(Updated on 10/14/13) Arlington police and the county’s bomb squad responded a possible pipe bomb in the Arlington Heights neighborhood Sunday afternoon.
Just before 3:00 p.m., an off-duty police officer was asked for directions by a driver in a vehicle with New York tags. The officer noticed drug paraphernalia in the vehicle and called in backup, according to a fire department official.
The car was stopped and the driver detained on the 100 block of S. Highland Street. Officers then noticed a pipe with two caps on each end in the back of the stopped vehicle, the official said. Believing that the device could be a pipe bomb, the street was shut down between Arlington Blvd and 2nd Street S. and the bomb squad was called in.
A robot was used to inspect the device, and a technician in heavy protective gear attempted to defuse it. After a second technician inspected the vehicle, the bomb squad performed a controlled detonation. The robot was dispatched again, after which it was determined the pipe was empty. The driver of the car was interviewed and now faces a drug charge.
Residents in the area were asked to shelter in place in their homes during the incident.
Arlington County police and bomb squad personnel are on the scene of a suspicious vehicle in the county-owned surface parking lot in Courthouse.
An Arlington sheriff’s deputy spotted the suspicious truck earlier this afternoon while walking from the area near the movie theater to the jail. It’s described as a Hertz rental truck.
Two adult men who were inside the truck are being questioned by police. The bomb squad is preparing to open the back of the truck to see what’s inside. It’s expected to be another hour or two before the scene can be cleared.
Police have shut down parts of N. Courthouse Road, 14th Street and 15th Street near the scene. The county’s Emergency Operations Center has been evacuated.
The package — described as a duffel bag or a backpack — was found on the 600 block of 12th Street S. around 6:15 a.m. The bomb squad carefully inspected the package and set up charges to “disrupt” it.
The “all clear” was given by a bomb technician just past 8:15 a.m. The road is now being reopened, as is the east entrance to the Pentagon City Metro station.
“There’s a lot of construction in the area — a lot of laborers and construction workers bringing their stuff to that area, and with the heightened alert and the TSA headquarters there” authorities are taking every precaution, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “We take every suspicious package call seriously, and it’s our duty and job to go out there and investigate and assume that it’s potentially hazardous.”
Photo courtesy Patrick McNeil
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Photo by Wolfkann
The crew was digging in the area of Carlin Springs Road and N. Kensington Street, near the W&OD Trail, when they discovered eight PVC pipes labeled “ammunition.”
The county’s bomb squad investigated the contents of the pipes and didn’t find any hazards, according to Arlington police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The pipes were about four feet long and contained rifle ammunition, Sternbeck said Thursday morning.
Police cordoned off the area around the pipes but there were no traffic diversions.
The find comes just over a year after VDOT contractors found PVC pipes full of guns buried along Patrick Henry Drive, leading to an FBI investigation. The suspect in that case, Cherrydale resident Rodney Gunsauley, pleaded guilty and was sentenced earlier this year to 40 months in prison.
Sternbeck said the pipes “appear to be related” to the Gunsauley case, but the FBI is continuing to investigate the incident. The Joint Terrorism Task Force was also notified of the investigation, he said.
Gunsauley buried items in multiple locations and likely couldn’t remember all of the locations where he hid his weapons and ammo, Sternbeck said.
Walter Reed Drive has been shut down between S. 13th and 14th Streets due to police and fire department activity.
A grenade might have been found in a storage unit in the area, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
The road has been closed as a precaution while authorities wait for the bomb squad to examine the object.
Update at 4:30 p.m. — The package has been found to be non-hazardous and the bomb squad is leaving the scene.
The Arlington County Fire Department bomb squad is investigating a suspicious package at Reagan National Airport.
Bomb squad personnel were called in to take a look at a package that was going through screening at the airport’s cargo area, according to Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokeswoman Kimberly Gibbs. TSA agents identified the package as suspicious and felt that it “needed further investigation,” Gibbs said.
There has been no disruption to passenger air travel as a result of the investigation, according to Gibbs. She was unable to say what kind of cargo is typically shipped through the airport.
Update at 7:05 p.m. — The suspicious package was “disrupted” by the bomb squad and found to be non-hazardous, according to police. The scene is in the process of being cleared.
Earlier: Police and the Arlington County bomb squad are on the scene of a suspicious package in Aurora Highlands Park near Pentagon City.
A metallic object with red and black wires coming out of it was found in the park around 4:30 p.m., according to Arlington County police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. A portion of the park and its parking lot has been cordoned off with police tape as the bomb squad uses a remote controlled robot to investigate the package.
One lane of S. Hayes Street is blocked by emergency vehicles between 15th Street and Fire Station No. 5.
Crews had been assisting police and fire units from Falls Church, after a resident called about a suspicious device this morning. According to City of Falls Church Communications Director Susan Finarelli, the resident had been digging in his yard in the 200 block of N. Virginia Ave., when he found a potentially hazardous device. Arlington’s bomb squad was called in to assist.
The item in question was found to be an antique military device, and was deemed safe. The military will dispose of the item.
“Nobody was hurt, and now with the bomb squad here, nobody should be hurt,” Finarelli said earlier.
The park and streets around Cherry Hill Park were closed down for more than two hours during the investigation, and several homes were also evacuated. Everything in the area has been re-opened.
N. Nash Street in Rosslyn has been shut down between Wilson Boulevard and the Golds Gym for a suspicious package investigation.
Some sort of suspicious package or device was spotted on the sidewalk, we’re told.
Police, firefighters and the Arlington County bomb squad are on the scene.
A bomb squad investigation has shut down part of Washington Blvd and is causing significant traffic backups.
Washington Blvd in the eastbound/southbound direction has been shut at S. 2nd St, near Route 50. While the investigation continues, there will be various closings in the area, including on S. 2nd St.
Drivers are advised to avoid the area altogether if possible.
The investigation involves a pipe wrapped in some sort of packaging found lying in the bushes.
Shortly before 9:00 a.m. a suspicious envelope was found at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Cherrydale, which is a polling place for today’s presidential primary election. Police and fire units were on the scene, in addition to the bomb squad. The scene was cleared around 10:30 a.m.
Contrary to our earlier reporting, the polling place was not closed during the brief investigation, according to Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg.
While the bomb squad was on the scene of the suspicious envelope investigation, a second suspicious package incident was reported near Washington Blvd and S. 2nd St. At that scene, VDOT workers came across a pipe wrapped in some sort of packaging, lying in the bushes. All eastbound (southbound) lanes of Washington Boulevard were closed at Second Street as a result of the investigation. See our subsequent article for updated information.
Updated at 3:25 p.m. — The bomb squad has cleared the package and all units are leaving the scene.
Earlier: Authorities are on the scene of a suspicious package in Ft. Myer Heights.
Arlington County police and firefighters are at the scene in the 1600 block of Ft. Myer Drive.
Police say an abandoned backpack was found leaning on a natural gas service box. The bomb squad is heading to the scene to investigate.
Update at 12:20 p.m. — The ‘all clear’ has been given, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
Blue Line trains are bypassing the Arlington Cemetery Metro station due to a suspicious package outside the station.
U.S. Park Police, Metro Transit Police and the Arlington County Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the package, which was reported at some point before 11:00 a.m.
Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said via Twitter that shuttle bus service is operating from Arlington Cemetery station to the Rosslyn Metro station.
Update at 5:45 p.m. — Firefighters have determined the object is not explosive nor a hazardous material, police tell ARLnow.com. The incident is “winding down” as authorities complete their investigation.
Earlier: The block around the SAIC building at 200 12th Street S. in Crystal City has been shut down as police and firefighters investigate a suspicious package in the building.
The Arlington County bomb squad, hazmat team and traffic control officers are on the scene, on the northern end of Crystal City. Pentagon Police have restricted pedestrian access on 12th Street east of Route 1.
The building, which has been evacuated, contains a number of military-related offices. Initial reports suggest that a bomb-sniffing dog had a positive hit on a suspicious object inside the building.
No word yet on the type of object, but Arlington Police say it was mailed to the office.
Homeland security detectives from the Arlington County Police Department and agents from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service agency are on the scene.