After being needled by the mayor for being too soft on criminals, a judge raised a theft suspect's bond from $5,000 to $9 trillion, nearly three times the national debt.

District Judge Jack Montgomery declined to explain how he arrived at $9 trillion - which compares with a national debt of $3.2 trillion.The judge raised the bond Thursday after initially setting it at $5,000, said a deputy at Jefferson County Jail, where the suspect remained Sunday.

Montgomery said no one had contacted him about reconsidering bond for Isaac Peterson, 34, who was arrested Jan. 22 on a theft charge.

"This is so he doesn't get in any more trouble," the judge said.

At a City Council meeting last week, Mayor Richard Arrington said the judge repeatedly enabled suspects with serious criminal backgrounds to be released by setting low bonds.

Arrington cited Peterson, who he said has been arrested eight times since July on charges of burglary and receiving stolen property. Each time, bond ranged from $500 to $5,000. For someone with Peterson's criminal history it should be higher, the mayor said.