Theft arrests ease minds

Two charged in rash of burglaries in the county


Nilesh Patel owns a Subway sandwich store in Odenton. It's in a quiet part of town, he says, and since he took ownership of the establishment a year ago, things have gone smoothly.

"It is a real good area, you know. It is real quiet," Patel said.

But on April 3, the window of his store was smashed with a rock, the cash register was pried open and his safe was stolen. He said $2,281 was taken, and the store was damaged. Plus he lost a sense of security.

"The employees who work nighttime, they are a little scared to work. It is unfortunate," Patel said.

Similar burglaries have taken place in the last 3 1/2 months at 41 other businesses in Anne Arundel County, said Sgt. Shawn A. Urbas, a spokesman for the county police. Last week county police arrested two men who they say are responsible for the break-ins.

"Wooh - wow," Patel said when he learned that so many other businesses had been burgled.

The businesses are diverse - they include the Goddard School, a Hanover day care facility, Wash and Dry in Odenton, a Subway in Glen Burnie, a mortgage company in Glen Burnie and Carini's Pizza in Severna Park. The first store - a nail salon - was burglarized Jan. 15, police said.

Police convened a meeting April 5 to discuss the rash of burglaries in the county. In each case, stores were robbed after someone threw "a rock of some type through the glass doors," according to police charging documents. Often the rocks were left at the store and in many cases the type of rock was the same - bituminous concrete, a material found at construction sites, according to the documents.

At the meeting, an officer recalled an earlier burglary case in which a suspect used the same method to break into stores. The officer pulled a mug shot of someone linked to that case, distributed it and another officer recognized the photograph from a surveillance tape. Officers had a suspect.

On April 7, John Francis Dunnigian, 25, of Glen Burnie was charged with at least 30 burglaries and Michael Francis Arrington, 26, of Pasadena was charged with at least 15.

Dunnigian is being held at the county detention center on a $5 million bond. Arrington is being held at the same facility on a $1.5 million bond.

Officers put the case together relying on muddy fingerprints left at the scene, surveillance recordings and confessions from the suspects, according to charging documents.

Said Urbas: "The teamwork was there, the communication was there. It resulted in a great arrest."

"The detectives from each department put their heads together and developed an action plan."

Patel was also pleased. "They caught the burglars. That is good news," he said. "It is peace of mind."

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