Man sentenced to 24 years for stealing

A Los Angeles man has been sentenced to 24 years and six months in prison for the 2013 armed robbery of a Carmel jewelry store, the Monterey County district attorney’s office said Tuesday.

James Kevin Johnson, 53, and an associate walked into Hesselbein Jewelry Store at about 11:15 a.m. on Feb 8, 2013.

The two were dressed as Pacific Gas and Electric workers, wearing white hard hats, orange reflective safety vests and brown pants.

They claimed they were there to investigate a gas leak, deputy district attorney Douglas Matheson said.

The two took the shop’s owner and three employees in a back room, pulled out guns, ordered the four to the floor and bound them with duct tape and zip ties, Matheson said.

Two customers who walked into the store were also taken into the back room.

Johnson emptied the display cases, stealing over $1 million worth of rings and Rolex watches, before both robbers left through the back door, Matheson said.

The crime went unsolved for over a year until investigators found Johnson’s DNA on a roll of duct tape, and his partial fingerprint on a clipboard.

A victim could not identify Johnson’s face, but was able to recognize his voice from a recorded interview, Matheson said.

On Jan. 13, 2015, district attorney’s office issued a warrant for Johnson’s arrest, with bail set at $3 million, according to sheriff’s Detective Martin Opseth.

At the time, Johnson was already in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail where he was booked on suspicion of drug trafficking in an unrelated case, Opseth said.