Crawley nets jail time for grabbing tip jar

Published 10:01 am Thursday, February 11, 2016

Desmond Abdul Crawley, a 22-year-old Lunenburg resident, was recently sentenced in Lunenburg Circuit Court on one felony charge of grand larceny to about 100 days in jail as a result of stealing a tip jar containing $232 in coins and small bills off the counter of Chinese Wok, a Victoria restaurant.

According to Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Clement, on Oct. 17, Crawley was captured on video as he sat in the front room of the establishment watching the employee at the register. When the employee had to step away from the counter toward the kitchen, Crawley jumped up and grabbed the glass tip jar off the counter. A 4-year-old child who was sitting behind the counter called out to the employee. The employee ran outside yelling, “Stop him, he stole my money.”

Joey Behler was across the street and saw Crawley running away with the jar, according to Clement. Behler followed in his truck to a spot behind the old NAPA store where Crawley was crouched down behind an air conditioning unit, trying to remove some clothing.  When Behler told him he was calling 911, Crawley said, “I’m not going to jail.” Crawley then ran, and Behler followed, informing police of his location, said Clement.

With the assistance of law enforcement officers from Kenbridge and Lunenburg Sheriff’s Office, Victoria police were able to find Crawley in the back yard of a residence at the corner of Lee Avenue. and 5th Street. He still had the tip jar with him. Police later recovered Crawley’s black jacket behind NAPA. He told police that they never would have caught him if he had been able to remove his top layer of clothes, according to Clement.

Crawley was also extremely uncooperative during the booking process, Clement said, making it difficult to fingerprint him as he was trying to answer his cellphone, sticking up his middle finger for the mugshot and refusing to put it down, and making statements that the police probably wanted to kill him and that “black lives matter.”

Crawley apparently had a change of heart later, because after he was released by the magistrate on a secured bond, he came to court for advisement and asked to go to jail until his trial. His request was granted, and he stayed in jail until his trial date on Feb. 1.  He also waived the preliminary hearing in district court, and pled guilty on the same day as he was indicted by the grand jury on Feb. 1, according to Clement.

Clement said that Crawley had a prior conviction for shoplifting in Mecklenburg County in April 2015. His sentencing guidelines came out to a recommendation of probation/no incarceration.

An additional suspended sentence of four years and nine months was imposed under which Crawley is subject to conditions of good behavior for five years, including abstaining from and not possessing illegal drugs, supervised probation for one year, warrantless searches and seizures, and staying off the property of the restaurant for five years.