`Incredible investigator' named trooper of year

Corporal praised for solved-case rate


April 05, 2002|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

Cpl. Robert J. Stryjewski Jr., a criminal investigator at the state police barracks in Westminster - Maryland's busiest - was named 2001 Trooper of the Year yesterday at the agency's annual awards ceremony.

A four-year member of the Westminster barracks, Stryjewski was praised for his "enviable record," his high rate of success solving cases. His record last year included 102 criminal arrests.

"He's an incredible investigator - he has about a 93 percent rate of cases he's closed," said Lt. Terry Katz, Westminster barracks commander.

When an armed robber kidnapped a Woodbine couple and their blind 11-year-old son in December, Stryjewski was the lead investigator, Katz said. The unit spent hundreds of hours on the case. A 30-year-old Westminster man was arrested on kidnapping, armed robbery and assault charges after a six-day manhunt that included help from Pennsylvania police and the FBI's fugitive task force.

In another case, Stryjewski's efforts led authorities to discover who was responsible for more than 100 home burglaries in Carroll, Baltimore and Howard counties. Stryjewski, 37, was on the team that arrested a man while he was breaking into a Nob Hill home, over the line in Baltimore County.

"Rob's the type of person that it doesn't matter how many hours it takes, he makes sure that the victim gets justice," Katz said. "And he's good with people. He's the type of person you have to tell to go home. If you're in need, you want Rob near you because he's going to be the person to solve the problem."

Stryjewski, a county resident, is married and has three children. He has been a member of the Criminal Investigation Section for 20 months, Katz said. He has been a trooper for five years.

"To be Trooper of the Year at this [barracks], the biggest and busiest in the state, with 46,000 calls last year, is a tremendous honor," Katz said. "To win Trooper of the Year means you competed against people just like you in 26 other barracks and specialty units."

The last time a trooper from the Westminster barracks received the honor was 1995, Katz said.

The barracks' Criminal Investigation Section also received a unit citation yesterday for its success closing 75 percent of the cases it investigated. Last year, the unit made 657 arrests, and conducted 102 searches and 1,859 investigations, Katz said.

"It's a big day for the Westminster" barracks, Katz said.

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