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Police Captain: Home Invasion Could Have Been Prevented

By Aaron Kraut

Monday - 12/9/2013, 1:00pm  ET

Montgomery County police carPolice are hoping surveillance video from a nearby office building will encourage someone to identify the two suspects in an armed home invasion and robbery on Nov. 25 in a Bethesda neighborhood.

But 2nd District Police Commander Capt. David Falcinelli said the incident could have been prevented with a simple phone call.

In a Dec. 4 crime update, Falcinelli wrote “a neighborhood canvass revealed that several residents observed these suspects earlier in the day walking through the neighborhood,” near the Wildwood Shopping Center.

“No one had ever seen them before and told us that they thought the pair was suspicious,” Falcinelli wrote. “One call to us may have prevented this family from becoming victims of this very serious crime.”

Police say the two suspects walked up to a female homeowner around 1:52 p.m. before forcing her into her Farnham Drive house and putting her and her husband at gunpoint. Once inside, the two suspects stole property. A small child was also in the house during the robbery. No one was hurt. After leaving the home, police say the suspects stole the victim’s gold Cadillac Escalade, which they abandoned within the hour at the intersection of Berkshire Drive and Yorkshire Terrace.

Falcinelli compared it to a similar incident on Nov. 4, when two suspects burglarized a number of Saul Road homes.

“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,” Falcinelli said. “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.”

A potential home burglary on Nov. 16 ended in different fashion, according to Falcinelli.

Officers followed a suspect Falcinelli said was 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,” Falcinelli wrote. “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.”

Falcinelli thanked a resident who called in two suspicious people police pursued and later arrested for a string of copper gutter and downspout thefts.

“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,” Falcinelli wrote.