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ASHEBORO, N.C. — Picked up by police coming out of a pawn shop in Asheboro, the suspect in an April 29 bank robbery in Ramseur and the last known person to see a missing Fries, Va., woman remains in custody.
The apprehension of Matthew Steven Jones, 34, came after a quick-thinking worker at Garner Brothers Pawn Shop on North Fayetteville Street notified local authorities, according to reports from the Asheboro Courier-Tribune newspaper.
Jones is wanted by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia as a person of interest in the disappearance of his girlfriend, Desia Rae George, 33, of Fries.
Randolph County, N.C., authorities had sought Jones in the case of a robbery at the Fidelity Bank branch in Ramseur, a neighboring community to Asheboro.
Jones decided not to talk to investigators after his arrest May 9, according to Carroll Sheriff J.B. Gardner.
“Investigators from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office travelled to Randolph County, N.C., and interviewed Matthew Jones in reference to the disappearance of Desia Rae George from Carroll County,” Carroll Sheriff J.B. Gardner told The Gazette in a news release. “Matthew Jones asked for his attorney and would give no statement to authorities.”
The Courier-Tribune reports that the pawn shop employees recognized Jones from photographs that police had circulated.
Jones had been in the pawn shop before to sell unspecified items and had returned last Thursday to sell some tools, the Asheboro newspaper learned in an interview with pawn shop owner Keith Garner.
The shop staff made a discreet call to the sheriff’s office there and kept Jones in the store until he saw the deputies pull into the parking lot, according to the Courier-Tribune.
"He was a really smooth talker," Garner told the Asheboro newspaper. "He came in about 10:20 a.m., the busiest time of the day. We tried not to make it obvious that we were stalling for the deputies to get here. When I saw the deputies pull in about 10 minutes later, I finished his transaction and he walked out the door where two deputies were waiting."
Jones now faces a charge of common law robbery, which is a federal offense, Ramseur Police Chief Larry Lewallen told the Courier-Tribune. Additional charges of financial card fraud and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle were placed by North Carolina authorities on Friday.
“I am so thankful for those guys at the pawn shop being so alert and for the sheriff's office," the Courier-Tribune quoted Lewallen.
At this point, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office has one charge each of breaking and entering and larceny against Jones, Gardner told The Gazette.
Carroll authorities will not be deterred by Jones’ stonewalling in the search for George, he added.
“It doesn’t change anything,” Gardner said. “We’re not going to give up on it.”
George’s family has offered a reward of $5,000 for information that leads to the Fries mother of four being found. She has not been seen since April 15.
Jones and the couple’s infant daughter had been thought missing as well, but turned up in Asheboro without George.
The child was brought back to Virginia and is reportedly being cared for by George’s family.
After last Thursday’s events, Sheriff Gardner renewed his call for anyone with information about George to contact the Carroll County authorities at (276) 728-4146 or (276) 236-5119.
Some information provided by The Courier-Tribune, Asheboro, N.C. Used with permission.
READ MORE ABOUT THE CASE HERE