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Trio of out-of-state burglars charged after Howard County crime spree

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Posted at 12:28 PM, Nov 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-30 12:28:22-05

A trio of burglars hailing from out of state were arrested and charged for a string of robberies in Howard County earlier this week, the Howard County Police announced Friday.

Two Floridians – 21-year-old Emily Garcia and 20-year-old Christian Pereyra – and a New Yorker – 22-year-old Olivia Palma – face multiple counts of burglary, destruction of property, theft, and handgun violations, police said. They are being held at the Howard County Detention Center. 

The group's trail of crime began at about 2:15 p.m. on Nov. 27, when police were called to a home in the 10000 block of Saddle Brook Farm Trail in Woodstock for a report of a person who had been aggressively knocking on the front door and ringing the bell of a house. The resident was inside and said he saw a man at the front door, as well as a gray car with tinted windows in the driveway. The resident did not answer the door. He then said he heard noises from the basement and saw the man at the front door trying to use a crowbar to pry open the entrance. The resident called out and the suspect fled. The resident was able to provide a description of the suspect and the car, as well as the car's tag number.

About two hours later, police said they were called to the 1200 block of Crystal Ridge Road in Marriottsville for a burglary. A resident returned to his home and found the door forced opened. Two laptops, a video game system, jewelry, and credit cards were missing. 

At about the same time, officers responded to a reported burglary in the 8400 block of Old Frederick Road in Ellicott City.  That resident said he too returned home and found his door forced open and credit cards missing. 

Not long after that, at about 5 p.m., police were called to the 1200 block of Marriottsville Road in Marriottsville for reports of an additional robbery. That resident said he too got home to find a window broken and jewelry, handbags, a camera, and a handgun missing. 

Police began an investigation, soon seeing one of the stolen credit cards being used at a liquor store in Jessup. Responding detectives obtained images from surveillance footage of two people exiting a gray car and trying to use the card to make a purchase, police said.

Focusing on the Jessup area, police found the suspects' car in a hotel parking lot in the 8000 block of Washington Boulevard and determined the suspects were staying there, police said. After obtaining a search warrant on Nov. 28, police found Garcia, Pereya, and Palma inside a hotel room with property reported stolen in all three burglaries, as well as additional suspected stolen goods from unknown victims. Five handguns, including the one from the Marriottsville Road burglary, were also seized. 

Police are investigating if the group is linked to other crimes, both in Maryland and potentially other states.