Man facing 10 years in Fair Hill home invasion
— 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.
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.