Archive for October, 2008

Suspect Charged for Homicide of Mary Havenstein

Saturday, October 18th, 2008


Update: Suspect Charged for Homicide of Mary Havenstein and Series of Home Invasion Robberies

This afternoon, Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger announced the arrest of the individual responsible for the September 2008 homicide/home invasion robbery of Mary Frances Havenstein and the series of four other home invasion robberies which occurred between September 17, 2007, and May 7, 2008, and that have been investigated as related.

Today, Jose Juan Garcia-Perlera, age 33, of the 5800 block of 32nd Avenue in Hyattsville, was charged with first-degree murder, four counts of robbery and one count of armed robbery. He is currently being held without bond at the Montgomery County Detention Center.

Garcia-Perlera was arrested without incident on Wednesday, October 15, after the execution of a search warrant at his residence. He was charged at that time with first-degree burglary and theft over $500 for a residential burglary that occurred on August 28, 2008 in the 8800 block of Seven Locks Road in Bethesda. He was also charged with fourth-degree burglary and theft over $500 for a theft from a vehicle that occurred in the 11300 block of Mitscher Street in Kensington overnight between August 6 and August 7, 2008.

During the course of the investigation into the August 28 burglary, 2nd District detectives developed Garcia-Perlera as a suspect; and a search warrant was obtained and executed at his residence. There, investigators discovered numerous items of evidence from the Havenstein homicide, the Maryknoll Avenue and Montgomery Street home invasion robberies, and from several thefts from vehicles. Once in custody, a search warrant was obtained to take a DNA sample from Garcia-Perlera.

Today, DNA analysts in the Montgomery County Police Crime Laboratory Section worked with DNA recovered at the homicide and at the Montgomery Street and Picasso Lane home invasions. Recent advancements in DNA technology allowed the analysts to make a positive match to Garcia-Perlera.

Detectives believe that as the investigation continues, Garcia-Perlera will be found responsible for other burglaries and thefts from vehicles that have occurred throughout the county. It is not yet known why the victims in the linked cases were selected. Garcia-Perlera described himself as a self-employed electrician. It is believed that Garcia-Perlera has been in the Washington Metropolitan area for the past six years.

Montgomery County Police want to thank the Maryland-National Capital Park Police Montgomery County Division, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Metropolitan Police Department for their assistance with this investigation. The department would also like to thank the Victims’ Rights Foundation for establishing a Home Invasion Homicide reward fund. Because the case was solved by detective work and not from a tip, the initial $5,000 reward and additional contributions will be held by the foundation and made available to the department when a future reward is deemed necessary.

Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger said, “I am greatly relieved to bring the news of this arrest to our community. We know that many of our residents and their loved ones have been living in fear since we first announced our belief that home invasions in Bethesda, Potomac, and Chevy Chase were linked. I want to extend my gratitude to the men and women of our department who made solving this case a priority…from the patrol officers who stepped up their vigilance, the Special Assignment teams who worked around the clock, the detectives who left no stone unturned, and to the forensic analysts who provided us the critical link to the suspect. Despite the arrest of the individual involved in these cases, community members should not become complacent and stop following good crime prevention practices. Continuing to lock doors and windows, watching for suspicious activity in your neighborhoods, and calling the police when you know that a crime has occurred will reduce crime and many times even prevent it.”

Seven Locks Elementary School Update

Thursday, October 16th, 2008


Superintendent Weast of the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) issued the proposed recommendation for boundary changes for Bells Mill ES, Potomac ES, and Seven Locks ES on October 15. Click here for the the link providing details on his decision and background on the options considered.

The Board of Education (BOE) schedule for review and action on this recommendation is as follows:

November 6, 2008 — BOE work session
November 12 & 13, 2008 — BOE public hearings
November 20, 2008 — BOE action

Interested members of the community served by Seven Locks Elementary School (all of the West Bradley Citizens’ Association community) will have the opportunity to attend and participate in the public hearings.

Street Lights

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

WBCA residents who have concerns about street lighting in our area should call the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center at 240-777-8200. The Regional Services Center, located at 4805 Edgemoor Lane in downtown Bethesda, will coordinate all requests with Pepco and the County Transportation Department. The key person to ask for at the Center is Ken Hartman, who serves as the Director and who has been a long-time friend to our neighborhood while working previously on the County Council staff.

10/6/08 Police Update

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008


October 6, 2008 Media Services Division, 240-773-5030

Update Update Update Update

Police release New Information at Community Meeting in Reference to Series of Home Invasions and Homicide

Tonight at 7:30 at a community meeting at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda hosted by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County Police released additional information to the public about a series of home invasions and a homicide that have targeted older residents. Detectives want to keep the public informed to reduce the risk to residents, and they continue to seek the public’s help in trying to identify the suspect believed responsible for six incidents. At this time only the homicide and two of the home invasion robberies have been officially linked, however detectives are investigating with the belief that the same individual has committed all six crimes.

Home Invasion Robberies:
• September 17, 2007, 11:40 p.m.
7600 block of Maryknoll Avenue, Bethesda, MD.
92-year-old female victim
• November 27, 2007, 1:03 a.m.
5500 block of Montgomery Street, Chevy Chase, MD.
77-year-old female victim
• January 9, 2008, 12:01 a.m.
2300 block of 49th Street. N.W., Washington, D.C.
84-year-old male and 85-year-old female victims
• February 27, 2008, 8:15 a.m.
11000 block of Picasso Lane, Potomac, MD.
78-year-old female victim.
Vehicle taken
• May 7, 2008, 2:30 a.m.
(Reported at this time, occurred earlier)
5800 block of Brookside Drive, Bethesda, MD
75-year-old male and 70-year-old female victims
• Found September 4, 8:43 a.m.
(Likely occurred overnight from 9/2 into 9/3 )
8900 block of Seven Locks Road, Potomac, MD
63-year-old victim.
Vehicle taken.

Detectives used DNA evidence to officially link the homicide to two of the home invasions that occurred in Montgomery County. The specific incidents that were linked are not being released due to the on-going investigation and for the safety of all of the surviving victims.

Similarities between the incidents:

• Victims in all incidents are older people (between 63 and 92 years old).
• All the victims were tied.
• All of the homes had secluded back yards.
• None of the homes had a residential alarm system.
• Suspect described similarly by all surviving victims as: a white or Latino male who spoke with a slight Hispanic accent, but spoke English very well, in his 20’s, 5’5” to 5’8” tall, with a medium build. He wore a mask in all but one incident. A wide variety of clothing was worn to include camouflage and one described as “dressed to fit in with the community”.


• Four victims were older women living alone, 2 incident victims were older couples (man and wife).
• Methods of entry: in some cases unlocked doors, in some pried open rear basement door, in some removed pane of glass from rear door.
• Phone lines to entire house cut once, lights disabled at circuit breakers inside house twice.
• Variety of items taken from homes.
• In one case, tools were found at the scene which the suspect may have brought with him in a dark duffel bag.

The length of time between incidents has varied from 43 to 119 days.

A series of unusual items were left at the Picasso Lane incident to include a purple backpack containing such property as: two baseball hats, one with a Nike logo, and one with a Lowe’s logo, marbles, a Smoot Lumber strap, a slingshot made out of a bundle of large rubber bands held together by a piece of denim cloth. It was later learned that the backpack had been stolen five years ago from the 3700 block of Harrison Street in northwest Washington, D.C.

The suspect asks for a variety of items to include cash and gold. He takes his time and looks wherever he wants throughout a home. Some unique items have been taken during the home invasions. One piece of jewelry is described as an “Old European cut” diamond ring with dark blue enamel on either side of the 18-karat yellow gold setting, and another is a voice-activated watch for the visually impaired manufactured by “LS&S”.

On September 24, there was an attempted residential burglary in the 4900 block of Asbury Lane in Bethesda. The 70-year-old victim who lives alone had a residential alarm system that activated during the evening. She did not learn until the following day that the basement door locks were damaged, and then called police. It is not known if this incident is related to the series, but serves as a reminder that all residents should not hesitate to call police for suspicious activity or suspicious person in a neighborhood.

Calls should be made to 911 if a situation is in progress, and to the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000 if the suspicious incident is not in progress.

Police are releasing photographs of several items hoping that someone will relate them to the individual responsible for these crimes. Because detectives have DNA evidence, possible suspects can be eliminated and therefore no one can be wrongfully associated with these crimes. Community members should be concerned about someone who can’t account for where he was late at night, someone who has property that doesn’t belong to him, and/or someone who can’t account for how he acquired unusual property. Anyone with information should call 240-773-5070. Callers may remain anonymous.

Montgomery County Police continue to remind everyone of the following strategies to help prevent crime in their neighborhoods.

• Ensure that there are functioning locks for all doors and windows and use them consistently. Garage doors should also be kept secured when not in use.
• Security systems that include alarms, exterior lighting with motion detectors, and timers for interior lighting are all measures that may prevent residential crime.
• Shrubbery close to the home that might provide concealment should be trimmed.
• Newspapers and mail should be taken in the day it is delivered. If residents are unable to pick it up, they should have a neighbor or family member collect it for them.
• If residents believe they are being followed they should not go home but drive to a public place. If they can safely obtain information that would be helpful to the police such as a description or tag number; they should do so as long as they don’t endanger themselves.
• If you suspect an intruder, don’t confront the person. If you can’t leave the house safely, lock yourself in a room with a phone or cell phone.
• Don’t enter your home if you see signs of forced entry. Go to a safe place to call police.
• Know your neighbors and your community – senior men or women living alone should develop regular daily contact with a friend, family member, or neighbor who will alert police if that regular contact is not made.
• Residents should call the police if they believe something doesn’t fit, occurs at an unusual time of day, or seems uncharacteristic to the area.

Police suggest that citizen associations participate in a collaborative effort between Montgomery County and “Connected Communities” part of Montgomery County’s largest electronic emergency alert notification network that connects community listservs. It is found at

The Victims’ Rights Foundation has set up a “Home Invasion Homicide Fund” to accept donations to increase the reward of $5,000 that they are offering for information that leads to an arrest and/or indictment of the individual responsible for the six home invasion robberies and homicide. All donations are tax deductible. Anyone wishing to donate to the fund should send a check with a notation in the memo line for the Home Invasion Homicide Fund to:

The Victims’ Rights Foundation
814 West Diamond Avenue, Suite 200
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Crime Update: Two October 6th Meetings

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008


There will be two meetings on Monday, October 6, relating to crime and safety in our neighborhood:

(1) SAFETY PROGRAM AT LIBRARY: The Montgomery County Police will present a program, “Safety for Seniors,” in the downstairs community room of the Davis Library, 6400 Democracy Boulevard in Bethesda, 3:00 – 6:00 PM. The police will cover the following topics for residential security: locks, windows, doors, alarms, landscaping, reporting suspicious activity and when to call the police. There will also be table displays with more information.

(2) POLICE CHIEF BRIEFING ON RECENT HOMICIDE AND OTHER CRIMES: A public meeting regarding the homicide on Seven Locks Road, September 4, and the recent spate of home invasion and automobile robberies will take place from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM at the Walt Whitman High School auditorium (7100 Whittier Boulevard in Bethesda ). Police Chief Tom Manger and officers of the Montgomery County Police Department will brief the community on the status of the Police Department’s efforts and answer questions from the audience. County Executive Isiah Leggett and Councilmember Roger Berliner will also attend the meeting.

Seven Locks Elementary School Update

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008



Plans remain on track for building a new school on the current site for Seven Locks Elementary at the intersection of Seven Locks Road and Bradley Boulevard. Residents are invited to participate in the meetings to review plans for the new school held by the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). The schedule for the meetings, to be held in the multi-purpose room of the school, is as follows:

  • Sept. 25, 7 PM
  • Oct. 14, 3:30 PM
  • Nov. 18, 3:30 PM
  • Dec. 9, 7 PM

The architectural drawings displayed at the first meeting reflect a compact two-story building for about 400 students, featuring many environmental innovations and a large gymnasium. Plans also reflect the priority underscored by the community for enhancing safety at the busy Seven Locks/Bradley intersection and for retaining the popular recreation area surrounding the school. The community is particularly encouraged to attend the final meeting in December. If all proceeds as planned, construction will begin in the summer of 2010 and the new school will open in January 2012.

Traffic Safety

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008


Seven Locks Road:
Traffic Safety and Proposed Sidewalk/Bikeway

New Project: Work continues on the County’s proposed project with walkways for both sides of Seven Locks Road from Bradley Boulevard to Montrose Boulevard and a bikeway on one side of the road. The new walkway is to link up with the walkway already installed along Seven Locks Road from Bradley Boulevard south to River Road and beyond to the C and O Canal.

The goal is to expand the walking and biking network throughout Montgomery County – with special regard for connecting park and recreation areas. Next steps include getting approval from the County Planning Board, funding, and public comment on final designs. The earliest construction date is likely, according to project managers, to be in 2012. Community leaders have urged the County to coordinate plans for this walkway-bikeway with the plans for building a new elementary school at the intersection of Seven Locks Road and Bradley Boulevard. For more information, consult the Montgomery County website for the Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT).

Continuing Safety Concern: On both the specific walkway project and for Seven Locks Road in general, the West Bradley Citizens’ Association has underscored the overriding concern of our residents about traffic safety. There is acute community concern about speeding along Seven Locks Road and rush-hour gridlock. Thus, while WBCA supports the proposed walkway/bikeway project as one means to bolster pedestrian safety, we continue to press for other measures to increase traffic safety along Seven Locks Road.