Man fac­ing 10 years in Fair Hill home in­va­sion

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— An Elk­ton man is fac­ing up to 10 years in pri­son af­ter ac­cept­ing a plea deal in a home in­va­sion case in which a 70-year-old Fair Hill man was pis­tol­whipped, tied up and robbed of his van, 30 guns val­ued at ap­prox­i­mately $16,000 and about $1,000 in coins.

The de­fen­dant, Joshua Brian Brew­ster, 24, of the 600 block of Deaver Road near Elk­ton, pleaded guilty to third-de­gree bur­glary on Wed­nes­day, the day his Ce­cil County Cir­cuit Court jury was sched­uled to start.

ELK­TON

In ex­change for his guilty plea, pros­e­cu­tors dropped home in­va­sion, armed rob­bery, first-de­gree as­sault, first-de­gree bur­glary and sev­eral other re­lated charges that had been filed against Brew­ster.

Ce­cil County Cir­cuit Court Judge Jane Cairns Mur­ray ac­cepted Brew­ster’s guilty plea. As of late Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, a sen­tenc­ing date hadn’t been set.

As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Karl H. Fock­ler and Brew­ster’s de­fense lawyer, Michael J. Hal­ter, ne­go­ti­ated the plea agree­ment.

Brew­ster’s two co-de­fen­dants — Earl D. Kirby, 27, of the Ris­ing Sun area, and Cur­tis Ray Wil­son, 28, of North East — are await­ing their tri­als, with Wil­son’s set to start Nov. 30 and Kirby’s sched­uled to be­gin Dec. 14. They are fac­ing nu­mer­ous charges, in­clud­ing home in­va­sion, armed rob­bery, first-de­gree as­sault and first­de­gree bur­glary.

Wear­ing masks and bran­dish­ing hand­guns, the trio broke into the home in the 1800 block of Ap­ple­ton Road about 2:30 a.m. May 20 and stirred the sole oc­cu­pant, a man, 70, from sleep, Mary­land State Po­lice of­fi­cials re­ported at the time. One of the sus­pects was point­ing a hand­gun at the man when he awoke, while the other two stood be­hind the gun­man, po­lice noted.

The in­trud­ers ripped the phone cords from the walls and used them to tie up the man, po­lice said. They de­manded money, struck the man in the head with a pis­tol and ran­sacked the place, po­lice added.

The three­some stole 30 firearms, $1,000 in coins and the man’s 2006 Dodge Grand Car­a­van, which the three sus­pects used as a get­away vehicle, po­lice re­ported.

Some two hours af­ter the home in­va­sion, the re- strained man man­aged to break free and go to a neigh­bor for help, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

The re­demp­tion of the stolen coins, which the vic­tim had stored in six half-gal­lon glass jars, proved to be the lynchpin for the sus­pects, po­lice re­ported.

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

Coin­star of­fi­cials re­ported that a coin re­demp­tion of $950 oc­curred at a Wal-Mart in Ox­ford, Pa., at 6 a.m. 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 20-minute-long trans­ac­tion by three men, po­lice added.

That sur­veil­lance video, along with other in­for­ma­tion de­vel­oped dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, helped Pettit iden­tify the three sus­pects, whom po­lice ar­rested in early July af­ter track­ing them down, ac­cord­ing to court records.

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