An accused burglary suspect testified in a Fairfax courtroom yesterday that he sold so many stolen goods to McLean real estate developer that he "lost track, I had so many transactions with him."
Mark Neal, 28, was the prosecution's key witness in the preliminary hearing of Frank Garland Eubank Jr. who is charged with three felony counts of receiving stolen property. General District Judge Charles S. Dunn later sent Eubank's case to the grand jury.
Neal also testified during the two-hour hearing that Eubank once used a citizens' band radio to alert him that police had staked out an area targeted for burglary, and that Eubank allegedly received goods from two Northern Virginia homes and a business, knowing that the goods were stolen.
Eubank, 50, a member of the McLean Savings and Loan Association's board of directors since the firm's inception 2 1/2 years ago, was arrested at his red and white brick rambler at 1268 Beverly Road last Jan. 25 by Fairfax County police officer Roger Cox.
Authorities found "silver china, crystal, oriental rugs, television sets, radios, swords, a welding torch set, an air compressor and chainsaws" worth $15,000 on the premises, according to police. The items were traced to 45 burglaries committed in the McLean area "in the last several months," said a police spokesman at the time of the arrest.
Eubank, who has since "stepped aside as an active participant, but has not resigned" his position with McLean Savings and Loan, according to an association spokesman, was originally charged with felony counts of receiving stolen goods.
One of the counts was dropped when a witness could not appear. The second was dropped when Prosecutor James F. Hurd failed to get witnesses to agree on the value of a stolen item.
Neal allegedly took part in each of the burglaries and then sold the goods to Eubank at his Beverly Road home. He is awaiting trial on breaking and entering charges related to the thefts.
As Eubank, clad in a blue sports coat, a white turtleneck and alligator-pattern shoes, watched pensively, Neal testified that he and his colleagues sold Eubank "china, chrystal and silver" from the Nov. 11 burglary of a Brookside Road Home. He said the group also sold Eubank a compressor and hydraulic jack taken in August 1978 from an Elizabeth Drive home and a leaf blower removed from a McLean garden store last December.
"He knew (the property) was stolen," Neal testified.He added that, in one of the alleged deals Eubank said, "I like it, but the silver and china cups aren't here."
Neal also said that Eubank told him not to steal from the McLean area and that in late 1979 Eubank used a CB radio and the name "Deacon" to warn him that "police had the Potomac Hills area staked out."
Eubank's defense attorney, Lionel Richmond, disputed the possibility that anyone would openly say such a thing over a public radio channel, and argued that Eubank was unaware that the goods were stolen.
Richmond repeatedly grilled Neal as to whether he and Wendy Cornelius, a woman implicated in the thefts, told Eubank that the property came from "a retired police officer in Maryland." Richmond said Eubank bought the goods under the impression that his sellers honestly needed the money.
Richmond also questioned whether the victims of the thefts, who identified the stolen goods in testimony, could unequivocally state that the items in police photographs were actually theirs. Richmond also attempted unsuccessfully to have each of the counts stricken, claiming witnesses were unsure of the monetary value of the goods.
In an interview shortly after his arrest, Eubank said that "they told me that their family was selling off silverware and china to help pay off medical bills. I trusted them.
"I'm absolutely amazed to know that the goods were stolen," Eubank said.
A grand jury hearing for the case is scheduled May 19.