A string of nine burglaries in the last 10 days has Silver Spring police searching for suspects along University Boulevard in Long Branch.
The burglaries have all taken place between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the Brookside Forest and Indian Spring Terrace neighborhoods along University Boulevard immediately south of Interstate 495, with two others taking place in nearby Montgomery Knolls, said Officer Janelle Smith, a Montgomery County police spokeswoman.
The small area where the burglaries have occurred as well as other similarities between the different crimes led detectives to conclude a single group may be to blame, Smith said. Several neighborhood witnesses also reported seeing a group of three to four young Hispanic males in the area of several of the daytime break-ins, she said.
“Some of the neighbors have actually seen these suspects and just didn’t call the police at the time,” Smith said. “I know in one case they saw suspects leaving the house and in another case they saw suspects waiting in a vehicle outside one of the houses ... They just didn’t think [the men] were suspicious at the time.”
The first burglary was reported Nov. 19 and subsequent break-ins were carried out on Nov. 20, 26 and 28, Smith said. Regular patrol officers are aware of the trend and daytime patrols are trying to work in more frequent patrols of the affected neighborhoods, but assistance from neighbors is critical, she said.
“If you see anything suspicious, call the police because that’s the only way we’re going to catch these guys,” she said. “It doesn’t seem as if they’re being too low-key about it; they’re sitting in a vehicle waiting outside of houses in a lot of cases.”
All of the incidents so far have involved forced entry, typically through a broken window or door, Smith said. No one was home during any of the break-ins, she added.