Stolen garage door openers lead to Fair Oaks, Reston burglaries

WASHINGTON — Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, are investigating a series of burglaries that happened this week, adding to a pattern of crimes in Northern Virginia that involves stolen garage door openers.

The burglaries occurred at four homes, and all the incidents appear to be connected.

The burglar managed to get away with valuables, including a purse and wallets, Fairfax County police said.

A garage door opener had been stolen from each victim’s unlocked car, according to a news release from the Fairfax County Police Department.

On Wednesday in the early morning hours, police say someone stole the garage door openers and used them to break into two homes in the Fair Oaks district, not far from Inova Fair Oak Hospital.

The following day, the same thing happened at a pair of homes in Reston, in neighborhoods adjacent to Reston Hospital Center.

In three of the cases, homeowners spotted the suspect, describing him as a black man in his late teens to early 20s and around 6 feet tall. Officials say the man was described as slender and possibly weighing between 175 and 200 pounds.

The burglaries occurred at the following locations:

  • 3700 block of Valley Oaks Drive, Fairfax;
  • 12700 block of Hunt Manor Court, Fairfax;
  • 12100 block of Abington Hall Place, Reston;
  • 12000 block of Edgemere Circle, Reston.

Anyone with information about any of these burglaries is asked to call Fairfax County police at 703-691-2131.

Police officer Reem Awad, a spokeswoman with Fairfax County’s police department, urged homeowners not to leave garage door openers in their vehicles.

“The same way you don’t leave your cellphone in the car — take it in with you,” she said.  “Keep it at home if you can.”

But first and foremost, Awad said people should always keep their car doors locked.

This is not the first time stolen garage door openers have been used to break into homes in Northern Virginia.

Similar crimes were reported last month in Loudoun and Prince William counties.

Loudoun County authorities say five burglaries were reported around Sterling and, in each case, the suspect used a garage door opener taken from unlocked cars parked in driveways to gain entry.

In Prince William County, police say surveillance video captured suspects using garage door openers to break into several homes in Manassas.

Following those incidents, residents were urged to close garage doors when not outside, lock vehicles, exterior and interior garage doors, and avoid leaving garage door openers inside cars.

“Securing your windows and doors will greatly reduce the opportunity for a burglar to enter your home,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman. “We encourage residents to remain vigilant and report all suspicious activity immediately.”

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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