A ring of burglars is suspected of breaking into at least 50 shops in Loudoun, Fairfax and Arlington counties in October in an unusual string of crimes that spans several jurisdictions, according to police.

Most of the activity took place in a "frenzy" of thefts in mid-October, police said. But police say they believe the same group took $60,000 worth of computer equipment in August from a defunct company in Herndon.

Police think five people may be involved in the ring. Two arrests have been made in connection with some of the burglaries, they said.

The value of all the goods stolen during the two months is more than $100,000, police said.

In targeting places as diverse as a carpet store in Sterling, a country club in Reston and an Asian deli in Falls Church, the group's signature style was to smash a glass door with a rock or brick to gain entrance, police said.

Five departments, including those in Herndon and Falls Church, are investigating the "smash and grab" incidents.

"This is really spread out," said Sgt. Keith Stiles, of Herndon. "I think it {the burglars' activity} has recently escalated to nearly a frenzy."

Loudoun sheriff's deputies said 14 thefts in shops near Sterling Boulevard were the biggest spurt of burglaries they had seen in more than a decade. About $5,000 in cash and goods was stolen, said Deputy Carol Showalter.

Herndon police say they believe 18 burglaries were committed by the same group near the borders of Sterling and Reston. They estimate losses of $25,000 to $30,000.

Other police are investigating 10 burglaries in Reston, eight on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington and four on West Broad Street in Falls Church.

The burglars usually worked late at night or early in the morning, police said. They often entered a shop or restaurant, rifled through a cash register and left within a couple minutes, police said.

Sometimes they took the cash register itself, and sometimes they dropped goods outside the shops, police said. In one case, a cash register from a Fairfax store was found in a Falls Church cemetery.

Police from several departments speculate that a search for money to buy drugs is the most likely motive for the burglaries.

"I now tell victims that 100 percent of the crime is drug-related," said Arlington Detective Barry Laravie. The Arlington thefts amounted to more than $5,000, he said.

Alonzo D. Tillman, 23, of the 2100 block of Greenskeeper Court in Reston, was charged Oct. 24 with six counts by Herndon and Fairfax police, including possession of stolen property, burglary and larceny.

Tillman was arrested by Herndon police after they spotted him riding a bicycle allegedly stolen from a Sterling bike shop.

John Gorman, 55, of the same address on Greenskeeper Court, was charged Thursday with the Aug. 25 burglary of a former computer store in Herndon.

Police charged Gorman after they recovered computer equipment Wednesday from a self-storage bin on Victory Drive in Herndon.