As many of you are aware, the Bethesda District has experienced a rash of theft from autos and theft of autos recently. During the past few weeks, over 45 vehicles were reported as being entered overnight. Additionally, at least two cars were stolen because the homeowners left the keys in the cars. To date, there has been no evidence to suggest that force was used to enter any car. 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. Many thanks to those of you who do practice good personal crime prevention techniques, and I implore you to talk to your neighbors to make sure everyone is doing the same.
As is always the case, it is my job as commander to deploy my resources to those areas being most affected by crime. After reviewing reports and speaking to many of my community leaders, marked and covert resources were deployed to the neighborhoods experiencing the most problems, and very early this morning, a suspicious car was spotted by one of our plain-clothes detectives in a neighborhood off of Massachusetts Ave. Detectives began a surveillance of this car and its occupants and developed probable cause to make a stop and arrest.
Two 17 year old juvenile males from Silver Spring were arrested. Additionally, a 20 year old female from Bladensburg and a 19 year old male from Hyattsville were also arrested. During this incident, evidence was recovered linking this group to recent thefts, as well as to the recovery of two of the stolen cars.
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. I need everyone to step up to the plate and follow these very simple rules:
(1) Remove all valuables and anything that looks to be of value from your car or remove them from plain sight. These thieves are looking into your cars first to see if there is anything of value, and then trying the doors. Force is not usually used because it makes noise and draws attention to their activity.
(2) Lock you doors this means car doors, house doors, garage doors and also your windows. Do not make it easy for these criminals to ply their trade.
(3) Never, ever, ever leave your car keys in your car. It may be convenient, but these thieves will take your car if you provide the means and most of the time you will never see it again, at least in the same condition.
(4) Always call the police if you see or hear anything suspicious late at night. If its not a normal occurrence for your neighborhood, let us know right away. Oftentimes, it is your call that leads to the arrest.
As always, your police officers are here to serve you, but we need to work together to keep our neighborhoods safe. Help us help you by practicing good crime prevention. Please call if you have any questions.
Captain David Falcinelli, Commander, 2nd District (Bethesda, North Bethesda, Kensington)