Serial burglar sentenced to 33 years in prison

July 6, 2011

An Oxon Hill man suspected of committing more than 100 burglaries or attempted break-ins around the Washington area was sentenced to 33 years in prison after getting convicted of breaking into a Montgomery County house.

Brad K. Edmonds, 35, first came to the attention of police when a McLean resident reported an unfamiliar car in the neighborhood. In November, Fairfax County police tracked him into Maryland using a GPS device attached to his Oldsmobile. Montgomery County officers picked up the trail and followed Edmonds into Potomac, where they used night-vision goggles to slip through woods. They saw Edmonds break into a car and SUV.

A Montgomery County jury in March convicted Edmonds of breaking into an occupied house that night. Fairfax County police said he is a suspect in approximately 120 break-ins or attempted break-ins of houses or cars, and the county’s top prosecutor said he intends to file charges in four cases. Federal authorities in May charged Edmonds with illegally possessing two rifles and a pistol.

“Mr. Edmonds, I find, likes to steal,” Montgomery County Circuit Judge Ronald B. Rubin said during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing. “[Edwards] likes to break into people’s houses, does so in a very cold and calculating way.”

Rubin noted that Edmonds — who police said had a loaded 9mm handgun in his trunk when he was arrested — kept weapons loaded and ready to fire. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to reasonably conclude what he would be willing to do, if pressed, with a weapon,” Rubin said.

Edmonds has professed his innocence. “These detectives’ story is made up,” he said in court.

Starting last August, Fairfax residents — many in the McLean and Fair Oaks areas — fell victim to burglaries. Investigators linked them because of the similarities: They occurred late at night or early in the morning, typically while people were home. In most cases, doors or windows had been unlocked. Locked homes often showed evidence of pry marks. The thief usually took purses, wallets or loose cash.

Fairfax police got a break in November when they pulled over the Oldsmobile. Edmonds was dressed in black, police said, and there were tools used in burglaries and papers with handwritten addresses in the car.

An officer took down the information before letting Edmonds go, and a Fairfax police task force began investigating. Police placed a GPS tracking device on the car, officials said.

Late the night of Nov. 16, Fairfax police alerted Montgomery police that Edmonds had driven into Montgomery, said prosecutor John D. Lalos. Montgomery officers followed Edmonds for longer than an hour. They thought Edmonds was trying to figure out if he was being followed, Lalos said. Apparently satisfied that he wasn’t being tailed, Edmonds parked in the area of Lake Potomac Drive.

Not wanting Edmonds to spot their cars, detectives set out on foot, according to court papers. Using night-vision goggles, they crept through the woods and eventually spotted Edmonds breaking into a car and a SUV. Edmonds — who broke into a house that night — managed to briefly slip away. But the officers found him and arrested him.

Lalos said Edmonds targeted affluent neighborhoods and took pains to hide his crimes.

“When Mr. Edmonds does a break-in, he takes what he can take without any trace,” Lalos said. “He’s got gloves. He’s got a mask. He’s taking a lot of precautions not be caught.”

In a letter he wrote to the court, Edmonds denied any wrong-doing. “I did not break into no body car’s or house’s, the tire mark’s, shoe imprint, did not come frome me. the black mask, screwdriver, plier’s, glove’s, flashlight, are not mind,” Edmonds wrote.

A Montgomery County jury convicted Edmonds of first-degree burglary, possession of burglary tools and other counts. He was sentenced to 20 years for burglary and 13 for the other counts. State officials said he will get his first parole hearing in 10 years.

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh said he intends to charge Edmonds in four break-ins there.

“It’s obviously a scary situation and we’re going to treat it seriously,” Morrogh said.

Staff writer Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.

Post staff writer Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County, Md.
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