Montgomery County police have arrested a Bethesda man and charged him with using his professional skills as a locksmith to burglarize three homes in Bethesda.
Jeffrey Lynn Laudermilk, 29, who with his father has operated the "Georgetown Locksmith" out of their home at 7505 Old Chester Rd., was first arrested last Dec. 20 after his car was seen leaving a house in the 6700 block of Hillandale Road where a burglary had just taken place.
He was released on $5,000 bond raised by his parents, according to Det. Bernard Forsythe, and investigators subsequently tied him to another burglary in the 6600 block of Hillandale Road that was reported on Dec. 16 in which a television was stolen. Laudermilk was rearrested at his home on Jan. 6 and taken to the Seven Locks Detention Center pending $10,000 bond.
Yesterday, officials issued a third warrant in connection with a Dec. 10 burglary at a residence on Sangamore Court, also in Bethesda, in which a television was stolen. Detectives said the warrant would be served "within the next 24 hours."
Forsythe said Laudermilk had done some earlier work on the locks at the home on Sangamore Court, and officials said he had done some work in the Hillandale area before those burglaries.
Between Dec. 10 and Dec. 20 police records show eight burglaries in Bethesda in which there were no signs of forcible entry, and in which the burglar either got a television or nothing at all. Police said they have charged Laudermilk with burglary in three of those eight cases.
Laudermilk's initial arrest came the morning of Dec. 20. The occupant of the house on the 6700 block of Hillandale Road was late leaving for work and was reluctant to answer her downstairs doorbell lest she be further delayed. When the bell stopped ringing, the woman heard what sounded like her door unlocking. She went downstairs and through a window saw a man approaching the front door from a car parked in front of her house.
Moments later, her front door, which she remembered locking, opened, and a man walked in.
The woman chased the intruder out of her house and phoned the police. She saw the man enter the parked car and drive away. She took down the license plate number, which police said they traced the same day to Laudermilk.
Police said they tied Laudermilk to the Dec. 16 robbery through fingerprints found on a television at the house. They would not say how they linked him to the Dec. 10 incident.
Picks and passkeys are considered common equipment for locksmiths. "They have any number of ways to bypass locks," an officer said.