A man suspected in at least 13 rape cases in Davidson, Williamson and Wilson counties is now in police custody. Police said Robert Burdick raped at least 13 women after hiding in the woods on rainy days and targeting women in their homes.more>>
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Cold, callous and calculated is how police describe Nashville's "Wooded Rapist," who is linked to rapes in Davidson, Williamson and Wilson counties over the last 14 years.
Since 1994, he has attacked at least 13 women, but police were never able to catch him until Thursday.
Robert Jason Burdick sits in the Metro Jail. He was charged with six attacks.
An officer caught him on Interstate 24 in Rutherford County Thursday.
Burdick is accused of being one of the region's most notorious criminals.
"The ‘Wooded Rapist' terrorized many of our neighborhoods," said Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas.
For more than 14 years, women lived in fear.
"This selfish, heartless, inhumane criminal caused too much pain in our community," Serpas said.
But after so many years and so many victims police named Burdick as the elusive rapist.
"DNA evidence collected and analyzed has linked him to at least six of the indictments that are forthcoming today," Serpas said.
Police said Robert Burdick raped at least 13 women after hiding in the woods on rainy days and targeting women in their homes.
Burdick is a principal in WB Technologies, a company that specializes in burlgary alarm technology. He 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.
Police said Burdick first struck in March of 1994 in Forrest Hills. Then he waited four years to strike again in the same area in November 1998 with another attack a month later.
In the spring of 1999, police said Burdick moved around from Brentwood to South Nashville, attacking three more women. In 2000, yet another suspected attack in that part of town.
It wasn't until 2004 when he reemerged on police radar after he attacked someone in Brentwood.
Then, they said, he waited a year to strike in 2005 on Otter Creek Road. He is also suspected in two more attacks in that area the same next year.
Late last year, police think he attacked a woman in Donelson and earlier this year, a 16-year-old girl in Mount Juliet.
"He's someone who's been preying on the people of Davdison, Williamson and Wilson counties," said Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe.
But on Sunday, in a Brentwood neighborhood, police got the break they waited for for 14 years.
"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. His car was parked in an odd spot, especially on a Sunday night when it was raining," said Brentwood police officer Elliott Hamm.
A woman spotted a man lurking in all black and wearing a ski mask. She called police.
Hamm stopped Burdick who refused a request to search his car. But Hamm got enough information to break the case.
"As a result of that, we concluded without a doubt that was going to be the guy named the wooded rapist," said Brentwood Police Chief Ricky Watson.
For the next few days police watched Burdick around the clock and on Thursday, after a DNA match came back, they moved in and arrested him.
"These police departments and these detectives were never going to stop watching and never stop looking," Serpas said.
Police said on Sunday, Burdick was calm, cool and collected. That was his demeanor Thursday when they arrested him. He did not anything to detectives Thursday.
The initial investigation opened to find the so-called wooded rapist after he broke into a woman's home in 1994 and raped her.
The victim, whose name and face were not revealed during a television interview, said the crime forever changed her.
It changes you instantly and I think forever. Every day you suffer for it it adds to the crime these men are committing and it needs to stop," she said.
She fought back and managed to give police a key piece of evidence in the case. She bit off a chunk of her attacker's hand.
Police used that DNA to match it with several other attacks since 1994.