‘Bonnie and Clyde’ couple tied to break-ins in Charlotte, Concord
FOREST ACRES, S.C. – A Cornelius couple who avoided burglary-related charges in south Charlotte and are free on bond for a burglary charge in Concord have been arrested in Columbia, S.C., charged with another daytime break-in in an upscale suburb.
Justin Ryan Aldrich, 33, and Anna Lee Hoard, 34, who once lived at 20317 Wilcher Court, Cornelius, also are suspects in two other burglaries, one in Columbia and another in an adjoining county, according to Forest Acres Police Lt. B.W. Hinson.
Forest Acres police nabbed Hoard and Aldrich only after a Forest Acres man returned to his home for lunch. According to Lt. Hinson, the man found a red Jeep Cherokee backed into his driveway, with a woman sitting in the driver’s seat. When the man approached her, the woman said, “My friend is looking to see if this is her friend’s house.”
About that time, a man approached from the side of the house and jumped in the passenger side of the Jeep. Without another word, the woman drove away, and the homeowner quickly discovered that the man had pried open a side door to the home, Hinson said. The homeowner had written down the Jeep’s license number and quickly called 911.
When a Forest Acres officer saw the car and started to follow, the car accelerated and “tried to elude the officer,” Hinson said. “But they obviously didn’t know this area well and they pulled into a gated community and couldn’t get past the gate.”
Hinson’s officer blocked the Jeep with his cruiser, and even as he approached the Jeep, the officer heard the man shout, “Go over the curb! Go around him! Go around him!”
“But that officer is an extremely large individual, and he stopped them immediately,” Hinson said.
In the Jeep, the officer found three suitcases, some iPods and boxes of jewelry, as well as a small amount of marijuana and three pawn tickets for property pawned at shops in North Carolina, Hinson said. After identifying the couple as Hoard and Aldrich, they also learned they were out on bond from Concord, where they are charged with felony breaking-and-entering.
Knowing the couple didn’t live in Columbia and already faced similar charges in North Carolina, Forest Acres police were able to get a magistrate to set a $75,000 bond for each defendant, compared to the $30,000 bond the couple posted in Concord.
Aldrich and Hoard have garnered a lot of publicity in Charlotte since March, when Charlotte-Mecklenburg police charged them with possession of stolen goods from three south Charlotte burglaries. But investigators originally charged another man, Caleb Allen, with one of the break-ins and knew nothing of Hoard and Aldrich until Allen’s mother, Diana; uncle, Ken Allen; and family friend Greg Damm did their own investigation and tracked the couple to an apartment and hotel in Matthews.
Police eventually searched the Matthews apartment and found the stolen goods. Shortly afterward, Concord police charged Aldrich, Hoard and a third person with breaking into a home during the day while a teenager hid in an upstairs bedroom.
Citing missteps by Charlotte-Mecklenburg officers, the Mecklenburg District Attorney’s office has dropped all charges in the south Charlotte break-ins. But in addition to the Concord charges, Lt. Hinson said:
• Aldrich and Hoard face a charge of second-degree burglary for the forced entry of the Forest Acres house. Hoard also is charged with possession of marijuana.
• Aldrich faces a charge of possession of stolen goods in Horry County, S.C., home of Myrtle Beach. A Horry County police detective did not return calls from a Herald Weekly reporter.
• The couple are suspects in another Columbia burglary that occurred just an hour before they were caught in Forest Acres. The three victims in that case have identified the property found in the couple’s Jeep as theirs.
• The license tag on the couple’s Jeep was stolen on the Winthrop College campus in Rock Hill, S.C. Hoard and Aldrich also had someone else’s license tag on their Jeep when they were arrested in Concord. The tag stolen in Rock Hill was taken from a red Jeep Cherokee, Hinson said.
• Detectives in Kershaw County, a county just west of Columbia, are investigating the couple’s possible involvement with a break-in there. A witness saw a white couple in a red Jeep Cherokee driving away from the break-in site, Hinson said.