Alleged bank robber makes it easy for deputies

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Court documents show the man who tried to rob an Ada Township bank last fall made a mistake — well, several of them.

Ronald Lee Jones has been in jail for 11 months. He was arrested at the Chase Bank on Ada Drive in Ada Township on Nov. 13, 2018.

Investigators say that about a week prior, Jones had passed a bad check at that bank and gotten away with a couple thousand dollars. He was apparently so happy with that transaction that he called the bank manager and said he would be stopping by soon. Of course, the bank manager called the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.

According to court records, Jones showed up at the bank and asked to speak to a manager. Once in an office, Jones handed the manager a bag and told him to fill it with $50 and $100 bills. The manager sounded the alarm, but deputies had already arrived. They were going to arrest Jones for the bad checks. It turned into an arrest for bank robbery. Jones was cuffed and taken into custody without incident.

After his arrest, Jones was cooperative enough to share with investigators that six days earlier, he had tried to cash a phony $2,366 check from an auction house at the United Bank on East Paris Avenue at Cascade Road, according to police. The bank did not give him any money. Jones allegedly went on to tell investigators that he had tried to cash several bad checks in the area.

The day before he tried to cash the bad check at United, he was arrested near Eastern Avenue and Oakdale Street in Grand Rapids for possession of cocaine.

Jones’s criminal record shows he’s been in and out from behind bars since the mid-1980s, when he was a teen. Previous convictions include larceny, assault with a dangerous weapon, property damage, unarmed robbery and drug possession in the 1990s. After that, things were quiet until 2015 when he was arrested for obscene conduct, then pleaded guilty to fraudulent use of an ATM or credit card and more drug possession.

Jones underwent a state psychiatric exam and was found competent to stand trial, though a determination about whether he was responsible for his actions at the time of the bank robbery has not yet been made.

He will be before Kent County Circuit Court Judge Curt Benson Tuesday. If he pleads guilty to bank robbery under the terms of a plea deal that he has been offered, the factors that would lengthen his sentence to life will not be considered.

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