Their strategy was unusual: Instead of robbing a store once a month or so, they’d hit several in rapid succession.

They were so prolific that they got their own nicknames just like bank robbers: the Long Jaw Bandit, the Sunset Bandit, the Back Room Bandit.

Suspects accused of being all three of these serial robbers are in custody, and one of them — the Back Room Bandit, also known as Dragon Jones — talked with us about his crimes.

“I had this very itchy feeling. This nervousness,” said Jones, who got his nickname for herding store employees into back rooms. “As a father and a husband, I was not being a provider.”

Our interview provides insight into his technique, motivation and apparent repentance for his crimes.

In other news:

  • In education, Point Loma’s public schools have a new idea. As we report, they’re floating the idea of the district “letting them pool their budgets and suggest their own ideas for cuts to the school board. Their hope is that they could gain more power over what happens to their schools, especially as budgets dwindle.”
  • Earlier this week, we told our readers about Barona tribe member Roxann Argazzi, who died recently. You may have been struck by how her family held a ceremony to burn most of her possessions.

    In a follow-up, we look deeper into this tradition and talk to Argazzi’s sister, who explains “we believe it’s important that we send them with gifts to give to our family on the other side.”

  • In our latest Fact Check, we recap a recent investigation into whether the city of San Diego repairs potholes as quickly as it says it does.
  • The Photos of the Day chronicle a stormy Thursday, but there’s a twist: they were shot with the help of a filter that gives them a spooky feel. Lena Horne provides our photo soundtrack.


  • It’s over: The U-T reports that District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is no longer requiring her prosecutors to boycott Superior Court Judge John Einhorn. For months, without explanation, they’d been refusing to allow new criminal cases to go to his courtroom.
  • Earlier this week, we checked into the rules that allow lawyers from either side to nix judges on their cases.
  • The U-T reports that “Gil Cabrera, the most vocal member of the San Diego Ethics Commission, is resigning from the watchdog panel. His resignation could end a six-month City Council stalemate over ethics appointees that began when Mayor Jerry Sanders refused to reappoint Cabrera to a second four-year term.”

    We just talked to Cabrera the other day about the city’s challenges.

  • A little over 18 years ago, the most famous murder trial in San Diego history began. The defendant, Betty Broderick, stood accused of shooting her ex-husband and his wife to death in their bed. The gripping tale of a storybook romance gone wrong, and a defendant who claimed she was driven to kill, spawned true-crime books and not one but two TV movies starring the actress who played the mother on “Family Ties.”

    Yesterday, Broderick, now 62, was denied parole. She had originally been sentenced to 32 years to life in prison. (U-T)

  • Finally, a new report says San Diego is one of the 10 cities in the country that are most friendly to cats, based on “cat ownership per capita, level of veterinary care, microchipping and cat-friendly local ordinances.”

Guess they didn’t check whether local stores sell more of those doohickeys that pick up pet hair.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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