Next RCHCA Meeting and Response to Recent Car Break-Ins

Due to the recent increase in Covid cases, along with the flu and RSV, the Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association will delay the January RCHCA meeting until spring.  In leu of a January meeting, RCHCA is sponsoring an online lecture and Q&A by Doug Tallamy (author of “Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard”).  Details of the webinar will be provided in the next couple of weeks.

For the next RCHCA Meeting to be held in the spring (date to be announced), RCHCA will request a speaker from Montgomery Count Police discuss Car Break-Ins / Theft. Unfortunately – Car Break-Ins have been a long-standing issue in the county and neighborhood – as can be seen the attached email (attached email is below the signature line) exchange with the Montgomery County Police from 2007.

From the RCHCA List Serve email discussion, the best steps to dissuade Break-Ins are:

  • Lock Your Car and Park your locked car in your driveway
  • Don’t Leave Valuables in Plain Sight In Your Car
  • Motion Sensitive Lights and / or Cameras
    • Please be respectful of your neighbors and don’t leave lights shining into your neighbor’s home or yard all night.

As an FYI – Rock Creek Hills is in the Montgomery County 2D Bethesda Police District – Captain Amy Daum, Commander and here are some very relevant Internet Links

Car Break-Ins are an unacceptable recurring issue in Montgomery County, but we must also help deter these incidents from occurring.



From: [email protected] <[email protected]> On Behalf Of Joe Rosenberg
Sent: Thursday, December 27, 2007 10:37 AM
To: [email protected]
Subject: [rchcanet] Reply from County Police Chief on car break-in/theft problem

Following our multi-association letter to County Executive Leggett on the
growing car break-in/theft problem, a response from the County Police Chief
was received by Adam Pagnucco of Forest Estates Community Association. Adam
initiated the letter (see our website, and my prior email to rchcanet,
below). He has since spoken with the 3rd District Police Commander, and is
now trying to arrange a meeting with the head of the car theft unit. Adam
will be a guest at our Annual Meeting on Saturday evening, January 24, and
would be glad to answer questions about how our initiative is faring.


Letter from County Police Chief Manger:

December 13, 2007

Dear Concerned Civic Association representatives:

This is to acknowledge receipt of your November 19th correspondence sent
collectively on behalf of your respective HOAs whom you represent. Because
the matters about which you wrote fall under the oversight responsibility of
the police department, the County Executive forwarded your letter to our
attention for a direct reply on his behalf in addition to our reply for the
MCPD. I shared your comments with Captain Donald Johnson, Commander of the
3rd District (Silver Spring station), who is aware of your concern over the
recent increase in vehicle-related thefts.

As you have noted, there has been a significant increase in Montgomery
County compared to the same time frame in 2006. This increase has been seen
not only county-wide but also region-wide, which we know because we have
been in communication with our neighboring jurisdictions. We are well aware
of this trend and have been taking steps to address the concerns along with
other crime trends that are occurring in the 3rd District.

You have suggested the utilization of a “bait car” as a means to make
apprehensions and deter crime. MCPD is in possession of a bait car and we
have deployed it on numerous occasions. We have not had a great deal of
success with this program, however, and are analyzing the deployment
strategies to gain more productive results. In the meantime, the “bait car”
will continue to be utilized.

One issue to consider is the vast number of vehicles that exist in the 3rd
District when you consider our resident, business, and commuter population.
This creates a distinct challenge to our agency due to the number of
potential targets that thieves have to choose from. This is one reason why
we will continue with our campaign to have residents lock their doors and
remove valuables. We must make it more difficult for thieves to victimize
our county residents and that will result in fewer victims and a higher
degree of success in apprehending violators. The most recent statistics show
that most victims of vehicle-related crimes have either not secured their
vehicles or have left valuables in plain view. We are by no means blaming
the victims for the crimes-clearly the responsible parties are the
thieves-but instead are just simply trying to heighten awareness and reduce
the easy targets. Beginning next week, we will launch another campaign in
our parking garages to alert residents on the importance of securing their
vehicles and removing valuables.

I would also like to inform you that while these vehicle-related thefts are
certainly a concern, we have to utilize our resources to address the most
significant concern as it relates to safety in general. We are constantly
prioritizing our efforts and I am very pleased with the work of the officers
of the 3rd District. We have been dedicating a great deal of effort towards
the reduction of robberies as that is a crime that will typically increase
during this time of year. In the month of November, there have been 11
apprehensions for robberies, with more arrests and case closures imminent.
In addition, we have recently launched a burglary-suppression detail that
has shown some initial success.

That being said, vehicle-related thefts are a concern as well. Officers have
been kept informed of the rising vehicle-related thefts and have directed
more patrol in the targeted area. We have also worked in conjunction with
the Silver Spring Urban Crew and private security that monitors some of our
parking garages. There have been numerous significant arrests recently; in
fact as I am writing this correspondence, seven different search warrants
have been conducted in and around the 3rd District today. This came as a
direct result of the apprehension of four individuals who have been
responsible for over 100 of these types of offenses in the area.

We have also been in communication with the State’s Attorney’s Office and
the Department of Juvenile Services. We have encouraged stronger sentencing
and detention for the criminals who have been involved, particularly when
they are repeat offenders. Routinely, we will review pawn records and have
follow-up investigations completed when appropriate. I have also assigned my
District gang investigators to determine whether there could be any gang
involvement in these thefts.

I appreciate your concerns and the fact that you are willing to be involved
in your community and make a difference. It is my understanding there will
be a meeting the evening of December 12 at 7:30 at the Westbrook Elementary
School, 5110 Allan Terrace in Bethesda (in the all-purpose room/cafeteria),
with the 3rd District jointly with the 2nd District Commander, Captain Russ
Hamill, to further address the situation. Commander Johnson advised that he
has already spoken with Mr. Adam Pagnucco and provided the information. For
further details on the meeting (in addition to what Commander Johnson
discussed when he spoke with Mr. Pagnucco), please call the 2nd Police
District at 301-652-9200. Also for your information, in addition to our
non-emergency number 301-279-8000, Commander Johnson can be reached at the
3rd District: 301-565-7740.

I hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to contact me in the
future on this or any other matter.


J. Thomas Manger

Chief of Police


From: Joe Rosenberg [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Saturday, November 24, 2007 12:08 AM
To: [email protected]
Subject: RCHCA working with other associations to address car break-in/theft

One of the issues that many Rock Creek Hills residents have expressed
concern over in recent months is that of car break-ins and related thefts.
As many of you know from attending the last RCHCA meeting, this is a type of
crime that has been growing rapidly in this general area and throughout the

In an effort to speak to our elected officials with a strong voice, I have
been in touch with other citizens associations that have similar concerns.
While the police typically suggest locking our cars and removing valuables
from sight, we wanted to request the county to consider more pro-active
programs that have a proven track record for reducing crime. We learned that
many other jurisdictions throughout the country, including Arlington County
VA, have adopted methods such as the “bait-car” program. In this method,
cars are set up with video cameras and sometimes GPS, and are made to appear
easy to steal and/or attractive for break-ins with observable items of
interest to would-be thieves. See <>
for some very interesting video on this type of program in action.

On November, 19, I co-signed a letter with leaders of eight other local
citizens’ association addressed to County Executive Ike Leggett. In the
letter, we requested the adoption of more aggressive measures to reduce this
type of crime, including more patrols and the use of bait-cars. Other
signatories, besides RCHCA include:

* Forest Estates Community Association
* Forest Glen Station Homeowners Association
* Forest Grove Citizens Association
* Kensington Heights Citizens Association
* North Hills of Sligo Creek Civic Association
* Northmont Citizens Association
* South Four Corners Citizens Association
* Woodside Forest Citizens Association

The letter is posted on the RCHCA website, and it may be accessed via the
following link:

As leaders of associations representing about 4400 households, we believe
that this is the type of request that should get our elected leaders
attention. We also believe that it shows the value of having associations
in position to make such requests.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]