3 charged in home invasion

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Three people have been charged in the October armed robbery and invasion of a Taylorsville-area home, where several family members were tied up and the husband was beaten and shot as two masked men demanded that he open a safe, state police said.

A Finksburg couple were in custody Friday, and a man who once worked for the victims' landscaping business was awaiting extradition in Michigan after being apprehended at the Canadian border, police said.

Just before 10 p.m. Oct. 11, two armed men entered the home of Linda L. and Rodney N. Hidey in the 3100 block of Ridge Road through an open garage door, according to state police. Their business, Hidey's Landscape Supply Yard LLC, is next door to their home.

The men wore ski masks and carried a shotgun and a revolver, police said.

Linda Hidey and their 7-year-old daughter were held at gunpoint until Rodney Hidey returned home, police said. Rodney Hidey struggled with the intruders and was struck in the head and neck, then shot once in the leg. The family was taken to a room with a safe and forced to open it, then tied up with rope before the men fled with cash, police said.

Two sons, ages 3 and 5, remained asleep upstairs as their mother and sister, who were tied together, worked free and called police, said Sgt. Rob A. Moroney, a state police spokesman.

Charged with 17 crimes including armed robbery and first-degree assault were Jerry Leroy Burkett, 60, of the 3200 block of Murray Road in the Meekins Mobile Home Park and Edinson Herrera Ramirez, 40, whose last address was in the 300 block of Main St. in Westminster.

Charged with eight crimes was Naomi Ruth Burkett, 69, of the Murray Road address, who was being held in lieu of $250,000 bond at the Carroll County Detention Center, according to police and court records.

Ramirez was apprehended by customs officers, alerted by an hours-old posting by the National Crime Information Center as he was crossing into the United States on the Ambassador Bridge from Canada, Moroney said. Ramirez was being held in Detroit pending extradition to Maryland, Moroney said.

"Ramirez had worked for Hidey, so he had knowledge about the safe and the amount of cash - a very large amount of cash," said Moroney, who would not disclose how much was taken in the robbery.

Burkett also is known as Jerry Lee Burkett. He listed a Littlestown, Pa., apartment as his address in court files when he pleaded guilty Monday to a third-degree sex offense for fondling and exposing himself to a 9-year-old girl, whom he lured into his apartment on April 3 last year, when he and his wife were living on East Main Street in Westminster, according to the court files and Assistant State's Attorney Natasha M. Byus, who handled the sex offense case.

On Monday, Burkett began serving an 18-month sentence at the Carroll County Detention Center on that conviction, imposed by Carroll Circuit Judge J. Barry Hughes. The judge suspended the balance of a five-year prison term and ordered that Burkett register as a sex offender and undergo counseling, according to court files and officials.

On Monday evening, Ruth Burkett walked into the state police barracks in Westminster and asked to speak to an investigator about a serious crime, then confessed that she had been the driver in the armed robbery and home invasion, and had purchased the pistol used in the crime, Moroney said.

At the time, police were pursuing a "very valuable tip" in the case, Moroney said. "I think she knew that we were close."

Ruth Burkett told police the three planned the job in advance, buying the pistol, burglary tools and walkie-talkies that she used to keep in contact with the two men, Moroney said.

After the arrests Friday, Linda Hidey said, "It's a good day. We are very, very happy to hear the news of the arrest."

Hidey family members and friends donated $8,000 toward a $10,000 reward, police said.

Linda Hidey said her husband has mended physically from his wounds but that family members remain traumatized by the event.

"This is going to take some time for us to feel completely secure," she said.

"We want to thank the Maryland State Police for all of their hard work and persistence on the case," she said. "And we also want to thank our family and the community for their thoughts, prayers and support throughout this difficult time."

Ramirez and Burkett were charged with 17 counts, including armed robbery, first- and second-degree assault, weapons charges, theft of more than $500, burglary, possession of a short-barreled shotgun and multiple counts of conspiracy to commit these crimes. Ruth Burkett was charged with armed robbery, use of a handgun, theft and various degrees of assault and burglary.

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