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Police: Larceny suspects located; led police on chase with kid in car

A crime spree has come to an end for a young couple accused of bringing their young son along as they tried to steal from stores.
Front door surveillance footage from the East Syracuse BJ’s Wholesale Club. (Photo via East Syracuse Police)
Front door surveillance footage from the East Syracuse BJ’s Wholesale Club. (Photo via East Syracuse Police)
East Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - A crime spree has come to an end for a young couple accused of bringing their young son along as they tried to steal from stores.

Minutes after photos of the suspects were posted at OnTheLookout.net, police got a tip to help build a case.

26-year-old Justin Jones and his partner, 25-year-old Dena Pierson, are facing charges from multiple alleged crimes.

A routine check of inventory at BJ’s Wholesale Club in East Syracuse was the first sign something was wrong. They were missing two expensive water slides. Surveillance video offered a few clues.

East Syracuse Police Chief Don Morris told NewsChannel 9, "The male approaches the checkout person at the door and distracts that person, while the female, pushing the cart with the child in it and the merchandise, exits behind him."

"They very well may be utilizing the child to get away with the acting, thinking that the store personnel would not fathom the fact that they are using a child in the course of a crime,” Morris said.

It wasn't the first time. A few days later, video showed the same man fumbling with his receipt, as the woman slips out, but the clerk catches on, calling her back.

They're still reviewing video at the BJ’s to account for another missing slide.

A photo posted at OnTheLookout.net caught the eye of investigators in Camillus who had just arrested the same couple after reports of stolen air conditioners at Walmart. 

It turns out the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office was looking for them, too.

When police finally tracked down Jones at a gas station, he took off, leading them on a chase with Pierson and their 4-year-old son inside the truck.

Police said they had to use a taser to take Jones into custody. An officer was hurt during the incident and was out of work for a time.

“Obviously, we're concerned for the child in the instance...the fact that they would bring the child on a crime spree such as this is disturbing to myself and I'm sure to the district attorney's office,” Chief Morris said.

Police are also investigating if the couple may be connected to items stolen from the Tractor Supply Company store in East Syracuse.

Jones is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, possession of stolen property, resisting arrest, unlawfully fleeing from police, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and reckless driving. He was taken to jail on $15,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.

Pierson is charged with petit larceny. She was taken to jail on $5,000 bail or $10,000 bond.

Police say the son is staying with family now.

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