Massachusetts Man Convicted for Driving to Michigan to Kidnap Ex-Girlfriend of 20 Years Ago

Damon Burke, 49
U.S. District Attorney's Office of Eastern Michigan

A Massachusetts man was sentenced to ten years and eight months in prison for attempting to kidnap his ex-girlfriend in Michigan.

Damon Burke, 49, of Martha’s Vineyard, admitted in a plea agreement on March 23, 2021, that he had tried to kidnap his ex-girlfriend, who he had not had contact with for over 20 years after a restraining order was placed on him, per a statement from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office of Eastern Michigan.

Burke stalked the victim and restrained her in a vehicle after the relationship ended, according to officials. He was then convicted by the State of New York in 2002 on charges of criminal possession of a firearm and was issued a restraining order.

After almost 20 years, Burke drove his Mercedes-Benz from his home in Vineyard Haven to Michigan and sought to harass her again, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Burke found his ex-girlfriend’s roommate, who he then assaulted at a golf course in Northville Township and stole his keys, the Detroit Free Press reported.

As Burke was on his way to his ex-girlfriend’s place in West Bloomfield, her roommate was able to alert her and police that the attacker was on his way toward her.

Police apprehended Burke before he reached his ex-girlfriend near her home.

In Burke’s Mercedes, police found “a note to the victim, a stun gun, and a variety of kidnapping tools, including zip ties, handcuffs, smoke grenades, and other items,” according to officials. A Louis Vuitton bag, brass knuckles, a stun gun, and duct tape were also found in the vehicle, the AP noted.

“Police also found drugs in the Mercedes: 13 grams of suspected heroine, a glass jar filled with suspected psychedelic mushrooms and a mesh bag filled with $50 and $100 bills totaling $3,000,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

Per the U.S. District Attorney’s Office’s statement:

United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison said that “This conviction is a result of a joint effort between local and federal law enforcement to apprehend our most violent offenders and hold them accountable. The swift action of law enforcement at the outset of this case surely prevented what could have been a far more serious crime. And the offender’s sentence will serve to protect the victim and our community going forward.”

“Mr. Burke terrorized his victims both physically and emotionally, and while that harm cannot be undone, today’s sentence is a first step towards getting justice,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “We are grateful to the Northville and West Bloomfield Police Departments for working alongside the FBI to pursue those who seek to harm members of our community.”

Burke also pled guilty in state court to assaulting and robbing his ex-girlfriend’s roommate and was sentenced to 12 to 25 years for armed robbery.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.

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