NORFOLK, Va. - A 60-year-old man arrested and charged in connection to three armed robberies and one attempted armed robbery over the course of two days told News 3 anchor Todd Corillo he's guilty from behind bars Tuesday.
Johnnie N. Jones has been charged with three counts of robbery, one count of attempted robbery, four counts of using a firearm during the commission of a felony, and eluding police.
When asked by Corillo if he was guilty, Jones said, "Yeah I did it. I’m guilty of a couple of them yes, sir. Yes, yes."
Jones, who says he is 100% disabled after suffering six heart attacks in 2013, said his motivation for the robberies was to keep his car and be able to assist his sister, who is bedridden.
"I got into debt. Credit card debt and I was about to lose my car as a result of title loans and I tried to get loans from several people, and as a result I resorted to the robberies and all that. Resorted to what I did in the sense to keep my car, keep my car to keep transportation to help get food, get bills, and stuff for her and to care for her and care for myself also," he told Corillo.
According to Jones, it was never his intent to become a career criminal.
"I was only trying to get enough to pay my bills down to $2000, so I wasn’t attempting to make it a career endeavor. That was never my intention. I was attempting just to get the bills in line enough there and to keep my vehicle."
Police say the first robbery occurred at the CVS at 972 E. Little Creek Road around 5:30 a.m. Sunday.
"I was hoping to get enough money to pay the interest on the Loan Max for my car. It was $228 and it was like I got $130," Jones stated.
The attempted robbery occurred at the CVS at 3200 Lafayette Boulevard around 9:10 p.m. Sunday.
In that case, Jones says the clerk thought he was joking.
"I was so lighthearted about it, the young lady she thought I was kidding. She asked me, ‘Are you for real, for real? Are you serious?’ She kept asking me that, and I said, 'No, I was just kidding,' and I left."
The second successful robbery occurred at the Walgreens at 115 W. Little Creek Road around 9:25 p.m. Sunday. The third robbery happened at the Walgreens on W. 21st Street around 10:15 a.m. Monday.
In each case, Jones said he politely asked for money from the clerk.
"Real polite, I just said, 'I would like to have the paper money,'" he said.
When asked if he was armed, Jones said he had a b.b. gun, but didn't flash or show it, instead it was tucked in his belt.
"You look back at it now, and I always considered myself pretty bright, but you know I guess when you are under duress, you just don’t see things as reality oriented as you probably should have," Jones said.
Talking about his bedridden sister whom he was trying to help, Jones says she didn't know what he was doing and wouldn't have approved.
"She didn’t know I was doing any of this. She wouldn’t condone any of that. When I did call her she said, 'Even though I’m going through what I’m going through' she said, 'You know we weren’t raised to do that.'"
Jones says he is hopeful that he not be be sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence.
"That’s only because I’m 60, I’ll be 61 in November and I figure if I get anything more than 5 or 7 years it’s pretty much like a life sentence when you’re over 60, headed to 70 now a days. My goal now is to not die in prison," he said.
When asked by Corillo if he regrets what he did, Jones didn't hesitate saying he did.
"Oh, with all my heart. Yes. Geez. Come on. If I could just crank it back 14 hours. Just give me 14 hours that would make all the difference in the world and I would certainly go another route. I would stand outside of 7-Eleven and panhandle for it before I take such a drastic move like I did yesterday. Absolutely sir," he said.
Jones appeared in court Tuesday where he was appointed a public defender. He's due back in court in June.