Wave of break-ins in West Mt. Airy have police, residents on high alert

In light of a half-dozen breaks-ins, police are urging residents of West Mt. Airy to take extra precautions over the holiday weekend.

According to police officers from the 14th District, a pattern of residential burglaries have occurred in the area neighboring Carpenter’s Woods. In most cases, entry to the property was gained through a second-story window in the rear of the home, offering them a means to bypass home security systems.

The most recent occurrences took place on July 2. In the first instance, a resident of the 6600 block of Wayne Ave. exited her bathroom and discovered an unknown male in her bedroom who gained entry through a pushed-in window air-conditioning unit.

Realizing he was spotted, the intruder ran out of the house and was last seen running northbound on Wayne Avenue.

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That same day, a resident of the 500 block of W. Ellet St. discovered that a screen window leading to her kitchen was cut. Jewelry and a laptop were taken from the home.

Earlier incidents

The burglary spree began with two incidents being reported on June 25. In the first case, homeowners on the 800 block of Westview Ave. returned to find a second-floor window screen ripped and the bedroom ransacked. A MacBook laptop was taken.

In the second occurrence, a second-story window screen was also damaged, with the burglars removing several pieces of jewelry and two iPads from the bedroom.

On June 27, police responded to an alarm activation on the 1000 block of Westview Ave.. Again, they found a broken second-floor window screen, and discovered jewelry taken.

A similar modus operandi took place on July 1, when several watches and a MacBook Pro were taken from a home on the 6800 block of Lincoln Dr.

Capt. John Fleming, commanding officer of the 14th District, said that West Mt. Airy has been generally quiet crime-wise in recent months. As the break-ins are in comparatively close proximity, and with similar modes of entry, he believes that the same perpetrators are involved.

“Given that those dwellings are big, single-family homes, that’s as tightly-packed as it gets right there,” he said, pointing to a cluster of yellow push-pins on a map of the 14th District.

Safety tips

Police reports said the suspects were described as being two black males. Given their ability to escape detection, police believe that the suspects are familiar with the neighborhood.

The first suspect is described as being over six feet tall with a thin build. At the time of the break-in, he wore a blue t-shirt with white writing and blue shorts. The second suspect was described as being approximately 5’10” with a husky build, who wore a white shirt and light blue jeans at the time of the burglary.

With the help of physical evidence and potential witnesses, police are working to identify the suspects as quickly as possible. In the meantime, additional police personnel are being assigned to the immediate area of the burglaries in order to deter future occurrences.

To help combat future crimes, Fleming is reminding residents to activate all alarms, to lock their doors and windows, and to secure all window-mounted air-conditioning units. He is also asking residents to be mindful of their neighbors’ homes, who may be on vacation during the summer months.

Sgt. Nicholas Tees, a 14th District supervisor who is leading the patrol teams, noted that residents can contact their alarm company and ask that their alarm be set to “vacation mode,” which notifies police immediately in the event of the alarm being tripped.

Residents are also encouraged to call the 14th District and ask for their homes to be visited by police while they are away.

With dedicated patrol, investigative follow-up and assistance from residents, 14th District police are optimistic about the possibility of an arrest.

“We’re hoping for a speedy conclusion of this burglary pattern,” Fleming said.

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