For Blake Bills, it all began to go downhill once he switched high schools, according to his family.
“It was a totally different environment and I think he got hooked up with the wrong crowd,” said Bills’ grandfather, who did not want to be identified. “The family was trying to guide him and we thought he was on the right path. But apparently some things happened. But he was a tremendous kid, very strong-willed."
Bills, along with his girlfriend Shayna Sykes, are accused of leading police on high speed chases in two stolen police cars on Tuesday and in a stolen car on Sunday. Bills is also the main suspect in an iPad theft and two jewelry thefts.
Despite his troubled past, Bills’ mother, Veronica Bills, told NBC10 in an exclusive interview that he was raised in a good home and that what happened on Tuesday was out of character for him.
Veronica says she was watching the car chase on television and then realized it was Sykes who was being tackled by police. Veronica currently has temporary custody of the couple’s 7-month old daughter and claims her son is a good father who loves his baby girl. Both Veronica and Bills’ grandfather also had good things to say about Sykes.
“She was a baby doll,” said Bills’ grandfather. “But things have changed.”
The grandfather claims he hasn’t spoken to Bills since his arrest. He also doesn’t know if his grandson was involved with drugs.
“When you get on drugs I guess your mind sways,” he said. “If that’s what the cause is I would imagine that would totally change someone’s life and perspective.”
Veronica Bills tells NBC10 she hopes people won’t judge her son too harshly or hold his actions against the rest of the family.
Blake Bills and Shayna Sykes are both jailed in Philadelphia. Bills is being held on $300,000 bail while Sykes is being held on $700,000 bail.
Additional bail has been set in Camden County. Bills is facing a $500,000 bail in Camden County and Sykes a $342,500 bail.