Lt. Bill Clements said Ronald Jones took stolen items from St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store to his thrift store just a block away and sold them.
AJO - The town of Ajo may be small, but it has a huge heart when it comes to helping those in need.
But after some recent thefts at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, volunteers were left wondering why someone would steal from the church.
“It's not good to steal,” said José Castillo.
Castillo is a devout Catholic who donates money and time to the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Ajo. He also donates items to St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop.
“It's bad because at St. Vincent de Paul you try to help people that really need, say food vouchers, or whatever you know,” he said.
Gayle Weyers volunteers at the thrift store and bought a surveillance camera in hopes of finding out who the thief was. The camera was up from March 15 through April 15.
“On the pictures, you can see him walking off with a vacuum cleaner," she said. "You can see him taker other things.”
Weyers and her husband Don decided to set up the camera after receiving numerous complaints from residents about seeing people steal from the donation bins. Two different people told her they had brought in some expensive baby items, only to see them for sale at another thrift store.
Weyers said the thefts occurred on a daily basis. She took the digital pictures to the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
On April 16, they arrested 72-year-old Ronald Jones.
Lt. Bill Clements said Jones took the stolen items to his thrift store just a block away and sold them.
Deputy Brad Gill showed News 4 Tucson where he set up his surveillance on the suspect.
He said he hid behind some trees, and he had night vision goggles with a magnifier. He saw Jones stealing items from St. Vincent de Paul.
“He was reaching thru the fence, putting his body in grabbing things,” said Gill.
Deputy Gill followed Jones to his thrift store, pulled him over, read him his rights and arrested him.
He also served a search warrant on the property.
“I found one of those stolen items I was able to identify through the pictures in his truck,” said Gill.
The vehicle was seized and Jones was charged with criminal trespassing, possession of burglary tools, burglary and trafficking in stolen property.
“We don't want to harm anyone we want to help everyone but this guy was a bad guy,” Weyers said.
While some of the residents in Ajo may be upset over the arrest, others feel the suspect broke the eighth commandment, "Thou shall not steal".
According to sources, Ronald Jones has had previous arrests for manslaughter, burglary, negligent manslaughter, grand larceny and kidnapping out of Minnesota, Florida and Arizona.