ARLINGTON CO., VA -- The Arlington County Police are investigating a string of thefts targeting elementary schools in the county since May 2017.
Police said there have been ten cases at nine schools.
"We do believe that these are targeted. Individuals that are conducting these, that these are, you know, essentially, professional groups that are conducting these," said Arlington County Police Department spokesperson Ashley Savage. She added that the thieves seem to be targeting certain schools. "Really towards the outskirts of the area. Not really in our city centers. That they are targeting areas close to highways."
Savage said that the investigation has revealed that most of the thefts are happening at the same time and the suspects are gaining access to the schools in a similar fashion.
"Either following dismissal or right as dismissal occurs and locating unsecured personal belongings and stealing various things that wallets, credit cards, cash," said Savage. She added that so far, only staff and teachers' belongings have been stolen, nothing from students.
Savage said that along with being organized, police believe the group to be targeting schools in other jurisdictions where similar incidents have been reported.
A spokesperson for Arlington Public Schools said they are working with police to inform staff about the thefts and have circulated images of the suspects. He added that they are also asking staff secure their personal belongings and to be vigilant around dismissal time and report any suspicious person or incident to the school resource officer.
Below are the nine schools that have been hit:
May 26, 2017: Drew Model Elementary School.
October 6, 2017: Glebe Elementary School.
November 28, 2017: Ashlawn Elementary School.
December 21, 2017: McKinley Elementary School.
January 18, 2018: Tuckahoe Elementary School. There were two reported thefts from this school on this date.
February 8, 2018: Barcroft Elementary School.
February 9, 2018: Campbell Elementary School.
May 19, 2018: Jamestown Elementary School.
May 31, 2018: Carling Springs Elementary School.
Anyone with information about these cases is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Detective Tim Parsons at 703-228-4172 or Tparsons@arlingtonva.us.