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One of 7 suspects in Huber Heights AT&T robbery makes court appearance

Published: Friday, February 02, 2018 @ 10:49 AM
Updated: Friday, February 02, 2018 @ 7:00 PM

6 of 7 teens accused in phone store robbery appear in Juvenile Court

Update@1:20 p.m. (Feb. 5):

The judge entered a not guilty plea on the Johnson’s behalf during his initial court appearance Monday afternoon. The judge set bond at $50,000 after saying he was going to set it higher but decided to go with the recommendation from pre-trial services.

Johnson will be required to be on electronic home monitoring if he does make bail. 

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A date for a preliminary hearing was not scheduled.

A large group of Johnson’s friends and current and former teammates arrived at the courthouse toward the end of the hearing and later held a quick prayer.

UPDATE @ 6:47 a.m. (Feb. 4):

Springfield High School football standout Caleb W. Johnson, 18, who was arrested along with six juveniles for their alleged roles in an AT&T robbery in Huber Heights Thursday has now officially been charged and is due in court early this week.

Johnson is charged with aggravated robbery, two counts of failure to comply with a police officer and a single count of improperly handling a firearm in a vehicle, according to Montgomery County Municipal Court records.

The 18-year-old is expected to make an initial appearance by video in the eastern division of the Montgomery County Municipal Court Monday at 12:30 p.m., records show.

Johnson, along with the six other juveniles, remain in jail or juvenile detention.

INITIAL REPORT

The number of law enforcement agencies investigating possible ties from cellphone store robberies in their areas to one Thursday in Huber Heights is expanding.

Seven teens, including a standout Springfield High School football player, were arrested Thursday afternoon in connection to the robbery of the AT&T store on Old Troy Pike, where more than $45,000 in merchandise was taken.

>> 6 juveniles, 1 adult in custody in AT&T robbery, manhunt in Huber Heights

Now, law enforcement agencies in Springfield and Miami Twp. said Friday they have been in touch with Huber Heights police regarding similar robberies:

  • 1 p.m. Sept. 6, 2017, at AT&T, 2427 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Miami Twp. Two masked, armed males entered the store. They were dropped off one car and picked up by a second car.
  • 10:30 a.m. Jan. 18 at Verizon Wireless, 1780 N. Bechtle Ave., Springfield. At least four armed males entered the store.

Surveillance video of a Springfield Verizon store being robbed in January. Police believe it may be connected with a AT&T store robbery in Huber Heights.

“We believe there is a connection between the robbery in Springfield and the robbery in Huber Heights just because the way the robbery was done in Huber, it was real similar to the robbery that we had here in Springfield. We are currently working with the Huber Heights PD to see if there is a connection in the two robberies,” said Lt. Jeff Meyer of the Springfield Police Division. “(Thursday) we had detectives go to Huber Heights to talk the individuals who were arrested.”

>> Multiple armed males rob Springfield Verizon store

The oldest of the seven teens is 18-year-old Caleb W. Johnson, who remains held in the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of aggravated robbery. The Springfield wide receiver earned All-Ohio Division I football honors last season. He had transferred to Springfield High School from Trotwood-Madison High School. This weekend, the lone adult charged in the case was scheduled to make a college recruiting campus visit to Eastern Kentucky University.

>> Surveillance video released: Gunmen rob Miami Twp. AT&T store with customers inside

Miami Twp. police said they, too, have been in contact with authorities in Huber Heights. A Miami Twp. AT&T store on Miamisburg-Centerville Road was robbed in September when two masked males entered the store armed while more than a dozen customers were inside, police said at that time.

“We are aware of the similarities in the (cases) and we have been in preliminary communications with Huber Heights,” Miami Twp. Police Capt. John Magill said Friday.

No charges have been filed, Magill said.

“I do know there’s some similarities in the MO,” he said. “And that covers quite a bit. There are a lot of similarities in the MO.” 

>> Dayton sergeant finds 5 of 7 Huber robbery suspects hiding in shed near boyhood home

The six juveniles accused in the armed robbery and manhunt that followed appeared Friday afternoon in groups of two before Montgomery County Juvenile Court Judge Anthony Capizzi.

Judge's warning triggers emotional outbust in Juvenile Court

Multiple people ran out of court crying and yelling after Capizzi announced the first two juveniles who appeared could face more than seven years in prison, if convicted.

“I’m going to tell them the truth. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything,” Capizzi said.

Four of the boys are from Dayton – aged 15, 16, 16 and 17 – and two are from Trotwood – aged 15 and 16, according to records.

The 15-year-old Trotwood boy, one Dayton 16-year-old and the Dayton 17-year-old have no juvenile record or only minor/misdemeanor cases. 

Three of the six juveniles have felony records – including one with previous aggravated robbery and felonious assault convictions – according to court records obtained by this news organization. 

>> Dayton sergeant finds 5 of 7 Huber robbery suspects hiding in shed near boyhood home

Along with the previous aggravated robbery and felonious assault cases, the 16-year-old Trotwood boy has felony convictions for trafficking in marijuana, grand theft auto and multiple cases for receiving stolen property. 

The 15-year-old Dayton boy has previous felony convictions for breaking and entering, receiving stolen property, grand theft auto and multiple cases for receiving stolen property.

All six were ordered to remain in custody. Pretrials are scheduled for Feb. 16.

Capizzi said transfers to adult court are a possibility, and that he expects prosecutors to request that any teen who was 16 when the crimes occurred to be moved to adult court. Transfers to adult court would be discretionary for the two 15-year-old suspects, Capizzi said.

WATCH: Police chase after alleged robbers; suspects captured in Huber Heights
The suspects were arrested after a manhunt in the area of Longford and Harshmanville roads Thursday afternoon following the robbery at the AT&T store.  The suspects had crashed and bailed out of a vehicle in the area while fleeing the store and officers from across Montgomery County, including a SWAT team, assisted in capturing the seven suspects.