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          Although the year-to-date crime numbers continue to look good overall for 2013, there have been several recent serious crimes in the 2nd District which I wanted to share some information on so you can continue to be our eyes and ears. Most importantly, I want to thank an alert resident yesterday whose 911 call led to a pursuit and arrest of two suspects responsible for a string of thefts of copper gutters and downspouts. This resident observed a suspicious white male knocking on his door asking to clean his gutters. The suspect appeared disheveled and was thought to be casing the area. 911 was called with a description of the suspect and the van he was driving, and when spotted by one of the responding officers, the van fled and eventually crashed where the suspects were arrested and van full of copper gutters was recovered.

          On November 4th, some homes in the area of Saul Rd. were burglarized by two black male suspects. At least two separate residents observed these suspects and knew that they were acting suspiciously (knocking on doors, never been in the neighborhood before, and carrying a suitcase with them), yet no one thought to call 911 to report their observations. One simple call would have allowed us to respond and make an arrest or at least identify the two suspects before they could commit any crimes.

          On November 9th, a resident of Potomac used Craigslist to sell his car. After a test drive, the resident went into his house to retrieve a spare set of keys and the suspect took off in the car. The resident took another car to search for the stolen car and spotted both the car and an officer that was on his way to work. After a short pursuit, the suspect crashed into a bus stop and was arrested. Please use extreme caution when using sites such as Craigslist to buy/sell items, and consider whether the savings is worth the effort and potential hazard.

          On November 16th, officers were following a suspect that has been involved in several previous crimes. He was observed going to a residence and looking in several obvious hiding spots for a hide-a-key. He then went to the rear of the home and came running out moments later. A traffic stop was made and property from the residence was recovered. Because this arrest violated his probation for a recent conviction, he will be in jail for some time. Please remember that burglars will often try to gain access to a home by entering an unlocked door or window, or finding a spare key left outside.

          On November 25th, a home invasion was committed by two black males in a neighborhood near the Wildwood Shopping Center. The suspects took the victims car which was recovered nearby a short time later by responding officers. The suspects had already made their get-away. Similar to the November 4th burglary above, a neighborhood canvass revealed that several residents observed these suspects earlier in the day walking through the neighborhood. No one had ever scene them before and told us that they thought the pair was suspicious. One call to us may have prevented this family from becoming victims of this very serious crime.

Some other safety tips to consider:

1.Do not have packages delivered to your house if you are not home to receive them. Make arrangements for them to be delivered to a neighbor or pick them up at the shipper’s local office.

2.Do not fall prey to phone scams, especially the most recent where someone calls representing themselves as a police officer and tells you to send money or you will be arrested. Another is a call from a utility company threatening to cut off power unless you wire cash immediately. If you are unsure of the legitimacy of caller, check out www.snopes.com or simply ask for their company contact information so you can research their claim before deciding whether to call them back.

3.The Montgomery County Police Department does not solicit money, nor am I aware of any legitimate police agency that does. Be wary of phone calls from people representing themselves as law enforcement.

4.Pedestrian safety is a must. It gets dark early. You may see a car, but the driver probably does not see you. Wear reflective clothing. Cross at marked intersections. Pay attention to your surroundings. For those with school age children, Montgomery County Police in conjunction with Montgomery County Public Schools will be piloting its first set of school bus photo enforcement in January. If you are a driver that passes a school bus with its red lights flashing, you may be receiving a citation in the mail. Remember – you may not pass a school bus with flashing red lights from either direction, even on multi-lane roads, unless the road is divided by a physical barrier and you are on the side opposite from the bus.

5.LOCK YOUR CARS!!!! 96 thefts from cars in November which is a 2013 monthly high – 74 of the 96 were unlocked!!!! When you shop, hide your items in the trunk and take them immediately into your home. This is a very prevalent crime this time of year and thieves will generally ignore a locked car with nothing worth stealing visible, and move on to the unlocked one

6.Don’t forget that hand-held cell phone use while driving is a primary offense. Officers are enforcing this law vigorously. Bluetooth is still permissible.

Please continue to use good common sense and judgment during the holidays. We need your help more than ever during this time of year.

Enjoy the holidays,

Captain David Falcinelli




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