Cumberland couple comes face-to-face with break-in suspects who went for hot sauce and towels

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Rick Suehr (WTVD)

Hot sauce and yoga towels. That's what was stolen from a Fayetteville home Monday afternoon as two suspects broke into the house while the homeowners were there.

"I real quickly was getting the gun and calling 911," said Rick Suehr, the homeowner.

Suehr said he was sitting in the kitchen while his wife Ann tended to geese behind their River Road home. Some movement near a back door caught the corner of his eye, and his cat was staring out of a glass door in the kitchen.

When Suehr got to the door, he was face-to-face with a man who had broken a window near the garage and the back door that he saw through the kitchen window. The man was rummaging through the couple's file cabinet.

"When he turned and I saw he had a scarf over his face, he took off," said Suehr.

That man, identified as 28-year-old Eric Christopher Jones of Wake County, jumped the couple's fence and Ann spotted him and another man running into the woods.

Eric Christopher Jones, 28

Cumberland County authorities caught Jones and charged him with the break-in, but they are still looking for the second suspect. They said Jones dropped a basket of hot sauce, yoga towels, and file folders.

"I felt really violated, that somebody would take the initiative, would have the audacity to break into somebody's house while they're there," said Suehr. "And it just made me realize how happy I am that I've got concealed carry, and I'm armed and I'm going to make sure that I have guns available throughout the house so that I don't have to all the way back to the other room to get one."

On Tuesday, Jones appeared before Cumberland County District Court Judge Tal Baggett, and said he didn't remember anything that happened Monday afternoon and pointed out how ridiculous stealing hot sauce and towels would be.

"Somebody injected me with something," Jones told Baggett. "I just woke up here (in jail)."

Jones also told Baggett he had a "messed up record." Court records from Wake County indicate Jones was convicted of an assault and home B&E in 2010. Another recent vehicle break-in also popped up in the records.

Jones asked for pre-trial release information because he'd been out of trouble for nine months.

"I have a job," Jones told the court. "I've been good. I've been really focused."

Because of his extensive record, Baggett increased Jones' bond from $5,000 to $15,000. If convicted of the latest charges, Jones could spend more than nine years in prison.


Suehr recalled the Monday break-in and four other break-ins at his various North Carolina properties since 2012, as he watched the President's speech on executive actions tied to gun control.

Suehr, a self-described NRA founding member, said he agrees background checks are needed, as well as gun buyer and seller vetting. He just doesn't know how you pull it off effectively.

"The wrong people are always going to be armed," said Suehr. "They'll figure out a way to get armed. If we make it difficult for people like me, who aren't the bad people, to get arms, we won't have arms but the bad guys will. That's ridiculous."

Since Monday's break-in, he and his wife plan to practice shooting on their sprawling property. They both feel the need to be ready to pull the trigger at a moment's notice.

"The scary thing is this-We're in conflict around the world to protect our country and yet here in our own country, we have to be armed to protect ourselves in our own homes," Suehr said. "I see that as a major problem."

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