Updated 7 pm
Miquel A. Jones was arraigned Monday morning in Edgartown District Court on a charge of being an accessory after the fact in connection with Thursday’s armed bank robbery of the Rockland Trust in Vineyard Haven.
Jones, 30, is a former Jamaican pro soccer player, according to attorney Casey Dobel who represented him in the courtroom. Jones will be represented by attorney Matt Kelly.
Court records show Jones is a Jamaican national who lives in Edgartown. His job listed on court records is landscaper.
Bail was set at $300,000 by Judge Benjamin Barnes with a curfew and GPS if he makes bail.
A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Dec. 16. Ahead of Judge Barnes’ determination,
Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Michael Giardino argued Jones was a flight risk.
Giardino told the court Jones faces “significant penalty on this case.” Giardino described Jones as “a Jamaican individual whose time here is scheduled to terminate in early March.”
Dobel told the court “people are looking for someone to blame” over the robbery. However, she said, “Mr. Jones is not that person.”
Dobel said the accusations made against Jones were circumstantial and also said Jones was nonviolent and not a danger to the community.
“Mr. Jones has been coming here every single year since 2016 for at least five months to raise money to support his three children who he does take care of back home in Jamaica,” Dobel said. “He’s an incredibly involved father. He coaches youth soccer. He used to be a professional soccer player for Jamaica.”
Jones is also very involved in his church, Dobel said.
“He has absolutely zero criminal record — here, Jamaica, anywhere,” she said, and was “extremely motivated to fight what is at this time a very weak case against him.”
If bail was to be set, Dobel asked that it be no more than $1,000 to $2,000. She said GPS monitoring was OK as was a no contact order.
A narrative written by Trooper Dustin Shaw included with the arrest warrant for Jones indicates what led police to him.
The armed bank robbery occurred on Thursday, Nov. 17, at about 8:15 am, according to the report. “Investigators learned from the employees/victims that three individuals wearing all black dark clothing, armed with semi-automatic handguns forced their way into the bank and removed a sum of U.S. currency,” the report states. The bank employees “were bound by duct tape and plastic restraints,” the report states.
As The Times has previously reported, the suspects fled the scene in a vehicle stolen from one of the bank employees.
“Investigators determined through the use of surveillance video that the employee’s motor vehicle was abandoned in a parking lot at approximately 8:29 am,” the report states, “just minutes after the assailants departed the bank.”
At that secondary scene near the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, “duct tape and pieces of green shrub-like vegetation were found inside the abandoned [Nissan] Murano vehicle, stolen from the employee,” the report states. “Investigators also determined that almost immediately after the employee/victim’s vehicle was abandoned a dark blue Hyundai Elantra with a missing driver’s side rear tire hubcap left the parking lot where it was located. The 2007 Hyundai Elantra was determined to be ‘likely involved in the robbery’ through investigative measures including speaking to witnesses and observing surveillance footage from multiple sources.”
As The Times was first to report, a vehicle matching that description was seized Friday night near the Shell gas station on Beach Road on Vineyard Haven. “On Nov. 18, a motor vehicle stop was conducted on the suspect 2007 Hyundai Elantra with the missing driver’s side rear tire hubcap,” the report states. “Miquel Anthonio Jones, who was operating the vehicle, agreed to speak to the police. Jones admitted to being in possession of the 2007 Hyundai Elantra for five weeks and being in the parking lot where the employee’s vehicle was abandoned at approximately 8:20 am on the day of the robbery. Jones was evasive throughout the course of questioning. While speaking to Jones, investigators observed a green, vegetation-like substance, which appeared similar to the material located in the abandoned employee/victim’s vehicle, on his shoes.”
Police obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and allegedly found “three one-hundred dollar bills, two of which displayed sequential serial numbers,” the report states. “One hundred dollar bills were among the denominations stolen during the robbery. Also found were one pair of white Nike sneakers and dark clothing, which are consistent with surveillance videos and witness statements.”
The report also indicates that the investigation is ongoing.
New details unfolded over the weekend
Dukes County Sheriff Robert Ogden told The Times Saturday afternoon that someone related to the Thursday morning Rockland Trust bank robbery was in custody. He said a press release from the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office would be issued that day. Tara Miltimore, a spokesperson for the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office, subsequently emailed the times a brief statement:
“There has been an arrest of one individual in connection with the robbery of the Rockland Trust bank. The investigation is ongoing and active.”
On Friday night, a sedan was seized by police on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven and someone was questioned. It is unclear if the person who was questioned Friday is the same person who was arrested Saturday, or if someone else was arrested.
In an email to The Times early Saturday evening, Tisbury Police Chief Chris Habekost wrote that he cannot release further information at this time because “to do so could jeopardize the integrity of the sensitive and active criminal investigation.”
Habekost indicated he conferred with all the Vineyard chiefs and they agree information needs to be withheld for now.
“The safety of the public is assured by all law enforcement officers on this case as well as our normal patrol and emergency response units,” Habekost wrote. “If anyone feels in immediate danger, please call 911 for an emergency response.”
Updated to include more information from today’s court proceeding.