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Feds: 'Career criminal' robbed Spring Grove bank
Federal prosecutors are seeking a lengthy prison sentence for a man accused of robbing a Spring Grove bank in January, arguing he should fall under the Armed Career Criminal Act.
Travis Jerome Jones has three robbery convictions in Lancaster County, including one for which he also was convicted of attempted murder for shooting at a police officer.
Jones, 47, of the 300 block of East Market Street in Marietta, was detained after a federal judge on April 26 determined he is both a danger to the community and a flight risk, according to court records.
On Monday, federal prosecutors filed a "notice of prior convictions and applicability of Armed Career Criminal Act," citing Jones' three convictions in Lancaster County Court for robbery.
The notice states that because Jones has at least three previous violent felony convictions, he qualifies to receive a 15-years-to-life sentence if convicted.
He is charged with bank robbery, using a firearm during the course of a crime of violence and being a convicted felon in illegal possession of a firearm.
The allegations: Federal prosecutors and Southwestern Regional Police say Jones used a pistol to rob the M&T Bank on Roths Church Road in Spring Grove about 2:10 p.m. Jan. 19. He brandished a 9 mm Hi-Point handgun and wore an old man costume mask and a black beanie hat.
After getting $3,587, Jones fled in a red Ford Ranger extended-cab pickup truck, according to Southwestern Regional Police.
No one was physically hurt during the robbery, police said.
Defense attorney Gerald Lord said he will meet again with Jones after an indictment to discuss case strategy.
Jones' indictment was held Tuesday, according to online court records. He is being held in Dauphin County Prison, the attorney said.
Solving the case: Southwestern Regional Police said witness information in the form of a detailed description of the bank robber's vehicle helped solve the case, as did a number of security videos from nearby businesses and Jones' own phone records, police said.
Southwestern Regional officers and FBI agents obtained warrants to search Jones' Marietta home in the early morning hours of April 25, when they arrested him without incident, police said.
A search of Jones' home and property uncovered "key pieces of evidence" in the case, according to police, who did not elaborate.
Shot at cop during chase: Details about one of Jones' previous robberies were cited in a 1993 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision upholding his conviction for an Aug. 22, 1990, attempted robbery of a Lancaster County pizza shop.
Jones and an accomplice stole a BMW, then drove it to a Domino's Pizza shop and tried to rob it but were thwarted by a locked door, according to the decision.
Later that evening, Officer Jerry Jack spotted the stolen BMW committing a number of traffic violations and tried to pull it over after activating his emergency lights.
Instead of stopping, the BMW took off, and a chase ensued, according to the decision.
"During the chase that ensued, Officer Jack saw (Jones) rise up through the sunroof of the stolen BMW three times," the decision states.
Not only did the officer get a good look at Jones, he realized Jones was firing at him after he "observed several flashes."
One of the bullets struck the front of Jack's cruiser — just "one inch below the point where the projectile would have penetrated the windshield and struck Officer Jack," the decision states.
Jones was arrested three days later and ultimately sentenced to 17 to 36 years in prison.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.