Two persons of interest have been identified in a rash of burglaries that have plagued western Loudoun since November, authorities said Thursday at a public safety meeting in Middleburg, where the majority of the thefts have occurred.
“I can’t go into a lot of details of the case because we have to preserve the integrity of the case. If certain stuff gets out, the worst that’s going to happen is that the case is going to be destroyed before it can get to court,” Middleburg Police Chief A.J. Panebianco said. “Obviously, we’re not going to let that happen.”
The second person of interest, Panebianco said, is in the Richmond area right now.
More than 50 people turned out to the meeting at Banneker Middle School to hear Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman and members of his team speak of not only the burglaries, but ways to keep their homes safe.
At least six burglaries have occurred since November and there are similar cases in northern Fauquier County.
Richmond police arrested Damian Scott Francis Falero, 29, of Farmville, on Jan. 27 after Fauquier deputies issued a warrant for his arrest after a Jan. 25 burglary attempt in the 1700 block of Halfway Road.
Falero was arrested at a Richmond motel after a van stolen from the area of Boxwood Winery was found in the parking lot.
Still, authorities are not saying if Falero had any role in the Loudoun County thefts.
Authorities are still looking at the patterns of burglaries, which in most cases cash and jewelry were stolen.
Still, Panebianco said “there’s no rhyme or reason for the pattern of the thefts.”
Chapman asked the crowd to be vigilant and keep an eye out for not only their property, but their neighbors.
With 3,000 square miles of area to patrol, deputies can’t be everywhere all the time, he said.
“You really are our eyes and ears out there. We only have some much patrol presence we can cover … because we’re spread out here and we have a lot of area to cover, it’s tough because there’s so much distance to cover,” the sheriff said.
Residents attending the meeting asked about ways to better communicate with law enforcement, how authorities could better communicate with them and how to confront an intruder.
“If someone comes into my home, am I allowed to shoot them?” one woman asked.
Chapman said his office is looking at ways to get reverse 911 capabilities to Loudoun residents’ smartphones.
When Falero was identified as a person of interest in the case, sheriff’s deputies used Fauquier County’s CodeRED system, an opt-in emergency alert service, to put out a description of Falero, warning residents to treat him as armed and dangerous.
They used the phone alerts a second time, letting CodeRED users know when Falero was safely in custody.
The meeting was finished by Loudoun Deputy Nathan Payne, one of two crime prevention specialists in the county, who gave the crowd a detailed presentation on ways to prevent thefts, such as locking their doors, not placing the boxes of high-priced items such as TVs in their driveway for garbage pick-up and getting involved in neighborhood watch programs.
– Times-Democrat Staff Writer Mark Grandstaff contributed to this report.
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