For years, they lived and worked near Robert Burdick. But neighbors said charges filed Thursday may prove they never knew him. more>>
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A man suspected in at least 13 rape cases in Davidson, Williamson and Wilson counties is now in police custody.
Robert Jason Burdick, 38, who is believed to be the "Wooded Rapist", was arrested Thursday while traveling on Interstate 24 in Rutherford County, according to a Metro police news release.
Police said the South Nashville man eluded capture for 14 years. Police believe he raped a Wilson County teenager in February.
Burdick is a principal in WB Technologies, a company that specializes in burlgary alarm technology.
Police said Robert Burdick raped at least 13 women after hiding in the woods on rainy days and targeting women in their homes.
The Interstate Interdiction Unit of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office made the stop "at the request of Metro and Brentwood detectives who received word shortly after 9 a.m. from the TBI Crime Laboratory that Burdick's DNA matched biological samples recovered from many of the crime scenes," according to the news release.
He was turned over to investigators from Metro, Brentwood, Wilson County, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Burdick was booked into the Metro Jail Thursday afternoon. He is being held without bond pending an appearance in criminal court.
Investigators executed a search warrant at his home where they collected evidence linking him to rape cases.
According to Metro police, the "Wooded Rapist" victimized women between 1994 and earlier this year.
On Monday morning, Brentwood police officer Eliott Hamm stopped Burdick's Jeep after police received a call about a suspicious person walking in the Meadowlake subdivision.
Burdick told Hamm he had attended a party in the area and parked on the street. He didn't allow the officer to search his vehicle.
Hamm, after recording Burdick's information, allowed him to proceed and then forwarded the details to the Brentwood Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division.
Metro and Brentwood detectives have been working very closely together on the rape cases since 1999.
Police called victims Thursday. A victim told police and NewsChannel 5 that in the 1990s she bit her attacker and investigators will review compare DNA evidence collected between the mid-1990s and Thursday.
"This selfish, heartless inhuman criminal caused too much pain in our community and today is a good day that he is off the streets," said Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas.
Burdick specialized in camera systems and computer surveillance. He worked there about a year and a half. Police did not say if there was a link, if any, between his expertise, his employer and the crimes.
Two years, ago, a Davidson County Grand Jury returned an indictment against a John Doe. Police said Thursday Burdick will be listed as the person indicted for five counts of aggravated rape; one count of attempted aggravated rape; one count of attempted rape; one count of aggravated assault and six counts of aggravated burglary.
Charges have not yet been placed in Williamson or Wilson County.