Two Weekend Attempted Robberies Reported in Downtown Bethesda

Groups of men attempted to rob victims in two incidents that occurred Friday night and early Sunday, according to police.

Two attempted robberies were reported over the weekend in downtown Bethesda, according to Capt. David Falcinelli, commander of Montgomery County police's second district.

In each case, a group of men attempted to rob a male victim during nighttime or early morning hours, Falcinelli said.

Neither of the victims reported the incident to police, Falcinelli said.

The first incident occurred around 10 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, Falcinelli said. An employee of a business on Bethesda Lane had just finished his night shift and was walking to the Metro along Woodmont Avenue when three men grabbed him and threw him to the ground, Falcinelli said.

The men attempted to steal his laptop, but the victim fought back and all three suspects fled, Falcinelli said.

In a separate incident over the weekend, a man was leaving Tommy Joe's restaurant on Montgomery Lane around 1 a.m. Sunday when he was accosted on Hampden Lane by a group of five men who demanded money, Falcinelli said.

A fight ensued and the suspects fled without stealing property.

Falcinelli said police learned of the first incident through a community listserv. When police went to the Bethesda Lane business to investigate Monday, they were approached by a citizen who told them about the second incident.

“Here we are following up on something we heard on a listserv, and totally unrelated, a man tells us about another incident,” Falcinelli said.

Falcinelli stressed the importance of citizens reporting crimes as soon as possible to police. A police victim advocate is on hand to provide financial and other assistance to victims of crime, Falcinelli said.

“Where or not we’re able to make an arrest, it’s important for us to know the crime,” Falcinelli said.

The incidents follow another robbery Friday on Battery Lane. According to Falcinelli, a victim was robbed of items he had placed for sale on Craigslist.

Though crimes including residential burglaries and thefts from autos are down from last year in Montgomery County police's second district, robberies are up.

Police have stepped up patrols in Bethesda in response to the robberies and to provide additional patrols during the holiday shopping season, Falcinelli said.

In addition to more police presence near downtown Bethesda, Friendship Heights and Montgomery Mall, about five or six more officers will be on hand during evening hours on certain nights during the week in Bethesda, Falcinelli said.

County Police Community Action Teams are also being deployed to each police district on select nights to provide additional coverage of shopping areas.

“Robberies are a violent crime and they’re certainly a priority for us to do what we can to prevent them and to make arrests for those incidents that have already occurred,” Falcinelli said.

jag December 04, 2012 at 09:17 PM
"Falcinelli stressed the importance of citizens reporting crimes as soon as possible to police." DUH. Come on, people. How can someone just not bother reporting it? Don't be part of the problem.
casie December 04, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Sooooooo glad we allowed that half-way house to open... Funny, that house is RIGHT on Hampden lane and steps from both of these incidences...
Rev. Hef. December 05, 2012 at 06:04 AM
These two make the 10th and 11th assault I at least know in the last year.
jag December 05, 2012 at 06:06 AM
Wow. What a gross person you are. I really hope this is a twisted joke.
Rev. Hef. December 05, 2012 at 06:40 AM
But most of those happened on Battery Lane, not across the street from the Police Station
Native December 05, 2012 at 03:01 PM
It sounds like the police and victims have a communication problem. Victims aren't reporting attempted crimes and we have to ask -- why not? Is it because they don't want to interact with the police because they just came out of a bar and had a few, or just want to get home from work? Is it because it's not usually a good experience dealing with officers who often have an "us against them" paramilitary attitude toward citizens. (Personally, I don't think it helps anyone's attitude having our police dressed in black battle fatigues.) Furthermore, it would be helpful for the police to communicate more about the suspects than "a group of three men." It would be hard to be more vague... Were they old, young, tall, short, white, black, latino? Information has to flow both ways between citizens and those who are supposed to be protecting them from violence. It's a bad situation when groups of criminals are roaming the streets of Bethesda assaulting and robbing people.
Shutton December 05, 2012 at 05:06 PM
uptil I looked at the draft which said $4286, I didn't believe that...my... cousin had been really bringing home money in their spare time from there pretty old laptop.. there sisters neighbour started doing this for only about 1 year and resantly paid the depts on there place and bought a great new Renault 4. we looked here, http://goo.gl/YSTlr
Jim Turner December 06, 2012 at 12:28 PM
I wish that descriptions of the robbers would have been provided. I would like to know who I should be avoiding or watching out for.
PansyAston December 06, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Powers thst be want Bethesda to be "urban". Looks like they are succeeding.....
Native December 06, 2012 at 02:04 PM
As downtown Bethesda has more population density and increasing money and valuables floating around, there will be more criminals around looking to "get paid." Bethesda is where the money is, and the predators follow the money and a low level of getting arrested, beaten, or shot in the process. We need to be more vigilant about locking our doors, not leaving valuables in cars, keeping our purses secure, and not showing cash or valuables on the street. Frankly, from a criminal's POV, Bethesda's no different than DC -- just a few blocks up the street. It's not like VA where a group of attackers might pick an individual victim who is armed and can defend themselves from a violent attack.
jag December 06, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Crime in Bethesda, and across MoCo, has been falling for years. Being educated: try it out sometime.
Native December 06, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Try comparing the latest statistics available year to date for the most recent quarter from the Montgomery County website. Here's thhe overall biggest changes, positive or negative: #1 is the increase in aggravated assaults at +46.2%. The second biggest number is the decrease in murder at -40% (we don't have many murders so the stat is subject to big swings). The third biggest number is the +35.7% in robbery. Being smug and condescending isn't necessarily a sign of "Being educated:"
Corbin Dallas Multipass December 06, 2012 at 08:18 PM
I assume Native was citing from http://www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/poltmpl.asp?url=/content/pol/media/crimestats.asp
jag December 06, 2012 at 08:29 PM
"Try comparing the latest statistics available year to date for the most recent quarter from the Montgomery County website" Are you illiterate? The latest statistics (2012 Q1) show a 6.8 DECREASE in crime in D2 (Bethesda). Thanks for proving my point. Of course we can always do better, but you and PansyAston just trolling and being completely ignorant of facts doesn't help anything.
Native December 06, 2012 at 11:25 PM
The numbers I quoted are correct countywide. I didn't see the table for D2, and you're right that the overall decrease was 6.8% for our district. This overall decrease is largely due to a fortunate decline in murders and rapes, which combined are in the single digits. The type of crime that's the subject of the article we're commenting on is through the roof in D2. Robbery was up by a whopping 88% and aggravated assault was even worse -- up by 111%.
Jim Turner December 06, 2012 at 11:30 PM
I still think that we should focus on the specific events. Even the safest neighborhood can be disrupted by a single troublemaker. We should all be told what the assailants looked like. As a business owner, I see sketchy people all of the time in the back of my store. If they matched a published description, I would know to alert the authorities.
Rev. Hef. December 07, 2012 at 04:46 AM
According to the MoCo Police Chief violent crime in Bethesda has been spiking for the last 16 months. They just don't have the man power to do much about it.
jnrentz1 December 09, 2012 at 09:11 AM
Look outs for criminals should include: race, sex, age, height, weight, hair color and style, clothing, what was obtained, method and direction of escape. Automobile descriptions should include: make, model, color, TAG NUMBER, Direction of escape. I emphasize tag number because many people do not look at the license tag. When giving direction of escape, give compass directions, North, South, East and West. For example, "The suspect fled west on East West Highway." "The blue four door Chevrolet with DC tag XX 1234 was last seen going south on Wisconsin Avenue." Lookouts for criminals should be part of one's first call to the police. Do not wait for the police to arrive to give the initial lookout.


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