3 facing charges in 'garage door' burglary cases


Howard County detectives say they will charge two men and a juvenile arrested in Prince George's County last week with a string of eight garage burglaries in the Columbia area this year.

Sgt. Steve Keller, a Howard police spokesman, said officers applied for warrants charging Larry Eugene Smith, 22, Rodney Lee Smith, 28, and a 17-year-old Odenton boy with 10 counts of burglary, 11 counts of theft and one count of destruction of property and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Howard police are investigating whether the suspects may have committed as many as 20 such crimes in Howard County dating back to October, Sergeant Keller said.

Prince George's police say they made the arrests last Wednesday based on evidence collected in a Crofton car theft investigation.

The three are suspected in as many as 70 crimes in four jurisdictions. They are charged with nine crimes in Anne Arundel County from early December to Feb. 21 and are suspects in 20 crimes in Prince George's County and nine in Montgomery County, said Detective Edward Bergin of the Anne Arundel County police department.

Larry Smith is being held at the Prince George's County Detention Center on $15,000 bond on a burglary charge and an additional $1,000 bond for tampering with an automobile; Rodney Smith is being held on $75,000 bond, a spokeswoman for the facility said yesterday. The youth is being held at Boys Village in Cheltenham, police said.

"We had been investigating them and getting leads," Sergeant Keller said. "But then they moved on to other areas."

In the "garage door" burglaries in the four counties, intruders would enter unlocked garages or get garage openers from unlocked cars in the driveways. If the garages and cars were locked, the thieves would break into cars to get devices with which to open garage doors.

Once in garages, the thieves would enter the houses and steal purses and wallets, Detective Bergin said. In some instances they stole cars after getting the keys from inside houses. Detective Bergin said Prince George's police arrested both men on outstanding warrants and that he will apply for warrants today charging them and the juvenile with three burglaries and a car theft.

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