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.