A Byers woman and her boyfriend were arrested in the early hours of Wednesday, July 4, for the burglary of an unoccupied Byers residence.
Becky Michelle Roman-Barton, 38, and Ernest Lopez, 40, has been charged with burglary of a habitation, a second-degree felony. Bond for each suspect was set at $40,000.
At 1:13 a.m. July 4, a burglary in progress was reported at 508 Wichita Street in Byers. The person calling in the burglar said she saw Roman-Barton and an unknown Hispanic man carrying items from the house and a detached garage, and loading the items into a dark colored SUV. The person gave the Clay County Sheriff’s Office the vehicle’s license plate number, which came back as registered to Roman-Barton.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Roman-Barton and the Hispanic male, later identified as Ernest Lopez, left the residence and returned to the home of Roman-Barton in the 200 block of Broad Street in Byers.
When Deputy Kirk Horton arrived at the scene of the burglary, he found the back door of the residence had been opened with force, causing substantial damage to the doorframe.
Horton also spoke with witnesses who had driven by the house during the burglary. The witnesses sad they saw an unoccupied vehicle parked at the house. The witnesses drove around the block and, while again driving by the house, saw a Hispanic man in black clothes loading objects into the SUV.
According to the affidavit, a dark blue Chevrolet Tahoe matching the description of the SUV seen at the burglarized home was parked in the driveway of Roman-Barton’s house. The passenger-side rear door was open and items described by witnesses could be seen inside the vehicle.
Horton talked to Roman-Barton and Ernest Lopez. After first claiming the items were found on the roadside. The woman who first reported the burglary, and who is related to the recent occupant of the house, was called to Roman-Barton’s home, where she identified the items as belong in the burglarized home.
Following their arrest, Lopez told Horton that he and Roman-Barton had gone to the house because they had heard that the most recent occupant of the home, Larry Jackson, had returned to Byers. Lopez said he intended to confront Jackson for “raping” his fiancé.
Roman-Barton and Jackson are known to have had an intimate relationship, noted the affidavit.
Roman-Barton then said that she and Lopez had walked around the house and up to the back door, but did not enter the house.
Following the arrest, electronics were found inside the SUV that matched electronics components inside the burglarized house.