In response to a series of burglaries in western Loudoun, the county sheriff’s office has scheduled a special community meeting Thursday to inform the public about the crimes, which authorities think might be connected.
The rash of burglaries — five have been reported since October at homes in western Loudoun County and Middleburg, as well as in Fauquier County — led the sheriff’s office to urge Loudoun residents last week to protect their property and report suspicious activity right away.
Sheriff’s detectives will discuss the burglary cases and review crime prevention measures at the meeting, which will be at Banneker Elementary School in Middleburg.
Sheriff Mike Chapman said it was important for members of the community and law enforcement authorities to be on the same page to help solve the crimes. The sheriff’s office will share information with residents, he said, but hopes to gain information from them, as well.
“We try to engage the community as much as we possibly can, because they really are our eyes and ears out there,” he said. “We really need their help and their input, and we want to remind them of some of the safety precautions they can take.”
The first of the burglaries occurred Oct. 23 at a home on Halfway Road in The Plains, in Fauquier, authorities said. Jewelry was stolen from the home.
The next month, another home on the same road was burglarized. This time, silver and cash were taken, authorities said.
Similar burglaries were reported in Loudoun in December. A home on Harmony Church Road in Hamilton was targeted Dec. 5, and a second home was burglarized Dec. 10, authorities said. In both cases, jewelry and silver were stolen.
The most recent incidents were both reported Jan. 17. The first occurred during the afternoon, at a home on Foxcroft Road in Middleburg, the sheriff’s office said. In that case, a glass panel on the front door of the home was damaged, and a firearm, a digital camera and camera equipment were stolen, authorities said.
The incident was similar to another burglary reported the same day, on Watson Road in Middleburg. That burglary also occurred in the afternoon, and targeted jewelry and digital cameras, officials said.
A third break-in was reported on Lime Kiln Road in Leesburg on Jan. 17. A door was damaged, and small electronic items were taken, but authorities said it was unclear whether that case was related to the other burglaries.
The sheriff’s office is working with detectives in Fauquier to determine whether the similar burglaries there might be related, authorities said.
In most of the incidents, the burglaries occurred in the daytime while the residents weren’t home. In response, sheriff’s deputies are conducting additional directed patrols in the area, authorities said.
Chapman said it was uncertain whether the crimes involved one suspect or more. There appear to be consistent patterns in several of the incidents, but the sheriff said he wanted to avoid “jumping to conclusions” about the suspect or suspects’ methods or experience “and possibly honing in on the wrong person or people.”
Chapman said his office was using a variety of tactics to address the burglaries.
“We have two analysts working with Fauquier County to make sure we connect the dots from their burglaries to our burglaries,” he said. “We have our Criminal Investigations Division working it, and patrol units are advised, as well as our Rapid Response Unit. . . . We’re not going to flood the area, but certainly get a lot more presence out there to make sure that we’re not missing anything.”
That additional presence includes both marked and unmarked sheriff’s office vehicles, he said.
As of press time, no confirmed arrests had been made in connection with the burglaries, but the Loudoun sheriff confirmed late Friday that officers were looking for a “person of interest” in the Middleburg area and would issue a reverse-911 call to residents in the area to alert them about the situation.
It was unclear whether the individual was connected to the burglaries, officials said.
The Loudoun sheriff is reminding residents of basic steps they can take to prevent a burglary, including never leaving doors or windows unlocked; activating a security alarm, if available, when not at home; and considering getting a free home security assessment from the Loudoun sheriff’s office.
Residents interested in the free assessment can contact Maj. John Fraga at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Authorities are also reminding Loudoun residents to report any suspicious activity, people or vehicles immediately by calling the sheriff’s office’s 24-hour, non-
emergency line, 703-777-1021.