Montgomery County Police Detectives today announced the arrests of two men responsible for a residential burglary that occurred on May 3, 2006 in Aspen Hill. Taken during that burglary were a laptop and hard drive that contained identifying information for millions of veterans. # # #
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Early this morning, Jesus Alex Pineda, age 19, of the 13000 block of Grenoble Drive in Rockville, and Christian Brian Montano, age 19, of the 13100 block of Grenoble Drive in Rockville, were arrested by Montgomery County Police. Pineda was charged with first-degree burglary and theft over $500. Montano was charged with first-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary, theft over $500, and conspiracy to commit theft over $500. Charges are pending against a third male suspect who is a juvenile, and will be charged in this case as a juvenile. He is presently incarcerated on another charge. After he is charged, his name will not be released because of his juvenile status.
Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department have been working in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General (VA OIG) after it was learned a laptop and hard drive that had been stolen in a residential burglary on May 3, in the 14100 block of Gaines Avenue in the Aspen Hill community of Montgomery County, contained the personal identifiers of millions of veterans and active duty military personnel.
On June 28, 2006, United States Park Police officers received information that resulted in the recovery of the stolen laptop and hard drive.
Since that time detectives have continued their investigation, following up leads as to who was responsible for the theft. On August 4, new information was received by detectives and agents working this case which led to the arrest of Pineda and Montano.
It was on May 3 at approximately 4:45 p.m., that Montgomery County police were called to a residence in the 14100 block of Gaines Avenue in Aspen Hill for the report of a residential burglary that had occurred earlier. The preliminary investigation revealed that an unknown suspect(s) had entered the home sometime between 10:35 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. by removing a rear basement window. Once inside, the home had been partially ransacked and suspect(s) removed a Hewlett Packard HPZV5360 Laptop and one Hewlett Packard PC170 external hard drive, along with some jewelry and an undisclosed amount of cash.
The investigation now confirms that the individuals responsible for this residential burglary did not specifically target this home and were not specifically seeking to steal a laptop. They did not know that the hard drive contained veterans’ information, until the case and the reward was publicized. This gives reassurance to the millions of veterans that their personal information was not compromised. As the investigation continues it is expected that these three suspects will be tied to other residential burglaries that occurred in the Wheaton area in the month of May.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson released the following statement:
"I commend the FBI, Montgomery County Police, VA's Office of Inspector General and other law enforcement agencies for their professionalism and diligence throughout this investigation. Today's announcement that arrests have been made is good news."
Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said, “We were very pleased to have worked with the FBI and the VA OIG and the U.S. Park Police on the recovery of the stolen computer and hard drive. While recovery of the laptop was a top priority, our 4th District detectives never waivered in their commitment to tracking down those responsible for the theft. The cooperative efforts and tenacity paid off today with the positive identifications of the suspects and their arrests. I would like to particularly commend the members of my staff involved in this investigation: Captain Russ Hamill, Director of the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), Lt. Mike Mancuso former Deputy Director of the CID, 4th District Detective Sergeant Christopher Homrock, and 4th District Investigative Section Corporal Monique Tompkins, and Detectives Mary Beth Corsiatto, Bruce Cole, and Mark Hayden It is with a great deal of pride that we bring this case to closure on behalf of the millions of our county’s veterans whose sense of well being and personal security was jeopardized by this burglary.”