Arrests made in rash of thefts in affluent Md. neighborhood

WASHINGTON – Four people have been arrested after a rash of thefts in an affluent Maryland neighborhood.

Police say two 17-year-old boys from Silver Spring, a 20-year-old woman from Bladensburg and a 19-year-old Hyattsville man are responsible for at least some of the more than 45 thefts from cars in Bethesda recently. They also are linked to the recovery of two stolen cars, says Capt. David Falcinelli, a Montgomery County police commander.

“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,” Falcinelli wrote on an email listserv. “I need everyone to step up to the plate and follow these very simple rules.”

There was no evidence any of the cars were forcibly entered, Falcinelli says. All of the stolen material came from unlocked cars, and the two cars stolen were left with keys inside them.

“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.”

Victims say they discovered their cars ransacked, with electronics and cash stolen from inside them.

“Some people leave their car unlocked and think ‘they won’t break my windows,’ Falcinelli says. “They will break in if they see something of value. One person had their car broken into because they left an empty laptop bag in the car.”

One Bethesda homeowner left the spare key to their car in the center console and the car was stolen. Falcinelli says if the crooks find a locked door, they move on, unless they see something that looks valuable.

There have also been car break-in reports from Glen Echo and Westmoreland Hills neighborhoods in Maryland.

Montgomery County released this surveillance video of a would-be vandal trying to break into a car.

Police are encouraging all homeowners to remove all valuables from their cars, always lock their doors and never leave the keys inside.

In addition, residents are encouraged to call police regarding any suspicious behavior.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report. Follow Neal and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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