Saltwater Portrait

Shawn Jones: Millsboro Postmaster and crimefighter

Too stubborn to let them get away with it
March 22, 2011
Millsboro Postmaster Shawn Jones holds the recognition plaque he received from the U.S. Postal Service for his commitment to the community. BY RACHEL SWICK MAVITY

In Millsboro, most people know their neighbors, maybe even their neighbors’ pets, but nearly everyone using the post office knows Millsboro Postmaster Shawn Jones. If they didn’t know him before 2011, they probably know him now. Jones has become a sort of local hero around town after chasing down a bank robber in January.

“It was Saturday, Jan. 29, and I usually don’t work Saturdays, but my supervisor was off for surgery,” recalls Jones, 52, of Georgetown. “I had to go to the bank for change for the post office, and while I was there I went out the side door to use the ATM.”

As he was walking back through the bank, Jones saw a man in a ski mask taking a bag to each teller. As he walked towards the door, Jones looked at the man again and made eye contact just as the man rushed out the door.

“In the parking lot, he started running, and I realized what happened,” Jones said. “I looked back and saw one of the tellers locking the door.”

Jones said he got mad that the burglar would steal from the bank, so he jumped in his truck and went up the alley to see where the man had gone.

“At the stop sign, I saw the burglar sitting in the driver’s seat of a green car,” Jones said. “As I looked at him, the man saw me and took off in the car, so I decided to follow him.”

The burglar began to drive erratically trying to get away from Jones.

“I called 911 and tried to keep up with him,” Jones remembers. “He turned back around on Route 24 and drove past the post office. Then he suddenly turned into the Dairy Queen and tried to go back toward Route 113.”

With the dispatcher on the phone, Jones explained the situation and waited for a police car to arrive. Once he saw the police take up the chase, Jones went back to work at the post office.

Later, a state trooper stopped by to interview Jones about the incident.

“I never saw a weapon, and I didn’t even think about it until the police officer told me the man said he had a gun at the bank,” Jones said. “I just have a stubborn streak and I couldn’t let him get away with robbing the bank. It’s upsetting that people want to do something that hurts other people.”

Since the incident, Jones has received frequent thanks from residents and police. During the March Millsboro Town Council meeting, Jones was presented with a citizenship award. The U.S. Postal Service also presented Jones with a plaque for serving the community.

“It’s nice that this person got caught,” Jones said. “I think most people would have done something to help.”

Jones has worked for the postal service for 32 years – 12 of those in Delaware and six at the Millsboro office. He plans to retire soon and spend his time golfing at Sussex Pines and traveling.

While Jones says his crime-fighting days are behind him, he said he would do it again in a heartbeat. “I didn’t expect it to happen, and I don’t expect it will happen again, but if it did, I would do it all again,” Jones said.