West Virginia Mayor's Son Faces Charges for Drug-Fueled Crime Spree

By Paul Gaita 06/19/17

Zachary Jones was charged with breaking and entering along with two counts of destruction of property.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones Photo YouTube

The son of Charleston, West Virginia's mayor is facing an array of criminal charges after police arrested him for his role in a pair of break-ins, which an accomplice claimed was to support their drug addiction.

Zachary Jones, 27, whose father is four-time Charleston Mayor Danny Jones, was charged by the Wayne County Sheriff's Department with breaking and entering, two counts of destruction of property and two counts of conspiracy, for two separate incidents in 2016 in which he and two individuals attempted to break into two pawnshops.

Surveillance video and the confession of a woman implicated in both crimes led to Jones' arrest. Deputies have noted that more charges may be pending for Jones, who has a record of drug-related charges and was in detention at the South Central Regional Jail for a prior offense at the time of the arrest.

According to the criminal complaint, Jones is accused of taking part in an attempted break-in at Jo-Jo's Bar and Grill in Huntington, West Virginia, on November 18, 2016. Surveillance video showed Jones and another individual attempting and failing to break into the bar; when the owner arrived the following day, she found a bag of tools used in the attempt and approximately $1,000 in damages to the building.

Two days later, police responded to a breaking and entering at Freedom Gun and Pawn, also in Huntington, in the early morning hours of November 20, 2016. Surveillance video retrieved from the location showed an unknown male dressed in the same clothing as one of the individuals in the bar break-in video. Though nothing was stolen from the pawnshop, the owner claimed that more than $2,500 in damages was incurred by the forced entry.

A week later on November 27, 2016, Wayne County Deputies were contacted by an officer from the Flatwoods Police Department in Kentucky, who said that he had received an anonymous tip that Jones and two accomplices were all involved in the breaking and entering at Freedom Gun and Pawn. The deputies went to the Lawrence County Jail in Ironton, Ohio, where the female suspect was being held, and interviewed her about the two incidents. The suspect admitted to investigators that she had provided information to Jones and the male suspect about the location of the money at Jo-Jo's Bar and Grill, and was in the back seat of the car with Jones while the male suspect attempted to break into the establishment. According to the complaint, the female suspect said they had participated in the crime to fuel their addiction to drugs.

Prior to his arrest, Jones has been previously charged with credit card fraud, heroin possession, cocaine possession with intent to deliver and driving under the influence. He has also attended several treatment facilities on three separate occasions. Jones' father declined to comment on the new charges, but has spoken out about his son's drug addiction in the past. He issued a statement in 2014 via Facebook after the fraud charges and a brief jail sentence that read in part: 

"Please know that Zac is a junkie. After a year and a half of clean living, Zac thought he could dabble in junk again. It doesn't work like that. The junkie needs junk. He finds and networks with other junkies. Since this is a habit that costs hundreds of dollars a day, junkies have to steal. It is not a choice. Who do they steal from? All of us. Hence, you have 75% of the crime in Charleston and probably the same throughout the country. There is no way this country has the police or jails to deal with this problem. Some junkies wind up in prison. Some junkies get help. For Zac, three months of jail saved him... I am never worried when he is in jail, as I know he is alive… Jail would have cleaned him up. His enablers may kill him. I know that any call I get will be from a reporter or a cop. I only hope they don't tell me he is dead."

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.