Car Keyer Collared in Six-Month Operation

Posted September 29, 2003 at 7:06pm

The Capitol Police announced the culmination of a six-month surveillance operation Monday that resulted in the arrest of a Chevy Chase man suspected in vandalizing more than 30 vehicles on the Hill in recent months.

“We have had a task force together to try and catch this individual,” said Capitol Police spokeswoman Jessica Gissubel. The tactical surveillance unit assigned to the case included officers from the agency’s Patrol Mobile Response Division and Criminal Investigation Section.

The 54-year-old suspect, whose name was not released, will be charged with three counts of destruction of property, a felony, for his actions Monday.

While the suspect has been charged on three counts, Capitol Police officials assert he is behind many more of the incidents, first reported in May 2002.

“The individual is suspected of keying numerous vehicles on Capitol grounds, many owned by members of the department,” said Gissubel, who added that the vehicles did not include squad cars. “A majority were SUVs or large-type pick-up trucks, most being very new.”

The department’s officers are likely pleased by the arrest, said Mike DeCarlo, who heads the Capitol Police Labor Committee. DeCarlo did not play a role in the investigation.

“I’m sure everybody’s relieved that the person was caught. They’re tired of their cars being vandalized,” he said.

Approximately 35 of the damaged vehicles were parked on Louisiana or Pennsylvania avenues when the vandalism occurred, Gissubel said. “Numbers could very well be a lot higher than that,” she said, noting that not all incidents may have been reported.

A cost estimate for damages to the vehicles included in the investigation was not available, but Gissubel said repair costs for the vehicles vandalized Monday would likely total several thousand dollars. And the numbers could mount if prosecutors determine the suspect was involved in more incidents.

“We anticipate additional charges upon review by the U.S. attorney’s office,” Gissubel said.

Capitol Police officers arrested the suspect at 8:30 a.m., after observing him vandalize two vehicles in the unit block of Louisiana Avenue Northwest near Union Station and another car in the 400 block of Maryland Avenue Southwest.

“He was observed traversing the area on his way to work from Union Station to the 400 block of Seventh Street Southwest,” Gissubel said.

The law enforcement agency credits Sgt. Philip D’Ambrosio, who headed the investigation, as well as Detective Teddy Thomas, Detective Mark Crawford, Private-first class Joel Hobbs and Private-first class Kevin Bull with the arrest.

“It’s not easy to uncover, but we have, we did today,” Gissubel said.