A Pine Bluff man linked to two separate robberies of delivery drivers will have to post a $50,000 cash only bond to be released from the Jefferson County Adult Detention Center as a result of a district court hearing Tuesday.
John Neal, 29, who has charges of residential burglary and theft of property stemming from a 2016 arrest, was one of two men identified in robberies on Dec. 23 and Jan. 11.
Neal and Jeremy Simmons, who is still at large, were identified from photo lineups and surveillance video from a business that were shown to one of the victims, Pine Bluff Police Department Detective Mike Sweeney said in two probable cause affidavits presented in court.
On Dec. 23 at 1:21 p.m., police were sent to 2221 S. Olive St., where a delivery driver reported that when he returned to his vehicle, he saw a van parked directly behind it; two men then got out and approached him. The driver also reported that he saw that the lock on the back door of the truck had been cut and saw a handgun in the waistband of one of the men’s pants.
That suspect told the driver to open the door, then took several cases of cigarettes valued at more than $5,300.
The second robbery was reported at 3100 S. Hazel St., when a delivery driver told police he was approached by a man who pushed him then threw him to the ground. The man took $25 cash from the driver, along with two cartons of cigarettes, before fleeing. The total value of loss in that incident was listed at more than $6,200.
Sweeney reported that after that incident, the security video was posted on social media and released to the news media, resulting in a tip that led them to Neal and helped them identify Simmons. He also compared pictures of Neal and Simmons to the video and determined that they were involved in the first robbery as well.
The driver of the truck in the first robbery positively identified both men, while the second driver said he was not aware that there were two individuals until he saw the video.
Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth set the bond for Neal after ruling prosecutors have probable cause to charge him with aggravated robbery, robbery and theft of property. Neal said he would hire his own attorney.