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Arrest made in 2011 home invasion cases

By Keeli Parkey
Staff Writer
[email protected]
The investigation took longer than he would have liked, but Police Chief Regan Tilson and the Erwin Police Department never stopped looking for the individual responsible for two home invasions which occurred during 2011.
“Obviously, the investigation took longer than we wanted it to,” Tilson said on Monday. “However, we’re pleased to have it closed for the peace of mind of the victims. There were always concerns that (the perpetrator) would come back. We’re very happy that we know who it is and the case will be considered closed by arrest.”
On July 18, the EPD arrested Jack Ray Rice, 41, Erwin, and charged him with two counts of aggravated burglary and two counts of theft.
According to a press release issued by Chief Tilson on Friday, the first home invasion occurred in July 2011 on East Erwin Road when Rice allegedly entered the home with the victims present. Rice reportedly entered through an unlocked door, brandished a gun and took $40 cash and a debit card.
The second home invasion occurred in September 2011 on Prince Street. Again, Rice allegedly entered the home when the victims were home and demanded cash and pills from them. The defendant reportedly left the home with $100 cash and the elderly victim’s medication
An investigation began after the first home invasion and continued until last week. Investigators faced several challenges in the case, Tilson said.
“The lack of physical and forensic evidence was difficult,” he added. “The good news is that the officers didn’t stop thinking about and working on the case.”
While working on an unrelated case, Tilson said investigators learned new information pertaining to the home invasions.
“It was another piece of the puzzle,” Tilson added. “We just needed that final piece of information and we were able to get that.”
This information reportedly led investigators to Rice.
“When we went looking for him we found out that he was already in custody,” Tilson said.
Rice is currently being held in the Carter County Jail on unrelated charges.
“The detectives went over to interview him and he confessed to the crime,” Tilson said. “He admitted to everything he did and he had details that only the person who perpetrated the crime would know.”
When he notified the victims that the individual alleged responsible was in jail and had been charged, Tilson said they “were absolutely thrilled.”
“They were very pleased it was a safe ending,” he continued. “I think that concerned them as well. There was always that concern that the individual might come back.”