BLUE RIDGE – More than 20 law enforcement officers, a Virginia State Police helicopter, an estimated 30 fire fighters and rescue personnel from eight organizations, and a tracking dog were involved Wednesday night and Thursday morning in a series of events spread across a nine-square-mile area of the Blue Ridge section of Botetourt County.
Botetourt County Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle said in a news release that a Roanoke man was apprehended and charged with two counts of breaking and entering, two attempted breaking and enterings, two counts of grand larceny (auto) following the chase. And, he said a possible arson is being investigated.
The sheriff identified the man being held without bond in the Botetourt-Craig Regional Jail as Joseph Aaron Horne, 37, of 508 Janette Avenue in southwest Roanoke.
The first of 18 Botetourt County sheriff’s units was dispatched at 11:48 p.m. Wednesday to a report of a stolen vehicle from a residence on Wynnwood Drive, where the deputy discovered a pizza delivery vehicle previously stolen from Roanoke. Horne was arrested at 6:48 a.m. Thursday on Major Wade Road.
Sheriff Sprinkle said that the vehicle stolen from Wynnwood Drive was equipped with OnStar and when the owner requested OnStar to disable the vehicle, that service reported its location at Glade Creek Baptist Church. Officers approaching the vehicle at 1:41 a.m. spotted a fire in a nearby residence, at 34 Colonial Road, kicked in the door and rescued an 80-year-old woman from the blazing structure, Sprinkle said.
A tracking dog was brought in to pursue a man seen standing near the burning house, and led officers to another home at 3:40 a.m. on Major Wade Road where the owner told them that the pursued man had just been there and had attempted to force entry into the dwelling, the sheriff stated. At this point, Virginia State Police units joined the search and provided coordination with a State Police helicopter.
The Botetourt County Emergency Response Team was called in to assist in a rough-terrain search after officers encountered difficulties following the trail when it led along the railroad tracks and into a heavily wooded area, Sheriff Sprinkle said.
Horne was arrested by a Botetourt County deputy and a VSP trooper.