Three suspected of being part of burglary ring in Maryland, Pennsylvania

Mar. 17—Three Romanian nationals were arrested Wednesday in connection with a string of burglaries and thefts in Maryland and Pennsylvania, police said.

Stefan Chiciu, 43; Anisoara Nistor, 41; and Ana Maria Velcu, 33, all had out-of-state arrest warrants, a news release from the Frederick County Sheriff's Office said.

Velcu and Nistor are also wanted internationally by the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, the release said.

After the arrests, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed detainers on Chiciu, Nistor and Velcu through its 287(g) program.

With detainers, ICE asks a law enforcement agency to notify it of a potential noncitizen in custody and asks the local agency to keep the person in custody for a brief period, so ICE can take custody of them, according to the federal agency's website.

ICE places detainers on people arrested on criminal charges when ICE has probable cause to believe they can be removed from the U.S.

Sheriff's office spokesman Todd Wivell wrote in a text message that the sheriff's office is "intent" on charging all three in Frederick County.

Since Dec. 28, there have been burglaries committed by small groups of men and women in the Emmitsburg, Jefferson, Point of Rocks, Thurmont and Woodsboro areas, the sheriff's office said in a news release in February. The burglars also hit northern Maryland counties and southern Pennsylvania.

The burglaries are still being investigated, Friday's new release said, but Chiciu, Nistor and Velcu are accused of being a part of the broader burglary operation. The sheriff's office said it arrested them on out-of-state warrants.

Police have said that burglars try to distract others by trying to purchase eggs or farm animals. Other times, they enter people's homes without their permission, or return to a property and steal items from the home, the news release in February said.

Since then, police have found that groups of burglars often travel long distances from their homes, which are mostly concentrated in Baltimore, the sheriff's office said Friday.

Typically, they operate minivans of all makes, models and color, the release said. The minivans usually have out-of-state license plates.

In the news release, Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said the sheriff's office worked with police in Baltimore County, Baltimore city, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Howard County, Washington County and Montgomery County, along with Maryland State Police and law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania.

Sheriff's office Lt. Andy Crone said in the news release that the agency believes there are "several groups in the region committing these crimes." Crone asked that people stay alert and call 301-600-2071 if they see anything suspicious.

Follow Clara Niel on Twitter: @clarasniel