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posted: 7/18/2013 4:09 PM

DuPage charges man in Woodridge carjacking

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  • Landon Brittain

      Landon Brittain

  • Michael Buhrman

      Michael Buhrman

 

A DuPage County judge set bail Thursday at $1 million for a former nuclear power plant worker who authorities say fled to Venezuela after he and a colleague carjacked a woman in Woodridge.

Landon Brittain, 31, formerly of Joliet, faces charges of aggravated vehicular hijacking, vehicular hijacking and obstructing justice. His co-defendant, Michael Buhrman, went missing in September but was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 40 years.

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Brittain is charged in a May 2012 case in which Buhrman was found guilty of stealing a department store clerk's 2000 Pontiac Grand Am at gunpoint. Brittain recently was nabbed in Venezuela, State's Attorney Bob Berlin said.

Prosecutors did not disclose his alleged role in the carjacking but Berlin said Brittain "implicated himself, and other evidence pointed to his involvement." Brittain also is accused of lying to police on the day of the carjacking.

Buhrman, 32, a Navy veteran and former supervisor at Dresden nuclear power plant in downstate Morris, was sentenced to a 40-year prison term in May after being convicted in absentia. During the trial, authorities alleged he had spoken to a colleague at Dresden, where Brittain also worked, about assembling a crew to rob banks.

According to testimony, Buhrman was inspired by the 2010 movie "The Town," in which robbers wore latex masks. Similar to the film, prosecutors said, he wore a latex "old-man mask" during the Woodridge carjacking.

He was still wearing the mask and had a loaded gun and a two-way radio in the vehicle when police stopped and arrested him moments later, authorities said.

Buhrman, formerly of Coal City, was free on a $20,000 bond when he went missing in September. Brittain disappeared in late September or early October, according to a missing-person flier his family posted on Facebook. The flier says Brittain had been last seen in Caracas, Venezuela.

"We're still looking for Buhrman," Berlin said.

Judge Elizabeth Sexton set Brittain's bail Thursday at $1 million, meaning he would have to post $100,000 to bond out of jail. A public defender was appointed after Brittain indicated he was homeless.

His next court date is Aug. 12 in front of Judge Kathryn Creswell.

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