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Robbery suspect returned to Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 27 -- A man who was the object of a six-month international manhunt following the theft of $18.8 million from a north Florida armored truck company has been returned to Jacksonville. Philip Johnson, a former Loomis, Fargo & Co. courier, has been ordered held without bond in the Duval County, Fla., Jail pending a tentative December trial date.

Johnson, who reportedly fled Florida March 29 with the multi-million dollar haul from a Jacksonville Loomis office, was returned in chains for his Friday arraignment after being captured in Brownsville, Texas, Aug. 30. According to prosecutors, the 33-year-old Johnson will be given another hearing on Tuesday. Authorities say Johnson drove a Loomis truck to North Carolina where he hid most of the money in a self storage unit before disposing of the armored truck and disappearing across the border into Mexico. All but $186,000 was recovered from the storage shed Sept. 18. The recovered funds include $14 million in cash and $4.6 million in checks. Johnson was carrying false identification and apparently was trying to re-enter the United States when he was detained by a suspicious border guard. Johnson could face a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted of all counts in the indictment against him. After the hearing, Johnson was booked into jail and placed in an isolation cell. Authorities say they are keeping Johnson in isolation because they are concerned about his welfare after the notoriety his case has received. ---

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Copyright 1997 by United Press International. All rights reserved. ---

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