Bethesda Police District commander Capt. David Falcinelli today urged residents to be vigilant and immediately report crimes after a daytime burglary binge in River Road neighborhoods and three recent robberies in the downtown area.

Falcinelli said police have seen an increase in burglaries from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in neighborhoods near River Road and Massachusetts Avenue. Burglars have struck a reported eight times since September, targeting jewelry and electronics when residents aren’t home.

In one case, Falcinelli said suspects triggered an alarm very shortly after a resident had left their home, indicating they had been casing the neighborhood and noticed the resident leave.
There was only one incident where suspect information was provided to the police. A neighbor observed two black males in their 30’s, one with a beard, to the rear of one of the burglarized homes. In response to this activity, my uniformed officers have been directed to provide increased day time patrol and covert resources have also been allocated. Please pay careful attention to your neighborhood and call the police immediately for suspicious activity at 301-279-800 (non-emergency) or 911 if you observe a crime in progress.
Falcinelli also described three incidents – a robbery and two attempted robberies – from the Central Business District over last weekend.

On Friday, reported a strong-arm robbery near an apartment in the 4900 block of Battery Lane. Falcinelli said a resident of the building was selling electronics through Craigslist when the suspects, two black males in their 20’s with dreadlocks, tried to pay in counterfeit bills.

When the victim realized this and tried to end the deal, the suspects assaulted him and took the electronics, consistent with events in neighboring jurisdictions, Falcinelli said.

The two other incidents, both attempted robbery are described by Falcinelli below:
Also on Friday, an employee of a business on Bethesda Ave. was walking to the Bethesda Metro after work (10pm) when he was accosted by three black male suspects that assaulted him and tried to take his back-pack. The victim did not report the offense and we learned about it via a list-serve. We have since identified the victim and assigned his case to our detectives. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of reporting crime. Even if the police are unable to make an arrest, the victim is provided services through our Victim Assistance Coordinators.

During the investigation of the above robbery, a citizen approached the officers and told a story about a robbery she had witnessed on Saturday night where the victim was leaving a bar on Montgomery Ln. and became separated from his friends. As he walked on Hampden Ln., a group of five suspects, described only as black males, demanded the victim’s wallet and pushed him to the ground. The victim received injuries in this attack, but it was also never reported to the police. We were also able to identify this victim and this case has also been assigned to a detective.
The downtown Bethesda area already has increased police presence from the MCPD’s Shop with a Cop program, but Falcinelli said he has brought in additional overtime officers from other districts to beef up MCPD’s presence.

He cited a drug arrest Tuesday night outside Montgomery Mall as evidence as that strategy working. Both people arrested had significant criminal histories, Falcinelli said.