D.C. police raided a garage in Northeast Washington Thursday and seized 500 pieces of allegedly stolen property, including such unlikely items as two earthmoving tractors worth $40,000 each, a new farm tractor and three air compressors on wheels, D.C. police said yesterday.
There were no arrests. But police say they believe unnamed suspects ran an active fencing operation in the garage in the 2200 block of 14th Street NE and used the earth-moving equipment and compressors in a construction company that was also based at the garage.
Yesterday, police were trying to trace owners of the property, which they said was taken in 100 crimes around the area, most of them burglaries at construction sites or office buildings.
Thursday's raid was the second at the same location. The first was Jan. 27, when, after an undercover investigation, members of the department's Repeat Offenders Project raided the garage and carted away an estimated $100,000 in allegedly stolen goods, including space heaters, power tools, stereo equipment, drills, and calculators.
The next day, they raided a house in the 1300 block of Longfellow Street NW and seized more tools, a Mamiya RB-67 professional camera and other items. A man living at the house was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed gun.
After the first garage raid, officers using the yellow pages called construction companies to get details of equipment lost to theft. On Thursday, officers returned to the garage to seize other things that this follow-up indicated were stolen too, police said.
Among the items seized in Thursday's raid: CB radios, color television sets, power saws, heat pumps, hand tools, gasoline engines, IBM Selectric typewriters, photocopying machines, key-cutting machines, wheelbarrows, trailer hitches and jackhammers.
Police estimated all the raids netted goods worth $250,000 or more.
The farm tractor was stolen from the lot of a Gaithersburg dealership, according to police.
"It was brand new. The only thing it had on it was dust," an officer said. The two earthmovers were almost new, he said.
The property will be presented as evidence before a grand jury. Police said they hoped the jury would issue arrest warrants soon.
Washington Post staff writer Joseph D. Whitaker also contributed to this article.