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MCPD Investigating School Purse Thefts, Including One in Germantown

Montgomery County Police believe that one man may be behind the theft of 11 purses from nine different schools or daycare centers in the County during May and June. One of the thefts took place in at a Germantown daycare center.

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department are investigating 11 thefts of female employees’ purses from nine area schools that occurred in over the last two months.

Two of these thefts occurred in Rockville City and MCPD detectives are working with the Rockville City Police Department regarding those incidents. Investigators believe that multiple thefts were committed by the same suspect whose photograph is being released today in hopes that someone recognizes him.

Investigators have received reports from 11 female employees who work at nine different schools/child care centers located in the County whose purses/wallets were stolen from a school classroom or office by an unknown suspect(s). The victims’ stolen credit cards were then used to purchase items at stores.

During each of these thefts the suspect located an unattended classroom or office, found the employee’s purse or bag, and stole the entire purse or wallet or removed the victim’s cash and credit cards and left the purse or wallet. At three of the schools the suspect was approached by personnel who inquired about his purpose in the school. The suspect provided a brief response like he was with the cleaning staff or was a member of camp staff and then would quickly leave the area.

The suspect would then go to stores in the County, to include Target, Safeway, Best Buy, and Giant, and use the victims’ credit cards to buy merchandise.

The total amount of fraudulent charges placed on these victims’ credit cards has exceeded $13,000 and is growing. Investigators have not received final amounts for some of these fraudulent purchases so this amount will increase. The total amount of cash stolen from these 11 victims is approximately $500.

Police say the first theft occurred on May 9 at Twinbrook Elementary School in Rockville sometime between 4:00 and 5:00 pm.

Ten days later, the suspect or suspects struck again in Germantown. This time at Little People Daycare on Royal Carriage Drive at approximately 3:00 pm.

The thefts picked up steam in June, with a purse stolen from Georgetown Hill Early School in Rockville between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm on June 1. On June 8, the theft struck again at Rock Creek Forest Elementary School in Silver Spring between 5:45 and 6:00 pm.

The following day, June 9, the thief stole two purses from Montgomery Child Care in Garrett Park between 11:00 am and 4:30 pm.

On June 14, Somerset Elementary School in Chevy Chase was struck between 1:40 and 3:00 pm. Five days later, on June 19 an employee at Bethesda Elementary School in Bethesda reported a theft between 10:30 am and 3:00 pm. Two days later, on June 21, a theft was reported at Silver Spring International Middle School between 12:30 and 1:30 pm. Finally, on June 29, yet another theft was reported at the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville.

Surveillance photographs of a suspect who used four of the victims’ credit cards at stores from incidents in Germantown, Bethesda, and Silver Spring were obtained by detectives and are being released to the public.

These thefts remain under investigation. Anyone with information about this suspect or these thefts is asked to contact 2nd District detectives at 240-773-6710. For those who wish to remain anonymous, Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of the unknown suspect. Tipsters can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Photos courtesy MCPD.

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