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N.J. Man Admits to Covering Up Heist

October 4, 2003

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) _ A man whose wife and twin stepdaughters robbed a bank pleaded guilty Friday to helping cover up the heist, saying he didn’t want to put his family through a second trial.

Kevin Jones, 38, pleaded guilty to hindering apprehension and receiving stolen property stemming from the bank robbery last October, which netted $3,550.

Jones, whose trial ended in a hung jury Tuesday, is free on bail but faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 9.

``I just wanted to get this over with,″ Jones said. ``My kids have a long life ahead of them without having to see me go through this again.″

Prosecutors said Jones, who found out about the robbery when his wife and stepdaughters returned home from committing it, helped destroy evidence and launder some of the proceeds at an Atlantic City casino.

Jones admitted accompanying his wife, Kathleen Wortman Jones, to pay the family’s $214 phone bill with proceeds from the robbery. He also admitted helping dispose of clothing the twins wore during the robbery.

Chelsea and Elysia Wortman, now 15, planned the robbery to stave off the loss of the family’s home in Barnegat, which was in foreclosure. Using masks and a toy gun painted with nail polish to make it look more realistic, they robbed the bank and fled in a car driven by their mother.

The twins pleaded guilty to armed robbery in juvenile court and are serving four-year terms. Wortman Jones, who pleaded guilty to armed robbery, is awaiting sentencing. She faces 15 to 30 years in prison.

The girls and their mother reluctantly testified against Kevin Jones. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors will drop the more serious charges against him, including child endangerment, money laundering and witness tampering.

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