As soon as the first few burglaries occurred, neighbors turned to Nextdoor to compare stories and share information. The perpetrator had a clear M.O. – he would first ring the doorbell to see if anyone was home and then, when he didn’t hear someone moving to answer the door, would kick in the back door. The suspect entered one home, only to discover that the homeowner was there with his kids, and quickly ran out.
After receiving dozens of reports of residential burglaries within a few days, the Fairfax County Police Department joined the conversation on Nextdoor, posting a warning to neighbors and asking them to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior. Four town homes had been hit in one evening, so the department was on high alert.
Shortly after, while out for an evening walk, a neighbor who had seen the Nextdoor posts and had been a victim himself noticed a suspicious man hiding in the bushes of a neighbor’s yard. Not taking any chances, he called the police. The officer who arrived on the scene noticed that the suspect was wearing some of the jewelry that had been reported stolen in one of the burglaries, and made a call to the investigative team. They quickly made an arrest.
Police charged the suspect on seven counts of burglary and five counts of grand larceny. They say this was a phenomenal show of what can be accomplished when neighbors and police work together.
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Originally reported by NBC Washington D.C.