Montgomery County, Maryland (STL.News) Detectives from the 4th District – Patrol Investigation Unit have charged James Edward Smith, age 50, of Tidewater Court in Olney, with offenses related to three attempted thefts from vehicles and one theft from vehicle in the Olney area.
On June 14 at approximately 11:40 p.m., a resident returning to his home in the 3300 block of Tidewater Court noticed a male who seemed to be walking around with no purpose. The resident went inside to check his home video surveillance and observed that the male had entered his wife’s unlocked vehicle and stole her purse. When the resident went back outside to locate the suspect, he saw the suspect ran away.
On July 14, a resident in the 2800 block of Fountain Grove Terrace, after learning of recent theft from vehicles in the area, reviewed his home video surveillance and discovered that a suspect had entered his unlocked vehicle on July 9 at approximately 3:00 am. It did not appear that the suspect stole any property.
On July 15, officers were called to the 4000 block of Olney Laytonsville Road for the report of an attempted theft from vehicle. The suspect was captured on home video surveillance pulling door handles of the vehicles on July 13 at approximately 3:33 a.m. When the suspect determined that the vehicles were locked, he left.
On July 18, at approximately 1:20 a.m., officers were called to the 3400 block of Dartmoor Lane for a suspicious situation; a resident had observed a suspect attempting to open vehicle doors in the area. When the witness yelled at the suspect, he ran away. Officers responding to the call for service located a person matching the suspect’s description at the intersection of Toddsbury Lane and Heritage Hills Drive. The officers identified the suspect as Smith and noted that he matched the description of the suspect involved in the previous theft from vehicle cases. Smith was released from police custody at the scene pending further investigation of these incidents.
During the follow-up investigation, detectives obtained home video surveillance of the suspect entering a vehicle on Dartmoor Lane on July 18, confirming the witness’ observations.
On July 23, detectives charged Smith via a district court summons with four counts of rogue and vagabond and theft.
During these incidents, Smith would check vehicle doors to see if they were open and if the doors were locked, he would move on to check other vehicles. Thefts from unlocked vehicles continue to be a high-volume crime in Montgomery County. The Police Department urges all residents to take a role in preventing this type of crime by removing valuables from vehicles and locking all doors.