St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
John Wesley Jones
John Wesley Jones appeared in court this afternoon to enter guilty pleas to armed robbery and related firearms charges in a record money heist last summer
in St. Louis.
According to court documents, in the early morning of August 2, four individuals, each armed with a firearm, forced their way into ATM Solutions in midtown St. Louis. They announced a robbery and subsequently took over $5 million belonging to ATM. (Authorities have not previously released an official sum of the money stolen.) They took the firearms from each of two employees and tied them up after forcing them to assist in placing of the currency into an ATM van.
The robbers decided that they needed to steal an ATM van, as there was too much money to put into the vehicle that they drove to the robbery. They loaded the ATM van with the currency and drove to into a garage on Page Avenue and emptied the van. Some of the currency was hidden in the attic there and some was taken to a storage locker.
On August 3, Jones placed over a million dollars into his black Dodge Charger and drove out of the driveway at 4032 Page and almost ran into an unmarked police car. Members of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department were patrolling the 4000 block of Page following the robbery the day before. The Charger accelerated and a police pursuit ensued. During the police pursuit, Jones struck another vehicle, drove on, crashed, ran from police and was arrested a short distance away. When the police returned to the Charger, they found over one million dollars in the trunk along with a loaded firearm. Jones admits that he possessed that firearm and the currency. Jones was indicted for the possession of a firearm and ordered detained by a United States Magistrate Judge. While in custody at the Lincoln County Detention Center Jones escaped on November 15
when he and another inmate climbed into the ceiling area and escaped via an air conditioning duct. He was arrested several days later in Illinois.
Jones, 36, of Florissant, pleaded guilty to one felony count of armed robbery, one felony count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, one felony count of being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm and one felony count of escape from custody. He appeared this afternoon before United States District Judge Catherine D. Perry. Sentencing has been set for May 12, 2011 before United States District Judge Carol E. Jackson.
"We are pleased with the guilty plea and are highly confident the other individuals involved with the robbery will be brought to justice," said Special Agent in Charge Dennis L. Baker of the FBI St. Louis Division. "We have recovered most of the stolen money but are trying to locate the rest. Anyone who possesses, transports, or conceals the stolen money could face federal charges just like three others who have already been charged. Anyone with information should contact the FBI."
Robbery carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence carries a penalty range of seven years to life in prison and/or fines up to $250,000; felon in possession of a firearm carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000; and escape from custody carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentences, Judge Jackson is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
Because the ATM Solutions case remains under investigation, U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan declined comment, other than to praise the work being done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Marshal's Service. Assistant United States Attorney Tom Mehan is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.