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Police: 2 found hiding in attic insulation during Johnson City burglary

Staff Report • Apr 9, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Two people found hiding in the attic of a house they were evicted from were arraigned on burglary charges in Washington County General Sessions Court Tuesday.

For one of them, it wasn’t the first time he was arrested there, according to court records.

Brandon Rice, 28, and Whitney Hixson, 23, both with a general delivery address, Johnson City, were charged with burglary and resisting arrest after Johnson City police had to pepper spray them to get them out of the attic.

Police were called to 304 Delaware St. about 7:45 p.m. Monday on a report of a burglary in progress and eventually found Rice and Hixson in the attic trying to hide under insulation.

After officers entered the house with the permission of the victim, Ginger Hixson, they could not find anyone inside. They saw insulation on the floor below an attic entrance and heard noises coming from above.

The officers, A.D. McElroy and Michael Whiteaker, climbed into the attic and found Rice and Whitney Hixson hiding in a corner.

The pair refused to comply with officers demands to come out of the corner and show their hands, according to a court document. That’s when officers sprayed both suspects with pepper spray, which led the two to comply.

As they were crawling across rafters towards the officers, McElroy noticed a knife in Rice’s pocket. Rice allegedly reached for the knife even after the officer ordered him not to.

“I grabbed (Rice’s) arm and pulled him towards me and (he) fell into a rafter. We retrieved the knife from the male and continued having them crawl towards the exit,” McElroy wrote in the warrant.

Rice and Hixson were jailed in the Washington County Detention Center on $11,000 bond each and arraigned later on Tuesday.

Last month, Rice was arrested at the same address on a charge that he assaulted his girlfriend, Ashley Smith. He was charged with aggravated domestic assault March 13. At the time, 304 Delaware St. was listed as his address, and police found him asleep on a couch in the residence when he was arrested.

Rice was out of jail on an own-recognizance bond from the alleged assault when he was arrested again Monday. He was set to return to Sessions Court on the aggravated domestic assault charge June 10. Rice and Hixson return to court on the burglary charge April 17.

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