A registered sex offender was arrested Friday in connection with the kidnapping of a real estate agent at gunpoint during a showing of a model home, according to Elk Grove police.
David Burnhart is expected to be charged with crimes including robbery, burglary, making terrorist threats, illegal possession of a firearm, kidnapping and false imprisonment. Elk Grove officers took Burnhart, 47, into custody Friday afternoon in Modesto after searching a Lodi property. The handgun believed to have been used in the alleged crimes was recovered, said Christopher Trim, a Police Department spokesman.
Burnhart is suspected of handcuffing the agent, who has not been named and escaped uninjured, and holding her at gunpoint in the home. The incident occurred about 3:35 p.m. Thursday, when a man police believe was Burnhart arrived for an appointment police said he made with the agent to tour the model home on the 8500 block of Ria Formosa Way.
The man, who provided a name and phone number, pulled a gun on the female agent, took her to a bedroom and handcuffed her, police said. He also took her purse and phone. Police said in a news release that the man continually threatened the agent during the incident. Trim said it does not appear that the suspect knew the victim personally. It is unclear what name and phone number the suspect used to make the appointment.
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At some point, the man saw a security guard outside the home, Trim said. The man then removed the handcuffs from the agent, threatened her and told her to leave with him, according to the release. But once the man walked out of the home ahead of the agent, she ran back inside and locked the door, Trim said.
The man fled in a red pickup truck, according to police. The security guard and the victim then drove to a nearby Walmart, where she contacted police about 4:30 p.m.
Trim said the woman was shaken, but otherwise unharmed.
“She’s home safe,” Trim said.
California’s Megan’s Law database indicates that David Timothy Burnhart was convicted of oral copulation by force or fear. Public records do not indicate the date of that incident or additional details. His last listed address was an East Highway 12 address in Lodi. He has 18 criminal cases in Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties dating back to 1994.
The house where Friday’s incident occurred was a model for a new KB Home development called Fireside at Madeira, behind the Elk Grove Auto Mall. The sales office was closed Friday.
“The safety and well- being of our homeowners and employees is extremely important to the KB Home family. We recognize on-site security for acting quickly, and we will continue to work with law enforcement to aid in their investigation,” said Craig LeMessurier, spokesman for KB Home.
The incident has shaken the local real estate community, said Paula Swayne, immediate past president of the Sacramento Association of Realtors.
“Our hearts go out to her,’ Swayne said “It’s just an awful experience.”
Agents who show empty homes to strangers can be at risk of violence. An Arkansas agent was murdered last year by a man who requested a house tour.
Realtors are cautioned to go to showings in pairs if they don’t know a client. But the time between incidents lets agents lower their guard, Swayne said.
“You get lax and and then realize how careful you have to be,” the veteran agent said. “Have a second person with you, or know the person you’re with. Never meet somebody alone.”
Call The Bee’s Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269. Follow him on Twitter @NewsFletch.