2nd Man Arrested in Burglary at House Where Lawyer Was Killed

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 6, 2006

D.C. police have made another arrest in a burglary of the Northwest Washington house where prominent lawyer Robert Wone was slain in the summer.

Michael Price, brother of one of the homeowners, was charged last week with breaking into the house nearly three months after the slaying and stealing a plasma television and other high-end electronics.

Hours after the Oct. 30 break-in, police found Price in Montgomery County, allegedly in a stolen car with some of the stolen electronics in the trunk, according to charging papers filed in D.C. Superior Court. A friend of Price's, Phelps Collins, was arrested and charged several weeks ago in the burglary.

Detectives have not drawn a connection between the break-in and the stabbing of Robert Wone on Aug. 2, but homicide detectives have been looking into the burglary in hopes of uncovering potential leads, authorities said. Wone, 32, was stabbed in the chest while visiting friends at the house in the 1500 block of Swann Street NW, on the edge of Dupont Circle. Police have made no arrests in the killing.

Price, 34, and Collins, 36, are charged with burglary. Police said they believe Collins sold some of the stolen items at a pawnshop. Both men were known to use drugs, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.

Reached by phone yesterday, Price declined to comment.

Authorities held off on charging Price, who was arrested Thursday, because he was in jail in Montgomery County on separate charges, according to sources familiar with the incident.

Price was arrested in Silver Spring hours after the break-in, accused of stealing a car belonging to his domestic partner. After the arrest, the partner showed police a collection of electronics in the trunk, which turned out to be stolen from the Swann Street house, according to court papers filed by prosecutors.

Price and Collins allegedly entered the unoccupied house with a key Price had gotten from his brother, Joe Price, according to the charging papers.

Joe Price, a lawyer at a Washington firm and co-owner of the Swann Street house, told police that he had given his brother a key but had not given him permission to enter the house that day or take any items, according to court papers.

After the break-in, detectives went to nearby pawnshops and found the electronics, which led them to Collins, authorities said.

Joe Price and the other co-owner, Victor Zaborsky, were on vacation at the time of the break-in, police have said.

Joe Price, Zaborsky and another man, Dylan Ward, were in the house when Wone was killed, police said. Wone, a lawyer for Radio Free Asia, had worked late that night and was staying at the house instead of going to his home in Oakton.

Staff writer Paul Schwartzman contributed to this report.

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