Two attempted robberies were reported over the weekend in downtown Bethesda, according to Capt. David Falcinelli, commander of Montgomery County police's second district.
In each case, a group of men attempted to rob a male victim during nighttime or early morning hours, Falcinelli said.
Neither of the victims reported the incident to police, Falcinelli said.
The first incident occurred around 10 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, Falcinelli said. An employee of a business on Bethesda Lane had just finished his night shift and was walking to the Metro along Woodmont Avenue when three men grabbed him and threw him to the ground, Falcinelli said.
The men attempted to steal his laptop, but the victim fought back and all three suspects fled, Falcinelli said.
In a separate incident over the weekend, a man was leaving Tommy Joe's restaurant on Montgomery Lane around 1 a.m. Sunday when he was accosted on Hampden Lane by a group of five men who demanded money, Falcinelli said.
A fight ensued and the suspects fled without stealing property.
Falcinelli said police learned of the first incident through a community listserv. When police went to the Bethesda Lane business to investigate Monday, they were approached by a citizen who told them about the second incident.
“Here we are following up on something we heard on a listserv, and totally unrelated, a man tells us about another incident,” Falcinelli said.
Falcinelli stressed the importance of citizens reporting crimes as soon as possible to police. A police victim advocate is on hand to provide financial and other assistance to victims of crime, Falcinelli said.
“Where or not we’re able to make an arrest, it’s important for us to know the crime,” Falcinelli said.
The incidents follow another robbery Friday on Battery Lane. According to Falcinelli, a victim was robbed of items he had placed for sale on Craigslist.
Though crimes including residential burglaries and thefts from autos are down from last year in Montgomery County police's second district, robberies are up.
Police have stepped up patrols in Bethesda in response to the robberies and to provide additional patrols during the holiday shopping season, Falcinelli said.
In addition to more police presence near downtown Bethesda, Friendship Heights and Montgomery Mall, about five or six more officers will be on hand during evening hours on certain nights during the week in Bethesda, Falcinelli said.
County Police Community Action Teams are also being deployed to each police district on select nights to provide additional coverage of shopping areas.
“Robberies are a violent crime and they’re certainly a priority for us to do what we can to prevent them and to make arrests for those incidents that have already occurred,” Falcinelli said.