Man who robbed Seekonk Wendy’s employee at gunpoint sentenced to life under ‘habitual criminal’ law

A Boston man who held a Seekonk Wendy’s employee at gunpoint and robbed her was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday after being convicted following a week-long trial in Fall River Superior Court.

Todd Johnson, 61, was convicted by a jury of armed and masked robbery and kidnapping. He was also found to be a “habitual criminal” under Massachusetts law, which enhanced his prison penalty, the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office said.

On March 12, 2018, around 4 a.m., Johnson approached a woman leaving her job at Wendy’s in Seekonk. When the woman reached her car, Johnson put a gun to her and demanded she hand over deposit bags. The woman told Johnson she didn’t have any money and Johnson forced her to empty her pockets, officials said.

The woman pulled out her cell phone, which Johnson took from her, before forcing her, at gunpoint, to go back into the restaurant to open the safe.

Inside the restaurant surveillance cameras recorded the incident, officials said.

The victim was unable to open the safe because it was on a timer. Johnson then tried to tie up the woman with zip ties. At that point, the woman told Johnson there were silent alarms throughout the restaurant.

“This spooked the defendant and caused him to flee the restaurant,” the DA’s office said. “The victim immediately called 911 from the office phone and then hid in the walk-in freezer until police arrived.”

Johnson was later found hiding underneath a car at Stateline Auto in East Providence, Rhode Island, and was arrested.

He was initially held without bail but was later released due to COVID-19. After his release, he committed a larceny offense in Suffolk County and had his bail revoked, officials said.

He was released again and committed an armed/masked robbery in Jamaica Plain and has since been indicted as a habitual offender in Suffolk County, officials said.

Johnson served lengthy state prison sentences in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s for similar crimes and drug distribution offenses, the DA’s office said.

Since he qualified as a “habitual criminal,” he was sentenced Tuesday by Judge Daniel O’Shea to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

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