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Police: Thief preyed on C&O Canal hikers, kayakers

Dan Morse

As they park their cars, it's a calculation joggers, hikers and boaters make all the time:

Do I take my valuables with me? Pros: Someone breaking into the car won't get them, I'll have spending money should I come across a Starbucks. Cons: I could drop them on a trail or in the water.

According to Montgomery County police, Oliver E. Lopez, 41, took advantage of those recreation buffs along the C&O Canal who were persuaded by the cons.

Police announced Thursday morning that after an investigation stretching back to March 2009, they have linked Lopez to a series of car break-ins along the canal. He is suspected of striking on Saturdays and Sundays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., police said.

Police served him with five arrest warrants, and said on Thursday that he was being held in the county jail on $10,000 bond. He is also wanted by police in Anne Arundel and Fairfax counties.

Longtime police officers recommend a third alternative to the pro-con calculus above: Put your valuables in a locked trunk. Even better, put these valuables in the trunk before leaving the house. Savvy thieves are known to hang out in parking areas and spot people placing their valuables in the trunk after parking.

The main thing, police say, is that if you leave valuables in the car, put them out of sight, and lock the doors -- two procedural moves often ignored in Montgomery County, a place that prides itself on how well educated its citizenry is. In the Bethesda police district alone, a commander in late 2008 estimated that 65 to 70 percent of thefts from cars involved unlocked doors.

-- Dan Morse

By Dan Morse  |  January 28, 2010; 11:20 AM ET
Categories:  Dan Morse , Montgomery  
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Comments

Dan, question: What was the immigration status of Mr. Lopez? Amcit? Or was Mr. Lopez an illegal?

Posted by: wjc1va | January 28, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

The article makes the worthwhile suggestion that valuables be placed in the trunk BEFORE leaving ones home. This is essential as many thieves will watch a person park a car, then place valuables into the trunk or some other area of the car. The thief then breaks into the car and takes whatever, he or she wishes to take.

Always place items in the trunk BEFORE you leave your home.

If you return to your car and open the trunk, and remove or replace items, change your parking place.

Posted by: jnrentz@aol.com | January 28, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

While I cannot tell by reviewing his Maryland Court record, it appears that Mr. Lopez is an American. I say this because his Maryland criminal court record is so bad as to be beyond belief, and an alien in all probability would be deported.

Who ever this man is, if he is convicted of these offenses, he needs a lenghty period of incarceration.

He is truly a predator.

Posted by: jnrentz@aol.com | January 28, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Can you tell us, is this the guy who was breaking into cars in the lot at Roosevelt Island? That's only a hop, skip, and jump from the C& O trail in G-town?

Posted by: sg7472a | January 28, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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