'Have a nice day': Would-be robber pleads guilty in Christmas Eve incidents

2014-07-04T07:00:00Z 2014-07-07T10:03:36Z 'Have a nice day': Would-be robber pleads guilty in Christmas Eve incidentsBy EDDIE GREGG egregg@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

A man who attempted to rob a thrift store on Christmas Eve but left empty-handed after reportedly telling a clerk she looked like a “nice lady” — only to rob a nearby pizza shop minutes later — pleaded guilty Thursday to robbery and attempted theft.

According to charging documents, 23-year-old Stanley Dale Jones Jr. walked into the Montana Rescue Mission Bargain Center at 1233 24th St. W. around 11 a.m. on Christmas Eve and demanded money.

Store clerk Judy Maples told The Gazette at the time that a man, since identified as Jones, waited in line behind customers and then told her, “I was told by some people to come in and rob you, but I don’t want to.”

She told the man, whose face was partially covered by a bandana, that only a supervisor could open the cash register and that there wasn’t a supervisor around.

After waiting a short time, he told her, “You look like a nice lady. I’m going to go,” Maples reported.

She said he then reached out his hand and said, “Have a nice day and merry Christmas.”

Jones left and less than 20 minutes later police were dispatched to the Domino’s Pizza, 2522 Grand Ave., where a knife-wielding suspect, later identified as Jones, had demanded money, according to charging documents.

An employee at the restaurant reported that Jones came in wearing a red bandana and white face paint around his eyes, similar to a “Lone Ranger” mask, and stated “this is a robbery.”

In a mugshot taken after his arrest, Jones appears to still have some white paint on his face.

An employee reportedly told Jones he wouldn’t be given any money and that he needed to leave. Jones said “OK” and left, a witness said.

Police found and arrested Jones in a nearby alley. He remains in the county jail with bond set at $10,000, pending sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct. 3.

Prosecutors are recommending that Jones be given five years with the Department of Corrections, with three years suspended, for the robbery and a six-month suspended sentence for the attempted theft.

Jones’ case, D.C. 14-0001, was the first felony case filed in Yellowstone County District Court this year.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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