One victim injured in home invasion

Published 8:40 pm Friday, November 4, 2016

POWELLSVILLE – The Bertie County Sheriff ‘s Office and the SBI are investigating a Thursday evening home invasion here on Rockpile Road that sent one woman to a local hospital.

Sheriff John Holley added that the incident happened in conjunction with a barn fire that took place at another residence nearby, but the Sheriff would not speculate if the two events are related.

Members of the Powellsville and Trap Volunteer Fire Departments responded to a call of a fire at a barn located at 210 Rockpile Road around 8:10 p.m. The barn sits on property where Minnie W. Shearin resides.

Members of the two volunteer fire units fought the blaze for approximately a half-hour, but the barn was totally consumed. Powellsville Assistant Fire Chief Ralph Brinkley says heat from the inferno was so intense it melted some of the under skirting of the nearby single-wide trailer home.

Meanwhile, Irvin Ayers, brother-in-law of Mrs. Shearin, had been sitting on his porch at nearby 134 Rockpile Road and became concerned over the commotion and noise from the sirens, and left his residence just down the road to check on the status of his sister-in-law.

Law enforcement officers believe that sometime after Ayers departed his house, a man, or men, entered his home, perhaps in an attempt to rob it, and in the process they encountered and assaulted Ayers’ wife, Mary, beating her severely about her head and face.

According to accounts, the assailants then attempted to make off with a gun safe that was located at the Ayers’ residence. They reportedly tied a metal chain around the safe, securing the other end to Ayers’ truck, which was located in the yard with the keys still inside.

However, something, or someone, distracted the robbers and in their attempt to flee, the safe dislodged from the vehicle and rolled into a nearby ditch.

Shortly thereafter, Ayers returned home with several of the volunteer firemen when they spied the gun safe in the ditch. One of the firemen says he heard cries for help coming from the home and when the men entered the house they found Mrs. Ayers, covered in blood, and tied to a push-cart with her hands bound by zip-ties. She had worked herself free from a strip of duct tape covering her mouth well enough to cry out for help.

Bertie County EMS transported Mrs. Ayers to Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital where she was treated and released early Friday morning.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Holley says there are currently no suspects and the incident is under investigation. Anyone with any information is encouraged to call the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office at 252-794-5330, or the State Bureau of Investigation at 252-756-4755.