Burglars targeting farms in Frederick County
The Frederick County Sheriff is warning people about a crime ring operating in the area and targeting farms.
Since Dec. 28, there have been at least 16 incidents of groups of men and women approaching farmhouses claiming to want to buy milk, eggs, or farm animals.
Sheriff Chuck Jenkins says one or two suspects then distract the homeowner while another person goes through a back door to rob them. If no one is home, they often force their way in and look for valuables.
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"They’re stealing jewelry, they're stealing property that's easy to fence or sell," Sheriff Jenkins said. "They're stealing cash. It doesn't take long to get into someone's house and clean them out. It's the MO of a common thief."
There have been more than a dozen cases in areas such as Emmitsburg, Jefferson, Thurmont, Woodsboro, and Point of Rocks. The sheriff's office said five victims have had items stolen — some worth thousands of dollars.
Jenkins says there may be as many as 15–20 people involved, and they are driving several different vehicles with changing license plates.
Jessica Vollmer lives near Jefferson in Frederick County and was one of the first to report the group to police.
"I had just left for work and my daughter calls me within 20 minutes telling me that there were ladies that were in the house and that she was scared," Vollmer said.
Her daughter Devaiah is in 6th grade and was home alone with a friend at the time.
"It was really weird and I thought that they were asking just because we lived on a farm. I thought they were actually asking for bread and eggs," Devaiah said.
Farms and landscape in Frederick County Maryland. (Photo by: Edwin Remsberg/VW Pics /Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Devaiah told the women she didn’t have any, and they immediately left.
The women were recorded on the family’s doorbell camera. Another doorbell camera in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania also caught video of what the sheriff’s office believes to be the same group attempting to enter a home there.
"It's really scary the thought that they felt so comfortable just to enter someone's house," Vollmer said.
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But Sheriff Jenkins says they need the public’s help to report any sightings of the group or anyone suspicious immediately. He says they are behind because victims are first posting pictures and videos to social media and officers aren’t able to respond as quickly as they would like.
"It's all hands on deck and I think what it's going to take is probably nail these people while they are committing this crime in progress," Jenkins said.