JUST DAYS into 2016, one Delaware County teen already has made his bid for the stupidest criminal of the year, by showing up for a follow-up meeting he'd scheduled with an elderly woman he had kidnapped and robbed the day before, according to police.
Nether Providence Police Chief David Splain said the suspect, 17-year-old Jason Donte Hayes, was surprised when he was met in a shopping center parking lot by police instead of the victim.
"We were the last ones he was waiting to see. He was waiting for a little old woman," Splain said. "If he can survive the remaining 340-some days of the year, he will definitely win the dumbest criminal of the year on Dec. 31."
Around 3 a.m. Jan. 3, police said, Hayes entered the victim's house on Vernon Street near Emerald in Nether Providence Township through an unlocked first-floor kitchen window. Hayes wore a dark gray shirt, black-and-white camouflage pants, and a dark scarf over his face, police said.
Once inside, Hayes awoke the woman - who is in her late 70s - by tapping her on the shoulder with his gun, police said. He demanded money from the woman; when she told him she had none in her possession, Hayes forced the victim to drive her car to an ATM on State Street in Media, where he ordered her to withdraw $2,000, according to police.
Hayes allegedly told the woman that if she did not withdraw the money, he would kill her and her husband, who remained asleep in a separate bedroom back at home.
When the ATM would only allow the woman to withdraw $460, Hayes drove her back to her house, where he awoke her husband and "herded the couple" into the kitchen, police said. Splain said Hayes spoke to the couple for about an hour in the kitchen before he told them to go upstairs and go to sleep around 4:30 a.m.
But before Hayes ushered the couple upstairs, he told the woman that she had to meet him in a shopping center parking lot on Baltimore Pike at 9 a.m. Jan. 4 with the remaining $1,500 in cash, police said.
He allegedly told the couple that if they reported the incident to authorities, he would kill them, and if they failed to show up at the parking lot with the money the next day, he would kill them as well.
"Her response was, 'How will I know it's you?' " Splain said the victim asked Hayes. "He said, 'I'll be dressed exactly the same way as I am today.'
"This is where stupid takes off pretty quickly," Splain said.
The couple reported the incident to police shortly after noon Jan. 3. After authorities processed the crime scene and interviewed the victims, there was just one matter left.
"He clearly told the victim that he would meet her at a certain location at a certain time," Splain said. "Not that we would believe that a robber would have ever showed up for a scheduled appointment, but it was something we had to cover."
So Splain and two officers in plain clothes put together a detail and waited for Hayes at the parking lot Jan. 4. Lo and behold, Hayes actually showed up, wearing the same black-and-white camouflage pants and the same dark scarf around his face that he wore during the kidnapping, Splain said.
"We let him sit there for a couple minutes," Splain said. "It was clear he was waiting for somebody, and at that point, we took him down."
The cops found $363 in cash on Hayes and a gold Timex watch that had been taken from the victims' home, police said.
Hayes was charged as an adult with kidnapping, robbery, aggravated assault, and related offenses. He remains in the Delaware County Prison on $200,000 bail. A preliminary hearing in the case that was scheduled for Monday was continued.
According to police, Hayes, who now lives in Upper Darby, used to live in a rental home owned by the female victim.
"She was the one-time landlord, and that's why he covered his face and targeted her house," Splain said. "He knew that she had money and he knew that she wasn't going to be putting up a fight."
Splain said the victim and her husband are "scared to death" as a result of the incident. They are receiving counseling through the county's Senior Victims Services, he said.
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