Raleigh, N.C. — The arrest of a Raleigh man suspected in eight robberies and attempted robberies throughout Wake County has left neighbors and family members in disbelief and some in the community relieved.
Walter Kevin Johnson, 28, faces nearly two dozen charges – including nine counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of first-degree kidnapping and one count each of first-degree burglary, attempted robbery and extortion – after Raleigh police and Wake County sheriff's investigators say he robbed or tried to rob several people at or near their homes during a two-week crime spree last month and earlier this month.
Johnson, of 6124 Braidwood Court, was arrested Friday during a traffic stop and was in the Wake County Detention Center Saturday under a secured bond of $3.9 million.
Investigators said they do not believe he acted alone in the crimes, and they expect additional arrests in the case.
Johnson's wife said Saturday that they were having financial problems and admitted the evidence against her husband was strong. She declined to comment further, however.
Neighbors said that they were shocked by Johnson's arrest.
"I think it is unbelievable that someone could be living this close and you have no idea," said Diane Lewis, who lives on Braidwood Court, off Glenwood Avenue in northwest Raleigh. "It's nerve-wracking."
In that case, investigators say, a man armed with a handgun assaulted another man and stole a woman's purse as they walked from their car.
Less than 24 hours later, a woman parking her car at an apartment complex off Duraleigh Road – about 3 miles from Johnson's home – was forced into her car and made to drive to an ATM to withdraw cash. She was dropped off, and her car was later found abandoned near her home.
In one of the latest cases, a woman who lives in a neighborhood near Penny and Holly Spring roads near Cary reported waking up in the middle of the night to an armed man in her bedroom.
She said the man told her he'd been in her house for several hours stealing her belongings, made her write down her family's banking information and then demanded she drop off $45,000 for him the following day.
Winnie Kasper said Saturday she is relieved that authorities have made an arrest. Kasper changed her walking routine after one of the robberies happened on her block.
"I am very thankful that they got him," she said.
According to the North Carolina Secretary of State's website, Johnson owns a web design and marketing company called 1855 Media LLC. The firm's website features of photo of Johnson receiving an award from former Gov. Mike Easley.
Johnson has a lengthy criminal history, including prior robbery charges in Vance and Orange counties.
In July 2002, he was convicted of larceny in Vance County and was sentenced to 6 to 8 months in prison.
In Orange County in October 2002, Johnson was convicted of several counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon from crimes spanning a six-month period in 2001 and was sentenced to 5-6 years in prison, followed by parole, which ended in April 2012.
View Wake County robbery spree in a larger map