Convicted jewelry store robber gets 21 years

Posted at 3:33 PM, Jul 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-13 15:46:03-04

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – A convicted felon who robbed a jewelry store and then led police on a wild police chase from James City County to Henrico County last July was sentenced Friday.

Eric Roach was sentenced to spend 43 years in prison, but a judge suspended 22 years. As a result, Roach will spend 21 years behind bars. And when Roach gets out, he will be on probation for 99 years.

Roach and 33-year-old Basil Bilal Berry were spotted on surveillance camera robbing the Goodman and Sons jewelry store in James City County last July.

Authorities said the pair tied up and also robbed four employees and a maintenance man during the heist.

After leaving the jewelry store, the two men were spotted by a Charles City County deputy.  But the pair refused to surrender, eventually making their way to Henrico County.  As the police pursuit continued, the men reportedly shot at the officers during the chase.  Law enforcement returned fire. 

Berry was shot and the SUV he and Roach were traveling in crashed.  Berry later died from his injuries. 

Roach was able to get away but was found and arrested several days later as he walked along railroad tracks in eastern Henrico County.