Authorities in Fauquier and Loudoun counties are investigating whether a man arrested Friday in Richmond could be connected to a rash of burglaries that have plagued communities in northern Fauquier and western Loudoun in recent months.
Damian Scott Francis Falero, 29, of Farmville, was arrested in Richmond on Sunday and charged with burglary in connection with a van stolen Friday from Boxwood Winery in The Plains, according to Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. James Hartman.
Investigators are trying to determine whether Falero and a second suspect might be involved in a series of five reported burglaries at homes along the border of Loudoun and Fauquier counties, according to Hartman.
Falero and a second male subject, who remains unidentified and at large, came to the attention of authorities Friday after a Fauquier County resident returned home to discover what appeared to be a burglary-in-progress.
Around 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, a resident of a house on Halfway Road in The Plains returned home and found an unfamiliar, green Ford Taurus parked in the driveway, Hartman said.
When the resident pulled in behind the Taurus, a male suspect ran from the front door of the house — carrying what appeared to be a backpack — and jumped into the driver’s seat, according to authorities. The resident of the home was unable to stop the car from leaving, but was able to accurately describe the vehicle and the driver to police, Hartman said.
As the resident was on the phone speaking to police, a second suspect also ran out of the house, climbed over a stone wall and fled in the direction of neighboring Boxwood Winery, Hartman said.
The green Taurus was later found abandoned on Sullivan’s Mill Road, Hartman said. Police canines were able to follow a trail from the car north through the countryside, toward Middleburg – where a suspect, later confirmed to be Falero, was spotted Friday evening, according to Hartman.
The Loudoun Sheriff’s Office issued a reverse-911 call to Middleburg residents to alert them that a person of interest had been seen nearby. But authorities were battling deteriorating weather conditions as a winter squall passed through the area, Hartman said, and neither suspect was located Friday night.
On Saturday morning, Boxwood Winery reported that a white van had been stolen from the property. Authorities believe that the second suspect likely stole the vehicle, Hartman said.
On Sunday, Richmond police spotted the stolen van outside a hotel near Interstate Route 95. A team of Fauquier County detectives, along with Richmond police, took Falero into custody without incident, Hartman said.
“The second suspect is still at large. We’re pretty comfortable that we have identified him, but we haven’t been able to confirm yet,” Hartman said. “Right now we’re looking to link Mr. Falero to the other burglaries in the area that have occurred since October.”