Police: Thief preyed on C&O Canal hikers, kayakers
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
January 28, 2010; 11:20 AM ET
Categories: Dan Morse , Montgomery
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