College Republican Arrested, Claims Setup

Jeremy Aldrich -- November 11th, 2010

Andrew Jones, a local Republican activist, was arrested yesterday for allegedly stealing credit cards from several JMU students and using them at Harrisonburg area stores, but he insists that he is innocent and that he was “setup” by the alleged victims because of his sexual orientation.

According to The Breeze, Andrew Lewis Jones was arrested yesterday morning at his home in Broadway and charged with 33 counts of credit card theft, forgery and fraud.

Jones, however, said in a private message that he would “never steal from anyone”.  He believes that some College Republican members set him up to appear guilty because he is gay, which he has not previously made public.

He denied The Breeze’s report that he was a “student impersonator” who is not really enrolled at James Madison University, writing, “I wouldn’t have a JAC card or JMU e-mail if I wasn’t a student.”

Jones was an intern for the Bob McDonnell gubernatorial campaign in 2009 and was Deputy Campaign Manager for Tony Wilt‘s bid for House of Delegates earlier this year. McDonnell and Wilt are among many Republican politicians who have opposed including homosexuals in state discrimination laws.

Initial rumors about the arrest indicated that it was for ballot tampering or some other form of election fraud.  Jones himself says “I thought when they arrested me it was for voter fraud. I was shocked to find out that wasn’t [the reason].”  In a public Facebook note about his arrest, Jones wrote: “I am aware of election fraud that took place, and I will bring this issue to the eye of the public as soon as the timing is right.”

UPDATE: Jones’ Facebook account was deleted sometime early Thursday morning.

UPDATE 2 (11/11 8:21pm): JMU College Republicans have released a statement denying Jones’ claims.

Jones, 18, said he dropped out of JMU last night and will transfer to another school, citing the school’s culture of underage drinking as one reason he felt he didn’t fit in.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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188 Responses to “College Republican Arrested, Claims Setup”

  1. Bryan says:

    I was a “friend” of Andrew Jones as I thought he attended James Madison University, as well. He friended me on Facebook in June and said that he was a history major. We immediately became good friends and planned to meet when school began.
    During the first couple months of school we became even closer friends. I introduced him to many of my friends at JMU, yet everyone seemed to have a weird feeling about him. I always dismissed his claims of his mother, “having millions of dollars of Botox” as disllutionary, yet I still had trust in him. It was during Halloween weekend that our friendship turned into turmoil.
    My friend came up to me the on Halloween night only to tell me her credit card went missing and the only people in the room were Andrew Jone and me. I asked to see his wallet and I came up with a fake story that my friend saw him at the stores that the bank reported the money was used the day previous. He seemed rather taken back and left us immediately. It was only today that I found out that he was arrested.
    I think that he is honestly a pathological liar and needs help. Although, he talks about “being judged in the public eye” and “the courts will decide” he needs to be locked up. He is a danger to the community and students at JMU. He abused my friendship to get to people that I cared about and stole 1,000’s of dollars, if not more. I only wish to see him locked up for a Level 6 Felony and only hope he likes his new “roommate”.

  2. Renee says:

    It says in the story he admits to using the credit cards, but did he explain anywhere why he’s saying it was a setup? Is he saying the people send him out to buy stuff for them or something?

    • This letter was sent out by Mr. Jones last night to most of the area media:

      From: Andrew Jones [ADDRESS REMOVED]
      Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 11:15 PM
      To: [addresses redacted]


      This is a comment about my arrest today. Please give me a call if you have any questions!

      I wanted to take an opportunity to address the false accusations being made against me.

      First of all, I must remind everyone that under the law, I am innocent until proven guilty.

      Secondly, I cannot go into details about the charges that have filed against me because it’s a legal issue that the courts will deal with.

      I can however tell you that I believe I was wrongfully accused of these crimes due to the fact of my sexual orientation.

      Finally, I would like to address the election fraud. I am aware of election fraud that took place, and I will bring this issue to the eye of the public as soon as the timing is right.

      I graciously request that everyone stop making accusations against me. The truth will eventually be brought to light, and it will reveal that I am an innocent, law-abiding citizen.

      -Andrew Jones

    • Bryan says:

      Absolutely not. Andrew Jones took advantage of JMU students, stole their credit cards and spent thousands of dollars at local stores. In no way was he allowed to use any of the cards he used. Also, with regards to the “set up”…this is all a ploy by Andrew and probably his attorneys to bring pathos to the case. Yes, he is a flamboyant boy who everyone knew was gay, but nobody ever used that against him. This is just a last ditch effort by him to bring people to his side. Sociopaths, like Andrew, make excuses like that all the time, it is just part of their nature.

  3. Brooke says:

    This is a weird, weird story. I’m not sure how it’s a set up if he’s been video taped using the card(s) in question. I also found the press release odd. Do private citizens accused of crimes usually issue press releases? And he says he wants to set the record straight, but then says he isn’t going to discuss the case. Sounds like the election fraud stuff is him trying to build a “they set me up because I knew too much” case.

    FWIW, my husband says, technically one can have a JMU EID and JAC card if not currently enrolled in classes, if he was ever enrolled in JMU at some point. He wouldn’t have to be a full-time student. He could have just enrolled for a class or two.

    • Jason B says:

      I’ll back that up. I haven’t been a student at JMU for about three years now, but my JAC card is still in my wallet and my eID is still active.

      • Dylan says:

        It says he is 18, so if he has a JAC card I don’t think it is from 3 years ago when he was 15. I don’t know why you having matter in this case.

        • Brooke says:

          The number of years is not the point, Dylan. Jason is showing that having a JAC card and EID doesn’t a currently enrolled student make.

          And he’s right. Mr. Jones is claiming that having a JAC card in his possession and a JMU EID somehow proves he is a student currently enrolled at JMU. The fact is neither prove he’s a currently enrolled student as he is claiming.

          He could have taken a class in the recent past. He could have been accepted, but later withdrew. Any number of scenarios could explain how someone could not actually be currently enrolled.

          It doesn’t prove anything *either* way, although I did look up Mr. Jones in the JMU student directory and he’s not there.

          • Jason B says:

            If I remember correctly, students who are non-degree seeking can get a JACard and eID, but aren’t listed in the database. It might have changed, but just throwing that out there. It is possible that he was a “student,” however loosely.

  4. Brooke, I concur with your view of this story.

    There are those of us who have long wondered how politics has been allowed to run, as it has, for as long as it has.

    I for one, would love to hear what Andrew has to say about the election fraud. If he knows about election fraud occurring it could be a very potent weapon to use in a favorable disposition of these charges…

  5. Andrew has, apparently, retained competent legal counsel:

    John Elledge and Tracy Evans.

  6. Jack says:

    “According to police, Andrew Lewis Jones, 18, admitted guilt to stealing credit cards from four JMU students.”

    This quote is located beside his mugshot in the JMU newspaper’s article:

    So he’s telling the public he’s innocent, but the police he’s guilty?

  7. republitarian says:

    So Andrew Jones gets arrested for credit card fraud. Says he was setup because he’s gay, then says “I know about election fraud”.

    So did he learn about the election fraud right after he was arrested? The two have no connection, I don’t think the bargaining chip is relevant to the reason for arrest.

  8. Ray Schneider says:

    I’m very sorry to read about this. I don’t know Andrew well, but I’ve seen him as a cheerful, extremely hard working young Republican. This story can do nothing to help him and the lack of concern for a nice young man in our community who may well deserve our compassion and not our censure is sad. I don’t know what Andrew did or didn’t do and he certainly has to give an account of his actions. But we should not rush to judgment.

    • JGFitzgerald says:

      I agree with Ray. We should just ignore any accusations by or against this fine young Republican until the court tells us what to think. After all, Ray says he’s cheerful, and, the mug-shot notwithstanding, that’s good enough for me.

      • republitarian says:

        Joe, I heard that your wife was telling people that it was election fraud, which means she knew something had happened as it would relate to fraud.

        Maybe Deb could come on here and tell us what she knows….;O)

        • DebSF says:

          The first stories circulating about this last night were that the charges concerned election fraud. Those rumors about yesterday’s specific charges turned out not to be true, though Mr. Jones claims to have some knowledge about voting fraud. Lots of emails and phone conversations last night, much speculation with little confirmed… and nothing at all posted by me. It will be interesting to see this unfold.

          • Dave Briggman says:

            Deb’s correct…it took a lot of time, and effort to find out what was going on last night as this story was unfolding.

            I will take some responsibility for the inaccuracy of some of the information imparted, but getting information, after hours, on the night before a holiday is difficult at best.

            The story could be as simple as is outlined in the Breeze, or it could involve an explanation as to some issues in recent elections.

            I suggest everyone, as much as is possible, maintain an open mind.

    • Brooke says:

      The purpose of the story is not to “help” or “hurt,” Mr. Jones, but to report on what is known about the case. That’s journalism. And as long as no one is being cruel, I don’t think it’s wrong for people to weigh in with their opinions of what happened.

      His being a “hard working Republican” or any other political affiliation shouldn’t enter into it. If it’s found he’s suffering from mental illness, I agree that compassion is needed, but it doesn’t change the fact that things about his story don’t add up. That’s all anyone’s saying, is that the facts of the story contradict what he’s saying, and that the whole thing is strange. For what it’s worth, he was video taped using stolen credit cards and was in possession of items charged on the stolen cards. There doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of mystery here, other than why he did it, and why he’s doing what he’s doing now.

  9. Kyle says:

    I am very involved in College Republicans at JMU. Andrew was supposed to be my roomate or so he told me, but we never met until recently at a club meeting. He’s lied to me many times, and not just me apparently. Thankfully I was not a victim. I hope the justice system does its duty and puts him away before more undeserving people get hurt.

  10. Gene Hart says:

    First the relevant background and possible biases (for those that don’t know me): I am the current chair of the Rockingham County Democratic Committee, in 2009 I ran for the office currently held by Mr. Jones’ former employer (27%!), and I am a local criminal defense attorney.

    Observation: The allegations of election fraud are now out there and will be investigated. That will initially be done by Mr. Jones’ counsel and, if they push, probably by law enforcement. Prediction: the allegations will be more titillating than accurate. However, if Mr. Jones knows of 4,000 Hart votes that were changed to Lohr votes I would appreciate a call.

    Observation: Mr. Jones does indeed have competent counsel if he has retained John and Tracy. Good lawyers, good friends. Prediction: they will come to regret taking on the case because they can’t “win.” If the election fraud allegations go nowhere, they will be accused of covering it up because they are loyal Republicans. If they push the allegations, they will be accused of holding grudges against the current local Republican leadership. Good luck, buddies!

    Observation: Mr. Jones needs and should be shown compassion in his times of trouble. Prediction: unfortunately, he may find that that compassion only comes from those he has up to now thought of as his opponents.

    • Anthony says:

      This story is really really wacky. I’m more than happy to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, ie, “innocent until proven guilty”, but it really doesn’t look good for him. Sounds like he also has a history of being disingenuous and should probably seek some help with that.

      Mr. Hart should not worry, I’m sure this kid can deliver the 4000 votes he seeks, expect a call soon.

    • cook says:

      Actually, Gene, all he needs to get you is 3600 Lohr votes, producing a 7200 vote swing, to change the 2009 election and the course of history.

    • republitarian says:


  11. jmu Parent says:

    Dear Jeremy
    You may want to ask the editor of the JUM Student newspaper for some tips on how to be a Journalist as you obviously have no clue.

    You used the oportunity to report the crimes of a sociopath to forward your anti Republican propaganda. You allowed the liar to rant and then you allowed your reader to think that Republicans tampered with the vote at Elections. How irresponsible! You tried to make this a hate crime against gays and promoted the myth that Republicans hate gays! You let your readers think that this was a Republican student conspiracy to throw an innocent gay kid in jail. Did you bother to wonder how the JMU students would even know Andrew was gay if he admittedly never told anyone before?

    Did you ever considering contacting the police to find out about the mountains of evidence they have proving Andrew is a con man and a thief?

    • JGFitzgerald says:

      The first thing many of us notice is that Jeremy has his name on what he wrote. “JMU parent” narrows it down to approximately the population of Danville, allowing for siblings, bastards, deaths, and remarriages. Further, the alleged parent accuses the accused of being a “con man and a thief” whereas all Jeremy says is that he’s a Republican activist. (There is a difference. Even I admit that.) The final difference is that The Breeze covered the student angle for a student newspaper. (You see where this is going?) Jeremy covered the political angle for a political site.

  12. Jack says:

    I think this comment on the JMU article says it best about this article:

    “Congratulations for a well written and well researched article Stephany. JMU should be proud of your journalism skills.

    Compare your article with the one written by Jeremy Aldrich of the Harrisonburg Newspaper. Their article gave false information and was not researched. It’s main goal was to distribute anti Republican propaganda, and promote the outrageous stero type of Republicans as homophobes. They used the opportunity to bash the Republican students at JMU, the Governor of Va and other politicians. The author obviously did not contact the police to get the overwhelming evidence they had on this sociopath. The author allowed the con man to rant about his innocence and try to turn this into a voter fraud issue. and a conspiracy about his claiming that he is now GAy. Something he admits however he never told anyone before. Again the author used the article to imply that Republicans were tampering with votes while ignoring the actual facts of the true criminal in their midst.

    Maybe the could ask the JMU student newspaper members to come to them and teach them about journalism.”

  13. Mike says:

    And what exactly does his being a College Republican have to do with the story aside from how he met his victims? Where’s the “Obama Voter Convicted of Murder” article? Nice bias.

    • Brooke says:

      Mike – it has to do with what the Mr. Jones is claiming. That’s all. Hburgnews is not claiming there was a set up or descrimination. They’re reporting what the *perpetrator* is claiming in response to the charges. To me they’re just covering all angles of the story.

  14. Brooke says:

    Jack, maybe I’m missing something, but I thought Jeremy did a fine job. I didn’t at all get the impression from the piece that the writer was taking either Mr. Jones or the Breeze’s side, but rather, including links to the original article, and then covering the claims brought forth by the defendant. Just because the defendant is claiming he was “set up” by Republicans, and that has been reported, does not indicate that we all somehow believe this is a big homophobic conspiracy by the GOP. I know I certainly don’t believe that, and I really don’t in any way think that’s what Jeremy was aiming for, either.

  15. I agree, Brooke…uh-oh, I think that’s twice today I’ve written that.

    Jeremy’s article was, in my view, completely unbiased and although brief, given the time of day when this was beginning to break last night and today being a holiday, concisely reported the facts that obviously weren’t given to any local news organization, except to JMU’s Breeze…it’s easy to have a great story, if the information’s spoon-fed to your publication.

    Where’s the false information Jeremy had in his article?

    And Jack, where’s the publication you cite known as Harrisonburg Newspaper?

  16. Grant says:

    I am a member of college republicans at JMU. Andrew was not discriminated against by anyone in the club. He was one of our most active members, came to all of our meetings, socials, and campaign events. He was friends with everyone in the club. Just a few weeks ago we elected him to be vice chairman of our club and he handily won the election.

    • Brooke says:

      Grant, if it makes you feel any better, I really don’t think anyone (other than Mr. Jones, of course) is accusing the College Republicans of a homophobic conspiracy against Mr. Jones. They’re just reporting on both what Mr. Jones is accused of, as evidenced by the JMU Police investigation and witness statements reported in the Breeze, as well as Mr. Jones’ response to the allegations.

    • Brooke says:

      To put it another way, if Mr. Jones was somehow claiming aliens abducted him and sent a look-a-like to steal the cards and purchase the items, and a news outlet reported that, it wouldn’t mean the news outlet believed the allegations, or was reporting them as fact. They’re just reporting what the accused is claiming in response. :-)

  17. Tim says:

    I’m a friend of Bryan’s, one of the people who has his credit card stolen by Andrew. I met him one of the first nights here at JMU. Another friend of mine and I thought that something was off with Andrew right off the bat. First of all, he claimed to be a freshman, but he had a car. Secondly, he spent his weekend nights driving freshman around like a chauffeur. Once we began to “get to know” him a little better, he told us that he lived in Logan Hall, which we later found out was an upperclassman dorm, and that they had no record of him living there. He also proceeded to drive us to his “house” in Harrisonburg, which ended up being just a random house that we drove past. Among other lies that he made up, Andrew told us that he has a cadillac, he gets $3000 dollars of allowance from his parents a month, and that he got accepted into UVA, but he chose not to go there because the student body is “too portentous.” And then when we began bringing him into our dorm rooms, credit cards began to disappear. After Bryan asked him about the missing credit cards, he blocked all of us on facebook. His claim about “voter fraud,” is clearly just an attempt to draw attention away from the fact that he committed those crimes, and nothing else.

  18. Tim says:

    If you use JMU people search (JMU’s student directory) and look for his name it’s not in there. Therefore, he’s not a student. Also, how could he drop out last night? I’m sure the office was closed.

  19. MF says:

    A Republican breaking the law?!? Gasp!

  20. Randall See says:

    I thought Jeremy’s article was fine.

  21. republitarian says:

    I don’t think Jeremy could have written a better summary of what was known at the time. There is no editorializing and there is no speculation.

  22. Carrie says:

    I have known Andrew for a long time, He would never do anything like that. He’s always been such a great friend to me and would go above and beyond for anyone. I know he would never hurt the people he cares mostly about. Politics, and helping others is his passion. He has a great family who would do anything for him. He certainly has the trust of all elected officials in the area. Im sure the truth will come out be in favor of Andrew. Im certainly praying for him right now.

    • VICTIM says:

      Unfortunately I thought exactly the same thing you do about him. It certainly amazes me how people can appear one way but act another. I’m praying for him too because he is obviously very troubled..but that he still did what he did.

  23. republitarian says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how someone can be gay and a republican….

  24. republitarian says:

    ..maybe he was born that way!

  25. HC says:

    Umm no one is reporting the fact that he wasn’t booked on fraud charges. He was booked on conspiracy to defraud with another person, which means he wasn’t the one actually doing it. And apparently potential to forge. There is some latino that was charged as well. I know Andrew, and he isn’t friends with ANY latinos!!!

    • republitarian says:

      What about Luis Padilla?

    • David Miller says:

      is there an equivalent to the Best of Craigslist for Hburgnews? This whole thing just gets more surreal, I can’t stop laughing. “I know him and I know he would never befriend a Latino, cuz you know….”

      • David Miller says:

        I’m expecting that at any moment we’ll find out that this guy was forced by some mysterious home invading latino to use the stolen credit cards or else….. I bet the “latino” even gave him those great shades from the surveillance video, I don’t know why but if I was writing this story I would have written that in. lol

      • Lowell Fulk says:

        Okay, dammit Dave! You just made me snort wine out of my nose… Give a guy a warning or something.

    • Gee, HC, every media outlet is reporting he’s been booked on CC fraud charges…I spoke with the magistrate who released him last night and he said the same thing.

      So you’re wrong…get over it.

  26. VICTIM says:

    I am one of the victims of this boy. He stole one of my credit cards and charged a lot of money on it. He is not a republican..nor is he a jmu college republican because he never was a student at JMU. I considered Andrew Jones to be my friend but he stole from me. In addition to stealing my card he lied about basically everything he ever told me about himself. he is a a CON ARTIST. All of you who are making fun of republicans because of him should be ashamed. This boy hurt me deeply and I take great offense that you are making light of it. I am also deeply ashamed that Andrew Jones would turn his wrong doing around and try to say that he was set up because of his sexual orientation. There are real people around the country who have been seriously hurt because of bullying and he is not one of them! I feel so sad for real victims of bullying and I hate that he is using their situations to help him make up another lie.

    • HC says:

      Do you actually have proof he did this? like you saw him use your card? The JMU police have filled bogas clams against Mr. Jones. 30 counts of the same charge. As an attorney, I know that the commonwealth attorneys office will not listen to JMU police as they have there own battle going with the springfest riot. Do you know he isn’t one of them being bullied? How are you so sure? Always remember, never judge a book by it’s cover. YOU yourself may not have all the facts here.

  27. Republitarian,

    Do you consider the members of the Log Cabin group not to be Republicans? Or are you one of those whinos who is constantly denouncing others as “RINOS”?

    • Of course, the Log Cabin Republicans are Republicans…many of the Republicans we have here are RINOS.

      • Jeremy Aldrich says:

        What is a RINO, in your opinion? What definition of a “true Republican” would encompass all the Republican greats like Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan?

        • Greg Coffman and Tom Mendez are examples of RINOS…Republicans generally govern by the rule of law…these buffoons, with huge egos, govern only by their leave. A further example was their collective willingness to use eminent domain to take the land for HHS.

          I feel true Republicans would never stay on a Government School Board the way these bozos have.

  28. republitarian says:

    I was just having fun with stereotypes there for a moment.

    We need some more republicans like Chris Christie…who just take a common sense approach, tell it like it is, and let the electorate decide.

    Our political system is making the country worse off because of the short-sighted labeling and sound bites that reduce complicated issues to neat slogans on posters.

    RINOS, DINOS, they’re all terms used to incite a certain emotion from a certain group of people(usually less educated) to get them to vote for them…Nothing more, nothing less.

    • Myron,

      I apologize if I misconstrued things. One of the problems with the internet is that there is not this face to face where one can see another person winking and grinning to show that they are joking. There are certainly some Republicans who might or do feel the sentiment stated in your remark.

  29. republitarian says:

    I don’t believe one’s desire to do something gross with another detracts from their belief system for less intrusive government, lower taxes, and less government spending….to answer your question specifically…….

  30. republitarian says:

    How would Andrew know that election fraud had taken place?

    Either he knows a republican or democrat who was involved or is related to a voter registrar….

  31. Tim says:

    You people who are defending him are wrong. There is footage of him purchasing items with a stolen credit card, and look at the breeze article, he admits that he stole them. He probably did that when he was being interrogated by the police and before he had a lawyer. Now that he has one, he is trying to cover up what he already said. If you are defending Andrew Jones, then you are wrong. He is a criminal, and deserves to go to prison for a long time.

    • Jeremy Aldrich says:

      Careful, The Breeze wrote: “‘Jones admitted involvement to using credit cards illegally,’ Hess said about his interview of Jones after the arrest.”

      The Breeze made a huge jump from that quote to then writing in a photo caption that “According to police Andrew Lewis Jones, 18, admitted guilt to stealing credit cards from four JMU students.”

      • David Miller says:

        That is a glaring leap. I’ve used a family member’s card to purchase something for them, which technically is the same as what he’s admitted to. I don’t know him to defend him, I would caution anyone who thinks their views are righteous and wants him in jail to wait for the system to take care of it for him.

    • JGFitzgerald says:

      No, he’s probably not a criminal. He might have committed a crime, but the losses, if any, will be borne by Target and Bank of America. They can swing it. Nobody died. This is, like many crime stories, funny for all the wrong reasons. But it’s a process now, with the prosecution and the defense supposedly at odds but probably working together to see that this wastes as little of the court’s time as possible. Anybody who thinks this guy is a criminal has never seen one.

  32. Scott says:

    “He That Is Without Sin, Cast The First Stone”
    John chapter 8 – verse 7

    Jesus knows all of our sins and transgression and he knows that none of us can judge or point our fingers at one another, because we’re all guilty of some kind of sin.

    It is disappointing to see all those who are prejudging Andrew. The matter should be left up to our courts to handle.

    • I’m not sure I understand, Scott…

      In the first instance you’re saying “that none of us can just or point our fingers at one another…”

      In the next, you’re saying “The matter should be left up to our courts to handle.”

      What’s up with that?

  33. Brooke says:

    I agree that we are not to judge people. But to me, there’s a difference between actually judging this guy as a human being, deciding he’s an awful person, awful criminal, who belongs in jail (let alone, before there’s even a trial), and merely discussing the facts of an odd case, and trying to make sense of it. It is possible to do one without crossing the line into the other.

  34. Brooke, I’ll just bet you judge, or would judge, people everyday if presented with the right circumstances…

    For example, would you leave your children alone with a convicted child molester? How about a family member who was a convicted child molester?

    Everybody judges others everyday.

  35. Brooke says:

    I don’t think you’re understanding what I’m saying, Dave.

    I’m saying there’s a difference between judging people as unworthy or lesser and using discernment or forming and opinion about situations.

    Yes, using your hypothetical, I can, and would, determine that it would be unwise and wrong to leave my child (or ANY child) in the company of a known, or even suspected, sex offender, without judging the person as unworthy of Christ’s grace, or any human compassion whatsoever. I can treat that person with respect without being unwise and foolish. “Wise as serpents and harmless as doves” as the verse goes. ;-) In fact, in your scenario, it would be unloving and ungracious to *the pedophile* for me to leave a child, in their care, or let them be in positions where they come into direct contact with children, because it would put them in temptations way, as well as endangering the child.

    Loving and refraining from judging a person in the Biblical sense does not mean you do not use wisdom and discernment in how far to trust a person with the resources God has entrusted to us, whether that be confidence (in the case of someone can’t keep a secret and struggles with gossip), money (in the case of someone with a pathological urge to steal) or kids (in the case of sex offenders).

  36. Sophmore JMU Student says:

    I agree that the justice system should be the one to declare Jones as either guilty or innocent. That being said these comments have veered off topic. There is more talk about these allegations of voter fraud and about the College Repubicans “discriminating” against Jones because of his sexual orientation than there is about the charges that have been brought against him. To clarify a few things, I personally know the members of the JMU College Republicans Executive Board and I know that none of them would single someone out for any reason let alone because of their sexual orientation. I agree that this is a ploy used by the defence to distract the media and perhaps the prosecution from the real point. That point is that Mr. Jones is accused of credit card theft of at least five people, as well as, charges of credit card fraud and forgery. It seems to me that these acts were premeditated. Mr. Jones targeted two members of the JMU College Republicans. It does not seem as if these were merely crimes of opportunity but that he had planned out that he was going to steal from someone before he did it. I know for a fact that his sexual orientation was never brought up and was not known by anybody in the JMU College Republicans. I also believe that the recent claims that Jones has made are an attempt to garner media attention and nothing more. For those wondering, I have it from a reliable source that Jones was never admitted to JMU and never attempted to officially visit the campus. I agree that there is much more to this story than is being told but that it is Jones that has more to tell about his crimes. I know two of his “alleged” victims and know that they would NEVER give him their credit cards for any reason what so ever. This young man is a sociopath and, if convicted, should be locked away for a very long time.

    • seth says:

      “…I have it from a reliable source that Jones was never admitted to JMU”

      so this proves that he didn’t get into UVA either, right (or does that seem like a pretentious question :))?

  37. OK, Brooke, I’m with you now.

  38. Bob says:

    WHSV had a report on the case on the news at 11. In the report they quote an offer Hess as saying that Andrew has admitted to being guilty. So whatever he is saying online, it appears that he pleaded guilty. While I may not trust the Breeze, I highly doubt WHSV would say that he admitted to the crime and not have checked it out directly with the police.

    • Bob, you’re using the wrong term, which has a totally different meaning than you probably intend, but maybe not?

      He hasn’t made a court appearance yet, so he’s made no “plea” one way or another.

      Jones MAY have admitted use of the cards, but it remains to be seen whether any alleged “confession” will be admissible in court.

      Again, the only real interest I have in this matter are the election fraud allegations, since many of us believe “issues” have existed for a number of years around here.

  39. Anybody else notice that the blog posters identifying themselves as JMU students, or their friends, generally have the worst spelling, punctuation, and grammar (or combinations thereof?).

    • Jason B says:

      You have to graduate first, Dave, and then grammar lightning bolts hit you from the sky.

    • nicklaus combs says:


    • Scott Whitten says:


      While resorting to reductive statements that rely on some imagined dichotomy might make for an easy cheap shot, I think you would agree that it is not very constructive.

      • Daniel says:

        Who cares if it’s constructive? Most of us can read what they’ve wrote and figure out that the poster is an idiot. Dave just points it out. Maybe the next time they post they’ll strive a bit harder to not look like a…….

  40. Really?

    Because my talks with JMU profs so often center around how so many freshman need remedial English and math courses…which makes me wonder how JMU accepted them in the first place.

    • DebSF says:

      That’s a statewide (and likely nationwide) problem, not a JMU problem.

    • Jason B says:

      Yep, just got out of a meeting where we discussed the crush of students across all of Virginia who are leaving high school with little to no reading and writing ability.

      One of the proposals in the Virginia legislature is to tie state funding to graduation rates. THAT’LL FIX THE PROBLEM!

  41. Rebecca says:

    Jones is being investigated for more allegations of theft that are outside the immediate Harrisonburg area. The victims knew Jones but have no relation to JMU or College Republicans.

  42. Bryan says:

    This entire conversation is pathetic. It has gone from a conversation about a criminal to a political and demeaning blog. Anyone defending Andrew Jones needs to “wake up and smell the coffee”. He has been caught on tape. What more do you want? The police has linked his stolen credit cards to his friends and also to his purchases. Stop talking about this sexuality because it honestly has nothing to do with the case. Jesus people, this highlights how dumb this thread has become. Also, don’t demean JMU’s The Breeze,students, or faculty because I am pretty sure we have a better understanding of what is happening then a bunch of townies.

    On another note, the people that say, “Oh, but he was so nice” is not an arguement for his innocence. WAKE UP. He would probably steal your credit card to if he had a chance.

    • JGFitzgerald says:

      “a bunch of townies”? Did he really just type that?

    • David Miller says:

      He has been caught on tape. What more do you want?” Bryan, I want a court conviction before I publicly call someone a criminal.

      • Tim says:

        Okay well Bryan personally had his card stolen by Andrew Jones. What more do you need? Bryan’s roommate had his credit card stolen by Andrew Jones and charged over $1000. What more do you need? Do you want video evidence? Oh wait, we already have that.

        • Brooke says:

          No matter how overwhelming the evidence is, in this country, one is innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law. This is not difficult. FWIW, my gut says he probably is guilty, so I’m not defending him or saying I believe he’s innocent. However, it’s premature to condemn a person for something they’re accused of and make emphatic, declarative statements. We have to let the justice system work.

          You may “know” he’s guilty. Great. Good for you. But the rest of us need to wait until all the facts are in and the justice system has had a chance to work. That’s how things work in this country, Tim.

    • Scott Whitten says:


      So you believe the conversation is “pathetic” because topics and details are being addressed which are irrelevant and distract from the main point of the story. Okay, fair enough. So how about laying off the timeless, and also baseless, townie v. college student bifurcation? It kind of undermines your argument.

    • Dave Briggman says:

      Bryan, I think you meant to write “than a bunch of townies”…I could be wrong, but a remedial English class might not hurt.

      • Tyler says:

        Once again there you go. You have nothing productive or intelligent to say, so you attack grammar mistakes. If you can’t support your own argument with ideas and facts, then get out of here. What you are doing here, is attacking a person, rather than their argument. Stop embarrassing yourself.

  43. ed says:

    Let me, a victim, set the record straight.

    I am the victim and not this kid. I am the father who pays the bills of one of the individuals that had their card stolen. The card is in my name. I sent the bills to the college and to the police as evidence. I got the call from MasterCard that the card appeared to be stolen. The police have video of him using the cards and driving without a license from the stores. He made purchases at Walmart, Target, Sheetz, American Eagle etc. over a period of five days before I cancelled the card after being notified by MasterCard.

    His parents told the police not to believe him as he is a liar.

    He stated his father worked at the school.

    He is or was a student at Blue Ridge College.

    His license has previously been suspended.

    He is a thief. I could care less about his sexual orientations, motivations or any other excuse as he has no integrity. In every case, at least five individuals, he stole from friends. His parents who own a store in town had to change the locks to keep him from stealing from them.

    The so called Journalist who wrote this article should be fired. He did not check any facts but only looked at this kids Facebook account and possbily spoke to him. You my friend are not doing anyone any favors with your reporting. I am the victim and all you need to do is go to the police and check the records. Political parties have nothing to do with this individual stealing from so many students and parents. He has admintted his guilt.

    If you want to talk I am sure that can be arranged.

    -Victim of this kids lack of integrity.

    • Brooke says:

      Ed – Again, like many other posters, you seem to be missing the entire point of the article. The point of the article was NOT to defend Mr. Jones. It was NOT to say “this is what REALLY happened.” The writer of the piece was NOT taking sides. It was to report on *Mr. Jones* response to the charges. That is it. Finito. End of story.

      Look, I understand being angry about what happened and wanting law enforcement to get to the bottom of it, but I do not understand castigating Jeremy, or anyone here at Hburgnews for reporting on the story as it unfolds, which, yes, necessarily includes the defendant’s response to the allegations.

      To be clear. Hburgnews is NOT saying he was set up. They’re NOT saying he was targeted because he’s gay. They’re NOT making statements as to guilt or innocence. They’re reporting that *Mr. Jones* is claiming those things.

      • JGFitzgerald says:

        There seems to be a solipsism about the “victims” who are posting here. They want the story to be about them, and what happened to them, and not about anything else. How dare a bunch of townies listen to anything but the self-pity of those who lost a few bucks? (Grammar guru note: I’ve never been sure if a sentence like that takes a question mark or exclamation mark. My apologies for not having time to look it up. Anyone with a Chicago Manual of Style handy should chime in.)

        • Tyler says:

          Well yeah, generally when there is a crime, you focus on both sides of the story, not just tell how the felon is innocent.

          • David Miller says:

            Tyler, we’ve heard from many people describing the victim’s losses and how they occurred. A story is limited by the amount of publicly available knowledge. And now you’ve made your stories public so that now they are available for us; the public, to view. What more do you want until a trial or plea happens?

          • Brooke says:

            Again, totally missing the point. He linked to the Breeze story, which tells in GREAT detail of the charges. The story doesn’t say he’s innocent, it says Mr. Jones is claiming he’s innocent. The charges have been covered. This story talks BOTH about what he’s charge with, as well as linking to more detailed accounts of what he’s charged with, and it also covers Mr. Jones’ response to the charges. I’m not sure what is so hard to understand about this. It DOES focus on both sides.

    • Dave Briggman says:

      Wow, Ed, his license has been suspended previously? How the hell does that relate to any offense they he may have committed.

      We get that you’ve provided documentary evidence and had personal conversations with at least some law enforcement officers….we get that.

      Because of that, and because you know the victim, you won’t be asked to serve on the jury.

      And I think you mean that you COULDN’T CARE LESS about his sexual orientation, because it sounds like you don’t care about it at all.

      And he may have admitted committing the offenses to the police, but you also wrote that his mother told the police not to believe him because he’s a liar…in any event, I’m sure counsel will seek to have any admission he may have made, tossed out.

      • Tyler says:

        Well for one thing, it means that he has been driving around for the past 2 months on a suspended license, an offense in itself. But the point is, is that he is a lawbreaker, and that this credit card scandal is not his first illegal activity in the county.

  44. Bridget Baylor says:

    Just for the record – Andrew Jones is not a student at Blue Ridge Community College this semester, and we have no record of him being a student in the past.

  45. Andrew E says:

    As a JMU student and member of JMU College Republicans, I can say this whole thing makes me feel sick. Andrew led us to believe he was a JMU student, and we all befriended him. I had met Andrew previously through his work on the McCain campaign in 2008. He seemed to have such energy and enthusiasm, as well as promising local connections, which I thought could really benefit our club. Two weeks ago, I was happy to vote for him for second vice chair. I trusted him, as I think all of our members did.

    The following Monday I learned from one of the victims, who is a good friend of mine and is also in CRs, that Jones stole her credit card. I was completely shocked, and honestly did not believe her at first. In fact, I asked her a ton of questions just to make sure this wasn’t some sick joke. She told me essentially the account that appeared in the Breeze. My friend, who did not even notice her card was missing, but was informed of the theft by police (this is an important point), pressed charges against Jones. When police attempted to find Jones at JMU, they realized he wasn’t actually a JMU student and expanded their search to the local area. They found Jones not at JMU but at his home in Broadway.

    I felt incredibly betrayed by Jones, and I wasn’t even a victim of his thefts. Jones is probably very sick; he seems to be exhibiting signs of Antisocial Personality Disorder, sometimes called sociopathy or psychopathy. Still, these do not excuse his actions, or his baseless accusations that he has made against JMU CRs. I honestly thought Jones was a good kid, and I really didn’t want to believe he was capable of doing this stuff. From one other account I’ve heard, he stole six different credit cards from one victim over a period of months; she simply thought she was the unluckiest person in the world, not even remotely suspecting Jones. I truly hope he gets help for his problems, if it is even available, and I hope he can make things right. I am not ordinarily a superstitious person, but I honestly believe Jones is being tormented by Satan.

    Before I go, I want to address the comments of one poster, JGFitzgerald. Your comments, whomever you are, are highly offensive and are flatly out of line. I wasn’t aware that death was the only social wrong. I suppose if someone stole your car, you would be perfectly alright with it, given that no one was hurt. If you, your daughter or your mother was raped, I likewise wonder whether you would shed a tear, or cheerfully wax on about how no one died. The victims, and even some of us who simply trusted him, feel extremely violated by his actions. I really hope you never have to feel that kind of anguish of someone you trust betraying you and stealing your property. Maybe you are simply defending him because you are deceived by him, as I was. But if you accept the facts of what he did and think his actions weren’t wrong, I think you may also have serious problems.

    • Tyler says:

      Andrew E, thank you for this post. I feel like you are one of the few people who actually realize what this whole thing is about. Thank you for calling out JGFitzgerald, because he seems to think that commenting on everyone’s grammar and acting like a moron in general seems to be making him seem more intelligent, or has any relevance to Andrew Jone’s criminal actions.

    • David Miller says:

      I think you wholly misunderstood. No one stated that the victims weren’t injured, the point seemed to be that they will be made whole, unlike when people die at each other’s hands, they cannot be made whole, which happens often and was inartfully contrasted to the lesser accused thefts of credit cards.

      btw, Possession by some sort of demonic being is nowadays commonly understood as a disease which is usually caused by an imbalance in brain chemistry.

      • DebSF says:

        Credit card fraud is certainly a crime, and no doubt Mr. Jones will pay a price for his actions. If this is the worse betrayal and violation you experience in your lifetime, you will be very lucky – it’s part of living in the adult world. But a little perspective might be in order. Harrisonburg has, for example, seen Janet Bonilla – a mother, pregnant with twins – shot and killed in the city within the last couple of months.

    • JGFitzgerald says:

      Yes, people who have been stolen from feel violated, but to compare it to rape is to diminish the horror of rape. Granted people do it. They emotionally react to the worst thing that’s happened to them as if it’s the worst thing that could. It justifies their emotions. People in fender-benders thought they were going to die. That they didn’t does not mean they didn’t think so. But they shouldn’t ask other to think that they did. The problem I have with some of the victims posting here is their emotional demand that the rest of us accept their demonization of this boy. The implication is that we should not even discuss the other issues, and that despite what society has invested in laws and courts, we should accept that this teenager is a sociopathic criminal. I’m not ready to accept that. Not over a credit card theft. And I’m not ready to accept that a petty theft is comparable to a rape. I can understand that it might feel that way to somebody who knows only theft, but there really is an objective difference between inconvenience and danger.

    • Dave Briggman says:

      Andrew, why not tell us all of your expertise in the diagnoses of mental disorders Bachelors? Masters Doctorate?

      JGFitzgerald is the former Mayor and City Councilman of Harrisonburg…he also works on your campus. Perhaps some of your more grammar/punctuation/spelling-challenged students might consider dropping by his office for some quick lessons…he’s really quite intelligent, though, admittedly, his sense of humor is often lost on less-intelligent people…

      • Tyler says:

        Well if he is a former Mayor, then it is beyond me how he got elected making such smart-mouth comments like he does. Although I suppose using an ad hominem is a typical move from the politician playbook. Typical spineless politician, all talk and no substance.

        • Joe’s got lots of substance, which politically I don’t often agree with…but then, you guys are making yourselves such easy targets…

          • Tyler says:

            Targets? Exactly, you come to this blog, and sit here watching the screen for hours, waiting to attack a grammar mistake. You’re just trying to pick a fight for no reason, pathetic. Get out of here, you, nor your enlightened mayor are doing anything but making fools out of yourselves.

      • Andrew E says:

        Dave, your comment assumes diagnosing mental disorders (or personality disorders) requires a university degree, even a Masters Doctorate one… Oh, and who complained about missing punctuation, again? ;)

        Here’s what JGFitzgerald wrote:

        “No, he’s probably not a criminal. He might have committed a crime, but the losses, if any, will be borne by Target and Bank of America. They can swing it. Nobody died. This is, like many crime stories, funny for all the wrong reasons. But it’s a process now, with the prosecution and the defense supposedly at odds but probably working together to see that this wastes as little of the court’s time as possible. Anybody who thinks this guy is a criminal has never seen one.”

        Ha. I’m paralyzed with laughter.

        I never suggested rape was somehow comparable with credit card theft. Unless he was joking, Joe (I guess that’s JGFitzgerald’s real name, and even if not, Joe is much easier to write) suggested that this is really not worth anyone’s time and that Andrew is somehow innocent because “Target and Bank of America…can swing it” and “[n]obody died.” (Call this the Joe standard for criminal behavior.) Rape is clearly worse, but generally doesn’t result in death, and I’m told the victims can usually “swing” the loss (what does that even mean?). Still, rape is in my mind only slightly less awful than murder; I sometimes even think rapists should face the death penalty, which, for the record, I generally don’t think Andrew Jones should face, although he is really pushing that belief to its limits.

        Oh, and titles don’t really impress me too much. I once visited the White House and met former President Bush for an hour, and realized he was basically another guy. He was quite intelligent – much smarter than the media portrayed -, but he was not sufficiently amazing to make me want to grovel at his feet, pray to him or anything like that. I certainly feel the same way about His Majesty. If presidents don’t impress me, mayors and city councilmen of Harrisonburg certainly don’t impress me. Nor do members of the JMU administration. Just my personal opinion – I’m sure Joe is a fine man in person.

        • Actually, Andrew, in Virginia alleging that someone has a mental disorder, could get you sued so badly for defamation, the plaintiff doesn’t even have to prove damages.

          A Harrisonburg School Board member is about the find that out.

          • Andrew E says:

            Well, sociopathy is not a mental disorder…

          • Andrew E says:

            Besides, I never alleged he had it. I said his behavior seems to indicate he has the personality disorder. The two are different.

            Hopefully he gets checked out by a certified diagnoser and gets help – that’s my ultimate goal -, although I understand that ASPD basically has no treatment.

          • Andrew E says:

            On the other hand, the grammar in your post isn’t so hot, so maybe your argument has no validity. ;)

          • And if you are correct and Andrew has a mental impairment, then the defense could likely use that as a DEFENSE.

            In short, don’t make stupid arguments without knowing the consequences of your argument if drawn out to the ends of it.

          • And, Andrew, sociopathy is a mental disorder:


            Before you continue talking to the people on this blog as if you year or two in colleges somehow has turned you into a mobile encyclopedia of knowledge on anything and everything, consider living three decades more and incorporating 30 years more knowledge and life experiences into your postings.

          • Andrew E says:

            I apologize. I let my emotions get the best of me yesterday. A lot of what I said, I still agree with, but not everything, and I could have written it a bit more politely. Take care.

        • Jason B says:

          So the guy steals credit cards and you’re fuming to the point of considering the death penalty? Good God. To use Internet parlance, the butthurt is unbelievable.

          Yes, if he did do this, then he was wrong, but the reactions are terribly overboard, especially from a group of people who come from a campus that supposedly preaches tolerance. If, Andrew, you seriously think that this guy is mentally ill, then shouldn’t you be sympathetic? After all, people with mental illnesses have a difficult time controlling interactions, impulses, etc.

          I went to JMU for numerous years. I think a lot of the inclusiveness and general peacefulness from a majority of students has petered out.

          • Andrew E says:

            Yes, I think Andrew should be executed for stealing credit cards…

            I can’t even say that with a straight face. It’s a joke. And, at least in my bizarre sense of humor, it’s funnier than Joe’s.

            I hope he can get treatment. Still, he seems to know right and wrong, yet seems to think the rules don’t apply to him. He then makes up very elaborate stories, which are kind of funny, but flatly untrue. My empathy for any condition he might have doesn’t change the fact that I don’t think someone like him can adequately function in society. If he can be treated effectively, then it’s a blessing. I just don’t think it can happen.

  46. Chris F-B says:

    Are all of these victims posting from the same IP or what?

  47. nicklaus combs says:


  48. David Miller says:

    neither the error nor the correction destroys credibility, what does is chattering on and on without listening to those you seek to engage.

  49. nicklaus combs says:

    i think the comment section is officially broke.

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