Cell Phone App Helps Police Arrest Two and Recover Property After Germantown Theft
Montgomery County Police arrested two people and recovered over $20,000 worth of stolen property connected to a theft from a vehicle that took place in Germantown on Christmas Day, thanks in part to a smartphone app.
Officers from the Fifth District were called to the unit block of Diamond Hill Court in Germantown at about noon on Christmas Day, Dec. 25 for the report of items stolen a car parked in the townhouse development, said Montgomery County Police spokesman Rick Goodale.
Six hours after the theft was reported to police, officers from the Fifth District had arrested and charged one man and one woman, Casey A. Mulloy, 20, and Kyle Pestun, 27, both of an unconfirmed address, with theft, after breaking into a vehicle in Germantown and stealing over $20,000 worth of camera equipment.
Police were able to make the arrest and recover the stolen equipment after the items showed up on the Offer Up smartphone app that allows people to buy and sell items locally online. The stolen items included two infrared cameras, a 12-megapixel digital camera, 70-200mm camera lens, gear motor, circuit boards, Beats by Dre earphones, iPod Nano, and two laptops, according to police.
The case was cracked after a neighbor of the victim suggested that that the victim search Offer Up to see if the stolen property may have been listed for sale. According to Goodale, Two hours after the theft, the victim discovered one of the stolen infrared cameras and Beats by Dre earphones for sale on the app and called the person listed as the seller of the property.
The victim told the seller that they were interested in buying the property and arranged to meet at the Rite Aid located at 19927 Century Boulevard in Germantown, which was located in a shopping center across the street from the Fifth District station. The victim notified the investigating officer about the meeting with the seller, said Goodale.
That evening at approximately 6:00 pm, Fifth District officers arrived at the Rite Aid in an unmarked vehicle and posed as the potential buyers of the stolen property. Mulloy and Pestun were arrested when they showed the undercover officers the stolen property that they were attempting to sell. Pestun was in possession of the stolen iPod Nano at the time of the arrest. Officers located the remaining stolen property and returned all the items to the victim.
Goodale said that Pestun and Mulloy lead police to a sprinkler room at the Pinnacle Apartments on Century Boulevard where the remaining stole items had been stashed.
“Our officers and the victim got lucky,” said Goodale. “There are so many places were stolen merchandise can be sold to unsuspecting people. From online yard sales on FaceBook to Ebay, to Craigslist. These two individuals happen to pick the app that the neighbor suggested. It was a one-in-million shot.”
Mulloy and Pestun, who are apparently homeless but from the area, previous addresses include locations in Germantown, Gaithersburg, and Damascus. They were transported to the Central Processing Unit and charged with one count of theft: $10,000 to under $100,000, one count of theft: less than $100, two counts of rogue and vagabond, and one count of conspiracy. Mulloy was released after posting a $2,600 bond. Pestun was ordered to be held on a $7,500 bond.
Officers believe that there may be additional victims of these thefts who have not reported the incidents to police. Anyone who has been a victim of a theft from a vehicle and has not reported the theft is asked to call the police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.
Police are again urging residents to lock their vehicle doors and remove items of value as unlocked doors are easy targets for suspects.
Photo courtesy MCPD