Police effort nets 9 arrests

Eastern District seeks to reduce break-ins, thefts

December 02, 2007|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,Sun reporter

A string of arrests for burglaries in the Anne Arundel County Police Department's Eastern District are due in part to a more focused effort on combating break-ins and thefts, the district's commander says.

Last week, the Police Department announced the arrests of nine people, some of whom authorities say are connected to several burglaries in the area.

Some were caught in the act, while others were arrested after police received tips from residents or while on routine patrol. By culling resources, Capt. Robert Johnson said his officers have been able to solve additional cases.

In recent months, burglaries have been up as much as 13 percent in the district, which spans an area from Riviera Beach to Arnold.

Two weeks ago, Johnson formed a "strike team" of four detectives who work with a crime analyst and patrol officers to solve burglaries.

Because many suspects are juveniles, the officers have also worked closely with school resource officers.

Johnson said the school system objected to providing the Police Department a list of students who cut classes but have provided information on specific students.

Police have also e-mailed crime alerts to community leaders and residents in the hopes of generating tips.

"When I came on in the 1960s, the people who were doing burglaries were tight-knit groups of people doing burglaries in the whole county," Johnson said.

"So, once we chased them, the [burglaries] went away," he said. "Today, they're everywhere. They're drug-driven, and a lot are kids looking around for opportunities."

Johnson said investigators have been using pawn shop records, forensic evidence, witness tips and school truancy records to help form stronger cases.

He said 20 people have been arrested in recent weeks, with dozens of cases resolved.

Among the cases:

On Nov. 27, an officer responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle on McKinnon Road in Pasadena and wrote down the description of the vehicle and its tag number, which had been provided by a resident.

Later that day, the officer was patrolling through the community when he was passed by a vehicle matching the description. He pulled it over and saw a computer in the front seat, while a passenger in the back seat stuffed a DVD into a cargo holder. An LCD TV was in the trunk.

The items, according to charging documents, had been taken from a McKinnon Road home where someone had broken the front door open - splintering the door frame and damaging the wall - and ransacked several rooms. More than $4,800 worth of possessions - including a Gateway computer, DVDs and a 42-inch LCD television - had been taken.

Four suspects, ranging in age from 17 to 21, were arrested and charged with burglary.

After a neighbor reported a burglary in progress on Green Ice Court in Pasadena about 3 p.m. Nov. 23, police made a traffic stop and arrested three people suspected of stealing a water jug filled with $700 in cash from a home.

An investigation revealed that someone had used a brick to smash open the basement door, then took the jug from a bedroom closet. A folding knife, liquor bottle, and marijuana were found on the suspects, who were charged with burglary.

Juveniles were charged with incidents in Millersville on Nov. 20 and Nov. 26.

In the first incident, an officer spotted a youth trying to break into a trailer just after midnight and arrested a 15-year-old boy. The youth is a suspect in additional crimes in the area, police said.

In the second incident, a 17-year-old boy from Baltimore was arrested about 9 a.m. after being apprehended inside a house. Officers are exploring links to other incidents.

"We try to get [suspects] into a situation where they can make it easier on themselves by giving up other people," Johnson said. "If they work with us, we will transfer that information to the state's attorney or judge during trial.

"Lots of times, it's in their best interest to help us, and often times that happens and helps solve additional cases," Johnson said.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

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