10/6/08 Police Update


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 www.connectedcommunities.us.

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

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