The Montgomery County Police Department recently got a helping hand from the Army to solve a Potomac crime.
On Jan. 9, the police, acting on information provided by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CID), issued three warrants for individuals believed to be involved with a burglary in the 9500 block of River Road over the Thanksgiving day weekend.
“The Army contacted us that they had information in relation to the burglary,” said Montgomery County Police spokesman Derek Baliles.
“Acting on a tip, our agents found stolen materials and traced it to the alleged burglars,” said CID spokesman Marc Raimondi.
The three men are all members of the Army’s so-called “Old Guard.” The Old Guard, officially the 3rd U.S. Infantry Division, performs ceremonial duties throughout the area and frequently serves as an honor guard. They are the soldiers in dress blue uniforms who maintain a 24-hour vigil at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, for example. It is the oldest active duty infantry unit.
According to Jennifer Lafley, spokesperson for the Military District of Washington, this is the first time in memory that soldiers from this unit have been charged with a crime of this magnitude. Lafley could not comment on the case because it is still under investigation.
Montgomery police arrested Stefan Edward Hill, 19 of Ft. Meyer, Va. The other two men, Christopher Lee and Mark Stewart, were being held by authorities in Fairfax County, Va.
The trio is believed to have committed several burglaries in Virginia, but only one in Potomac. “We believe this is the only case in Montgomery County,” said Baliles
According to Baliles, the police think the three men broke in from the roof. “We believe they made entry to the house through the ventilation system,” Baliles said.
According to Raimondi, some previous media reports alleging the use of night-vision goggles have been incorrect. “I have not seen any evidence that any military equipment or tactics were used,” Raimondi said.
The men are alleged to have stolen cameras, laptop computers, a desktop computer, a watch, a 2001 Mercedes S430 and a 2000 Porsche Boxster, according to Baliles. “We believe that Hill drove Stewart and Lee,” Baliles said.
Hill was charged with first degree burglary, conspiracy to commit first degree burglary, theft over $500, two counts of auto theft and one count of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He has been released on bond.
The other two men have yet to be charged in Montgomery County.