Power Outage, Charging Cell Phone Lead to Arrest: Police

Everybody misplaces their phone, but how many get arrested because of it?

By Matthew Stabley
|  Thursday, Feb 3, 2011  |  Updated 8:07 AM EDT
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An overlooked inconvenience of power outages like those the D.C. region had following last week's winter storm is the inability to charge one's phone, and in this day and age, many seem incapable of getting along without them. But beware of resorting to crime when you find yourself in that situation.

Montgomery County, Md., police arrested a suspect in a series of burglaries after the suspect left his phone charging in a victim's home because the suspect's power was out, according to the police department.

Detectives have been investigating many burglaries that began in October in Olney, Aspen Hill and Silver Spring, police said. Someone was getting inside homes through rear doors and windows and looking for jewelry.

On Friday, police responded to a report of a burglary at a home in the 13700 block of Lockdale Road in Silver Spring and found a phone charging at the scene. Later, investigators learned the suspect, 25-year-old Cody Wilkins, couldn't charge his phone at home because he'd lost power.

Like a good Samaritan trying to return a found phone, police called one of the last numbers dialed on the intruding phone and were able to get the suspect's name and address, police said. Wilkins was taken into custody later that day.

Police said they linked Wilkins to other burglaries, and on Saturday, he was charged with three counts of first-degree burglary, one count of theft of property with a valuebetween $10,000 and $100,000, two counts of theft of property valued between $1,000 and $10,000, three counts of malicious destruction ofproperty valued at $500 or more, and one count of possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia.

After executing a search warrant at Wilkins's home, stolen items were recovered and returned to their rightful owners, police said, and Wilkins was charged on more counts Monday and again Tuesday.

Wilkins is being held on a $50,000 bond and two $500,000 bonds after a hearing Wednesday.

Investigators believe Wilkins will be linked to many other burglaries, police said.

Anyone in the jewelry business who had contact with Wilkins should contact police at 240-773-5530.

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