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Serial robber gets 65 years-plus

Sentence comes years after local man convicted of liquor store heists

Posted: April 30, 2009 10:28 p.m.
Updated: May 1, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
A Canyon Country man was sentenced Wednesday to 65 years and four months in state prison, a little more than three years after he was arrested for a string of armed robberies.

Christopher Johnson, 26, was arrested shortly after midnight April 7, 2006 near the Thrifty Shopper liquor store in Canyon Country, where sheriff's deputies saw Johnson - who matched the description of a suspect in previous robberies - apparently casing the location.

His crime spree reportedly began on Jan. 3, 2006, when Johnson walked into H&J Liquor Mart in Canyon Country and robbed the store at gunpoint.

Between then and April 4, a suspect matching the same description in every case held up Canyon Market, Oak Tree Liquor, Circle K, Little Pleasures, King Liquor, Fox Liquor, Quick Stop Liquor, EZ Stop Liquor and Country Liquor.

Johnson fired his gun during two of the robberies but there were no injuries, according to a sheriff's report.

Detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station investigated the robberies, aided by deputies from the station's Community Interaction Team and COBRA unit, according to the report.

Johnson was arrested three days after the final robbery. His arrest came on a night when sheriff's deputies were patrolling several locations in Santa Clarita, searching for their suspect.

"We believe that he wanted to rob the last location but didn't have the opportunity," sheriff's Det. Dan Stanley told The Signal after Johnson's arrest.

"If this case doesn't send a message that crime doesn't pay, then I don't know what does," sheriff's Capt. Anthony La Berge said in a statement. "This is the definition of teamwork in every sense of the word."

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