Five members of the elite Marine Corps ceremonial unit here have been arrested by Washington police in connection with two burglaries and two attempted burglaries in upper Northwest Washington.
The men - all released on personal bond pending trial - are lance corporals in the crack 240-member unit that prides itself on its discipline and tough membership standards. The unit is best known for conducting the famed Evening Parade ceremony every Friday during the summer at the Marine Barracks at Eighth and I Streets SE, but it participates in many other ceremonies, including those for state vists at the White House.
Detectives said yesterday they traced the five Marines in part through the distinctive, close-copped military haircuts worn by occupants of a car seen near the scene of the burglaries earlier this month.
Three of the five were arrested last Friday. After the three were questioned by police, the other two men were arrested Tuesday. With the help of Marine authorities, most of an estimated $3,300 in television sets, cameras, jewelry and other items stolen from two homes in upper Northwest were recovered at the Marine Barracks, police said.
Detectives identified the five suspects as George Misko, 21, of Detroit, and Ben Brown, 21, of Greenville, S.C., each charged with two counts of burglary and two counts of attempted burglary, and Peter Ianniccheri, 22, of Charlton, Mass., Brian Kenke, 20, of Milwaukee, and Shawn MacBride, 19, of Washington Tazewell, Ill., each charged with one count of attempted burglary.
Few marines at the barracks yesterday would comment on the arrests, but Capt. Robert Dobson, the barracks public affairs officer said the feeling there was "one of disappointment."
"The barracks realizes when you bring 800 to 900 people [the barracks' total population] together in a big city environment that certain things might happen," Dobson said. "It's extremely unfortunate."
Districk police detective Peter Clifford said the first of the break-ins occurred April 6 at a home in the 4800 block of Albemarle Street NW in the American University Park area, where thieves took a TV set, stereo equipment, a calculator, cameras and jewelry valued at a total of $3,000.
Two days later, Clifford said, thieves broke into a second house nearby in the 3500 block of Yuma Street NW, taking a TV set, an AMFM raido and a camera valued at about $300.
Two attempted break-ins occurred that same day and in the same general area - one in the 4800 block of 44th Steet NW, the other in the 3600 block of Warren Street NW, Clifford said.
When detectives began interviewing neighbors about the break-ins, Clifford said, one witness reported seeing a car on April 6 occupied by several men with crewcuts. Clifford said he surmised the men were probably members of one of the military branches since crewcuts are rarely worn by other men.
The car they were in cruised slowly through an alley in a suspicious manner, the witness told police. He wrote down the car's license number but was unable to read the name of the state where it was issued, Clifford siad. However, the witness did notice the tag had a picture of a tree in its center, Clifford said.
Another witness told police he saw a similar car two days later, and while he did not get the tag number, he noticed the license plate was from South Carolina and bore a palmetto tree in its centre.
Police traced the car through the South Carolina motor vehicle department to Ben Brown of Greenville. The company carrying insurance on Brown's car told detectives Brown was a lance corporal in the Marines Crops, assigned to the Marine Barracks here.
Clifford and detective Daivd J. Roberts then went to authorities at the barracks last Friday and asked to speak to Brown.Brown accompanied the detectives to the police 1st District substation at 500 E St. SE where he was questioned.
On the basis of Brown's statement there, Clifford said, police then summoned Misko from the barracks. Following further questioning, both were then arrested and charged with two counts of burglary and two counts of attempted burglary. Later the day, MacBride was arrested and charged with one count of attempted burglary.
The three were arraigned in D.C. Superior Court Saturday. After more questioning, detectives returned to the barracks Tuesday and arrested Kenke and Ianniccheri, charging each with one count of attempted burglary.