Society

Escaped Shoplifting Suspect Found In Couple's Home Wearing Homeowner's PJs

| by Karin Sun
Eryn RiceEryn Rice

A Florida woman who escaped arrest was reportedly discovered later in an elderly couple's home wearing the homeowner's pajamas and taking a nap.

Eryn Rice, 22, was first apprehended by Volusia County Sheriff's deputies around 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 13 after she reportedly tried to shoplift hundreds of dollars' worth of cosmetics from a CVS store in in Deltona, Florida.

Her accomplice, John Willey, allegedly drove away as police were arresting Rice, WFTV reports. The deputy got one handcuff onto Rice's left wrist before she spun around, pushed the officer to the ground, and fled on foot.

After eluding a police search of the area, which included K-9 dogs and a helicopter, Rice was discovered in an elderly couple's home.

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Shortly after her husband left to play golf that morning, the 73-year-old woman who lived in the home found Rice taking a nap in the guest bedroom and wearing her husband's pajamas.

Rice had reportedly washed her clothes and done laundry in the couple's house. 

The woman assumed her husband was having an affair with the stranger and called him demanding an explanation. When her husband returned to the house, he told his wife that he had never seen Rice before.

The escaped suspect told the woman that she had a severe sleepwalking problem, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The woman said she felt bad for Rice after hearing her explanation, and offered her some cereal for breakfast. However, she reportedly became suspicious when Rice "repeatedly fell asleep" while eating her cereal.

After the couple drove Rice to a house less than a mile away at her request, they flagged down a police officer around 11:30 a.m. and told him what had happened.

When officers arrived at the house where the couple said they had dropped off Rice, they saw Willey attempting to drive away with Rice in the car.

They were both arrested and taken into custody.

Rice was charged with burglary and petty theft in addition to retail theft, resisting an officer with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer, escape, and giving a false name.

She was also arrested for violating probation on an unrelated grand theft charge in Osceola County.

Willey faces charges of being an accessory to robbery after the fact and harboring an escaped prisoner.

Police later found the handcuffs used to apprehend Rice discarded in a local park. They also found two syringes on Rice and another in Willey's car with methamphetamine residue.

Rice has a long record of arrests for shoplifting and theft. Two years ago, she and her mother were accused of stealing $15,000 worth of perfume from several different stores during a shoplifting spree. 

Sources: WFTV, Orlando Sentinel / Photo credit: Volusia County Branch Jail via Orlando Sentinel