This Week in Potomac 11-9-05

This Week in Potomac 11-9-05


Two men with guns stole money from an automated teller machine at the Bank of America in Potomac Village while it was being serviced by a technician last month.

They escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash.

On Oct. 17, at 9:15 p.m., police officers responded to the bank on Falls Road in Potomac for the report of a robbery. Police gave the following report of the incident:

The ATM was being serviced by a technician, when two suspects, both displaying guns, approached the technician and ordered him to the ground. After he complied, one suspect stood watch while the other removed cash from the ATM. The suspects fled the scene in a minivan.

Shortly after the robbery was reported, the van was recovered, engulfed in flames, in the 10500 block of Democracy Boulevard in Bethesda. Officers discovered that the minivan had been reported stolen from Prince George’s County on Sept. 30, 2005.

"It appears to have been torched. They made some effort to conceal any evidence that might be in there," said officer Derek Baliles, a Montgomery County Police spokesman. "Every stolen vehicle may be the first step of a crime. Only the dumb guys drive their own cars to a bank robbery."

Baliles said like most bank robberies, the Potomac robbery was likely planned in advance.

"In most robberies, some preparation goes into it. It's not just, 'Where is my gun?'" he said.

Still, Baliles said, ATM robberies are rare, in part because the machines are designed with sophisticated security systems and the fact that the crime occurred in Potomac was probably incidental to other considerations in the suspects' planning.

"This kind of crime could have happened anywhere," Baliles said.

Both robbers are described as males of unknown ethnicity in their 20s, 5-feet-8 to 5-feet-9 inches tall, and each weighing 160 pounds. They were wearing black clothing and black ski masks, and displaying dark-colored semi-automatic handguns.

"We had some possible suspects at the time, some very strong suspects," said Derek Baliles, a police spokesman. "Those leads have since been exhausted."

Anyone who has information about this incident is asked to call the Major Crimes Division – Robbery Section at 240-773-5100. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 866-411-TIPS. Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information provided to them that leads to an arrest or indictment of the suspects.


Thomas W. Pyle Middle School has been named one of six Maryland No Child Left Behind/Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence for 2005-2006 by the Maryland State Department of Education.

Pyle will now go on to compete in the U.S. Department of Education No Child Left Behind- Blue Ribbon Schools Program.

Pyle was selected because it scored in the top 10 percent of all Maryland middle schools on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) in mathematics, reading, or related language arts areas for at least three years.

"We have a staff that I'm really proud of,” Principal Michael Zarchin said. “It's nice they are recognized for what they do day in and day out, and for the extra support they provide.”

During the 2004-2005 school year, 91.1 percent of Pyle students were proficient on the mathematics section of the MSA, and 95.7 percent were proficient on the reading section.

African American students went from 30 percent proficient in math in 2003 to 57 percent in 2004 to almost 66 percent in 2005.

The Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools will be honored at a March 13 banquet in Annapolis and will be recognized by the Maryland General Assembly.


Child care professionals are invited to attend "Communicating Success to Children," an educational workshop, Saturday, Nov. 19.

The workshop will teach participants to assess and respond to common behavior problems that occur among children interacting in child care settings.

Participants will earn three contact hours in child development. Instructor Rob Guttenberg is trained in Adlerain psychology.

The workshop will be held at the Montgomery County Child Care Resource & Referral Center, 332 West Edmonston Drive, Rockville from 9 a.m.-noon. The cost is $40. To register, contact Rob Guttenberg at 301-365-9156 or


U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-8th) will host a public forum to discuss the Medicare program, including the prescription drug benefit that will take effect Nov. 15.

The forum will be Tuesday, Nov. 1, 9:30-11 a.m. at the Rockville Senior Center, 1150 Carnation Drive. Experts from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will discuss new benefit and respond to questions from the audience.

Call 301-424-3501.


The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission announced plans Monday to expand its managed deer hunt program.

New hunt locations include the Serpentine Barrens Conservation Park and Muddy Branch Stream Valley Park in Potomac as well as the Dry Seneca Stream Valley Park in Poolesville, portions of the Great Seneca Stream Valley Park and North Germantown Greenway Park in Goshen.

This decision follows recommendations from an inter-agency work group commissioned to help reduce deer-related traffic accidents and other negative impacts.

Hunts in Potomac will take place at the Serpentine Barrens and Muddy Branch Parks, and Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (an existing hunt location) Tuesdays Nov. 8 and 22 and Dec. 13.

The parks will be closed from sunrise until sunset those days, and closure notices will be posted.

For more information, visit or call the Commission’s deer information hotline at 301-495-3585.