(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Arlington County Police are on the scene of a reported bank robbery in the Waverly Hills neighborhood.
The robbery was reported around 5:00 p.m. at the Capital One Bank, at 4700 Lee Highway.
Initial reports suggest a man dressed in all black and armed with scissors robbed the bank and ran off with cash. He was last seen heading westbound on Lee Highway.
The man had a t-shirt wrapped around his face during the robbery, according to scanner reports. He was reportedly wearing a black shirt, black pants and white socks with holes in them, but no shoes.
Police officers and K-9 units are on scene and are searching the surrounding neighborhoods for the suspect. Detectives are talking to employees and witnesses, and processing evidence at the bank.
Police say 30-year-old Sunny Parekh was arrested without incident at his home on the 1400 block of N. Scott Street, near Courthouse, last night (Wednesday). He’s been charged with the Nov. 10, 2014 robbery of the Presidential Bank on the 900 block of N. Stuart Street.
The FBI and Alexandria police assisted with the investigation and arrest, according to an Arlington County Police Department press release (below).
Parekh is currently being held at the Arlington County Detention Facility, which incidentally is located just three blocks from his home.
“He can probably see it from his cell window,” noted Arlington police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “It wasn’t a far drive.”
Parekh is also a suspect in two other bank robberies, in Alexandria and the District. No word yet on whether charges have been filed for either of those robberies.
A bank robbery suspect was taken into custody by the Arlington County Police Department, with assistance from the FBI Washington Field Office and Alexandria Police Department, at his residence in the 1400 block of N. Scott Street. Sunny Parekh, 30, of Arlington, VA, was arrested during the evening of April 8, 2015 and charged with bank robbery. He is being held without bail.
At approximately 3:59 p.m. on November 10, 2014, the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center was alerted of a bank robbery that had just taken place at the Presidential Bank, located in the 900 block of N. Stuart Street. The suspect entered the bank just prior to closing time and handed a teller a note that demanded money and implied he had a weapon. The teller gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of money and the subject fled towards Ballston Metro Center.
After months of police investigation and collaboration with partner law enforcement agencies, Parekh was identified as the primary suspect. Officers took the subject into custody without incident and he is being held at the Arlington County Detention Facility. “The closing of this case by our investigators was the direct result of outstanding work by our patrol officers and the leveraging of the resources of our FBI and Alexandria colleagues with whom we work closely on a daily basis,” commented Daniel J. Murray, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Investigations Division.
Final Update (noon) — According to the Fairfax County Police Department, Assaye has been apprehended in southeast D.C., during a traffic stop, without incident.
Update at 10:00 a.m. — Per a police broadcast, the vehicle referenced below has been found but Assaye remains at large. He has reportedly carjacked another vehicle, a dark gray Hyundai Elantra with the plate XTU-5024. It was last seen in the area of Little River Turnpike in Annandale.
Police say Assaye was at Inova Fairfax Hospital after an apparent suicide attempt. Early this morning he reportedly overpowered a private security guard, took his gun and escaped. A shot was fired during the struggle but no one was injured.
Police say Assaye, who’s 6’0″ and 170 lbs, stole a silver 2002 Toyota Camry with Virginia tags XZP-8513 and is still on the loose. He was wearing nothing but a hospital gown at the time of his escape. According to Reston Now, the hospital has been placed on lockdown.
On March 20, Assaye was apprehended at his father’s apartment at The Carlin retirement home in Buckingham. Police say Assaye may now be on the run with his girlfriend.
Assaye is suspected of robbing a dozen banks, making his escape from the robberies on a bicycle. Arlington County issued the following alert about Assaye’s escape this morning.
Early this morning a prisoner, being guarded by a security officer, managed to escape from Inova Fairfax Hospital. The suspect is Wossen Assaye, a male, 6′, 170 lbs who was last seen wearing a hospital gown. The suspect is armed and considered dangerous. Please use an abundance of caution and check with your local news for additional information and a photo of the suspect.
Alleged Bank Robber Was Staying at Retirement Home — The FBI tracked down an accused bank robber in an Arlington on Friday thanks to his cell phone usage. The so-called Bicycle Bandit is accused of a dozen bank robberies, including a robbery in Alexandria just a few hours prior to his arrest. Investigators used phone records to figure out his identity. The suspect, Woosen Assaye, was staying at his father’s apartment at The Carlin retirement home at the time of his arrest. [NBC Washington – WARNING: Auto-play video]
Arlington Named Healthiest County in Va. — A new study has named Arlington County as the healthiest county in Virginia. Albemarle, Fairfax and Loudoun ranked second, third and fourth, respectively. [Associated Press]
Fehr Reads to Key Students — Washington Capitals player Eric Fehr read his new anti-bullying book to students at Key Elementary School yesterday. [NBC Washington – WARNING: Auto-play video]
Blue Line Issues — A Blue Line train suffering mechanical problems offloaded passengers at the Pentagon station this morning, causing overcrowding on the platform. [Twitter]
The agents were “executing search warrants as part of a bank robbery investigation,” according to FBI Washington Field Office spokeswoman Lindsay Godwin.
The agents arrested Wossen Assaye, Godwin said, suspected of robbing the Apple Federal Credit Union on Sir Viceroy Drive in Alexandria on Friday, March 20. He appeared in federal court in Alexandria today.
The raid happened at an apartment building near the intersection of Carlin Springs Road and N. Thomas Street around 4:00 p.m. Friday. The law enforcement show of force attracted considerable attention from neighbors, who emailed and tweeted ARLnow.com asking for additional information.
“About six suburbans of FBI with military fatigues just pulled into that area where the apartment building is on Carlin Springs and Thomas,” a resident, John Broehm, said in an email shortly after the raid. “There were lots of Arlington sheriffs there too. Although from their demeanor it seemed like it maybe was an exercise. No one seemed to be concerned about anything.”
“FBI turned from northbound Glebe onto Carlin Springs and pulled into the lot at that church between Glebe and Vermont/Park Drive,” Broehm said in a follow-up email, referring to the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington. “The guys in military gear got out and walked across the street to the apartment building where Arlington County Sheriff already was. But they were letting traffic and people go by on Carlin Springs.”
File photo (courtesy of Lucy Brookover)
Snow Chance Today — Arlington may get some snow, sleet and freezing rain this afternoon. The area is under a Winter Weather Advisory, although forecasters think areas north and west of Arlington are at more of a risk of wintry weather and slippery roads. [Weather.com]
Two Dems Running for School Board — The deadline for candidates seeking the Democratic endorsement for school board was last night and two candidates filed before the deadline: Reid Goldstein and Sharon Dorsey. The Arlington County Democratic Committee will hold its school board caucus on May 14 and 16.
Opower Losing Money, Hiring — Courthouse-based Opower, a publicly-traded energy software company, reported its latest financial results yesterday. For 2014, the company reported $128.4 million in revenue, a 45 percent increase over 2013. Its operating loss was $40.8 million. The company is continuing its hiring spree, adding employees locally and at its offices in London, San Francisco, Tokyo and Singapore. [DC Inno, Yahoo Finance]
Armed Bank Robbery in Falls Church — A Wells Fargo bank in Falls Church was robbed yesterday by two armed men known as the “Black Hat Bandits.” The men are suspected of robbing seven other banks around the D.C. area. Arlington County police assisted Falls Church police in looking for the suspects immediately after the robbery. [Falls Church News-Press]
Old Map of Arlington — An 18th century map of what is now Arlington County shows mills along Four Mile Run and the “Road To The Falls,” known now as Glebe Road. [Ghosts of DC]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Reward Paid for Bank Robbery Tip — Arlington County Crime Solvers has paid a reward for a tip received that led to the arrest of a bank robbery suspect. The tipster called a 1-800 number to leave a tip after seeing a press release about the Dec. 6 robbery at Capital One Bank in Ballston Common Mall. [Arlington County]
Williamsburg Middle School Closed Monday — Williamsburg Middle School was closed Monday due to a pipe that burst over the weekend, damaging part of the school. [WUSA 9]
‘CoworkCafe’ Launches in Clarendon — A new coworking space concept called CoworkCafe has launched in the lounge next to Boccato Gelato in Clarendon. For $150-200 per month, those seeking to get work done can access the lounge as often as they like. They also get a $50 credit toward food and beverage. [Washington Business Journal]
Solar Co-Op Launching in Arlington — A group of Arlington residents is banding together to form a solar co-op, which will allow members to obtain bulk discounts on the purchase and installation of home solar power equipment. [Sun Gazette, Virginia Sun]
‘Soulless’ Tweeter Spotted in Arlington — Byron Tau, the Wall Street Journal reporter who asked last week if Arlington was the “most soulless place in the United States,” was photographed over the weekend smiling widely at Courthouse’s Fire Works Pizza. “No comment on the record,” Tau tweeted in response to the photo. [Twitter]
Reminder: Pothole, Water Main Break Reporting — As the freeze, thaw, refreeze cycle continues during the month of February, numerous water main breaks and large potholes have been reported around Arlington. If you spot one that needs to be fixed, you can quickly file a report about it via the following “report a problem” online form. [Arlington County]
A man robbed the Capital One Bank inside Ballston Common Mall around noon on Saturday, police say. The suspect allegedly demanded cash and fled with an undisclosed amount of money.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit, along with the FBI’s Washington Field Office, is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a bank robbery suspect captured in surveillance footage.
On Saturday, December 6, 2014, at 12:08 p.m., an unknown male subject entered the Capital One Bank located inside the Ballston Common Mall at 4100 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia and robbed the bank. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of money, the subject exited the bank onto the street.
The suspect is described as a black male in his mid-twenties to thirties and approximately 5’8″ tall with an average build. He was wearing a black puffy jacket, a sweatshirt underneath, a white knit cap and had head phones around his neck.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of these bank robbers.
The FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Arlington County, Virginia, Police Department are investigating this bank robbery and request that anyone with information call the FBI at 202-278-2000 or Detective Trainer with the Arlington County Police Department at 703.228.4185 or jtrain (at) arlingtonva.us To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
The man robbed the Presidential Bank at 901 N. Stuart Street around 4:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 10, according to investigators.
“The subject entered the bank through a set of doors closest to the Ballston Metro station, approached a bank teller and passed a note that demanded money,” the FBI said. “The subject exited the bank with an undisclosed amount of money.”
Most recently, around 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4, the man is accused of robbing the Premier Bank at 1604 17th Street NW in D.C. He allegedly passed a note to a teller and fled after receiving cash.
Investigators say the suspect is about 30 years old, Middle Eastern and between 6’0″ and 6’5″.
“The suspect is described as having short black hair, unshaven, wearing a grey or brown suit, a white button-down shirt without a tie and sunglasses,” according to the FBI. “During the Dec. 4 robbery in Washington, D.C., the subject was wearing a scarf around his neck. During the Nov. 10 robbery in Arlington, the subject was described as carrying a black leather briefcase or laptop bag.”
The FBI is offering up to a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of the robber. Anyone with information on the crime is encouraged to call the FBI at 202-278-2000 or the Arlington County Crime Solvers tip line at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Cary James, a 44-year-old Florida resident, was arrested by Montgomery County police on Thursday.
James robbed a Wells Fargo Bank in Rockville, then tried to take a taxi to D.C., according to a police press release. Montgomery County officers were able to locate the cab and take James into custody without incident. Police say they recovered the stolen cash in the taxi.
County Board Race is Anyone’s Guess — The outcome of the Arlington County Board race between incumbent John Vihstadt and Democratic challenger Alan Howze is far from certain. While Vihstadt is winning the fundraising battle, Howze is expected to benefit from far greater turnout than the 16 percent who voted in the special election this year. The last general election with a Senate race on the ballot saw a 55 percent turnout in Arlington. [Washington Post]
Vihstadt Peeved at ‘Pro-Streetcar Narrative’ — At yesterday’s County Board meeting, John Vihstadt complained about the county government’s pro-streetcar PR efforts. He suggested that he and fellow streetcar critic Libby Garvey, who make up 40 percent of the Board, should have their views heard through county government channels. Board Chair Jay Fisette slammed that idea, saying “it doesn’t make sense” for the county government to expend resources arguing against its own official policy. [InsideNova]
Cyclist Struck on Lynn Street — A bicyclist was struck by a vehicle on Lynn Street in Rosslyn, between Wilson Blvd and 19th Street N., just before 9:00 this morning. The cyclist was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with an apparent dislocated collarbone.
Bank Robbery in Falls Church — The FBI is looking for a man who robbed a BB&T Bank on West Broad Street in Falls Church yesterday morning. [Federal Bureau of Investigation]
Zac Hanson’s Birthday — On this day 29 years ago, “MMMBop” singer Zac Hanson was born in Arlington. [Hello!]
(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) A robbery occurred just past noon today at a bank branch on Lee Highway.
The United Bank at 5350 Lee Highway, across from the Harris Teeter, was robbed by a man who implied a weapon and passed a note to the teller.
The man fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash before police arrived. Police searched the area for the suspect but were unable to locate him. The FBI is also on the scene and investigating the incident.
The suspect is described as a black male, about 6 feet tall, with a muscular build. He is said to be wearing a gray hat, shirt, and pants.
Wilson Blvd Sidewalk Improvements Delayed — Arlington County Board members were apologetic on Saturday after a resident complained about the state of sidewalks along Wilson Blvd in the Bluemont area. The first phase of an improvement project, which will only consist of repaving and restriping the road, is now not slated to take place until the spring. County leaders promised to try to implement the second phase, which will actually improve the sidewalks, sooner rather than later. [InsideNova]
Bar to the Rescue in Crystal City? — Crystal City property owner Vornado hopes Highline, a new bar coming to the neighborhood, will help its growing tech community there after work. Vornado is trying to restyle Crystal City — which has lost government tenants for millions of square feet of office space, as a result of BRAC — as a tech hub. [Washington Post]
Neighborhood Conservation Projects Approved — A $2.5 million slate of four neighborhood improvement projects was approved by the County Board on Saturday. The projects include three in north Arlington and one in south Arlington. [Arlington County]
Bank Robber Sentenced — A D.C. man who robbed two Wells Fargo banks in Arlington has been sentenced to 35 years in prison, federal prosecutors announced. James Link, 57, was accused of robbing a Wells Fargo branch on Nov. 25, 2013, injuring an elderly woman in the process, and a branch on Dec. 31, after which he and an alleged accomplice were arrested by FBI agents who were waiting outside. [U.S. Dept. of Justice]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
FBI Looking for Serial Bank Robber — The FBI is seeking information on a serial bank robber who hit a Capital One Bank in District Heights, Md. in May and the Wells Fargo in Courthouse last September. “In both robberies, the unidentified man displayed a note to tellers demanding money and threatening a violent attack against everyone in the bank,” according to the FBI. [Federal Bureau of Investigation]
Tag Readers Brought Arlington $744,000 — The Arlington County Treasurer’s Office was able to bring in $744,000 in unpaid taxes thanks to use of automatic license plate readers. That’s up 54 percent from last year. [InsideNova]
Rape Prevention Certification for Jail — The Arlington County Detention Facility has been recognized as meeting new federal Prison Rape Elimination Act standards. The jail is the first in the D.C. area to receive the certification. “This certification is a significant recognition of what we focus on every day — operating a safe and secure jail for our inmates and staff,” Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur said, in a statement. [Arlington County]
Two of the men who robbed the Wells Fargo Bank on Columbia Pike last New Year’s Eve were convicted of armed bank robbery today in federal court.
James McNeal, 63, of Hyattsville, Md., and Alphonso Stoddard, 59, of Forest Heights, Md., were each convicted of armed bank robbery, conspiracy to commit bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Stoddard was also convicted in connection with two other bank robberies around the D.C. area in 2013.
The men will be sentenced Nov. 7. Stoddard is facing a life sentence because of prior convictions, while McNeal is facing up to life in prison with a mandatory minimum of seven years.
McNeal, Stoddard and D.C. resident James Link were arrested after holding up the Wells Fargo at the corner of the Pike and S. George Mason Drive and making off with $47,000. A few blocks away, an FBI SWAT team, which had been conducting surveillance of the trio since before they arrived at the bank, apprehended them.
Link pleaded guilty to two counts of brandishing a firearm and admitted his involvement in four other bank robberies. He will be sentenced Sept. 12. Below is the press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia’s office:
James McNeal, 63, of Hyattsville, Maryland, and Alphonso Stoddard, 59, of Forest Heights, Maryland, were convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to commit bank robbery, armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Timothy A. Gallagher, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County Chief of Police, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted on Aug. 8, 2014 by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.
Stoddard was convicted of charges involving three separate bank robberies, and McNeal was convicted for his involvement in one bank robbery. Stoddard faces a mandatory life sentence because of prior convictions for armed bank robberies, and McNeal faces a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years and a maximum sentence of life in prison. The two defendants will be sentenced on November 7, 2014.
According to court records and evidence at trial, the FBI identified McNeal and Stoddard as possible suspects in a string of bank robberies in late 2013 and kept the men under close surveillance. On Dec. 27, 2013, McNeal and Stoddard were followed by law enforcement agents as they cased two banks in Arlington, Virginia. One of the banks the defendants were seen casing was a Wells Fargo branch on South George Mason Drive.
On Dec. 31, 2013, McNeal left his residence in Hyattsville and picked up Stoddard before returning to the Wells Fargo branch in Arlington. At approximately 1:15 p.m., Stoddard and a third man, James Link, 56, of Washington, D.C., entered the bank. Inside the bank, Link brandished a firearm while Stoddard removed approximately $47,000 in cash from teller drawers. The two men exited the bank and returned to the vehicle where McNeal was waiting. The FBI and Arlington officers arrested the defendants approximately one block away from the Wells Fargo branch. A handgun and cash were found in the vehicle.
A search of McNeal’s house led to the discovery of an additional firearm believed to be used in earlier bank robberies, cash and gloves. Stoddard admitted to his involvement in armed robberies at a Wells Fargo in Rockville, Maryland on Oct. 29, 2013 and the Bank of Georgetown in Vienna, Virginia on Oct. 30, 2013. Link admitted he was involved in the Bank of Georgetown robbery and an armed robbery at a Wells Fargo in Arlington on Nov. 25, 2013.
Link pleaded guilty to two counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence and admitted his involvement in four bank robberies. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 32 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 12, 2014.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, with assistance from FBI’s Baltimore Division and the Arlington County and Fairfax County police departments. The U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of Columbia and the District of Maryland also provided assistance in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam B. Schwartz and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer A. Clarke are prosecuting the case.