Five burglaries reported in Bethesda’s Longwood area on one day
Intruders looking for unlocked cars, police say
One Bethesda neighborhood had a string of car and home burglaries this month as the culprits searched for unlocked vehicles, a Montgomery County police spokesman said.
Sean Gagen, the second district commander, said last week that there were reports of three thefts from vehicles and two break-ins at homes in the Longwood area. The incidents were late in the evening on Feb. 12 and early morning hours of Feb. 13.
The streets that were affected included Armat Drive, Greentree Road and Brooke Drive.
“Based on time and location, we believe they’re all linked,” Gagen said.
In one of the home thefts, burglars entered through an open garage and a door to the home’s kitchen that was unlocked, Gagen said.
“What we think is that the suspects in that case were there going from car to car, looking for unlocked vehicles,” he said.
A video from one home security system shows a burglar wearing a hood and mask, in black clothes, trying to break into the home, only to find the door is locked. The video was posted on the website Nextdoor, a forum neighborhoods use to connect and discuss community issues.
Joel Poznansky, who lives on Greentree Road, said his house was broken into that night while he was sleeping. He found out the next morning, when he discovered that a purse and wallet were missing. Additionally, he said, there was evidence that someone had gone through his cars, which were unlocked, but nothing was taken.
Poznansky said a neighbor later found his handbag and wallet. Money had been taken from the wallet, he said, but nothing else.
“The main thing is [I felt] surprised, because we’ve lived in the house for over 20 years and haven’t heard of anything like this happening,” he said.
Poznansky said he had left the back door to his house unlocked that evening and his garage door was open. He said he plans to be more vigilant about locking his doors.
Poznansky also plans to put his keys in a safer place.
“The keys were in the house, but they were by the back door,” he said.
Poznansky said he “doesn’t feel damaged” by the experience, but many in the community have expressed concern on Nextdoor about safety in the neighborhood.
“The neighbors who I’ve told seem more upset psychologically, especially since we were upstairs asleep,” he said.
Asked if such a spate of break-ins in one night was unusual, Gagen said it wasn’t because burglars often look for “crimes of opportunity” where cars and homes are unlocked.
“Unfortunately it’s not unusual. While it may be unusual for this particular neighborhood, this tends to be the way that these thieves operate where they’ll come into a specific neighborhood looking for unlocked vehicles or may have items in plain view,” he said.
Gagen urged residents to make sure their cars and homes are locked, and that valuable items are hidden from sight. At the same time, he said victims of burglaries shouldn’t feel ashamed to report these types of crimes.
“We want people to make sure that they report these things so we track them,” he said.
“It’s more important for us to have accurate information so that we can figure out ways to address the problem [of burglaries] and where they’re occurring at.”
Dan Schere can be reached at email@example.com