Northern Virginia police have reported a substantial increase in burglary, which they say is tied to drug addicts seeking the high grade Iranian heroin reportedly flooding the Washington area.
In Arlington, for example, police made six arrests in the past week and netted $150,000 in stolen goods at three private homes.
"These were local fencing operations run be ex-convicts who are suspected heroin addicts," said Arlington police detective William C. Shelton.
Alexandria police investigator George Branton recalled a recent burglary in which a television and stereo were taken.
"We got his [the suspect's] license plates and notified District police to watch out for him on 14th Street," Branton said referring to the downtown D.C. area notorious for drugs.
"Thirty minutes later they caught him trying to exchange the goods for heroin. All our heroin is coming from D.C."
Last week's Arlington raids were, according to Shelton, in the 2100 block of S. Lowell Street, the 2400 block of S. First Road, and at 2020 s. Langley St., where police say they recovered two truckloads worth of dryers, furniture, radios, television sets, guns, jackhammers anc copper tubing.
Yesterday, 40-year-old James Louis Roberts turned himself in to Arlington police after a burglary squad discovered $80,000 in stolen property at his S. Langley Street home, bringing the total number of arrest to seven. a
During the same time that a surge of undiiluted Iranian heroin became available in the District, placing the low grade "Mexican Mud" variety, Arlington police were grappling with an annual 32 percent increase in thefts largely from commercial establishments, hotels, trucks and warehouses in Fairfax, Prince George's and Arlington counties.
"We were dealing with 1,600 burglaries in the county in 1978," Shelton said. "And that went up above 2,100 thefts in 1979. It has definitely been on the increase."
But the rise in thefts of electronic equipment and other merchandise, which are easily fenced, is apparently confined to the close-in suburbs, police said.
Fairfax County police reported an 8.6 percent rise in burglaries, which police spokesman Warren Carmichael said was largely attributable to increased precious metal thefts from homes in affluent areas.
But in Alexandria, where burglaries are described as the most prevalent crime in the city, authorities also reported 55 indictments against 15 suspects in late 1979 for heroin possession that police said was related to theft of property.
"They've got to have money for their habits, which can run as high as $200 a day, and there a very few people who can make that kind of money legitimately," said an Alexandria burglary investigator.