ROCKVILLE – An arrest was made from a Feb. 26 attempted burglary of a gun store as the county continues to reel at the amount of similar crimes since the start of the year.
Dominique Canty, age 19 of Northeast, Washington, D.C., posted $500 of the $5,000 bond Feb. 28 for charges including the attempted burglary, according to court documents. Police charged him with attempted second-degree burglary with the intent to steal a firearm, fourth-degree burglary using tools, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and theft of between $1,500 and $25,000.
Police wrote in the charging documents Canty helped steal a motor vehicle and assisted in the attempted burglary of United Gun Shop on the 5400 block of Randolph Road in North Bethesda. Canty and another suspect attempted to burgle the store, but when police arrived, they drove off the property in the vehicle and made a few turns before deciding to travel on foot. Police have found not the second suspect.
The owner of the store said he is not worried by the burglary attempt because he added multiple security devices to his store during the last two years.
“They didn’t even try to gain entry in the store,” said the owner, who did not want to give his name as a precaution to becoming a “soft target.” Once the suspects had entered a “zone” in the outside perimeter, contracted services the owner pays to monitor his store alerted MCP about the attempted robbery.
Another attempted burglary occurred at his store Feb. 12 at 1:30 a.m. In both incidents, the security and surveillance equipment “worked perfectly,” the owner said. Prior to the incidents, in March 2017, two suspects broke into United Gun Shop and stole dozens of weapons.
“It’s just sort of weird to have two attempts within a month,” he added.
Sergeant Funyoung Kim of Montgomery County Police said the firearm unit is investigating the attempted burglary of the gun store. The crime is being labeled as “an attempted burglary where suspects (tried) to break in, but luckily they were not able to get in,” Kim said.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will assist Montgomery County Police in its investigation, ATF Spokesperson Amanda Hils confirmed. All firearm distributors are required to have licenses from the federal government.
“ATF is the lead federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction involving firearms and violent crimes, and regulates the firearm industry,” Hils said.
Canty is scheduled for a hearing in District Court for Montgomery County April 1.
The attempted burglary of Union Gun Shop is one of a series of crimes that have happened to businesses and banks in the county during the last three to four months.
Police Spokesperson Officer Rick Goodale said MCP is concerned about all crimes that occur. The number of robberies that occurred during the last few months is not unusual, Goodale added.
“You never know,” Goodale said. “We may go a couple months where we don’t have a bank robbery; we may go two months where we have four.”
However, according to the 2017 Montgomery County Police annual crime and safety report, robberies increased from 689 in 2016 to 735 in 2017. The total number of commercial robberies increased by 68 percent compared to 2016. About 25 percent of commercial robberies were directed toward “pharmacies and narcotics,” an increase from the previous year.
“Are we concerned? Yeah, we’re concerned, but we’re concerned about all crime in Montgomery County,” said MCP Spokesperson Capt. Tom Jordan. “This is another crime, and you know, obviously we don’t want this sort of crime – because it’s so confrontational to result in a violent act. We are treating it with urgency, because we don’t want to have that moment of a violent act occurring with (any) suspect.”
Goodale said Montgomery County Police will likely publish the 2018 crime and safety report later this year, providing more details on the updated number of robberies in the area.
One example of the continuing trend was an armed robbery that occurred in a Germantown CVS Pharmacy, located on 19901 Frederick Road, on Feb. 12. A suspect entered the store, threatened a clerk with a knife and demanded money from the cash register. The suspect left the store with the money. Police posted a surveillance video of the crime on the MCPs website.
Jordan said detectives believe a string of CVS armed robberies occurring between October and January were committed by a single suspect, based on the appearance of the suspect and the procedure the suspect followed in each robbery. All occurred on Sundays between 9:30 p.m. and 10:10 p.m. Goodale said officials have not identified or arrested a suspect in the believed-to-be-connected CVS robberies.
Meanwhile, MCP detectives are investigating three robberies dating back to the beginning of this year at a single SunTrust bank location. Police believe a single suspect completed the three robberies. The SunTrust bank is in a Safeway grocery store located at 14939 Shady Grove Road in Rockville. The robberies reportedly occurred between 3:52 p.m. and 4:55 p.m. also on Sundays. MCP has not identified a suspect so far.
The most high-profile event this year, an attempted bank robbery a BB&T Bank located on the 1100 block of Wayne Avenue in Silver Spring, led to police shooting suspect Mikyas Mehary Tegegne, 31, after a “confrontation.” He was taken to a hospital and died from his injuries.
Police ask people who have information about either the suspect or the robberies in the area to contact the major crimes division at 240-773-5100. They may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery, and if their tip leads either to an arrest and indictment, Crime Solvers will provide an award. Tipsters can reach crime solvers toll free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).