They got away with it for awhile — breaking into people's homes, destroying property and stealing walkie talkies, X-Box games and portable DVD players, among other things.
But eventually, Fairfax County police closed in and nabbed the young, teen-age boys they believe are responsible for these crimes that had plagued the Sully District.
"WE'VE EXECUTED four search warrants and obtained petitions for eight juveniles," said Capt. Susan Culin, new commander of the Sully District Police Station. "This will close out a number of burglaries, grand larcenies — including stolen autos — and [property] destruction cases."
Among the crimes, she said, were 30 cases involving BB guns used to shoot out windows and damage Christmas decorations. "Through the search warrants, we've recovered a great deal of stolen property and evidence that will assist us in pursuing the perpetrators [through the court system]," said Culin.
The boys arrested were ages 13-16 and are from Centreville. The break-ins, thefts and acts of vandalism occurred from mid-October until early December. And, said Culin, "None of the [boys'] parents were aware that their kids were sneaking out to commit those crimes."
Police Det. Vicky Armel obtained search warrants Dec. 11 for homes on Summer Pond Drive in Centreville's Centre Ridge community and Midnight Blue Place in Centreville's Fair Crest community. She executed both, last Tuesday, Dec. 14.
She also obtained search warrants Dec. 14 to search residences on Quiet Woods Lane in Fair Lakes' Autumn Woods community and on Fiery Dawn Drive in Fair Crest. These were both executed, last Thursday, Dec. 16. (Centre View is not revealing the suspects' names or exact addresses because they are minors).
At Fiery Dawn Drive and Quiet Woods Lane, the detective hoped to find: Cash; a gold-color, channel-cut diamond ring; keys to a Corvette; a gray metal box with a cylinder combination lock; a yellow portable DVD player; a gold men's watch; the X-Box game "Halo;" a Uniden walkie talkie; a Columbia Walkie Talkie and pry tools including screwdrivers.
At both Midnight Blue Place and Summer Pond Drive, Armel sought: An X-Box game system and 10 X-Box games: "Dance DanceRevolution, Soul Caliber 2, Need for Speed Underground, X-Man, Basketball, Star Wars, Tetris, Halo, Halo 2 and Bloody War Extreme."
SHE ALSO looked for: A gold ring with an emerald-cut sapphire; a gold channel-cut diamond ring; cash; U.S. savings bonds; keys to a Corvette, Mitsubishi Eclipse and a Chrysler Concord; remote vehicle-entry devices for those three cars; a gray metal box with cylinder combination lock and pry tools including screwdrivers.
In her affidavits for search warrants to seek these items at the four homes, Armel wrote that she'd been conducting a criminal investigation of a burglary at a different address on Fiery Dawn Drive. It occurred Dec. 1, during the daytime and, early the next morning, police were dispatched to a suspicious vehicle.
When they arrived, they discovered a 2000 Chrysler Concord, apparently abandoned, after running off the road. The officers contacted the listed owner, who told them that the last time he'd seen the car, it was parked in a parking space near his house.
"When [the owner] began looking through his home, he discovered that someone had pried the metal away from the rear door and gained entry into the house," wrote the detective. "He discovered [that] four sets of keys, several pieces of jewelry and a small metal box containing savings bonds for his children [were] missing."
But that wasn't the only burglary in that neighborhood. On Nov. 30, burglars broke into a home on Sapphire Sky Lane — and the method of entry was similar to the one used at the home on Fiery Dawn. However, in the November incident, the homeowner's son was outside the building.
"He was approached by two male juveniles [who] started a conversation with the son [and] then told him to go get some friends so they could play football," wrote Armel. "The victim's son left the area." When he returned, he discovered that the door leading into the home from the garage had been forced open. "His house had been burglarized." Stolen were an X-Box game system, 10 games and a computer modem.
According to the affidavit, "A concerned citizen reported seeing two male juveniles jumping the fence leading to the rear yard." The victim's son was able to identify the two juveniles who'd approached him and, wrote Armel, the citizen's description matched the description of them given by the son.
A THIRD BURGLARY also occurred on Dec. 1. A home on Purple Dusk Court was entered during daylight through an unlocked, sliding-glass door. Many items were taken, including the wedding ring of the homeowner's mother, credit cards, a cell phone and other pieces of jewelry. Wrote Armel: "All three of the burglary victims live in close proximity to two of the suspects."
Meanwhile, on Dec. 11, the original victim reported that a second vehicle belonging to him, a 1999 Mitsubishi, had been stolen twice since the burglary at his home. It had been swiped, earlier in the week, and then returned a short time later. Police Officer Richard Lear took the report and, the next morning, he located the vehicle near the CVS Pharmacy across from the Pickwick Shopping Center in Centreville.
Five people were in or near the car and, when Lear challenged one of them, two of them fled on foot. Three others remained in the vehicle and were taken into custody. The arrested juveniles were taken to the police station where, according to Armel, they made statements against their own penal interest, "admitting their involvement and identifying" the boy who had driven the stolen vehicle.
Police then arrested him and searched his two, known residences. "During the search[es], numerous items were seized and later identified as belonging to the victims of the burglaries," wrote the detective. "During the [police] interview, [the driver] made statements implicating two other [teen-agers and] admitting his own involvement in the crimes."
On Dec. 14, police executed the search warrants at Midnight Blue Place and Summer Pond Drive. At Midnight Blue, they seized: Four sets of keys, an X-Box, a bong, a credit card belonging to someone else, two walkie talkies, a cell phone, a cable modem, seven X-Box games, three X-Box controllers and four earrings.
At Summer Pond, police seized: The X-Box games "Need for Speed" and "Halo 2," an X-Box game system, one wireless and three wired controllers, a power cord and connector cable.
On Dec. 16, police executed the search warrants at Fiery Dawn Drive and Quiet Woods Lane. From Fiery Dawn, police seized carbon dioxide capsules, two cartons of BBs, a flat-head screwdriver and a Phillips-head screwdriver, a pellet gun, two portable CD players and two photographs. From Quiet Woods, they seized a Columbia walkie talkie, a key, a portable CD player, a letter, a screwdriver and two CDs.
Police charged one boy, 15, with three counts of burglary and five counts of grand larceny. Another 15-year-old and a boy, 14, were each charged with three counts of burglary and four counts of grand larceny. Five others, ages 13-16, were each charged with one count of grand larceny. Four are being held at the Juvenile Detention Center and four were released to their parents.