Evidence recovered during a Montgomery County police investigation into a rash of auto thefts and thefts from autos has led to the arrest of four suspects.
Kiele Martin, 20, of the 5600 block of 36th Place in Hyattsville and Tiara Groom, 19, of the 5000 block of Townsend Way in Bladensburg, along with two 17-year-old males from Silver Spring were all charged with being in possession of burglary tools for vehicles and additional charges are pending, according to Montgomery County police.
The rash of thefts included 40 incidents involving 45 vehicles in the neighborhoods south of River Road between Goldsboro Road and Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda since June 1.
According to Montgomery County police, of the 40 incidents, two vehicles were reported stolen due to keys being left inside them while the majority of incidents involved suspects stealing items from vehicles without breaking windows or using force to get inside them.
After reviewing reports and speaking with the community, Montgomery County police conducted surveillance in the neighborhood most affected and discovered the four individuals driving around in a vehicle. When a county police officer stopped the suspicious vehicle seen near Massachusetts Avenue on June 14, the officer discovered stolen items inside the vehicle along with evidence that linked them to the thefts and the four were apprehended, said county Police Capt. David Falcinelli, the District 2 Bethesda station commander.
Falcinelli issued a statement addressed to residents and noted that it is possible there may be more groups involved in the theft cases.
“While I am confident that this group was responsible for most of the recent thefts, there will be more groups to follow, and we may not be so lucky next time in making such a prompt arrest,” he said.
Montgomery County police are using the case development to remind residents to lock their vehicles and to not leave valuables unattended and in plain sight.
“Similar to our favorite restaurant where we go back time and time again because we like the food and/or the service, these thieves return to our neighborhoods because they like how easy it is to get into vehicles and the ready availability of items to steal,” Falcinelli said.
Martin and Groom both have a preliminary hearing set for Aug. 7 in the Montgomery County District Court in Rockville, according to online Montgomery County District Court records. Neither had attorney information listed with the courts as of Monday.
Phone numbers for Martin’s and Groom’s residences could not be located.