Suspect who fled has long criminal history

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Wednesday, there was still no sign of a wanted jewel thief who led police on a chase and shootout in Henrico County. NBC12 uncovered new information about 40-year-old Eric D. Roach. He's no stranger to police and even beat a murder charge decades ago.

A long history with the law and a troubled past are revealed in pages upon pages of criminal charges against Roach. He's still on the loose more than 24 hours after police said he and a partner robbed a jewelry store and then evaded them through three counties.

The Eric D. Roach whose face is plastered on wanted posters has the same date of birth and home address as the man we found in Philadelphia court records. The aliases and laundry list of charges run the gamut and span two decades.

According to the documents, Roach was accused of murder in 1989, when he just a teenager.  Then, he was found not guilty of stabbing and killing another man.

Roach pled guilty and actually served time on assault charges twice.

These run-ins with the law aren't just in the past. As recently as this March just four and a half months ago, the 40-year-old was again arrested on more charges including assault. All three were withdrawn.

Now Roach, who is considered armed and dangerous, could be anywhere. Two days of searching a densely wooded area of Eastern Henrico with dogs, officers and a state police aviation unit have been fruitless. It seems the suspect disappeared into thin air.

While Henrico Police continue the manhunt, they also had a less visible presence, leading some to now question whether Eric Roach has evaded local authorities completely and is no longer in the area.

We're told Roach's alleged partner in crime is still on life support so his organs can be donated. His name has not yet been released.

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