A District man who was shot and wounded by Montgomery County police was charged yesterday with the burglary of a house in the affluent Fort Sumner area of Bethesda. Montgomery County police said the man was being investigated in connection with more than 30 other burglaries there in recent months.
Police said James O. Wynn, 38, was shot in the chest Saturday night after he reached for a revolver under his coat when two officers stopped to question him about a leather shoulder satchel he was carrying.
Police were in the neighborhood on a stakeout in response to a wave of burglaries that has caused tension in the area since September.
Police spokesman Sgt. Harry Geehreng said two officers had seen Wynn earlier in the evening and he was not carrying the shoulder bag.
Police said Wynn, who was shot at about 9 p.m. in the 5100 block of Nahant Street, was brought to Suburban Hospital, where he underwent surgery early yesterday. Hospital officials said Wynn was in critical but stable condition yesterday.
The bag Wynn was carrying contained silver, jewelry, a second gun and collector's currency, police said. Geehreng said the items later were identified by an area resident who reported a burglary.
Wynn was charged with only one count of burglary, but Geehreng said Wynn was being investigated in connection with 37 burglaries.
Geehreng said there had been about 60 burglaries in Bethesda since the fall and that 37 of them had similar characteristics. He would not state the similarities, but one resident said police had said in community meetings that the burglaries typically occurred around the same time and that jewelry, silver and money appeared to be the items of primary interest.
The resident, who asked not to be identified, said the burglaries were the topic of conversation and she had noticed several new lawn signs warning of security systems in the neighborhood.
"I really hope they've caught him," she said. "It's made everyone really nervous."