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A burglar who terrorized two hiding teens is sent to prison for four years

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

A Key West convict is off to state prison for four years after he broke into a home while two girls hid from him and called for help.

Cha Jones, 25, pleaded no contest to burglary, battery and giving a false name to police, along with two counts of violating probation on previous cases.

Jones broke into a home on Fleming Street on Sept. 21, 2018, and hid under a bed in a bedroom.

A girl who lived there and her friend, both 13, were hiding in another bedroom with the door locked. The girl who lived there called her father, who was a few blocks away, for help, according to police.

Jones left and jumped a fence onto a hotel’s property at 420 Margaret St.

The father went to the hotel to tell them of the burglary. When he returned to the house to check on the kids, he found Jones in the driveway trying to get away with the family’s bicycle.

The dad tried to grab Jones and there was a struggle, with Jones throwing the bike at the man, Mark Phillips. But Jones got away. Police arrived to find him on the porch.

Police said the two teen girls were crying and visibly upset.

“I explained to both girls that they had acted bravely and they should be very proud of themselves,” wrote Officer Kenneth Beerbower in the arrest report.

Jones told police he couldn’t remember anything that had happened because earlier in the day he had fallen and hit his head, and that he suffers from memory loss.

“Jones also stated that he has multiple personalities that sometimes cause him to act out in bizarre ways,” Beerbower wrote.

Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Mark Jones sentenced Jones on March 7 with Assistant State Attorney Christina Cory handling the case.

At the time, Jones was serving 24 months of probation - since Aug. 2, 2018 - for cases of burglary and cocaine possession committed that year.

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