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Second District Commander: Two Trail Assaults May Be Linked

Police are investigating whether a juvenile arrested in a Sept. 29 assault in the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel is linked to a similar assault July 20.

Two of the three recent attacks in the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel may be linked, according to Montgomery County police, and investigators have made two arrests in a July 6 tunnel assault thought to be unrelated.

On Oct. 4, county police arrested a juvenile male in a Sept. 29 assault and attempted robbery in the tunnel during which a boy was approached by a group of teens and punched in the head and face, Patch reported.

Police say that case may be linked to a July 20 tunnel robbery during which a victim was assaulted by a group of four teens and punched in the face, according to Capt. David Falcinelli, commander of county police’s second district.

"We believe the Sept. 29 and the July 20 incidents are linked in some manner and we're following up on that," Falcinelli said.

Police also have arrested two juvenile males in a July 6 tunnel assault, during which two suspects, one brandishing a knife, approached a victim and demanded his backpack. The suspects punched the victim in the face when he refused to turn over the bag, Patch reported.

Police believe the July 6 incident isn’t connected to the July 20 and Sept. 29 incidents, Falcinelli said. However, Falcinelli said police now believe that those responsible for all three assaults have been identified.

“We believe the people responsible for the assault and the robberies have been arrested,” Falcinelli said.

Officials are stepping up evening patrols on the trail using central business district bike patrol officers, off-duty officers from the Town of Chevy Chase and members of the Bethesda Urban Partnership, Falcinelli said.

“It’s an unusual place to have a crime because you’re sort of boxed in there when you do it,” Falcinelli said. “But there is a blind spot in the tunnel.”

Officials are discussing ways to improve safety on the trail, including potentially looking at more lighting in the tunnel, Falcinelli said.

“We’ve made some arrests and increased patrols, and that’s the first step here,” Falcinelli said. “The next stage is maybe to take a look at the lighting.”

Falcinelli encouraged trail users to practice common-sense safety precautions and to contact police if they notice any unusual activity.

What do you think is the best way to improve safety on the Capital Crescent Trail? Have you been more concerned about trail safety following the robberies and assaults? Tell us in the comments.

Fletcher Jones October 10, 2012 at 09:17 PM
For the tunnel specifically perhaps video surveillance could be installed.
Lisa b October 10, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Any description of the juvenile males? Especially the ones who were not arrested?
Greg Drury October 11, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Camera's linked live to police station and/or video taped to use for future identification to aid arrest, find leads/witensses and for use in criminal prosecution.
Thomas Robertson October 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM
CCTV is the way to go!
G October 14, 2012 at 01:17 PM
All it takes is for one person assaulted that has a gun to take action. When the story becomes "thug shot while attempting a robbery in the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel" then these punks will be nowhere to be found. Let's also get the police out of their cars and either walking or on bikes instead of girl watching at Bethesda Row.
sean garcia December 03, 2012 at 06:08 PM
noon

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