A telling admission by the MoCO PD that it intentionally downgrades "hot burglaries" out of the "home invasion" category unless certain narrow circumstances are present. One must wonder who told them to do that????
Once again, this validates my classifying "police-identified burglaries" as suspected "home invasions" if there are (1) pinpointed offense times or (2) they take place during peak "at home" hours.
Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009Man injured confronting burglars in his home
Police say investigation continues
by Terri Hogan | Staff Writer
While the injuries Mike Bonhag sustained during a confrontation with five men who broke into his Olney Mill home have healed, his anger remains.
Bonhag, 47, was awakened at 12:45 a.m. Aug. 3 by three loud booms coming from downstairs.
Because all the lights were out, he knew his wife and three children were asleep. As he turned the corner and flipped on the light in the family room, he saw five men who had entered through a shattered sliding-glass door.
"I yelled and they scrambled to get out, but I grabbed the last one," he said. "I wanted to hold on to him until the police got there, but the other four guys came back and started to kick and punch me, and he squirmed out of his shirt."
Bonhag suffered cuts on his feet from the broken glass and needed stitches in his right hand and staples in his head. He also suffered minor cuts on the right side of his face.
"They seemed scared," he said of the burglars. "When they saw me they were knocking each other down trying to get out the door."
Police were able to get partial fingerprints and sent the T-shirt to a laboratory to check the DNA.
Montgomery County Police crime analyst John Desoulis said police are still investigating and awaiting lab results.
"That's a slow process and there is a big backlog," he said. "Unfortunately, burglaries are down pretty far on the list."
Bonhag, who grew up in Ashton, has lived in the house on Falling Green Road for 19 years and said has never had any trouble before this incident.
"We had our five cars plus a company car in the driveway, so I am still baffled why someone would try to break in," he said. "We had just got back from vacation, so maybe they had noticed that the lights had been out all week."
Bonhag's home backs up to Olney Mill Park and is not particularly isolated.
In talking to neighbors, Bonhag said he learned of another recent incident on a nearby street where burglars entered through a sliding-glass door, but no one was home at the time.
Desoulis confirmed that there were two other incidents in Olney that same weekend where burglars entered homes through sliding-glass doors. In one case the homeowners were home and in the other no one was home.
Those incidents, however, were not in Olney Mill, he said.
"One was in the southwest quadrant of Olney and the other was in the southeast quadrant, so they're all pretty spread out," Desoulis said.
That news is unsettling to some area residents, including Bonhag.
"It's just disturbing, because Olney Mill is a nice neighborhood," he said.
Since the incident, Bonhag now leaves outdoor lights on at night and has installed motion detector lights.
Although the police classified the incident as a burglary, Bonhag said he considers it a home invasion.
"They came in while we were home and invaded our house and our property," he said.
Desoulis said the police consider a home invasion to be a robbery when the intruders force their way in past the homeowners and usually tie them up and rob them.
"In this case, the suspects were on their way out when the homeowner tried to detain them," he said. "If he had not done that, it would be a straight-up burglary."
Regardless of the label, Desoulis said police still consider it a serious crime.
He advises homeowners to secure their doors and not to detain a burglar if faced with a similar situation.
"These suspects were trying to get away, so we don't think their plan was to confront someone," he said. "No property was taken."
Bonhag said that he would react the same way if faced with the situation again.
"I would absolutely go after them again," he said. "They had no business being there."
Labels: MoCo Home Invasions