Ex-USC football player Jack Jones arrested, charged with breaking into Panda Express at 3 a.m.

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Former USC cornerback Jack Jones talked to The Times on Tuesday night, keeping a positive outlook on his dismissal from the program on academic grounds and detailing his plan to get back to big-time college football. He said he felt it was all a part of “God’s plan.”

Two nights later, around 3:45 Friday morning, Jones was arrested in Santa Paula on suspicion of commercial burglary under $950 not during business hours and conspiracy to commit a crime — two felony charges. A press release from the Santa Paula Police Department alleged that Jones and two other young men broke into a Panda Express fast-food restaurant before being taken into custody.

Jones, 20, and two other former Long Beach Poly football players — Douglass Curry, 20, and Lohia Marks, 19 — were booked in Ventura County Jail, where Jones was held on $20,000 bond.


Jones, a five-star recruit who once predicted he would win the Heisman Trophy as a freshman, has experienced a startling fall after a sophomore season in which he had four interceptions and appeared to be building momentum toward a NFL career.

In May, Jones was dismissed by USC. He told The Times that he was informed at the start of second semester that he had to improve his grades. USC sat him out of spring practice so he could focus on staying eligible, but he was unable to do so.

Friday, his situation became markedly worse. The police state that Jones and Curry were found inside the Panda Express; Marks was in a car and fled the scene, leading officers on a chase for a couple of blocks before curbing the vehicle and being apprehended.

Jones was planning to enroll in a junior college — either Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut or West Hills College in Lemoore — for the 2018-19 school year to become academically eligible for the 2019 season. Asked if he intended to return to USC, Jones said he was keeping an open mind.

Jones has retained the Hollywood Hills law firm of Lessem, Newstat & Tooson for his defense. Attorney J. Tooson issued The Times a statement Friday evening.

“My office has been retained to represent Jack Jones regarding the current allegations,” the statement said. “These past few weeks have been extremely challenging for Jack. However, with the support of his family, Jack will overcome this adversity and resume his education and collegiate playing career. Jack’s family, along with Kathy Ultreras, is presently in the process of posting his bond. Moreover, I will be corresponding with the District Attorney’s office in the next few days and look forward to working with them to resolve this situation.”


Twitter: @BradyMcCollough