LCSO Warns: Lock Vehicles, Remove Garage Door Openers

LCSO Warns: Lock Vehicles, Remove Garage Door Openers

There were three more reports Oct. 18 of burglary involving garage door openers that fit a pattern, prompting the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office to issue a warning to residents to be on guard.

More than a dozen incidents have been reported in the past weeks about people gaining access to vehicles and stealing and/or using garage door openers. The people gain access to the garage or even the home if the inside entry door is unlocked and several thefts have been reported.
In light of these recent cases, LCSO is asking residents to close garage doors when they are not outside, lock their vehicles and even remove garage door openers when they go into their homes – especially overnight.

“Securing your windows and doors will greatly reduce the opportunity for a burglar to enter your home,” Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said. “We encourage residents to remain vigilant and report all suspicious activity immediately.”

Over the weekend of Oct. 13 through 15, there were at least five burglaries reported that fit the pattern – mostly in Sterling and Ashburn. The residents were home during the burglaries and the suspects gained entry through an exterior garage door and an unlocked interior garage door. In all of the cases it appears the suspects used a garage door opener from unlocked cars parked in a driveway to gain access to the homes.

At midnight Oct. 18, a resident on the 46800 block of Backwater Drive in Sterling reported hearing their garage door open but thought it was another resident of the home. They later realized their vehicle had been entered and the garage door opener was missing. The garage door to the inside of the home was locked and nothing was reported missing from the garage.

About the same time, a resident on the 46900 block of Seneca Ridge Drive in Sterling discovered that three of their vehicles parked in their driveway had been entered. A garage door opener and some change were missing from one of the vehicles, and a purse and a wallet were taken from inside the home.

Almost simultaneously, a resident on the 46700 block of Vermont Maple Terrace in Sterling reported that someone had entered their home and a purse and a iPad were taken. The person’s garage door opener was missing from their unlocked vehicle.

In one case that was reported about 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 13, a resident on Woodmere Court was awakened by a dog barking and observed an unknown male inside their home. The subject was described as a light-skinned black or dark-skinned Hispanic male, approximately 6-feet tall, with a thin build and dark hair. He was wearing a baseball hat, khaki colored pants and may have been wearing gloves. The suspect fled out a door.  The victim contacted authorities a short time later. The area was searched but no suspect was located. The suspect appears to have gained entry into the home by using a garage door opener from inside the victim’s vehicle which was parked in the driveway. Nothing was reported missing from the home or the vehicle.

A resident on the 47000 block of Garrett Place in Sterling reported that at 2:35 a.m. Oct. 17, they heard a garage door opening and saw a man wearing a white baseball cap leaving their garage on their daughter’s mountain bike. Another resident on the 47000 block of Bainbridge Place in Sterling reported that between midnight and 4 a.m., someone rummaged through and stole items from their vehicles.

Another burglary was reported around 3:26 a.m. on Oct. 13 on Ashmere Square when a resident was alerted to a door alarm inside their home. A garage door was found partially ajar and someone had used a garage door opener inside the victim’s vehicle to open the garage. Nothing was missing from the home. A resident on Glenmere Square reported around 4 a.m. they were awakened by a noise and saw an SUV backing out of a parking space outside of their home on Glenmere Square. They said their garage door was open and items were taken from inside the home.

That same night, on Hampshire Station Drive, a resident reported someone had entered unlocked vehicles and used a garage door opener to open the garage and access the home. A work bag containing a wallet and keys were taken from the home.

Another resident on the 300 block of Sugarland Run Drive reported their garage door opener had been stolen overnight on Oct. 13. A witness reported seeing a white male sitting in the victim’s car about 3 a.m.

A similar incident was reported Oct. 15 on Cedarhurst Drive. Someone entered a vehicle parked outside the home to gain entry into a garage. Inside the home a purse was stolen.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office asks residents to report any suspicious activity, persons, or vehicles immediately by calling the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office 24-hour non-emergency line at 703-777-1021.

Detectives are working to determine if a larceny from a vehicle on Whitechapel Way reported on October 15 is related to the burglaries. The victims in the case reported their two unlocked vehicles were entered and rummaged through during the overnight and items were stolen.

If you have any information regarding these cases you are asked to contact Eastern Loudoun Station Detective K. Mitchell at 571-258-3138. You may also submit a tip through the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office app.

Joseph Dill