“I think we broke like three beds,” Wael says.
Friends and family members frequently had trouble telling them apart, unless Wasel wore his glasses. Later, people often distinguished one brother from the other by their manner. Wasel, friends and relatives say, was markedly more serious and introspective than Wael. But both brothers knew how to throw a punch.
In the bedroom they shared as teens, the disagreements between them sometimes grew so intense, Wael says, that they would begin trading blows. At least until they heard their parents coming.
“What’s going on?” their mother would demand.
“Nothing,” they would answer. “Nothing at all.”
The twins formed a tight bond with several neighborhood friends, who called themselves “The Crew.” They hung out for hours at a playground and wooded area near the mall — the same spot where Wasel’s body would be found.
The brothers had always idolized their father’s military service, and they developed a preoccupation with police and military work. Wasel was so fixated on detective work, remembers close friend Cassie Colassard, that as a teenager he carried around a notebook in which he’d write down bits of gossip so he could investigate who was spreading rumors.
“They enjoyed the cop life, the mystery-solving,” Colassard says.
But their fascination grew so intense that it landed them in trouble with the very authorities they admired. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in 2006, the twins joined the Army, intent on becoming military police officers. But when they returned from basic training in 2007, they allegedly stole an Army sedan from Fort Meade and were arrested, accused of trying to pull over a speeding vehicle on Route 29.
The brothers, wearing military batons and pepper spray on their belts, even called police to report the speeding vehicle, according to charging documents. They identified themselves over the phone as military police officers. The twins were given probation before judgment in Howard County District Court after being charged with stealing a government vehicle, impersonating a police officer and possession of a dangerous weapon.
“We just made some wrong decisions,” Wael, now 24, says. “We got mesmerized by the whole being in uniform thing and being in the Army.”
They left the Army and moved back in with their parents. Wasel got a job working at Banana Republic at the mall. Wael was selling cellphones. But they apparently hadn’t lost their fixation with law enforcement.