NEW PORT RICHEY — Eighteen months ago, a 40-something man began a pen pal romance with a woman in prison. Her name is Theresa Jones. She's 49 and this was her fourth stint in prison. She'd had convictions of cocaine and cocaine again. Prostitution. This sentence was for escape.
On Wednesday afternoon, Jones' two-year, eight-month sentence ended. Her pen pal was there outside Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala to pick her up, authorities say. Both Jones and her friend are from Fort Myers. But they decided to drive to New Port Richey and holed up in a room at the River Side Inn on U.S. 19, according to authorities.
Around 10 p.m., Jones told the man she was going out to his car to get a case of beer. After awhile, the man went to check on her.
"She was gone. His car was gone," said Capt. Jeffrey Harrington of the New Port Richey Police Department.
"The beer was gone."
The scorned man called authorities to report his white 2007 Suzuki Forenza stolen. Not even a day outside of prison, Jones was wanted again.
After 7 a.m. Thursday — more than nine hours into her extended beer run — Jones rolled back to the River Side Inn parking lot and was arrested. Harrington said officers found crack cocaine and a pipe. Jones admitted to stealing the car so she could get some crack, Harrington said.
Jones is charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, possession of cocaine and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. She's being held at the Pasco County jail in lieu of $7,300 bail.