EPD: Alert res­i­dent helps bust shed bur­glars

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JA­COB OWENS

jowens@ce­cil­whig.com

— An alert cit­i­zen on his way to work tipped in­ves­ti­ga­tors off to a se­ries of bur­glar­ies in the White Hall area over the week­end, lead­ing to the cap­ture of two sus­pects, po­lice re­ported.

About 3 a.m. Satur­day, a passerby no­ticed a pickup truck sit­ting out­side of a home in the 100 block of Roo­sevelt Boule­vard with its lights on and a lawn mower sit­ting next to it, ac­cord­ing to a state of prob­a­ble cause filed by Ofc. Shan­non Com­ley in the case. Think­ing that was sus­pi­cious due to the early morn­ing hour, the man pulled over to in­ves­ti­gate.

As he was check­ing out the unat­tended ve­hi­cle and lawn mower, a woman wear­ing all black walked from the side yard of the home, Com­ley re­ported. Upon con­fronting her, the woman hastily told the passerby that she had pur­chased the lawn mower, but then got in the truck and drove off.

The good Samar­i­tan called 911 and re­ported the sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances and pro­vided a par­tial li­cense plate num­ber, which the Elk­ton Po­lice De­part­ment is­sued in a be-on-the-look­out bul­letin to pa­trolling law en­force­ment.

Min­utes later, an­other Elk­ton po­lice of­fi­cer stopped the pickup truck on south­bound Route 213 and iden­ti­fied Rachel Lianne Thomas, 32, as the driver, Com­ley re­ported. In the bed of the truck was a col­lec­tion of nearly a dozen power tools and equip­ment, with some items be­ing cov­ered in cob­webs “as if they had been sit­ting in an en­closed area,

ELK­TON

such as a shed, for some time,” Com­ley re­ported.

Af­ter record­ing in­for­ma­tion of the power tools and in­form­ing Thomas that she was be­ing de­tained, the sus­pect told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that her boyfriend, Joseph Fon­tana, 30, was the one to blame, Com­ley re­ported. When asked where he was, Thomas said she was not sure be­cause she left him quickly at the scene of the bur­glary.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors had Thomas call Fon­tana, and she was able to as­cer­tain his approximate lo­ca­tion in the White Hall neigh­bor­hood. Of­fi­cers were then able to lo­cate him in the area, hid­ing be­tween homes, along with nu­mer­ous more power tools left be­hind as the pair fled, Com­ley re­ported.

Sev­eral res­i­den­tial sheds in the area were found to have been pried open and their con­tents stolen by the duo, Com­ley re­ported. Some of those home­own­ers were able to re­trieve their prop­erty while other un­claimed pieces re­main with the Elk­ton Po­lice De­part­ment.

Back at the po­lice sta­tion, Thomas pro­vided a state- ment to po­lice say­ing that she and Fon­tana came into Elk­ton for the pur­pose of bur­glar­iz­ing sheds. Fon­tana al­legedly chose the tar­geted area due to its dimly lit sur­round­ings. He would break into the sheds while Thomas waited with the get­away ve­hi­cle, Com­ley re­ported. In to­tal, the equip­ment stolen from the homes was val­ued at about $1,750.

Thomas and Fon­tana are both charged with two counts of sec­ond-de­gree bur­glary, two counts of theft un­der $1,000 and three counts of ma­li­cious de­struc­tion of prop­erty un­der $1,000. She re­mained com­mit­ted at the Ce­cil County De­ten­tion Cen­ter as of Tues­day evening in lieu of $100,000 bail, while he re­mained on $75,000.

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