Bedford Community Reacts to Home Invasion Arrests - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Bedford Community Reacts to Home Invasion Arrests

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Four-year-old Benjamin Malcolm rides up and down in his neighborhood in Bedford without a care in the world.

Two years ago, though, his mother Ronda says it was a different story: On March 6, 2011, five people broke into a home just a few houses down on Gum Street, held a couple and their young son at gunpoint and ransacked the home looking for money. Police also say the father was hit in the face with a handgun, breaking bones in his face.

"The next morning the whole neighborhood was talking about it," Malcolm says. "It was a younger couple and she was pregnant at the time, and so we were upset he had gotten really beat up so bad."

Malcolm says two of the suspects are students that she taught in middle school.

"It's just sad because they could have made a better choice," Malcolm says. "They could have done something totally different with their lives. It's just sad and it's scary."

Putting Jacqueline Carson, Audrey Bennett, Jeffery Brown, Tyler Mackenzie, and Cantrell Griffin behind bars wasn't easy, but one investigator at the Bedford Police Department spent hundreds of hours cracking this case.

Investigator Neil Baltzell followed up on several tips and conducted a countless number of interviews.

A break in the case came when suspects Bennett and Griffin were indicted on separate charges in Campbell County. Those charges were abduction, carjacking, use of a firearm, and robbery.

Many of the investigators say Baltzell's hard work paid off.

"This was more of an investigator just not letting a case go. He stayed with it and just refused to allow it to settle," investigating Sergeant Eddie Harmony says.

Neighbor Lisa Jordan owns the trailer where the home invasion happened and she says the family has since moved away.

She says she was thrilled to find out Bedford Police didn't give up on the case.

"We are excited. We know they are there protecting the community and that's good news for us and that makes us feel safer," Jordan says.

Most of the suspects will be back in court in February of next year.