The following press release has been issued by Clay County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Sheriff Vic Davis in a press release today said that his investigators received a call from the Maggie Valley Police Department that officers there had arrested two individuals and charged them with being felons and having in their possession two firearms.
Davis said that the two men told police in Maggie Valley that they had broken into a home near the Shooting Creek bridge. That was the only directions the men could give. However a female in the car told officers they had gone into her uncle’s house and the house that had been broken into was next to her uncle’s. Investigators were able to locate the house that had been broken into by locating the uncles’ house.
Davis said that once the house was located, it was obvious that the house had been burglarized. The garage door was left partially open, and other doors in the house were either unlocked or left open. Items in the house were strewn about by the burglars in an effort to locate items of value.
An investigator traveled to Haywood Co. the next day, according to the sheriff, accompanied by the owner/victim who identified items in the suspect’s car as being his.
An investigator was able to get detailed statements from the suspects as to their alleged involvement in the burglary, according to the sheriff.
Arrested in the incident was Robert Lee Messer who resides in Waynesville, NC, along with Joseph Inman from Canton, NC.
Crystal Lee Early, also of Canton, was also charged in the incident. It is not known if Early has been arrested at press time.
Each suspect was charged in Clay County with Breaking and Entering and Larceny as well as two counts of theft of a firearm.
Most of the items stolen in the house have been retrieved, photographed and returned to the rightful owner.
The investigation is continuing and more charges are possible as the three may be charged with breaking into the Early’s uncle’s house.