A pickup truck stuck in the mud and a suspicious neighbor led to the arrest of three people suspected of breaking into a Clifton home and stealing a slew of expensive jewelry.
Charged with two counts each of burglary and grand larceny are Darryl Paul Fagan, 24, of 5900 block of Wescott Hills Way, Alexandria, and Michael Alan Nevitt, 24, of 1500 Tyler Circle. Woodbridge. Charged with one count each of those offenses is David Jacob Sweeney, 21, of the same Woodbridge address.
Fairfax County Police Det. Michael Motafches, of the Sully District Station's Criminal Investigations Section, presented details of the case against them in Jan. 25 affidavits for warrants to search Fagan's home and vehicle for possible evidence.
He wrote that, on Dec. 1, between 6:15 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., someone broke into the house of a Clifton couple on Winding Creek Court, while no one was home, and made off with jewelry from the master bedroom.
Several pieces of jewelry were taken from a jewelry case, including the woman's $8,000 engagement ring engraved with her initials and wedding date. But at that time, police had no suspects or specific leads to follow up.
Motafches began investigating Dec. 4 and spoke to one of the neighbors. She told him that, on the day of the burglary, between 2-2:30 p.m., she'd seen a vehicle stuck in the mud on her property, across the street from the home that was burglarized.
"She observed two young males in a dark-colored pickup truck," he wrote. "She was concerned about the damage to her grass and flower bed, so she spoke to them. One of them said his name was Paul, and they offered to come back to rake and reseed her grass."
According to the neighbor, they told her they got stuck in the mud while turning around due to a road closure on Henderson Road because of a fire. And she verified that the road was closed at that time — but it was due to a downed power line. Their story didn't ring true to her, and she also became suspicious for another reason.
"She thought the angle [in] which the vehicle had pulled onto her property was very odd and did not match someone attempting to make a U-turn," wrote Motafches. "She copied down the vehicle tag number."
A CHECK with the Virginia DMV revealed that license plate was for a 2006 black Chevrolet pickup truck registered to Fagan.
"The vehicle description and the middle name 'Paul' matched the information given by the neighbor," wrote the detective.
On Jan. 3, Motafches went to Fagan's home to question him regarding the burglary.
In addition, Motafches ran checks on Fagan, Nevitt and Sweeney via various police and DMV databases. Using a regional pawn database, he found that Sweeney had sold some jewelry at Woodbridge Gold & Jewelry Exchange, he wrote.
The female victim then went to the business to view the jewelry and, wrote the detective, "she identified all five pieces as her jewelry which was stolen in the burglary. Her engagement ring with the initials and wedding date inscribed on it was one of the rings recovered. I picked up the identified jewelry and retained it as evidence."
* On Jan. 23, police charged Sweeney with burglary and grand larceny and arrested him. They also executed a search warrant at his home, and none of the stolen items were found there.
* On Jan. 24, Fagan and Nevitt were both charged with burglary and grand larceny, and police arrested each one at their homes.
* On Jan. 25, police executed a search warrant at Fagan's home, and none of the stolen property was located there, either. His truck was then impounded and towed to the Fair Oaks District Station.
Following their arrests, Fagan and Sweeney were both released from the Adult Detention Center on personal-recognizance bonds, and Nevitt was released on $12,000 bond. Sweeney has an April 4 court date, and Fagan and Nevitt are both slated to appear in court on April 18.