Two now charged with possession of at least $22,000 in stolen jewelry

by Mike Parks and Frank DeLoache

A Cornelius couple whom police have connected to at least three home break-ins in south Charlotte were arrested in Concord in early March after breaking into a house, while a teenager was hiding upstairs.

According to a Concord Police Department report, the 19-year-old woman called police when she heard someone breaking in. Officers caught Justin Ryan Aldrich, 33, and Anna Lee Hoard, 34, both of 20317 Wilcher Court, Cornelius, and a Matthews man in the act of breaking into the home around noon March 4. Police say officers found Aldrich coming from behind the house, and he bolted into nearby woods. Officers quickly caught him.

Aldrich faces one charge of felony breaking and entering; multiple charges of possession of stolen goods, including several felonies; possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia; and resisting arrest. On the same day of Aldrich’s arrest, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department signed out an arrest warrant for Aldrich and Hoard, saying they were caught with $19,000 in jewelry stolen from a home on Sharon Lane in south Charlotte. A Huntersville man is charged with that break-in and says he is innocent.

Aldrich and Hoard’s names also appear on a Feb. 28 search warrant served by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police that recovered nearly $20,000 in stolen jewelry and other goods. Homeowners in at least three break-ins in south Charlotte identified the recovered items as theirs.

Concord police say they arrested the three in a red Jeep Grand Cherokee with a stolen N.C. license.

Burglary crime spree

Police told the Herald Weekly last week that they first connected the four south Charlotte burglaries to an older model, red Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The first of those burglaries occurred Jan. 19 at 3008 Colony Road. Homeowner Jean Wilson told police that $2,000 in jewelry was stolen, along with a jewelry box, personal documents and a storage box, according to a police department incident report.

Five days later, on Jan. 24, thieves hit the 1626 S. Wendover Road home of Martin Machen, taking $1,800 in jewelry, an iPad and a shotgun, according to the police report. On Jan. 27, thieves broke into Hope Parrott’s home at 1901 Sharon Lane. Police and court documents say an $800 gun and $19,000 in jewelry were taken.

The final break-in police tied to the Jeep Grand Cherokee took place Feb. 1 at 2211 Vernon Drive. Homeowner Rene Michelle told police thieves stole a $600 television.

After some of the items stolen from the Wilson home were recovered in a trash bin in Matthews, a car-wash receipt dated Feb. 3 led police to a gas station on Independence Boulevard. Surveillance tape taken that day show a young man and woman driving a red Jeep Grand Cherokee similar to the one seen at a some of the break-ins. Police put out surveillance photos, asking anyone who recognized the two to call detectives.

Police make first arrest

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested Huntersville resident Carl Caleb Allen, 25, on Feb. 16, charging him with felony breaking and entering and larceny connected to the Sharon Lane burglary. Police have declined to discuss their evidence against him or the investigation of the burglary with Herald Weekly.

In court documents, the homeowner said she returned home around 2:30 p.m. to find a red Jeep Grand Cherokee leaving her back yard.

Allen has said he did not commit the robbery.  He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court April 14 on at least 10 charges related to dealing heroin and has a May 16 hearing on the breaking-and-entering, larceny charge.

Allen said he has been enrolled in drug court since July and the pending drug charges involved incidents allegedly occurring before he entered the drug court. He maintains he has remained clean since then, producing records of passed drug tests he’s taken since August.

Aldrich, Hoard arrested

The arrest of Aldrich and Hoard came four days after police recovered thousands in stolen jewelry from a Matthews home that was being rented to the couple.

After police put out the surveillance video from the Independence Boulevard gas station, they received a tip that the people in the video were staying at a home at 2024 Hayden Way in Matthews. Diana Allen, Caleb Allen’s mother, along with her brother and a friend, tracked the two down Feb. 23 and called police.

Two days later, on Feb. 25, the landlord, Michael Parker, let police enter and look around, according to a search warrant.

Police saw jewelry littered across the room in plain view. Parker told police he was renting the home to a Justin Aldrich and Anna Hoard.

Police returned with a search warrant Feb. 28 and removed more than $20,000 in jewelry from the room. At least three homeowners identified pieces of the jewelry as being stolen from their homes. But Charlotte police had not arrested the pair, when Concord police officers caught them breaking into a home at 3524 Stockton Ave. on March 4.

According to the Stockton Avenue homeowner, her daughter was in an upstairs bedroom when someone range the doorbell repeatedly. She never answered, and the girl’s mother said someone picked the door lock and busted a latch on a window to get in the house. The teenager called 911 while hiding in the upstairs bedroom, and Concord police stationed not too far away responded immediately.

According to the Concord report, officers found Jose Alexander Becerra, of 4240 Lady Slipper Lane, Matthews, and Hoard sitting in a red Jeep Grand Cherokee outside the home. Becerra was in the passenger seat, and Hoard was in the back of the vehicle.

While the first officers dealt with Becerra and Hoard, assisting officers arrived in time to see Aldrich come out from behind the home, police said. After Aldrich saw the officers, he ran into nearby woods, but two officers caught him.

All three were arrested and taken to the Cabarrus County Jail. The teenager inside the home was not injured during the break-in.

But court documents show Charlotte-Mecklenburg police obtained arrest warrants for Aldrich and Hoard, charging them with possession of stolen goods taken from three of the four south-Charlotte break-ins tied to the red Jeep Grand Cherokee. Police say the two were in possession of $19,000 in jewelry from the home of Hope Parrott; $2,300 in jewelry and a shotgun from the home of Martin Machen; and at least $3,000 of the $10,000 in jewelry stolen from the home of Jean Wilson.

In those arrest warrants, police says Aldrich and Hoard are suspects “in at least four residential burglaries in Charlotte.”

An employee of Carolina Pawn & Jewelry Exchange positively identified a picture of Aldrich as the person who pawned an iPad stolen from Martin Machen. The employee told police that Aldrich frequently comes into the store to pawn items.