Stranger at party charged with burglary

ELKINS – A Randolph County man was arrested Thursday and charged with burglary, according to court records.

Christopher Ryan Smith, 21, of Montrose, was arrested after a complaint from a woman who reported that a young man had entered her home as she and her family were returning from church on Dec. 24, according to the criminal complaint.

She told police that the door to the residence had been unlocked because they were expecting company for a Christmas Eve party.

According to the complaint, the woman said the individual walked in and went upstairs. The woman’s daughter said she saw him enter the residence but, the complaint says, “she didn’t really notice him because they were expecting company.”

The daughter said she heard floorboards creaking and noticed lights on upstairs. She went to investigate and found a tall young man with dark hair and a hooded jacket standing in the bathroom doorway.

He asked if “Josh lived in the house,” and the woman said “no.” He “began to panic, saying he had entered the wrong house and that he had even used the toilet,” according to the complaint. He continued to apologize, saying he was looking for a birthday party on a nearby street and called “Josh” to find out where the party was, according to the complaint.

She told the young man that he needed to go back downstairs, and she offered him some food. He declined and left. She told police that he seemed to be under the influence of drugs.

After the party and as the family was getting ready for bed, the mother said she noticed that her “small jewelry box, teal in color with floral print,” was missing from her dresser. She told police that she could not find it and that it contained approximately 20 rings.

A family friend also told police that she had noticed two tall young men with hooded jackets walking in the vicinity. One then ran toward the complainant’s house while the other stayed behind and waited. The family friend entered the house and noticed the young man talking on his cell phone about being at the wrong house.

On Dec. 26, the daughter participated in an Eyewitness Identification Photo Lineup and identified Smith.

Later that day, her mother found her jewelry box in her mailbox. Some rings were missing. According to police, the missing rings are valued at about $800, and the rings that were returned are valued at about $1,800.

Smith is currently being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $75,000 cash or surety bond.

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