It's not every day the Fairfax County police go through people's trash or seize Reese's Peanut Butter Cups wrappers for evidence. But that's what happened when a Chantilly woman accused her next-door neighbors of breaking into her mobile home and stealing her belongings.
As a result, police charged the neighbors, Marcia Kim Fitzgerald and Kenneth Dean Miller, with one count each of breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony.
The alleged incident occurred in the Dulles Meadows community, off Route 50 west. And in a Nov. 17 affidavit for a warrant to search the double-wide trailer Fitzgerald, 46, and Miller, 38, shared at in the 14500 block of Iberia Circle, police Det. Mitchell Motafches presented details of the case against them.
MOTAFCHES, with the Sully District Station's Criminal Investigations Section, spoke with the woman making the complaint. (Centre View is not revealing her identity because she is a victim).
He wrote that, on Nov. 15, someone broke the window on the side door of her home and entered the premises while she was at work. Taken were a camera, jewelry, a computer, DVD player, food, drinks, old coins, a toaster, tools and numerous other items.
Almost all the food in the freezer and refrigerator was pilfered. And, apparently knowing the value of good hygiene, the sticky-fingered intruders also snatched items such as paper towels, toilet paper and soap.
"The only known suspects are her next-door neighbors," wrote Motafches. "[Their] home has two occupants, Marcia Kim Fitzgerald and Kenneth Dean Miller, and they are in the process of being evicted. The home has no electrical power. The victim stated that both suspects are unemployed and would have need for all of the items taken."
On Nov. 17, Motafches and another detective, Vicky Armel, went to the victim's home and obtained a detailed list of the stolen items. The woman told them that Miller had just taken their trash can to the street. "I then went to the suspects' home while Det. Armel placed the trash from the trash can into a trash bag," wrote Motafches. "She then locked the trash in the trunk of my undercover police car."
Afterward, Motafches and Armel went inside Fitzgerald and Miller's home and told them about the burglary. "They stated they were in the process of moving and most of their property is in storage," wrote Motafches. "They said they were victims of a burglary a few months ago and proceeded to show us where items were stolen from inside the trailer."
Motafches stated that none of the items from the neighbor's burglary were in plain view. However, he noted that Fitzgerald and Miller had both been previously arrested for narcotics violations and both had been charged, Oct. 16, with felony possession of a controlled drug.
Upon returning to the police station, wrote the detective, the trash taken from the suspects' home was examined. "Numerous items were located in the trash that matched property missing from the victim's home," he wrote. "One of the items was a receipt for jewelry from Zales at Fair Oaks Mall. The receipt included the victim's name and signature."
OTHER TRASH items that matched the victim's property, wrote Motafches, were as follows: "Empty containers of Oscar Mayer shaved turkey breast deli meat, Quaker Oatmeal Express, Food Lion chicken gravy mix, McCormick turkey gravy mix, Zatarain's red-bean seasoning mix, Utz potato chips packages, Capri Ultra Lights cigarette boxes, Kool-Aid cherry flavor, Smithfield bacon, Giant wheat bread, Fritos corn chips, Kit Kat bars, Almond Joy bars, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup bars, Bob Evans sausage, prescription cough-medicine bottle, empty 12-ounce cans of Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew, empty 12-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola, and an empty 10-ounce bottle of Schweppes ginger ale."
The detective wrote that "all of these items together — showing multiple brand names, flavors and sizes — indicate insurmountable evidence that would defy any odds of the suspects buying the exact same items."
Furthermore, he added, "Also in the trash were mail and papers showing the names of Fitzgerald and Miller. In addition, there were empty containers with what appeared to be drug residue. The containers were field-tested by [a street-crimes detective] and [allegedly] tested positive for cocaine and marijuana."
Therefore, wrote Motafches, "There is probable cause to believe that the suspects stole the above-described property, consumed some of the food and drinks and then threw away the empty containers. [And] the receipt belonging to the victim clearly links the burglary at [her home] to the suspects [next door]."
HE THEN listed a multitude of items, ranging from the every-day to the expensive, that he wanted to look for in the suspects' mobile home. They included: A DVD player, batteries, shampoo and conditioner, Charmin toilet paper, Martha Stewart bath towels, Irish Spring bath soap (four bars taken out of a pack of 14), a color monitor, an Intel Pentium processor, an ethernet adapter, a Vivitar digital camera, a Lexmark color copier, several specific items of computer hardware and software, a TV tuner, briefcase, power screwdriver, label maker, Fuji and Bell cameras, a jigsaw, $50 in coins, an antique .22-caliber handgun and a box of bullets.
Motafches also hoped to find: Pearl necklaces and earrings, pearl-and- diamond earrings, a pearl bracelet, an opal-and-diamond bracelet, several pins and brooches, an extensive array of both silver and gold jewelry, coin collections and wedding and engagement rings. He also sought: A toaster, George Foreman grill, pork chops, packages of chicken legs and breasts, sirloin steaks, a ham steak, a box of breaded shrimp, hot dogs, various varieties of frozen vegetables, frozen French fries and Tater Tots, deli meats, specific cans and bottles of soda, Bumblebee tuna and Kraft Miracle Whip.
Motafches also sought to find any drugs, paraphernalia or documents related to them. Police executed the warrant on Nov. 17 and seized a cigarette case with the victim's initials, batteries, two Kit Kat bars, one Reese's Peanut Butter Cups wrapper, prescription drugs and a prescription sticker for methadone.
Following their Nov. 18 arrests, Fitzgerald and Miller were held in the Adult Detention Center on $10,000 bond each. They have Jan. 9 court dates.