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Beline Obeid

Veteran describes pickpocket attack

The case against accused pickpocket, Jeffrey Darnell Jones II, 23, of Eastpointe, above, goes to circuit court. photo by Brad Lindberg.

April 17, 2014
GROSSE POINTE FARMS — While the Hill pickpocket story goes international, the protagonist is going nowhere, any reflex to flee restrained by the law and his beltless blue jeans hanging below the bottom of his boxer shorts.

He's in Wayne County Jail, awaiting further prosecution for attempted larceny from a person, a 5-year felony.

Jeffrey Darnell Jones II, 23, of Eastpointe, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday, April 9, in Grosse Pointe Farms Municipal Court.

Prosecutors charged the 250-pound Jones with trying to snatch a wallet from the right front pocket of a 72-year-old man hobbling with aid of a cane outside a building containing bank and medical offices on the Hill shortly before noon, Thursday, March 27.

"If he says he wasn't trying to take my wallet, he had his hand in my pocket and I don't like the other alternative, either," said the alleged victim, Chet Dunham, a veteran of the 82nd Airborne parachute division living in Harper Woods.

"The 82nd is the most decorated unit in the world," Dunham said. "It has more battle streamers than anybody."

Dunham attend the prelim.

Security video shows him swinging his cane to fight off Jones.

"I bruised him," Dunham said.

Dunham retreated into the bank.

"All I was thinking about was getting help," he said. "I can't deal with this guy. I'm disabled."

Police arrested Jones six minutes later, one block away.

The account was picked up by WDIV-TV Detroit and the Daily (United Kingdom) Mail online edition. The latter outlet was granted use of a Grosse Pointe News photograph of Jones being arraigned one day after the arrest.

Farms police transported Jones to the prelim from the county jail.

He's unable to post a $5,000 cash bond Municipal Judge Matthew Rumora set during the arraignment 13 days earlier.

Rumora maintained Jones' plea of not guilty.

Rumora also maintained the bond, a high barrier to the unemployed high school dropout's wish for freedom while the case against him shifts to an arraignment Wednesday, April 16, in 3rd District Court, in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, downtown Detroit.

"I have an obligation to consider the protection of the public and members of the community," said Rumora, refusing a request by the suspect's court-appointed lawyer, Terry Johnson, for easier terms.

Jones has a clean criminal record.

"I would think he would be probation-eligible on this case," Johnson told Rumora.

"This happened right on the Hill in the middle of the day," Rumora said. "The victim was 72 years old."

Dunham thinks Jones' record is spotless because he hadn't been caught.

"You don't learn to pickpocket by yourself," Dunham said. "Somebody teaches you."

The hearing over, Jones rose from the defendant's table, holding up the front of his baggy pants with his cuffed hands.

An officer escorted him out of the courtroom for a ride back to jail.

Dunham, and possibly the entire world, came close to experiencing combat during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

"I remember sitting in an aircraft with engines running at Elgin Air Force Base, in the panhandle of Florida, ready to invade Cuba," he said.

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