about a robbery two days earlier of a Comerica Bank branch near Detroit police headquarters, said Kenneth Walton, special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI office.

If indicted and convicted of bank robbery, Lavoie said Johnson faces a maximum 20 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Lavoie said Johnson also may face similar charges in states were other bank robberies occurred.

After several days of interrogation, the FBI linked him to up to 22 robberies committed from New York to San Francisco dating back to 1982, FBI Special Agent John Anthony said.

Before his surrender, authorities said they were unaware a single person masterminded the robbery spree, because of Johnson’s use of disguises to change his race, sex and age.

″To put it simply, he was a master of disguise,″ Walton said. The suspect used ″superb makeup work, wigs, false beards, mustaches, eyelashes, and rubber inserts to alter the shape of his nose - a whole bag of tricks.″

Johnson allegedly began the robbery spree after he was released in February 1982 from the Michigan Reformatory in Ionia, where was serving time on a state armed robbery conviction, Walton said.

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