Fairfax police think they found serial burglar

Suspected in crimes in Fairfax and Montgomery counties is Brad Edmonds of Prince George's County.
Suspected in crimes in Fairfax and Montgomery counties is Brad Edmonds of Prince George's County. (Montgomery County Police)
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By Tom Jackman and Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, November 19, 2010; 11:46 PM

The same man had managed more than 110 burglaries or attempted break-ins of houses and cars in Fairfax County's most exclusive neighborhoods in less than three months. Residents were scared, and police had few leads.

Surveillance video showed that the man wore a mask and dark clothing and carried a tote bag and a flashlight. No surprises there.

Then, at 4 a.m. one day last week, they encountered Brad K. Edmonds. Police say it was the break they needed.

A McLean resident had called police to report an unfamiliar car parked on the street. An officer followed the blue Oldsmobile Intrigue, pulled it over on a traffic infraction and asked the driver - dressed all in black - what he was doing, according to court records. Visiting a friend off West Ox Road, he replied.

West Ox Road was about 15 miles away. The driver allowed a search of his car, and police found tools used in burglaries and papers with handwritten addresses, which were near some of the burglaries, police said in court documents. The officer took down the information from Edmonds and let him go.

But a Fairfax police task force began following Edmonds, and after officers in Montgomery County watched him break into two vehicles in Potomac early Wednesday, Edmonds was arrested, police said.

Fairfax police think that Edmonds, 34, may be responsible for the streak of similar break-ins, many in the McLean and Fair Oaks areas, that terrified residents starting in late August. Police now estimate that Edmonds was responsible for more than 110 in Fairfax alone, and Montgomery police are checking to see whether he might be linked to other burglaries there.

"I couldn't be happier," said one Fairfax man who lost two pistols from vehicles parked outside his home in September. "I hope that it is the individual and they have enough evidence on him to send him away for a long time."

Edmonds is not charged with any Fairfax crimes yet. But he was charged with 13 counts in Montgomery, including burglary and theft related to his alleged activities this week and for the items police say they found in his Oxon Hill apartment Wednesday. Those included a rifle stolen from a pickup in Potomac overnight Monday.

Also seized from Edmonds's apartment, according to court records, was a Nintendo Wii video game machine, whose serial number showed it was taken from a Clifton home in August.

The streak of burglaries and failed break-ins began Aug. 24 in the Sully area of Fairfax and often involved several homes or vehicles on the same block.

Investigators quickly 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. Homes that had been locked often showed evidence of pry marks. The stolen items were typically purses, wallets or loose cash, and once the money was snatched, the wallets or purses were tossed away nearby.

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