Po­lice: Stolen coins lead to Elk­ton home in­vaders

Cecil Whig - - & - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ ce­cil­whig. com

— In­ves­ti­ga­tors have cap­tured three men who al­legedly broke into an Elk­ton- area home last month, tied up the 70- year- old man who lives there, pis­tol- whipped him, and then stole his van along with 30 guns val­ued at about $ 16,000 and ap­prox­i­mately $ 1,000 in coins, po­lice re­ported.

The re­demp­tion of those stolen coins proved to be the lynch­pin for the sus­pects – Joshua Brian Brew­ster, 23, of the 600 block of Deaver Road near Elk­ton; Earl D. Kirby 26, of Havre de Grace; and Curtis Ray Wil­son, 28, of the unit block of Ed­wards Lane near North East, ac­cord­ing to Ce­cil County Dis­trict Court records.

Among the items al­legedly stolen by the trio dur­ing the home in­va­sion, which oc­curred about 2: 30 a. m. on May 20 at a res­i­dence in the 1800 block of Ap­ple­ton Road, north of Elk­ton, were six half- gal­lon glass jars con­tain­ing about $ 1,000, po­lice said.

Sens­ing that the peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for the home in­va­sion would re­deem the stolen coins, Mary­land State Po­lice Tfc. James Pet­tit, lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor, con­tacted Coin Star and asked that com­pany to re­port any de­posits ex­ceed­ing $ 200 at stores in the re­gion, po­lice added.


Coin Star of­fi­cials re­por ted that a coin re­demp­tion of $ 950 oc­curred at a Wal-Mart in Ox­ford, Pa., at 6 a. m. on May 20 – less than four hours af­ter the home in­va­sion – and that led to the store’s loss pre­ven­tion man­ager show­ing Pet­tit sur­veil­lance video of that trans­ac­tion, po­lice re­ported.

“Tfc. Pet­tit ob­served three white males en­ter the gro­cery side en­trance of Wal­mart and head di­rectly for the Coin Star ma­chine. The three sub­jects were at that ma­chine for ap­prox­i­mately 20 min­utes, com­plet­ing the de­posit,” court records al­lege.

Af­ter com­plet­ing the de­posit, the three sus­pects met with a cashier, com­pleted the trans­ac­tion and – on the spot – di­vided the cash among them, ac­cord­ing to court records.

“Af­ter re­ceiv­ing the cash, one of the three males divvied the cash with the other two males,” court records show.

Sur­veil­lance video also re­vealed that the three­some had driven a gold, four- door Ford Fo­cus to and from the Wal­mart, and that one of the men matched the de­scrip­tion of a sus­pect in an un­re­lated rob­bery case, po­lice re­ported.

Still pho­tos gleaned from the sur­veil­lance video were dis­trib­uted to area law en­force­ment agen­cies, in ad­di­tion to the Ce­cil County De­ten­tion Cen­ter, po­lice said. Within hours of the dis­tri­bu­tion, po­lice added, the three sus­pects had been iden­ti­fied as Brew­ster, Kirby and Wil­son.

“It was learned that each of the sub­jects are friends on Face­book and are known to ‘ hang out,’” court records al­lege.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion also re­vealed that – a few hours be­fore the home in­va­sion – a Ce­cil County Sher­iff’s Of­fice deputy had stopped a gold 2003 Ford Fo­cus driven by Kirby for an al­leged traf­fic in­frac­tion, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

“At the time of the traf­fic stop, Kirby was wear­ing the same cloth­ing as he was at the Ox­ford Wal­mart. Each of the (three) sub­jects are on parole and pro­ba­tion for of­fenses rang­ing from (drug) vi­o­la­tions to vi­o­lent crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity,” Pet­tit out­lines in his state­ment of prob­a­ble cause.

Cell phone records in­di­cate that Brew­ster and Kirby were in “close prox­im­ity” to the vic­tim’s res­i­dence at the time of the home in­va­sion, po­lice said.

They also in­di­cate that at 4:30 a.m. on May 29 – nine days af­ter the home in­va­sion — Brew­ster was “in the vicin­ity” War­bur­ton Road, north of Elk­ton, where some­one had torched the van stolen dur­ing the Ap­ple­ton Road home in­va­sion, po­lice added.

“The van was lo­cated ap­prox­i­mately 500 yards off the road­way near War­bur­ton Road. The van was pos­i­tively iden­ti­fied as be­ing the van that was stolen from (the home in­va­sion vic­tim),” court records al­lege.

Af­ter track­ing down the sus­pects’ where­abouts, in­ves­ti­ga­tors ar­rested Brew­ster, Kirby and Wil­son late We d n e s - day, po­lice said. Each sus­pect is charged with 13 of­fenses, in­clud­ing armed rob­bery, first- de­gree as­sault, first- de­gree bur­glary, home in­va­sion, reck­less en­dan­ger­ment and first- de­gree ma­li­cious burn­ing, po­lice added.

Kirby and Wil­son re­mained in the Ce­cil County De­ten­tion Cen­ter with­out bond on Fri­day. Each ini­tially had been jailed in lieu of a $ 600,000 bond, but a Ce­cil County Dis­trict Court judge re­voked those bonds – tak­ing away their chance at pre­trial free­dom – dur­ing a bail re­view hear­ing on Thurs­day, court records in­di­cate.

In lieu of a $ 500,000 bond, Brew­ster also re­mained in the county jail on Fri­day, court records show.

Wear­ing masks and bran­dish­ing hand­guns, the sus­pects al­legedly broke into the Ap­ple­ton Road home and stirred the 70- year- old man – the sole oc­cu­pant – from sleep, po­lice re­ported.

“When he woke up, a male sub­ject was point­ing a hand­gun at him. He then no­ticed two other men stand­ing be­hind him ( the gun­man). They de­manded money. They tied him up, hit him with the hand­gun and then ran­sacked the place,” Lt. Jim DeCourcey, com­man­der of MSP’s North­ern Re­gion Crim­i­nal En­force­ment Unit, out­lined shortly af­ter the home in­va­sion.

Charg­ing doc­u­ments in­di­cate that the sus­pects “ripped phone cords from the walls and uti­lized he phone cords to re­strain the vic­tim.” Court pa­pers also al­lege that one of the sus­pects struck the man in the head with a hand­gun.

“The sus­pects asked where the vic­tim stored his guns and where he kept his money. Once telling the sus­pects where he kept his guns and money, the vicim was or­dered to sit on his bed within his room,” court records show.

In ad­di­tion to the 30 firearms val­ued at about $ 16,000, the glass jars con­tain­ing ap­prox­i­mately $ 1,000 in coins and the sil­ver 2006 Dodge Grand Car­a­van, which some or all used as a get­away ve­hi­cle, the sus­pects stole jew­elry, a cell phone and am­mu­ni­tion, ac­cord­ing to court records.

Af­ter the sus­pects fled, the vic­tim man­aged to break free from the phone cords that had been used to re­strain him, po­lice re­ported. He con­tacted a neigh­bor, who, in turn, called 911, po­lice said, adding that the call was made about 4: 30 a. m., some two hours af­ter the home in­va­sion.

The man, who suf­fered minor in­juries dur­ing the in­ci­dent, re­ceived med­i­cal treat­ment at the scene, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors still are tr ying to de­ter­mine if the home in­va­sion- style rob­bery was a ran­dom act or if the three­some had tar­geted the res­i­dence, which is north of Jack­son Hall Road and south of Tele­graph Road ( Route 273).




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