LA PLATA, Md. - The man believed to be responsible for a series of home and vehicle burglaries recently in La Plata was arrested Friday, Aug. 3 in Waldorf by the Charles County Sheriffs Office.
The burglaries occurred between July 26 and 30. By Aug. 1, the Sheriffs Office and La Plata Town Police had identified the suspect in one incident as Paul Matthew Smith, 20, of Waldorf. The Sheriffs Office obtained a warrant for Smiths arrest on Aug. 1 and a lookout for Smith, who officers believed was in the Waldorf area, was circulated among officers. An off-duty Sheriffs officer saw Smith in the food court of the St. Charles Towne Center in Waldorf about 6:45 p.m. Aug. 3. The officer notified the Sheriffs Office and within minutes, an on-duty officer arrived and arrested Smith.
Smith is initially being charged with first- and second-degree assault for brandishing a handgun after someone saw Smith in his yard and opened the door to determine why Smith was there. The victim in that case immediately closed the door and called 9-1-1 but Smith fled before the officers arrived.
The four-day spree included 12 burglarized homes, two attempted home burglaries and three vehicle burglaries. The burglaries occurred on Washington Avenue, Cecil Street, Prospect Avenue, Hawthorne Street, Oriole Lane, Pocahontas Court, May Day Street and Hillary Court in La Plata between midnight and 3 p.m. while residents were sleeping most victims discovered the theft when they awoke the following morning. One family heard the suspect when he entered their home and called police who responded but were unable to apprehend him at the scene. Smiths involvement in the 17 other incidents is being investigated.
Each successful home and vehicle burglary involved an unlocked door or window. La Plata residents were reminded by police to always lock the doors and windows in their homes and vehicles and to ensure no valuables, including any money, are left in plain sight. The Sheriffs Office and the Town Police also reminded residents to report any suspicious activity or suspicious persons to police immediately, and police distributed informational pamphlets to residents in the areas affected by the burglaries.