Monday, March 24, 2014

Public Safety Update

Below is a crime update from Captain David Falcinelli, Commander of the 2nd Police District serving the communities of Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington, North Bethesda, and Potomac.

While we continue to be fortunate in the 2nd District and the County with generally decreasing crime rates, the past year has had some significant events which I wanted to bring to your attention, as many closures have been made.

On November 25, 2013, homeowners behind the Wildwood Shopping Center were victims of an armed home invasion. Videos of the suspects were obtained at a nearby business immediately after the event and shared with the public soon after. One of two suspects was identified as Gary J. Lee Thomas of Upper Marlboro. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest and he was recently arrested in D.C. on an unrelated charge. He will be transported to Montgomery County for service of that warrant after his release from DC custody. The second suspect is still unknown.

On March 13, 2014, a resident of Chevy Chase had her car taken at gunpoint. Two days later, this car was involved in a pursuit by U.S. Park Police officers in DC where shots were fired. One of these occupants, David Joel Sutton of DC, was determined to be responsible for the original carjacking and warrants are now on file for him which will be served upon his release from US Park Police custody.

Just last week, two suspects broke into a residence in Chevy Chase. After police were alerted, the suspects were spotted nearby and one was arrested after a lengthy foot pursuit. The suspect that was captured has been identified as Michael Keith Muschette of DC. The investigation into the identification of the second suspect is continuing.

All of these suspects live outside of Montgomery County but chose to commit their crimes here. I cannot stress enough that you know your neighbors and your neighborhoods better than anyone else, and you must be our eyes and our ears. If you see someone not familiar to your neighborhood acting in a suspicious manner, please make note of a description of the person and/or any associated vehicle and call our non-emergency number 301-279-8000. Your phone call may help us prevent a crime from occurring and/or discourage these criminals from coming back to Montgomery County. As we move into Spring and hopefully warmer temperatures, there will most likely be more criminal activity especially with suspects breaking into cars.  Call us immediately and we will respond as soon as possible to investigate. Please remember to lock your cars and remove any items of value or those that appear to be of value (such as a laptop case).  Do not leave spare keys on or inside your vehicles.

On a traffic safety note, officers from the 2nd District are conducting aggressive enforcement of cell phone and texting laws. Traffic officers issued 31 tickets in under one hour today and will continue to do enforcement operations to make our roads safer. One crash on a major artery during rush hour makes life miserable for the rest of us using that road. Is that text or call really that important to risk your life and the lives of other drivers? Remember – it is against the law for a driver to use their hands to use a handheld telephone while the motor vehicle is in motion. HANDS FREE AT ALL TIMES WHEN THE CAR IS IN MOTION. Contrary to popular belief, holding a phone in your hand and using the speakerphone is a violation if the car is in motion. READING/WRITING/SENDING texts or other electronic messages is against the law while the car is in the travelled portion of the roadway regardless of whether it is in motion or stopped. Please share this information with your children as I will be asking officers to step up enforcement operations near our schools also.

Thanks for doing your part to keep our neighborhoods, roads and families safe. Please call me if you have any concerns.

Captain David Falcinelli
Commander – 2nd District