Sam Jones was arrested for car theft! Sam Jones, of course, is the scion of the legendary Jones family, the Jones family of the Skylight Inn
and Sam Jones Barbecue.
Sam Jones is a James Beard semi-finalist and a leading light in the world of real barbecue. This video from North Carolina Public Radio is well worth a watch. Sam Jones is not the sort of person you’d expect to steal cars. But here he was at the Priceless Car Rental in Orlando, Florida, arrested, handcuffed, and put in the back of a squad car with no explanation for two hours.
The Priceless Car Rental manager reportedly said, “We finally caught the guys (sic) who’s been stealing cars from us.” It remains a mystery why they decided to pick on Jones, who innocently was on his way to a food festival in Ocala with two friends. It’s a mystery why they didn’t arrest the two friends, as well. It’s a mystery why the local police wouldn’t explain why he was being arrested, or take him up on his offer to talk to the Ayden, North Carolina, police chief or google his name.
I have two theories. The first, and most obvious, is that Florida Man had struck again. More subtle is the idea that it was a failed effort to bring some good barbecue to Florida by kidnapping Jones. Or both.
You may also think it’s a mystery why Jones and his friends were renting from Priceless Car Rental. Have you ever heard of Priceless? The company gets 1 1/2 stars on Yelp. That’s somewhere between Stalin and Hitler. Why would anyone rent from Priceless?
That I may be able to answer. This was in Orlando in April. I once flew to Orlando for work and tried to rent a car. The Justice Department travel agent announced, “There are no rental cars in Orlando.” Using my lawyerly investigative skills, I responded, “Huh?!” She said, “NASCAR. You know, Daytona. … Oh, one just came up.” I took it. I figure that Disneyland around Spring Break is about as big a draw as a NASCAR race, and that Priceless (naturally) had the only cars available for Jones and company.
If you plan to fly to Orlando and only Priceless has cars available, fly to Jacksonville or Tampa or West Palm. And get the phone number of a good bail bondsman. Or stay home.