June 26: This Week in Potomac

June 26: This Week in Potomac

According to police reports:

Homicide detectives from the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division continue their investigation into the June 24 death of 65-year-old Bertha Torquemada of the unit block of Dufief Court in North Potomac.

The night of June 24, the victim's niece, Sandrah Torquemada, 32, also of the unit block of Dufief Court was charged with first degree murder in the death of her aunt.

The victim's brother, Jaime Torquemada, went to check on his sister the afternoon of June 24, after she did not answer his phone call to the residence. When 1st District officers and Fire Rescue Units arrived at approximately 4:30 p.m., they found the victim surrounded by blood on the floor of her living room. She was pronounced dead at the scene by fire/rescue personnel.

Officers found Sandrah Torquemada in a locked bathroom. After gaining entrance to the bathroom, the defendant was found to be in posession of a large butcher knife.

Sandrah Torquemada is currently being held at the Montgomery County Detention Center, with a bond hearing scheduled the afternoon of June 25.

The exact cause of Bertha Torquenada's death will be determined by the results of an autopsy.

<sh>Garage Burglaries

<bt>According to police reports:

Police arrested a suspect for a series of burglaries from garages, homes and vehicles in communities of Potomac.

In April and May, a series of burglaries from garages and theft from vehicles took place in the communities of Stonebridge, Hunting Hill Woods, Potomac Grove, Potomac Hills and Fox Hills Green in Rockville. Burglars gained access through unlocked cars, garages and homes. Many burglaries took place during the daylight hours during weekdays.

On June 7, Officer Fred Scaccia, 6th District, stopped a 17-year-old youth on a motorcycle for a traffic violation in Gaithersburg. Scaccia learned the motorcycle had been stolen from a burglary not yet discovered on Falls Farm Drive in Potomac. The suspect also had in his possession credit cards from the same burglary, police said.

The youth was arrested and charged with burglary and theft. Twelve days later, the defendant turned himself in and was charged with four additional cases from Falls Farm Drive.

After he was charged, he was released to the custody of his mother. Investigation into the other cases continues.

Investigation into the other cases continues.

<sh>Strong-Arm Robbery

<bt>According to police reports:

While exiting her vehicle at White Flint Mall, a 75-year-old Bethesda woman was approached by a suspect who asked her for the time. The suspect grabbed the woman’s purse and pulled several times until the woman released the purse.

The suspect — described as a white male, 16-22 years old, five-foot-seven tall, having short hair and wearing a polo shirt or a T-shirt — then fled inside the mall. The robbery took place on June 16 at 3:35 p.m.

<sh>Potomac Burglaries

<bt>According to police reports:

Golf clubs, fishing equipment, yard equipment and clothing were stolen from a residence on the 12700 block of Greenbriar Road in Potomac, between 11 p.m. on June 16 and 5 a.m. on June 17. Burglars entered through and open garage.

* Burglars entered an open garage on the 13400 block of Bissell Lane in Potomac between noon and 12:45 p.m. on June 7. Personal items from the vehicle in the garage were stolen.

<sh>Keep Out the Deer

<bt>County councilmember Nancy Dacek introduced legislation on Tuesday, June 25, that would allow plastic fences up to eight feet high designed to protect property from deer. The fences would be exempt from building and yard line requirements.

Current law allows deer fences up to six-and-a-half feet high. A public hearing will take place on July 30. (See Civic Calendar, page 5)

Potomac resident and Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder recently applied for a special exception to build a 10-foot-high deer fence; the Board of Appeals denied the request.

<sh>11,687 Police Citations

<bt>During April and May, Montgomery County Police issued 11,687 citations for seat belt violations (10,185 citations and 1,264 warnings) and child safety seat violations (196 citations and 42 warnings).

During last year’s campaign, police issued 8,956 citations and warnings for violations of Maryland’s mandatory use of seat belts and child safety seats.

<sh>Council Vacancy

<bt>The vacancy on the Montgomery County Council following the June 12 resignation of Councilmember Derick Berlage (D-5) is expected to be filled on Tuesday, July 9, 2002. Any person interested in being considered for the appointment to serve the rest of his term should submit a letter and resume to the Council by Monday, July 1. County Council will appoint Berlage’s replacement.

An appointee to fill the vacancy must be a Democrat and reside in District 5.

The names and letters of all applicants will be available for public review.

Send letters to Council president Steven A. Silverman, Council Office, Stella B. Werner Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Md. 20850.

<sh>23 County Awards

<bt>Montgomery County received 23 awards for outstanding programs from the National Association of Counties including:

* Environmental Protection: Radon Survey program, Groundwater Protection Strategy; and Solar Roofs Program

* Fire and Rescue Service: Bioterrorism hotline; ALS First Responder; Sandy Spring VFD Public/Private Partnership

* Health and Human Services: Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Board; Substance Abuse Intervention in Child Welfare Services

* Housing & Community Affairs: Code Enforcement iPaq Application; Disclosure of Merchant Complaint Records Online Application

* Human Resources: The Leadership Institute

* Information Systems & Telecommunications: Apartment Rental Guide Online Application and Website; Streetlight Maintenance Reporting Map Service; Wide Area Network Consolidation; Interim Mobile Data NCIC/MILES Project; Remote Server Backup/Recover Services; Job Access Project

* Public Works and Transportation: Minimizing Variance Between Project Budget and Prevailing Bid Market; Computer Simulation Aided Design of Ventilation Airflow at Strathmore Concert Hall; Integrated Pest Management; Electricity Cost Savings During Deregulation and Beyond

* Recreation: Charles W. Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity

* Volunteer Center: Mosquito aNILEator Program

Call 240-777-2500 for information about these programs.