Charlemont man held without bail in Northampton bank robbery

  • Northampton police respond to People’s United Bank on Thursday, Feb. 25, for a report of a bank robbery. David W. Jones Jr. 38, of Charlemont, was arrested later that day in connection with the case. NORTHAMPTON POLICE DEPARTMENT

Managing Editor
Published: 3/3/2021 6:01:11 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A 38-year-old Charlemont man charged with robbing a city bank and stealing more than $12,000 in cash was ordered held without bail in Northampton District Court on Wednesday after a judge determined he poses a danger to the community.

David W. Jones Jr., of 2103 Route 2, was arrested at a residence on Heath Stage Road in Charlemont last Thursday just hours after he allegedly robbed People’s United Bank on King Street and drove off in a pickup with a bag of cash, according to police reports. Jones is being held at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction and earlier pleaded not guilty to a charge of armed robbery while masked. 

Bank employees told police the suspect was wearing an N-95-style mask.

During arguments in court, Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Andrew Covington told Judge Maureen Walsh that Jones has a criminal record “40 pages long” connected to cases in Massachusetts, North Carolina and Texas. He was sentenced to five to seven years in state prison more than a decade ago for a series of breaking-and-entering and larceny charges in Berkshire County, he said.

“The defendant is a definition of a danger,” Covington said. “He made a full confession to the officer that he was involved in this very serious crime. He presents a very high flight risk.”

Although Jones allegedly passed the teller a note in which he threatened to shoot the employee if his instructions weren’t followed, Covington told the judge, and police reports show, that no weapon was found in connection with the robbery.

“Put all money in bank bag … no silent alarm … I’m very familiar with the system don’t try nothing stupid,” the note stated, according to a Northampton police report filed in court.

Covington argued that Jones be held without bail, or that bail be set at $100,000 with conditions. Jones’ defense attorney, Aliki Recklitis, asked Judge Walsh for bail in the range of $5,000 with conditions, including GPS monitoring, arguing that Jones is not a flight risk.

“There was no actual weapon, no intention or preparation to harm,” Recklitis said. “There’s no high-speed chase. I don’t think this type of incident would happen again.”

Recklitis said Jones’ family was shocked by the incident because he had been doing relatively well in his life.

“He has a lot of family support,” Recklitis said. “He would have a lot of eyes on him.”

Judge Walsh said there were no conditions that would “reasonably assure the safety of the community,” and said Jones should be brought to trial “as soon as possible,” at the conclusion of the hearing.

Northampton police responded to People’s United Bank at around 11:20 p.m. last Thursday for the reported obbery. Using surveillance footage and witness interviews, they were able to get a description of the suspect and the truck he drove.

Massachusetts State Police found Jones at a neighbor’s property on Heath Stage Road hours later. According to a police report, Trooper John Ollari found Jones in a garage on the property after observing a truck that matched the description of the one used in the bank robbery and after seeing the silhouette of a face in a garage window, which turned out to be Jones.

Jones’ neighbor had allowed him to borrow the pickup, which he told police he sometimes does, and allowed a search of the vehicle and garage, where police recovered approximately $12,150 in cash. Almost all of the money was found in a blue bag matching a description of the one taken from the bank.

During a police interview, Jones talked about financial troubles he and his family were having. When he spoke on the phone with the mother of his children, according to police, Jones admitted to robbing the bank because he thought it would give him a safety net with bills he could not pay.

Jones is due back in court for a pretrial hearing March 31. The charge of armed robbery while masked carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in state prison and maximum of life in prison.

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