Police: Violent bike-riding Queen Village bandit arrested

QUEEN VILLAGE - September 25, 2012

Investigators received an anonymous tip Monday night that 22-year-old Eric Johnson was their man, and they picked him up.

Philadelphia Police say he's terrorized the Queen Village communities for months, maybe longer, riding around on his bike robbing and attacking people.

One of the worst robberies happened three weeks ago when a woman was attacked at 5th and Fitzwater Streets. The man now charged with that crime only lives a couple of blocks away.

"You think of Queen Village as one of the nicer areas of the city," said resident Beth Redden. "So it's a little disturbing when you start hearing about that stuff happening in your own neighborhood, where you walk every day."

Johnson lives on the 400 block of Christian Street in the same area where he's accused of putting a gun in the faces of so many and cleaning their pockets of cash and credit cards.

Police say right now he's charged with at least four robberies in the past month and a half.

On September 1st, they say, he rode up to a woman at 5th and Fitzwater Streets and demanded cash. When she didn't move fast enough, he pistol-whipped her, causing facial fractures and cuts to her head.

"We are glad this predator has been taken off the street," said Philadelphia Police Captain Larry Nodiff. "I'm sure that the residents of the Queen Village area can sleep better tonight."

But police are not sure if Johnson is the infamous Queen Village Mugger seen in surveillance video we first showed you in July.

Several community organizations came together to offer a reward leading to the man who was choking women and stealing their purses in the area in June.

Investigators are reviewing the cases to see if Johnson is connected to them. Residents and police are still on alert.

"Anytime you have an individual who does not think twice about committing a violent crime, it's alarming," said Nodiff.

Police say when they picked Johnson up Monday night, they found stolen items from some of the robberies in his apartment. He's got two prior convictions for drug and weapons offenses.

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