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Delegate Is Tire Theft Victim

Anne Bartlett

And now, a story from the brazen-criminal files:

Sometime late Sunday or early Monday, someone jacked up the 2005 Cadillac STS sedan driven by Prince George's Del. Justin D. Ross (D), stole all four tires and hubcaps, and left the car perched on cinderblocks.

The crime occurred while the car was parked in the driveway of Ross's Greenbelt home. The Cadillac also has official state license plates that say "House of Delegates."

George Mathews, a spokesman for the Greenbelt police, said authorities believe Ross was the victim of skillful criminals who used hand tools to silently and efficiently steal the tires.

"They're pretty good at what they do," Mathews said, and not with admiration.

Ross said the car was fine at 11 p.m. Sunday, when he went out to retrieve his daughter's book bag. When he emerged at 7 a.m. Monday, the car was tire-less. Ross said the car had standard 17-inch wheels and Vogue tires, which he described as not particularly special.

"My first thought was -- let me clean this up -- I was angry," Ross said. He said he also found Monday that bulbs from two motion-sensor flood lights that would have lit up the driveway had been unscrewed.

Mathews said police dusted the car for fingerprints and came up with nothing, suggesting that the thieves might have worn gloves. There also were no reports of noise or suspicious activity.

The same night, a car was stolen about a mile away and an airbag was stolen from another car on the block, Mathews said. Police do not know if the crimes are related but they are investigating, Mathews said.

The police department does not track auto parts thefts separately from other thefts, Matthews said, which makes it difficult to obtain statistics about this particular kind of crime.

He said, however, that police have seen a spike in such crimes in recent months.

"There has been a noticeable increase," he said. "We think it might be connected to the economy. Some people are desperate for money."

Ross said he made the story public because he hoped to encourage neighbors to join watch groups and stamp out the quality-of-life crimes that rarely makes headlines.

"Not talking about it doesn't make it go away," he said. "It is unacceptable that any Prince Georgian has to deal with the level of crime that we deal with. These are strong middle-class neighborhoods that should not have to deal with this."

By Anne Bartlett  |  July 30, 2008; 7:19 AM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Now the Delegate knows how the taxpayers of Maryland felt when he voted this past special session for the largest tax increase in Maryland history.

Posted by: Tit for Tat | July 31, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Didn't Delegate Ross vote for the 20% increase in the car tax?

Posted by: 20% | July 31, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

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