Man drives to Oakland County in car full of tools to try to kidnap ex-girlfriend from 20 years ago

Damon Burke sentenced to 10 years, 8 months in prison

A squad car from the West Bloomfield Police Department. (WDIV)

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. – A Massachusetts man traveled to Oakland County in a car full of kidnapping tools to try to kidnap his ex-girlfriend from 20 years ago, who he hadn’t even spoken to recently.

Damon Burke, 49, of Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, admitted in a plea agreement that he tried to kidnap his ex-girlfriend on March 23, 2021, according to authorities.

Officials said after their relationship ended, Burke had previously stalked the woman and restrained her in a vehicle without her consent. He was convicted of criminal possession of a firearm in New York in 2002 because of that incident.

In March 2021, about 20 years later, Burke, who hadn’t had any contact with the women recently, drove from Massachusetts to Michigan, according to officials.

He assaulted the woman’s housemate and tried to steal a key to their home, authorities said.

Burke then tried to go to her house, but police stopped him near the location, they said.

Officers said they found a note to the victim, a stun gun, and a variety of kidnapping tools, including zip ties, handcuffs, and smoke grenades, inside Burke’s car.

Burke was sentenced Monday (July 11) to 10 years and eight months in prison on a charge of attempted kidnapping.

“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 pleaded guilty in Third Judicial Circuit Court to armed robbery. He was sentenced to 12-25 years in prison for attacking the woman’s roommate.

“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,” United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison said. “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.”


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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.