Corona Bank Robber Gets Prison

Driver and accomplice gets State Prison sentence

Photo Courtesy:  Corona PD Patricia Cheree Smith, 26

Photo Courtesy: Corona PD
Patricia Cheree Smith, 26

By Claire Lewis

Riverside  – On Feb. 4, Paul Alfred Eugene Johnson, 59, and Patricia Cheree Smith, 26, both of Hemet, robbed the Pacific Premier Bank located at 102 E. Sixth Street in Corona.  Johnson threatened bank employees at gunpoint, and fled the scene with a large sum of money in a vehicle driven by Smith.

According to the Corona Police Department, Officers quickly intervened and located the vehicle, and a chase ensued into the city of Chino.  As Officers attempted a high risk enforcement stop, the vehicle stopped briefly nearly San Antonio and Bickmore avenues and the driver emerged.  That’s when things went from bad to worse.

The pursuit then continued with Johnson at the wheel.  He led Police to the 71 Freeway where he crashed off the side of the expressway.  As he exited the vehicle, he was struck multiple times by Police gunfire.  Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene.

As Smith exited the vehicle in Chino, she was immediately contacted by Police where she declared she was the victim of a hijacking at the scene of the robbery by a man with a gun.  Further investigation by Corona Police Detectives revealed that Smith was an accomplice in the bank robbery.

On May 18, Smith appeared in Riverside Superior Court.  She pleaded guilty on three counts of armed robbery.  With three strikes, Smith was sentenced to State Prison.