FBI Says He Knocked Over 9 Banks

By Eric S. Page and Tony Shin
|  Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010  |  Updated 10:24 PM PDT
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FBI arrests man in connection to spree that allegedly began in August.

Agents said Sammy William Thomas, 27, began a string of bank robberies at the US bank in the 2900 block of Jamacha Road in El Cajon on Aug. 31. They also said he was arrested without incident last Wednesday in the 1400 block of Hotel Circle North in San Diego, in the of the Archstone Presidio View Apartments.

Officials said that officers and agents from the FBI, San Diego and El Cajon police departments and the California Department of Corrections participated in the arrest.

According to investigators, Thomas also robbed the following banks:

  • Sept. 7: US Bank, 3681 Avocado Blvd., La Mesa
  • Sept. 7: Bank of America, 4420 Bonita Road, Chula Vista
  • Sept. 27: Citibank, 5604 Mission Center Road, San Diego
  • Oct. 15: Wells Fargo Bank, 6670 Montezuma Road, San Diego
  • Oct. 15: Bank of America, 6501 Mission Gorge Road, San Diego
  • Nov. 2: Wells Fargo Bank, 5624 Mission Center Drive, San Diego
  • Nov. 18: US Bank, 1608 Broadway, El Cajon
  • Dec. 2: Chase Bank, 4723 Clairemont Drive, San Diego

The FBI said on Wednesday afternoon that Alan Johnson, 40, was also been arrested in connection with the spree. Investigators believe he "acted in concert" with Thomas during four of the robberies.

Court documents show that Thomas has a long criminal history including a carjacking conviction in 2005.

The papers also show letters from Thomas' father and stepmother, asking the judge for leniency.

His stepmother told NBCSanDiego that Sammy had been released from prison last April. 

She blames his criminal history on drug addiction.  "You know he has a son who's eight years old that he has never really gotten to know because he's been in prison for most of this little boy's life,"said Jeannie Thomas.  She said for years his family has been trying to help him get off drugs.

"It's been very hard, very frustrating, very discouraging,"Jeannie said.

She's hoping this arrest will be a wake-up call for Sammy to turn his life around, because it's taking a devastating toll on Sammy's father.

"He says he'll never get to hold him again, he'll probably be an old man when he gets out and my husband will probably be dead."

Thomas is currently being held at the George Bailey Detention Facility.  According to the county sheriff's website, Thomas is not eligible for release and is being held on a parole hold.

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