Kzoo woman faces federal charges in 4 bank robberies

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek
An undated booking photo of Earlisa Johnson. (Courtesy of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office)

An undated booking photo of Earlisa Johnson. (Courtesy of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman admitted to multiple bank robberies in Kalamazoo dating back to May, federal court documents say.

Earlisa Johnson, 51, of Kalamazoo, faces federal bank robbery charges for four thefts:

In all, according to a criminal complaint written by an FBI agent and filed Wednesday, she made off with more than $6,500.

The document says that Johnson used a similar method in each of the robberies, covering her face — sometimes with a medical mask and sometimes with black mask with eye slits — and carrying a plastic bag for the cash. The robber never implied she had a weapon and never hurt anyone.

Investigators also say that on May 7, before the Omni robbery, a woman believed to be Johnson tried to get into a check cashing business in Kalamazoo, but the manager didn’t let her in because she was wearing a mask. The Omni branch was robbed less than an hour later.

There, the complaint says, the robber was polite, telling the bank workers to “put money in the bag please, nobody will get hurt, and no alarms please.” At the Huntington Bank, the robber said she would “like to make a withdrawal; I don’t have an account; put it in the bag that’s fine.”

The criminal complaint says investigators used the robber’s getaway car, a gold Cadillac Escalade, to identify Johnson. When searching that vehicle after her Sept. 11 arrest, they found clothing matching what the robber had worn.

Investigators say Johnson admitted to three of the robberies. She didn’t deny robbing the Omni, but said she couldn’t remember. She said she recognized one of the masks and a pair of gloves worn by the robber as hers.

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