Family robs bank to avoid foreclosure - Posted by Barry (GA)

Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA) on July 25, 2003 at 21:10:41:

And that caught my eye too. The shift of priorities went from paying the mortgage, to going to Atlantic City! Strange how that works out. Had they paid the mortgage, they may have received some sympathy from a jury; but not when they immediately go gambling and strolling along the Boardwalk.

Family robs bank to avoid foreclosure - Posted by Barry (GA)

Posted by Barry (GA) on July 25, 2003 at 14:03:41:

This story is really something!


Deep in Debt, N.J. Family Robs Bank

The Associated Press
Friday, July 25, 2003; 2:13 PM

BARNEGAT, N.J. - Kathleen Wortman Jones was just another financially strapped New Jersey homeowner until the day she drove up to the Sun National Bank with her 14-year-old twin daughters.

Desperate to save her house from foreclosure, the 34-year-old mother of four served as the getaway driver after the girls robbed the bank of $3,050.

The heist involved the entire family, according to prosecutors. In addition to Jones and the twins, a 16-year-old daughter was arrested for conspiracy and husband Kevin Jones was charged as an accessory.

But it was the participation of the girls that stunned police.

“Fourteen-year-old girls steal lipstick, not rob banks,” said Detective Michael Duffy. “The fact that such young girls - children, really - were involved in such a serious crime does set you back a little.”

Jones had already seen her share of setbacks. A teenage bride, she gave birth to her first child at 17 and the twins at 19. After her first marriage broke up, she met Kevin Jones, who was working as a sheetrock installer after a three-year prison term for selling cocaine. The couple had a daughter together before marrying in 1996.

She took odd jobs - as a Kmart cashier, an orderly at a nursing home - to help pay the bills for a family unit that now included his disabled mother and, sometimes, two of his children from a previous relationship.

In 2000, they moved into a modest four-bedroom ranch house. Last year, they went for months at a time without making the $1,000 mortgage payments. In July, Kathleen Jones filed for bankruptcy.

Things worsened in September, when Kevin Jones was hospitalized with congestive heart failure and could not work.

After the mortgage company that held the $94,223 note filed a foreclosure notice, Kathleen Jones’ children took matters into their own hands, according to Kevin Jones.

“They figured `If Daddy goes to work, he’s going to die. Let’s go get the money,’” he said. “It was the children that thought this up, not her. She woke up and caught them stealing my car to do a robbery. She drove that car to make sure her kids were safe, that whatever happened to them would happen to her.”

Kevin Jones was asleep when they left on the morning of Oct. 29, 2002, for the bank, about five miles from their home.

There, the twins - identified in court papers only as E.W. and C.W. - hopped out. One donned a black knit ski mask, the other a nylon stocking. One carried a silver pistol, which turned out to be a toy that fires pellets at a Velcro target. In they went, like “a teenage Thelma and Louise,” as one detective put it.

It was two days before Halloween when the 5-foot-2 girls announced the stickup.

“What is this, a joke?” the branch manager said.

“No, we ain’t (expletive) joking,” one of them replied. “Give us your money.” She handed a black plastic trash bag to a teller.

The teller stuffed the cash in and the girls ran out, one removing her mask as she ran past a drive-thru window before jumping into Mom’s 1992 Buick Skylark for the getaway.

Dad found out about the robbery when they got home.

“What was I supposed to do? Say, Here, police, my wife and kids just robbed a bank'? My only thought at that time wasWhat do we do now?’” Kevin Jones said.

The family drove to Atlantic City, where the girls hung out on the Boardwalk as the parents gambled in a casino. On the ride home, Kevin Jones allegedly threw the toy pistol in a trash bin.

Keeping up with the Joneses wasn’t hard for police. With help from the bank surveillance video, they identified the suspects quickly. Three days after the robbery, a SWAT team burst into the house at dinnertime.

The officers seized about $2,700 and arrested all five, including the twins, who were described as polite and respectful by police.

The youngsters’ side of the story has yet to be told. Now 15, the twins pleaded guilty in juvenile court and are serving four-year terms at a juvenile center. Their lawyers did not return calls seeking comment.

The older girl was supposed to take part in the holdup but lost her nerve. She pleaded guilty and got probation.

Kevin Jones, who is accused of covering up the robbery and urging his daughters to lie to police, goes on trial Sept. 3.

His wife pleaded guilty last month to armed robbery and using a juvenile to commit a crime. She faces up to 30 years at sentencing Aug. 15. Jones, who is being held without bail, declined requests for an interview, as did the prosecutor in the case.

Family members say the robbery was completely out of character for her. She does not drink or use drugs and had never been in trouble with the law before, they said.

“The prosecutors office knows about her financial problems,” Jones’ sister, Nancy Tuz, wrote to the judge. “But what they don’t know is that Kathie was spiraling downward, extremely depressed in the months leading up to the robbery. She committed this crime as a last, desperate attempt to save her house.”

In that she failed.

The house goes on the auction block at a sheriff’s sale next month. None of the loot was used to make a mortgage payment.

“Instead of keeping the family together, she lost her whole family,” said next-door neighbor Joanne Huntsman, 57. “Her whole world came tumbling down.”

© 2003 The Associated Press

Re: Family robs bank to avoid foreclosure - Posted by jasonrei

Posted by jasonrei on July 26, 2003 at 17:06:55:

Still, it’s nice to see families doing things together. So many teenage girls don’t want to be around their moms.
They even decided to take a little vacation together.

Re: Family robs bank to avoid foreclosure - Posted by johnB_NJ

Posted by johnB_NJ on July 25, 2003 at 19:52:16:

Funny you should post about that mess.

I was working with that seller about a month ago to buy the house before Sheriff Sale. it would be a short sale because the house is a mess but after 3 days of “thinking about it” he decided to file BK and save the house himself.
The story was the kids robbed the bank and momma waited outside inthe car. The husband didn’t have a clue what they were up too. When I went to visit him, the kids and mom were still in jail and I beleive they are still.

Small world, ain’t it.

Good old Barnegat. I love that town. it is my farm area.

Have a great day


Re: Family robs bank to avoid foreclosure - Posted by RichV(FL)

Posted by RichV(FL) on July 25, 2003 at 16:14:54:


Thats some story! Some people…geeezzzz!


Someone should have told them… - Posted by Ben (NJ)

Posted by Ben (NJ) on July 25, 2003 at 15:17:02:

that the bankruptcy stayed the foreclosure! That would have saved alot of aggravation. Funny how gambling became a high priority too! Thanks for the story.

Re: Family robs bank to avoid foreclosure - Posted by Ben (NJ)

Posted by Ben (NJ) on July 26, 2003 at 18:19:52:

They’ve finally found a home they can’t lose to foreclosure! LOL

Are your offers THAT BAD - Posted by IB (NJ)

Posted by IB (NJ) on July 26, 2003 at 24:10:03:

where the family is opting to risk jail time instead of sell to you ??? You’ve got a lot of work to do on your presentation John. LOL