Andrew Dys

York brothers arrested – again – at same time in separate shoplifting cases

Jerry Kennedy, left, and Anthony Kennedy
Jerry Kennedy, left, and Anthony Kennedy

On Monday afternoon, two sets of police officers converged from two directions toward guys under a tree on Maiden Lane in York. The tree gave shade when the heat hit 96 degrees. The shade did not last. The heat came in with handcuffs.

The charges are shoplifting – again – for brothers Jerry and Anthony Kennedy, ages 61 and 59.

One of them, Jerry, already has spent eight years in prison for shoplifting. That was not Jerry’s first or only prison time for shoplifting or stealing. He has, State Law Enforcement Division records show, 18 convictions for property crimes.

Younger brother Anthony has multiple convictions for property crimes, SLED records show, including shoplifting, forgery and writing fraudulent checks. He, too, has spent time in state prison for those convictions.

These arrests – for allegedly stealing steaks, T-shirts, gun scopes and two cases of soda – could land the brothers back behind bars long enough to be cashing their Social Security checks at the prison store.

At the time of their arrests on Monday, both were free on bond stemming from May arrests for – you guessed it – shoplifting.

“It may seem that shoplifting is not a big deal, but this stuff gets sold on the street, to a fence or to somebody, and then the money is used in other places, including drug crimes,” said Lt. Dale Edwards of the York Police Department, who led the arrest team that grabbed the Kennedy brothers Monday.

“We have arrested these two many times for the same offense. When you factor in the cost to the businesses, the cost to consumers, and that these suspects have been arrested, and convicted, many times for this, we are talking about problems that happen over and over again.”

Started when Nixon was in office

Jerry Leon Kennedy, the older brother at 61, has been arrested for property crimes dating back to when Nixon was president. Jerry was popped and convicted first in 1972 for housebreaking.

He got out of prison and was almost immediately arrested again in 1975 for drugs and strong-arm robbery. He served a six year prison term for that, records show.

By the time he got out, bell bottoms were gone, disco had died and he was arrested – again.

On three separate occasions, court records show, Jerry has been sent to prison for his seven shoplifting convictions alone. He has served stretches of a year up to the most recent prison term, which ended when Jerry Kennedy got the eight years in 2007 for enhanced shoplifting.

Jerry got out of prison and by 2009, he was arrested for shoplifting in York. Back to prison for shoplifting, records show.

He has been arrested several times since then, including in May for shoplifting when he was charged with stuffing steaks down his pants at the Bi-Lo grocery store in York. He got out on bond and, by Monday, was charged with stealing two rifle rangefinders form York’s Walmart on May 25.

Jerry now is being held without bond at the York County jail.

Returning to the scene a little too quickly

Anthony Ray Kennedy, 59, got out of prison after serving about half of a three-year sentence he received for a 2012 forgery conviction. Within months, he had been charged again with forgery and financial card fraud, charges that are pending.

And on May 11, Anthony was charged with trying to steal steaks and other frozen meat from Walmart – just like his big brother was charged at the Bi-Lo. Anthony Kennedy was released on bond.

Five days later, Anthony was charged with shoplifting again, police say, after he cut the locks off two rangefinder rifle scopes at Walmart. Police say he initially escaped the store, but came back three hours later. When everybody in the place started pointing and yelling, “That’s him!” the report states, the cops – who were still there – arrested him.

Again, he was released on bond.

On June 6, Anthony tried to steal T-shirts from the Dollar General store in York, police reports and warrants show, and two cases of soda from a display at the Kangaroo Express gas station the next day.

Anthony is also being held without bond on multiple shoplifting charges.

Convictions for enhanced shoplifting can carry 10 years in prison for each offense. Both brothers now face at least three charges each – as much as 30 years prison.

For soda, rangefinders, steaks and underwear.

Andrew Dys •  803-329-4065 •