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Pair charged in home invasions

May 06, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Two of three suspects wanted in at least two violent home invasion-style robberies last week were in jail Wednesday night, the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department said.

Hedgesville, W.Va., area residents Dustin Wayne Rhodes, 28, of Rustic Tavern Road, and Aaron Christopher Rockwell, 32, of Providence Church Road, each were charged in arrest warrants with two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, Sheriff's Department Lt. Gary Harmison said.

Rhodes was booked Wednesday night at Eastern Regional Jail pending arraignment, and Rockwell initially was put in jail Tuesday on other charges and will be arraigned today, Harmison said.

Harmison hoped the arrests would lead officers to a third male suspect in robberies April 27 at a Baxter Road home, then two to three hours later at a Thatcher Road residence.

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In both instances, the male victims were struck multiple times, Harmison said.

Neither victim required hospital treatment, Harmison said.

At the Baxter Road home, the victim tried to defend himself after seeing one of the men approach him with a gun in his hand, Harmison said.

The suspect entered the residence and kicked the victim, who fell and struck his head on a stove, knocking him out, Harmison said.

The victim was kicked several times while down on the ground and two other men also entered the home, where police learned the victim's wallet and money were taken, Harmison said.

Hours later, three males who all appeared to have firearms entered the Thatcher Road residence and struck the victim several times in the head, Harmison said. Numerous medications were taken from the victim. Neither victim was identified by police.

On April 28, the Morgan County Sheriff's Department investigated a similar home invasion-style robbery on Bernice Drive just off Martinsburg Road, Harmison said. The victim in that incident was struck several times with a firearm, Harmison said. That case still is under investigation.

Harmison said the arrests were made in cooperation with the Morgan County Sheriff's Department.

Anyone with any information on these crimes may call Harmison at the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department at 304-267-7000 or Lt. Tim Stapleton at the Morgan County Sheriff's Department at 304-258-1067. Individuals also may call Crime Solvers at 304-267-4099.

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