By Erin Leach-Kemon
Local police are still trying to apprehend a 27-year-old local man accused of stealing a University of Mary Washington freshman’s laptop on Nov. 17 outside of Randolph Hall. Police have described the man as “armed and dangerous.”
According to UMW Police Chief James Snipes, the suspect, Spotsylvania resident Dwight Jolly, will be charged with a single count of robbery, though that could change as the police investigation continues. If convicted on the robbery charge, Jolly would face a minimum of five years in prison.
Although UMW police have warned students that Jolly could be armed, Snipes now says that the suspect “did not display or to our knowledge have possession of [a] firearm in the robbery on campus.”
The alleged victim, 19-year-old Mary Washington student Tony D’Arnell McGee, reported the incident to campus police on Nov. 17 at 9:13 a.m.
McGee told police that at approximately 8:45 that morning, he was in the Randolph parking lot when a male acquaintance named “DeWhite” drove up and forcibly took McGee’s laptop from him before driving away.
Police said McGee was not injured during the incident.
The UMW police report states that the laptop was “taken by force and intimidation,” which police explained categorizes the crime as a strong-arm robbery. McGee’s Acer laptop is valued at $1,300, according to Snipes.
Snipes said that no one else was reported as being in the car with the suspect during the incident.
Jolly is described by police as a black male, 6’ 2” tall and 175 lbs with brown eyes, short black hair and a two-inch long scar on his left upper arm.
According to police, Jolly’s vehicle is a white Subaru four-door sedan with Virginia license plates and dents and scrapes on the left rear door. The year or model of the car is unknown.
The incident on Nov. 17 was the second time in a 12-hour period in which McGee alleges that Jolly took the laptop.
According to police reports, Jolly contacted Fredericksburg City police on Nov. 17 at 9:26 a.m.—13 minutes after reporting the Randolph Hall theft to UMW police—to report a separate but related incident from the night before.
McGee told city police that on Nov. 16 between 8 and 11 p.m., at an apartment on Wicklow Drive at Fall Hill Apartments, Jolly took McGee’s laptop and said that McGee had to give Jolly $50 to get it back.
McGee told police that the mother of a friend later returned the laptop, but that Jolly followed the woman to campus and took the laptop from McGee again the next morning in the Randolph Hall parking lot.
McGee reported to campus police that Jolly made a reference to a gun both in the on-campus incident on Nov. 17 and during the incident at Fall Hill Apartments on Nov. 16, according to Fredericksburg Police spokeswoman, Natatia Bledsoe.
Bledsoe said Fredericksburg police classified the Fall Hill incident as a larceny, but after experiencing what they described as a lack of cooperation from McGee, police initially decided to suspend their investigation into the case.
“McGee either did not or would not disclose the last name or location of Dwight, and McGee either could not or would not disclose the apartment in which the laptop computer was taken from him,” Bledsoe said, quoting from the police report.
Bledsoe said that these two missing components in McGee’s statement to police raised questions.
“We’re not drawing any conclusions from that but that they are red flags,” she said. Additionally, Bledsoe criticized some discrepancies in McGee’s report to UMW police and Fredericksburg police.
“There’s some doubt as to the clarity of these two different reports,” she said.
After being informed about the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s warrant for Jolly’s arrest, however, Bledsoe said city police reopened their investigation.
As a result, Fredericksburg police announced this week that they now plan on charging Jolly with two felony offenses and a misdemeanor, in addition to UMW’s robbery charge against him.
According to Bledsoe, one felony charge is for “robbery by threats, or intimidation, or presenting a deadly weapon,” and the second is for extortion, which is taking property or money from another person and requiring monetary payment or property for its return.
The misdemeanor charge against Jolly is for brandishing a firearm, said Bledsoe. Both Jolly and McGee have prior records.
On July 19 Jolly was caught driving without a driver’s license and was found guilty and fined for the offense.
He was also cited for operating an uninspected vehicle on Sept. 7 and was found guilty and charged a fine.
McGee was arrested by Fredericksburg police on Nov. 6 and charged with “defrauding an innkeeper,” which is when a customer receives food or lodging without paying.
According to Bledsoe, the incident occurred on the evening of Nov. 5 at Outback Steakhouse in Central Park. An Outback waitress, who is also a UMW student, identified McGee as the offender.
McGee is currently on bail pending his next hearing, which is set for Jan. 8, 2008 in Fredericksburg General District Court. McGee was also recently charged with a single count of “curse and abuse,” a third-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum $500 fine.
According to campus police, last Friday night, McGee shouted numerous profanities at UMW officer Joseph Kauffman after police asked him whether he was a student at the school.
Sgt. Joseph Samuels then handcuffed McGee and put him into the back of a police vehicle until he was calm enough for release.
McGee’s will be in Fredericksburg District Court on Dec. 11.