County detectives from the Major Crimes Division are investigating several robberies of Silver Spring & Takoma Park business owners, two of which police believe are related.
Investigators believe that in all of the incidents, the suspects followed the victims from their businesses to their homes to rob them of business proceeds.
According to MCPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti, the following robberies have occurred since January, two of which occurred this week:
- On Thursday, February 18 at approximately 6:08 p.m., officers responded to a residence in the Fairland area of Silver Spring (3rd District) for the report of a robbery that had just occurred. Preliminary investigation has determined that the male and female business owners left their restaurant in Hyattsville (Prince George’s County) and drove to their residence in Fairland. At the residence, two suspects, described as young Hispanic males, exited a dark-colored four-door car and approached the owners. The suspects demanded the female’s purse in Spanish (both owners speak Spanish) and one suspect displayed a knife. The suspects stole the female’s purse that contained the restaurant’s proceeds and fled in their vehicle. This remains an ongoing investigation.
- On Tuesday, February 16, at approximately 8:59 p.m., 4th District officers responded to the report of a robbery that had just occurred in the area of the 1800 block of Briggs Road. The female victim was driving from her carryout restaurant in Silver Spring to her home when she was rear-ended by a vehicle. When she exited her vehicle to check on the damage and occupants of the other vehicle, two males, described as Hispanic, exited the involved-vehicle and threw her to the ground. While one suspect pointed a handgun at the victim, the other suspect went into her vehicle and stole her purse. Her purse contained business proceeds (cash). The suspects fled in a silver SUV. The next day, the vehicle stolen from the first victim (a silver SUV) was recovered unoccupied in the area of the second robbery.
- On February 7, at approximately 11:03 p.m., officers responded to the robbery victim’s restaurant in Takoma Park for the report of a stolen vehicle. During the day, an unknown suspect(s) had stolen her silver SUV which was parked outside of her restaurant. Investigators believe it is probable that the vehicle keys stolen during the robbery were later used to steal the victim’s vehicle.
- On January 7, at approximately 10:57 p.m., officers responded to a residence in the 4th District for the report of a robbery that just had occurred. The female victim, an owner of a takeout restaurant in Takoma Park, arrived at her house and was approached by who she described as three black male suspects. One of the suspects hit her on the head and stole her purse, which included business proceeds (cash) and her vehicle keys. A male witness came to the victim’s aid and one of the suspects pointed a handgun at him and robbed the witness of his wallet. The three suspects then fled in a vehicle.
Sgt. Innocenti said that although the cases seem similar, they have not yet officially linked the February 18 robbery to the others. She also said that in order to protect the victims’ identities, the department is not releasing the names of the businesses.
Anyone with information about these robberies is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at (240) 773- 5070. Tipsters may also call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or submit a Crime Solvers tip online or via the app. Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information provided to them that leads to the arrest and/or indictment of this suspect. Tipsters will remain anonymous.
MCPD also offered the following robbery prevention tips for business owners:
- Employees and employers should remain alert and observant. Take note of suspicious persons or vehicles around the business, especially at opening and closing times.
- Try to have at least two employees open/close the business, especially if it is dark.
- Try to use the most visible entrance to the business and avoid back/secluded entrances when opening/closing the business.
Bank Deposit Procedures
- Do not advertise that you are carrying the bank deposit.
- Make deposits during the daylight hours and go directly to the bank.
- Try not to carry cash out of your business.
- Stay alert and trust your instincts. If you see suspicious people loitering near you or your vehicle do not approach or confront them. Call police.
- Do not always travel the same routes to and from work. Be observant and check often to see if you are being followed. Call the police if necessary.
Graphic courtesy MCPD