Monday an Albemarle County grand jury heard the robbery case against an Amherst man, who already faces felony burglary charges in 12-15 jurisdictions across the state.
Kevin Burchardt, 32, was indicted on charges of robbery, breaking and entering, larceny and others. (See below for full list of charges.) Now some of the victims police say he targeted are upset - not just because he allegedly robbed them, but because they will never get back what he took.
Albemarle County detectives say Burchardt admitted to robbing a Scottsville home in the 800 block of James River Road three months ago. He took the stolen goods to a pawn shop and traded them for money. Now, the victims say their belongings are gone forever because the pawn shop is not required to keep what it buys for more than 15 days.
On the morning of November 7, Catlett came home early to find a green Jeep Cherokee parked in front and his bathroom blinds ripped in half. Catlett was on the phone with fiancée Vickie Walker and decided to grab a gun he used for hunting from his car. They both soon realized they were being robbed.
"I hear somebody coming out saying put the gun down, put the phone down and he tells me, ‘oh I gotta go, I got a gun being pointed at me,'" Walker said.
Catlett says Burchardt - standing at 6 feet 8 inches - came out of the house with a pistol in one hand, and the couple's safe in the other. With the gun pointed at him, Catlett says he was confused because of Burchardt's attire.
"When he first came out of the house, I thought it was a cop. He was dressed just like a cop," Catlett said. "He acted like you see on TV - tell people to get down, turn around."
The couple says investigators told them Burchardt often posed as a police officer or FedEx worker, and called homes ahead of time to make sure no one was inside.
After Catlett dropped his own gun and phone, Burchardt told him to turn around and walk toward a tree and fence next to the home. Catlett stood frozen in fear, but soon heard a car drive away.
"I thought for sure I was going to get shot or something because when he told me to turn around, I didn't know what to expect. I knew he had to get out of here because he was basically trapped in here almost," Catlett said.
The couple says Burchardt easily took more than $10,000 worth of stuff from their home including Walker's coin collection, the engagement ring Walker's father gave her mother, and a digital camera.
Catlett said, "He had money lined up at the front door. He had bags of coins wrapped up and he had trashed upstairs, going through her jewelry and money and safe."
The digital camera was the only item recovered and actually assisted police with the investigation. "He was using a camera himself but kept that card in there. It was kind of a dead giveaway who's camera it was," said Catlett.
The rest of the couple's stolen items were sold to area pawn shops. Walker now considers the stores a second thief in all this.
"I think the pawn shop is encouraging people to go out and steal by making it so easy for them to bring someone else's merchandise in," Walker said. "I didn't find out which pawn shop it was until Burchardt had been arrested, but the detective told me one shop he used."
That shop was a Pawn Solutions store in the Lynchburg area. The owner told NBC29 over the phone that Burchardt did raise some red flags, but says Burchardt claimed he was buying storage units.
Walker says she wishes some of the jewelry she owned had been saved, but all of it was melted after the pawn shop's 15-day holding period.
"It made me think of the pawn shops as you're really out for yourself, you know you don't think about what other people go through when something like this happens to them," she said.
Walker has contacted Senator Creigh Deeds regarding pawn shop legislation. He pointed out House Bill 1649, which would require pawn shops to take a digital image of the ID used by the person selling items and prohibit a pawnbroker from selling or receiving goods if the original serial number has been moved or altered in some way.
Walker says more should be done and she's pushing for more changes. She suggests pawn shops should have to take and post pictures of all the items they get online, and keep some of the items for more than 15 days.
"This crime goes further than just the material items. It really interrupts your whole life and question your safety completely," Walker said.
The owner of Pawn Solutions says they are only required to submit a description of each new item to police at the end of every day. He says he also takes pictures of the items, but it would require a change of state law for him to keep items longer than the 15-day holding period.
Burchardt was indicted on the following charges:
One count of robbery
Four counts of breaking and entering
Four counts of grand larceny
Four counts of use of firearm while committing felony
Four counts of felon with firearm
One count of destroying property
One count of sale of stolen property
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