LA PLATA, Md. (June 28, 2013)The Charles County Sheriff's Office released the following incident and arrest reports.
ROBBERY: On June 26 at 9 p.m., two males entered a gas station in the 8100 block of Leonardtown Road in Hughesville. They approached an employee, showed a gun and demanded cash; the victim complied and the suspects fled. Another employee followed the suspects outside where one of the suspects fired a shot. It is not clear if the shot was fired toward the victim or in another direction. The suspects are described as white males, possibly in their 20s, wearing hooded shirts, bandanas and sunglasses. Surveillance photos were obtained. Anyone with information is asked to call Det. J. Elliott at (301) 609-6515. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may contact Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS or Text CHARLES + your tip to CRIMES or visit http://www.ccso.us to submit a web tip. Crime Solvers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.
APPLICATION FOR GRANT: The Charles County Sheriff's Office and Charles County Circuit Court announces it will apply for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Formula Program through the United States Department of Justice. The JAG Program provides states and units of local governments with critical funding necessary to support a range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution and court programs, prevention and education programs, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, crime victim and witness initiatives, and planning, evaluation and technology improvement programs.
Charles County is eligible for $48,653 through this grant, which combines the Byrne Formula and Local Law Enforcement Block grant programs to provide agencies with the flexibility to prioritize and place justice funds where they are needed most. The program allows states, tribes and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime based on their own local needs and conditions.
The Sheriff's Office invites citizens wishing to make comments or review the Sheriff's JAG application to contact Karlee Adams, Grant Coordinator, at 301-609-3279. All comments should be made by July 22, 2013.
ROBBERY: On June 26 at 9 p.m., two males entered a gas station in the 8100 block of Leonardtown Road in Hughesville. They approached an employee, showed a gun and demanded cash; the victim complied and the suspects fled. Another employee followed the suspects outside where one of the suspects fired a shot. It is not clear if the shot was fired toward the victim or in another direction. The suspects are described as white males, possibly in their 20's, wearing hooded shirts, bandanas and sunglasses. Surveillance photos were obtained. Anyone with information is asked to call Det. J. Elliott at (301) 609-6515. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may contact Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS or Text CHARLES + your tip to CRIMES or visit http://www.ccso.us to submit a web tip. Crime Solvers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.
OFFICERS ARREST SUSPECTS IN STOLEN CAR/CELL PHONE PICTURE HELPS ID THEM: On June 24 at 10:23 a.m., officers were dispatched to a hit and run car crash on Smallwood Drive West near Lancaster Circle. Witnesses said four males in a Honda Civic struck another car. After the crash, the occupants got out of the Civic, walked around the vehicle and then fled, but not before one witness pulled out his cell phone and took a picture of them. A computer check revealed the car had had been stolen from the parking lot of an auto repair shop earlier that morning. Officers canvassed the area and quickly located three of the subjects. The fourth suspect was caught as he walked back past the crash. Even though he took off his shirt to alter his appearance, officers recognized the suspect immediately based on the picture that was taken by the witness. Vincent Isaac Jenkins, Jr., 19, of Waldorf, and three juvenile males were arrested and charged with theft and traffic violations. Officer R. Horrocks is investigating.
DETECTIVE SOLVES ROBBERY FROM APRIL: On June 25, detectives assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division charged a juvenile male with the robbery of a pizza deliveryman that occurred on April 10 in Indian Head. During the robbery, two suspects ordered a pizza to be delivered. The victim was approaching the house - which turned out to be vacant - and was confronted by the suspects who assaulted him, pulled a knife and stole the pizza. The suspect was charged with robbery. Det. Wimberley is continuing the investigation.
PUTTING THE HEAT ON THEFT SUSPECTS: It is a problem occurring across the nation, in our state and in our backyard, literally. Thefts of air conditioners and metals are becoming hot items for cold cash at scrap dealers and Sheriff Rex W. Coffey says he wants residents to be aware, take precautions and report suspicious activity immediately.
"In Charles County, we have zero tolerance for crime. Even though most of these thefts are occurring at vacant homes it doesn't mean that it's any less of a crime. Someone still has to pay for it, whether it's the homeowner or insurance companies. We want to make sure residents know what to look for and understand how these thieves operate so that we can put a stop to it. Our officers make plenty of arrests but we can't be everywhere all the time so we're counting on our communities - who are already very good to us - to help us out," said Sheriff Coffey.
Detectives say the suspects usually target vacant homes. "They don't want to get caught. Many of them are addicted to drugs and so they don't want to go to jail," Sheriff Coffey said. In a few cases, suspects have targeted homes which are occupied.
Here's how they usually operate: Typically, the suspects walk up to the front door of a house and knock. If they get an answer they give an excuse as to why they are there. They may say they are looking for someone, or their dog ran behind the house, or they need directions. Whatever they say, it's not the truth. They really want to see if someone is home. If they don't get an answer, they go to the back of the house and steal the a/c unit or break in and steal indoor metal piping or other property.
Sheriff Coffey says the best advice he can give applies to everyone, no matter where they live. "Be a nosy neighbor. If you see something that just doesn't look right, say something and call the police. In some cases, we respond only to find out the person had legitimate reasons for being there. And that's ok. Those folks always tell us that they were glad someone was watching out for their property," said Sheriff Coffey.
Still, in other instances, we've responded and we've actually caught the thieves red-handed," said Sheriff Coffey. Recently, officers responded to a call for suspicious activity in La Plata. A man and a woman knocked on the front door of a house. They asked for someone but left after the resident said there was no one there by that name. Thinking something was strange, the resident wrote down the tag number of the couple's car and then walked around his property. He noticed his air conditioner had been cut from the original spot and was moved near the carport where the suspects were getting ready to steal it. Detectives quickly identified the suspects and learned they were serial thieves. "That call made a difference and it's exactly what we want our residents to do," said Sheriff Coffey.
"Clearly, most of the people working on a/c units are honest, legitimate contractors so it's hard to know if and when you should call the police," said Sheriff Coffey. "We suggest you try to contact your neighbor to verify they are having work done. If you feel something is not right, do not confront the person. Instead, call the sheriff's office, provide a good description of what you're seeing and get a good description of the people and the car they are in. Try to get a tag number and write it down. If it turns out later that the something was actually stolen, the information you wrote down could be of use to us," said Sheriff Coffey.
If anyone knows of people involved in these types of thefts, tipsters can call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS. All callers remain anonymous. If their tip leads to an arrest, the caller could get a cash reward of up to $1,000.
"By working with our resident's, I believe we can apprehend these criminals much faster," said Sheriff Coffey. For information about crime prevention, visit http://www.ccso.us.
Disclaimer: In the U.S.A., all persons accused of a crime by the State are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. See: http://somd.me/presumed-innocence. Additionally, all of the information provided above is solely from the perspective of the respective law enforcement agency and does not provide any direct input from the accused or persons otherwise mentioned. You can find additional information about the case by searching the Maryland Judiciary Case Search Database using the accused's name and date of birth. The database is online at http://somd.me/mdcasesearch . Persons named who have been found innocent or not guilty of all charges in the respective case, and/or have had the case ordered expunged by the court can have their name, age, and city redacted by following the process defined at http://somd.me/expungeme .