Thief Who Stole Soldiers' Credit Cards Arrested - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/22/06

Thief Who Stole Soldiers' Credit Cards Arrested

A Savannah construction worker is in big trouble with the law. Earlier this month, police caught a man on surveillance tape who was suspected of stealing credit cards right out of people's wallets at Hunter Army Airfield's gym. They say he racked up more than $4,000 in charges at stores across the Coastal Empire. Now, they say they have that man in custody. Michael D. Jones made a full confession to police on Wednesday morning. The 36 year old construction worker was contracted to work at Hunter Army Airfield. Thanks to an anonymous tip, he's facing felony federal charges.

 Jones' face was covered with a mask as his parole officer escorted him, handcuffed, to the car that would take him to the Chatham County Jail. Department of Defense Police credit tips they received through CrimeStoppers for his arrest.

"It enabled us to obtain some leads," explained Department of Defense Detective John Marshall, "but without the silent witnesses, I don't believe we would be able to identify him, at least, not as quickly."

On December 5th, 9th, 20th and 27th, Department of Defense Police say Jones stole four credit cards right out the wallets of three active duty soldiers and one civilian employee at Hunter Army Airfield's gym. One of those soldiers was Father Jim McNeely, a military chaplain, who didn't notice his card was gone until he found $750 in unauthorized charges on his account.

"There's no way he didn't know I was a chaplain," said Father McNeely, "because all of my stuff was on top. My wallet was underneath all of my clothes that a chaplain that was very troubling to me."

It was also troubling to D.O.D. Police, who say Jones targeted soldiers and Army civilians.

"They work for this country," said Detective Marshall. "They defend this country and it's a shame to see someone victimized who works so hard for this country."

Father McNeely said he hoped this would be a turning point for Jones.

"He's going to have to answer for the crime he did," said Father McNeely, "but also, for him personally, I hope this is an opportunity for him to look at his life and make the adjustments that can make him a more positive person for our society."

Jones is in the Chatham County Jail facing four federal felony counts of financial credit card transaction fraud. He also faces charges from Savannah Chatham Police for using those cards around town. Police say he was on probation for the same crime back in 2003 from stealing credit cards from employees at Candler Health System.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

 

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