Kalif Jones will face a judge in March 2019 after admitting to police that he had stolen a student’s violin. Jones was an elementary school teacher in Tucker, Georgia, which is in Dekalb County located about 17 miles from downtown Atlanta.
Police said 21-year-old Jones was recorded on surveillance camera taking the child’s instrument. When confronted, he confessed. He has since been terminated from his job.
According to court records, Jones’ arraignment on a misdemeanor charge has been scheduled for March 5, 2019. The court document does not state whether Jones has hired an attorney.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Police: Jones Was Seen on a Security Camera Taking the Violin From the Cafeteria & Later Leaving the Building With the Instrument
The incident occurred in late November at Brockett Elemetary School. A nine-year-old boy told his mother he did know what had happened to his violin, which was worth about $750.
The boy’s mother called the school to report that the violin had potentially been stolen. ABC affiliate WSB-TV, citing police, reported that school officials looked at surveillance video.
Police said the video showed teacher Kalif Jones taking the violin from the cafeteria. He was also recorded leavig the building while carrying the instrument in its case.
2. Jones Confessed to Police He Had Planned to Sell the Violin to Pay a $700 Ticket
School administrators contacted police ater reviewing the surveillance footage. Officers arrested Jones, who confessed to stealing the violin from the child.
He reportedly told police that he had recently incurred a $700 fine. He had hoped to sell the violin in order to pay it. Jones was released on bond the day after his arrest.
Police have since recovered the violin.
3. Jones’ Was Fired From the School District
Dekalb County Schools has not posted any public comments on the incident. But a district spokesperson, identified as Shumuriel Ratliff, confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Jones was fired from the district.
Staff members are listed on the school’s website. Jones’ name has been removed. It was his first year with the school.
Brockett Elementary serves about 450 students between pre-kindergarten and fifth grade, according to its website. It feeds into Tucker Middle School.
4. Jones Has Been Charged With a Misdemeanor
Jones has been charged in Dekalb County with Theft By Taking. It has been classified as a misdemeanor. The date of the alleged crime is listed as November 29, 2018, and the case was filed December 10.
Under Georgia law, stolen items worth more than $500 can merit a felony charge. But it is also up to the discretion of the judge.
The potential punishment if convicted of a misdemeanor charge of Theft By Taking is a fine of no more than $1,000. The maximum jail sentence is 12 months.
Judge Wayne M. Purdom of Dekalb County State Court has been assigned to the case. Jones’ arraignment was scheduled for March 5, 2019.
5. Jones Does Not Appear to Have a Prior Criminal History
Kalif Jones is 21 years old, according to court records. (His birthday is October 17, 1997).
An online search of records did not reveal a prior criminal background.
Jones lives in Stone Mountain, just a few miles away from Brockett Elementary.