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by BethesdaNow.com — October 8, 2012 at 11:20 am 1,088 0

If car thieves in Chevy Chase Village keep succeeding at their current rate, the town will suffer more auto related thefts this year than it has in 25 years.

That’s according to Chevy Chase Village police chief John Fitzgerald, who tonight at the Village’s monthly Board of Managers meeting will propose a police bait car to easily catch those who boost items from cars and deter others from plying their trade in the Village.

“We need a new strategy, and bait car technology will improve our chance of success,” Fitzgerald wrote in a memo to the Board.

The car, which would be donated and is already being held by Montgomery County Police, would include sound and video surveillance equipment, a GPS to track items a thief might take out of the car and a system that would immobilize the car before a thief could drive it across the Washington, D.C. line.

Fitzgerald will ask for $3,800 from this year’s budget to equip and operate the car. Auto insurance company GEICO has pledged $4,000 to sponsor the program and Fitzgerald said he’s kept the cost of the proposal minimal by partnering with MCPD.

The Board set aside $25,000 in this fiscal year’s budget for Crime Fighting Technology.

So far this year, there have been 68 reported thefts from cars in the Village, a 0.4-square-mile residential neighborhood of about 2,000.

That number has already surpassed last year’s total of 67, which itself was an increase of the 2002 to 2007 yearly average of 25 thefts. Local law enforcement officials have long said Chevy Chase is a target for car thieves because of its well known wealth and proximity to D.C.

Fitzgerald wrote the real hope with the bait car is deterrence.

“We know that thieves talk to each other, so the word on the street of bait car-related arrests will serve as a general deterrent to other would-be thieves,” Fitzgerald wrote. “There is no doubt that the thieves who ply their trade in the Village do so in surrounding communities in DC and Maryland; the intelligence we collect by arresting individuals here is extremely valuable to the police agencies in the area.

“We want to reduce the number of theft crimes in the Village and to reduce the number of thieves who come to the Village. We don’t want criminals to spend time here at all; bad things — things other than thefts — might happen when bad people spend time in our community.”

The Board meets tonight (Monday) at Chevy Chase Village Hall (5906 Connecticut Ave.). The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. and the police presentation is slated for 7:50 p.m.

by BethesdaNow.com — October 8, 2012 at 9:30 am 866 0

Police Arrest 16-Year-Old For Capital Crescent Tunnel Mugging — Police on Friday announced they arrested a Rockville 16-year-old for the attempted robbery of two Bethesda 16-year-olds in the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel on Saturday, Sept. 29. Police say the male suspect demanded money and punched one of the victims in the head and the face. [Montgomery County Police]

Tragara Closing, To Be Replaced By 4935 Bar and Kitchen — The 26-year-old Italian restaurant on Cordell Avenue is shutting down because the owner has health problems. Chef Ashish Alfred is taking over. [Bethesda Magazine]

Bethesda Row Cinema Could Add Beer, Wine To Menu — The Landmark Cinema-owned movie theater is applying for an alcohol permit. [Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row]

Bag Tax Revenues Too High, County Might Tweak Rules — With revenues from the county’s nine-month-old bag tax higher than expected, County Council President Roger Berliner discussed the idea of no bag tax at certain types of retailers. [Washington Examiner]

Flickr photo by Bill in DC

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