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Massachusetts man sentenced to prison after going to Michigan to try and kidnap ex-girlfriend



DETROIT – A Massachusetts man was sentenced yesterday to 128 months’ imprisonment on a charge of attempted kidnapping, announced United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.

Damon Burke, 49, of Vineyard Haven, admitted in his plea agreement that on March 23, 2021, he had attempted to kidnap the victim—an ex-girlfriend from approximately 20 years ago with whom he had no recent contact. Burke had previously stalked the victim and restrained her in a vehicle without her consent after their relationship ended. That episode led to a conviction on state charges of criminal possession of a firearm in New York in 2002. In March 2021, Burke resumed his harassment of the victim. After driving from Massachusetts to Michigan, Burke assaulted the woman’s housemate and tried to steal a key to the victim’s home. Burke then attempted to go to the victim’s home. Police later stopped Burke near that location. In his car, Burke had a note to the victim, a stun gun, and a variety of kidnapping tools, including zip ties, handcuffs, smoke grenades, and other items.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge James Tarasca, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division.

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 has also pleaded guilty in the Third Judicial Circuit Court to armed robbery and was sentenced to serve 12 – 25 years in prison for his robbery and assault of the victim’s roommate.

The case was the result of a joint investigation by the Northville Police Department, the West Bloomfield Township Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as a cooperative effort between the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Erin Ramamurthy and Christopher Rawsthorne.

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