Details Emerge in Brazen Germantown Burglary Spree
Police say men broke in while families slept.
A Gaithersburg couple awoke early Wednesday to the sound of their Toyota Camry driving away from their home by burglars -- one of a rash of break-ins in upper Montgomery County neighborhoods in the past three months, records filed in District Court allege.
The burglars, police said, had cut the window screen into their bedroom and removed items as they and their baby slept. Their wallets, a State Department ID, a Louis Vuitton purse that contained the car keys, and an iPhone were missing.
According to police, the incident was among more than 20 reported since April in neighborhoods throughout the Montgomery County Police Department’s 5th District, which includes Germantown, and parts of Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village.
Documents filed in Montgomery County District Court present a chain of events that prosecutors said led to charges against four men.
Here is the timeline outlined in court records:
Montgomery County Police report a rash of burglaries, several car thefts and thefts from vehicles throughout Germantown. Many of the incidents occurred while residents were inside the homes, police said. One of the suspects was caught on tape.
Friday, June 15
Police arrested Demarco James Burke, 20, of no fixed address, in a Hyundai Sonata that had been reported stolen from a Germantown couple days before. Police said a second man, Marcus Antonio Lee, 20, of no fixed address, tried to elude officers.
Burke, Montgomery County police said, told detectives he got a ride in the Sonata from a man named “Bad Ass” and gave a physical description that matched Lee.
Police said that both Burke and Lee had relatives who lived in the same neighborhood as the residence in which the Sonata was reported missing.
Detectives also said they identified Lee from cell phone records and surveillance footage of Burke and Lee together at a Washington, DC, gas station prior to Burke’s arrest.
Tuesday, June 19
Montgomery County police responded to reports of stolen electronics, video games, credit cards and two vehicles from two homes in Germantown. Police said they found the vehicles near the 18400 block of Stone Hollow Road, where Lee was said to be staying.
The same day, police alleged they watched Lee take a bus to Lakeforest Mall, where he tried to sell electronic devices from a backpack. He reportedly met with Travis D. Forbes, 18, of Montgomery Village, and they both went to a nearby GameStop to sell video games, which police alleged were stolen.
The two then met with a 17-year-old, whose name was withheld because he is a minor, and they proceeded to allegedly steal bicycles and try to break into a home at 17600 Towncrest Drive, but were scared away by the homeowner, documents showed. The bikes were dumped in a wooded area off Towncrest Drive.
Wednesday, June 20
Montgomery County police found Forbes and the 17-year-old in the Toyota outside a Germantown 7-Eleven around 3 a.m. Wednesday, nearly an hour after Gaithersburg City police responded to the burglary at a couple’s home at Hidden Field Drive.
Forbes and the teen reportedly told police that the person who drove the car, Lee, was in the 7-Eleven bathroom. Lee escaped, but was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon at a home in the 18400 block of Stone Hollow Drive in Germantown.
Thursday, June 21
Lee and Forbes appeared via closed-circuit television for a bond review hearing in Montgomery County District Court on Thursday.
Forbes was charged with first-degree burglary, unlawfully taking a vehicle, theft, unlawfully taking property and related conspiracy charges.
The judge reduced his bail from $25,000 to $5,000.
For Lee, who faced similar charges, the judge increased the bail from $25,000 to $50,000.
On Thursday, Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Chaikin called Lee the mastermind of the burglary spree, calling him a “one-man crime wave.”
Lee has denied any involvement, court records state.
“I was getting my life back together,” Lee told the judge during a bail review hearing Thursday. "I was about to get a job but I lost my ID. “
Lee said he wished the court wouldn’t be hard on him.
“I have a life, too,” Lee said. “Even though people do bad things in life, I do deserve a smaller bond or, if possible, I can at least show you guys something out there on the street.”