Alleged Neall home burglar convicted in similar 'visits'

December 13, 1992|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

The Davidsonville neighbor of Robert R. Neall, charged with breaking into the county executive's home a little more than a week ago, has a history of preying on his neighbors.

Court records show that Virgil E. Brown, 31, of the 500 block of W. Central Ave. in Davidsonville, has been convicted of several similar break-ins.

County police charged Brown with burglary and theft after he allegedly walked into Mr. Neall's home on Birdsville Road at 1:30 a.m. Dec. 3, and walked out with Mrs. Neall's purse, then tried to drive away in her Mazda Miata. He is being held in the county detention center awaiting trial.

Mr. Neall said he has known the suspect since Brown was an infant. Brown has been convicted of breaking into or attempting to break into two other homes of Davidsonville residents who told police they had known him for years.

Brown's criminal record includes a conviction for breaking into his next-door neighbors' house in 1987 and stealing a purse and a wallet. Metal remnants of both items were later found by the neighbor among the ashes in a trash barrel next to the Brown residence on West Central Avenue.

Brown was convicted of burglary and theft and sentenced to 12 years in state prison, with all but five years suspended. That conviction was overturned in July 1990 by the Court of Appeals on the grounds that the circumstantial evidence used to convict him was insufficient.

Soon after his release, Brown was charged with trying to break into a house on Solomons Island Road in Harwood, not far from Davidsonville. According to a charging document, he climbed through a back bedroom window and ran out of the house when he heard a woman yell that she had called police. He was arrested after a brief chase by a county police officer responding to the call.

In that case, Brown was convicted in June 1991 of misdemeanor breaking and entering and sentenced to three years in prison by Circuit Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth.

Before his sentencing, he got into trouble again. On May 22, 1991, he was charged with attempting to break into the house of another neighbor on West Central Avenue.

The neighbor, who told police she had known Brown for several years, said she saw him fiddling with a window screen to her house that night and told him she would call the police if he didn't leave. He fled.

The next morning, the neighbor noticed that three window screens had been cut with a sharp object and that one screen had been removed from its frame. She then called police, who arrested Brown.

Brown pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of property and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, to be served concurrently with his three-year term. He was paroled in July, after serving 16 months.

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