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Friday, October 16, 2020

Attempted Looting of Saks Fifth Avenue Foiled by County Police 
Covert team of officers arrest 7 in the Village for stealing from cars 

Members of the Montgomery County Police were monitoring protests in DC and learned that a group of protesters was planning to move toward Friendship Heights.  Anticipating the potential for problems, the night commander for the County Police pulled officers from around the county to provide a highly-visible police presence along Western Avenue near Wisconsin Avenue.  

Just before 11:00 p.m. while the officers were in place along the DC line, 20 young people jumped out of several cars in front of the Saks Fifth Avenue store just north of the officers on Wisconsin Avenue.  The group of would-be looters broke a window at the Saks, but they were surprised by the quick response of arriving county officers, and most of the group immediately fled—in cars and on foot—at the sight of the arriving police.  

One suspect who ran away was quickly detained and arrested.  During the foot chase, a county officer lost his personal cell phone.  After the arrest, the officer returned to the area where he thought the phone might be, and he stumbled upon several of the would-be looters who had fled moments prior.  Other officers arrived and dialed the number for the officer’s missing phone, and it lit up and rang inside one of the detained person’s pockets.  That individual was arrested. 

At about 12:30 a.m., a team of plain-clothed county surveillance officers spotted a group of seven young men who were believed to be a part of the group of would-be looters from Saks.  The officers watched the group walk into the Village.  The surveillance officers—in covert vehicles—notified on-duty Village officers and asked our uniformed officers to stay away from the streets on the west side of the Village so that the suspects wouldn’t be spooked by the sight of a police car.

As the surveillance officers watched the group, they witnessed the individuals systematically pulling on car door handles and entering unlocked cars as they walked.  The team of officers arrested all seven individuals.  Five of those arrested were adults, and two were juveniles, all from DC. 

Village Officers Drew Fones and Alex Jenkins were called in to assist the surveillance team once the arrests were made. 

The night commander for the County Police Department made an excellent decision early on to pull officers from around the county to increase staffing along the DC line when he learned of the potential for protests in the area.  That decision—combined with the great work by the responding county officers—undoubtedly prevented a significant amount of crime, property damage and chaos.  We are grateful for our relationship with the County Police and for the excellent work they did in and around our community last night.