Police seek owners of Md. burglars' loot
Laptop computers. Cash. More than 200 pieces of jewelry.
They were all snatched from homes in the Gaithersburg and Germantown areas, authorities say, but the victims have yet to step forward to claim them.
"Give us a call and make an appointment to come up here," Detective Bob Finkelstein, standing behind a table spread with loot, said in a message Tuesday to the victims.
His phone number: 240-773-6246.
The case, which involves more than 18 break-ins, dates back to July, when detectives noted a series of burglaries in the Gaithersburg area.
A citizen later noted a suspicious vehicle, recorded the tag number and gave that to police. That led undercover officers to follow Kaba Camara, 21, according to Finkelstein's statement of probable cause filed in court.
On Dec. 15, about 9:30 a.m., surveillance officers watched Camara leave his residence on Dunbrook Court in Montgomery Villagee in a Ford Expedition bearing that suspicious tag, officials said. Police followed him to another residence, where he picked up Tavon Nix and Monti Rainey, Finkelstein wrote.
The officers watched the Expedition park outside another home, but it was parked in a way that they couldn't get a good look at what was going on. A short time later, the Expedition drove to a home on Barn Swallow Terrace.
Here, the officers could see what was gong on, Finkelstein wrote, detailing how one of the three waited in the SUV, another knocked on the door, got no answer, and two went around to the back. One then came out the front door carrying a black bag, and both of them eventually got back inside the Expedition, Finkelstein wrote.
Police tried to stop the Expedition a short time later. The vehicle fled. Police eventually caught all three men and found items taken from both homes. They charged all three men with burglary and theft counts.
The investigation led them to a "fence," a fourth person who was selling stolen items for them, authorities said. Inside the fence's residence, detectives found 17 flat screen televisions, a half dozen laptop computers, cameras and "bags and bags of jewelry," Finkelstein said Tuesday.
The fence was moving some of his items on Craigslist or through acquaintances, Finkelstein said. Still, detectives were able to return stolen items to 18 victims.
The alleged fence, Samuel Rocha, was charged with one count of theft "but additional charges are pending," police said.
As for the remaining inventory, Finkelstein said he wasn't too worried about fraudsters showing up to try to claim items that didn't belong to them. First off, he said, they will have to establish they homes were burglarized.
"People are honest, for the most part," he added. "They're looking for stuff that belongs to them. They're not going to wear someone elses earrings."
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