Daytime burglaries up in neighborhoods adjacent to River Road and Mass. Avenue -- Gazette.Net



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Criminals are targeting jewelry and electronics from homes in neighborhoods adjacent to River Road and Massachusetts Avenue to the Washington, D.C., border, according to a Dec. 5 Montgomery County crime alert.

Since September, there have been eight daytime burglaries in the area, according to the alert. Capt. David Falcinelli, 2nd District Commander for the Montgomery County Police Department said 2nd District police are dedicating additional resources to the area, including covert resources and additional patrols by officers who are not busy with other calls.

“I think it’s just one type of criminal,” he said. “Some like to do their stuff during the day.”

Suspect information was provided to police in one incident, with a neighbor reporting two black males in their 30s, one with a beard, to the rear of one of the burglarized homes, according to the alert. Falcinelli said the evidence indicates that several of the burglaries are related.

“I think with the burglaries that there are definitely several which have characteristics that demonstrate they are related,” he said. “We look at lots of things: method of entry, time of day, suspect descriptors, location.”

In the past 12 months, he said residential burglaries in the 2nd District as a whole are actually down 38 percent as compared to the same 12 months last year. In the same period of time, theft from automobiles were down 23 percent.

Police recommend that residents pay attention to what is going on in their neighborhood and to report any suspicious activity to 301-279-8000 or call 911 to report a crime in progress. To protect your home, close garages and lock doors and windows, even for short trips from the home.

Police are also reporting three robberies in downtown Bethesda, including one Nov. 30 in which a resident of Battery Lane was attempting to sell electronics via Craigslist. The suspects attempted to pay using counterfeit bills, police said. When the victim tried to pull away, the men assaulted the victim and took the electronics, according to the crime alert. The suspects are described as two black males in their 20s with dreadlocks who drove a white Ford Crown Victoria or Lincoln Town Car. Similar incidents were reported in Fairfax, Va., and Washington, D.C., Falcinelli said.

When selling items, he suggests first obtaining a telephone number, meeting in a public place, having multiple people at home or not using Craigslist to sell high value items.

Also on Nov. 30 at 10 p.m., an employee of a business on Bethesda Avenue was walking to the Bethesda Metro after work when he was accosted by three black males who assaulted him and tried to take his backpack. The victim did not report the attack, which police learned about via an online listserv, according to the crime alert. The victim has since been identified and the incident was assigned a detective, according to the alert.

Police learned about the third robbery while investigating the second. A citizen witnessed a robbery that occurred Dec. 1, Falcinelli said.

The victim was leaving a bar on Montgomery Lane and became separated from his friends, according to the alert. Walking down Hampden Lane, five black males demanded the victim’s wallet and pushed him to the ground. The victim has since been identified and the case was assigned a detective.

To combat crime, officers on overtime detail will patrol downtown Bethesda, with additional patrol provided by the county’s police community action team.

jablamsky@gazette.net