The fire broke out around 2:30 p.m. in an apartment on the 700 block of S. Florida Street. According to initial reports, the fire started on the stove of one of the apartments and spread to the cabinets.
Firefighters have managed to extinguish the flames. No injuries have been reported.
Police have released only a few details about the alleged crime, but are seeking the public’s help in identifying the suspect.
The incident happened around 6:00 a.m. at an apartment somewhere in the Columbia Heights West neighborhood, off of Columbia Pike. The man broke into the apartment and attempted to sexually assault a juvenile female, according to Arlington County Police. The victim did not know her attacker, police said.
“Despite recent efforts to locate the suspect, he continues to remain at-large,” police said in a press release. “The subject is described as a 20-25 year old white male, approximately 5’7” with freckles and a short brown mohawk. At the time of the incident, the suspect was wearing a white shirt with a gray design, blue jeans, and black shoes.”
“If anyone has information on the identity and/or whereabouts of this individual, please contact Detective Joe McGrath of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit at 703.228.4244 or at firstname.lastname@example.org,” the press release said. “To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477). ”
Details like the apartment address, how the suspect got inside the apartment and the exact nature of the assault have not been released.
“We don’t want to go into specifics at this time,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The $36 million Arlington Mill Community Center is only weeks away from opening.
County Board Chairman Walter Tejada and county staff members gave members of the media a preview tour Monday afternoon, showcasing the county’s newest community investment.
Arlington Mill’s construction “will definitely be under budget,” according to George May, Department of Environmental Services bureau chief for facilities design and construction, and the five-story, 67,000-square-foot building will start hosting programs Sept. 3, and hold a grand opening Sept. 21. The project’s expenditures are at about $35 million, May said.
Located at 909 S. Dinwiddie Street, the community center sits at a corner of Columbia Pike where there once stood a Safeway. Purchased by the county in 1996, the land remain unused for years while the economy crashed and the county had to reconfigure its plans for a community center in the area.
“It took a huge effort,” Tejada said. “When the economy tanked, it looked like it might not move forward and the community was very disappointed.”
Tejada had on a perpetual smile during the tour, seeing years of negotiations and false starts come to fruition. He was especially excited at the foosball table, which was covered by a piece of cardboard and he gleefully removed to spin the handles.
The facility will be free and open to the public from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturdays and 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. Sundays.
The only uses that will require fees are the fitness center and the parking garage after four hours. It was Tejada’s hope that the garage be completely free, but, in a controversial decision, he and county staff compromised on four hours of free parking, to prevent the garage from becoming a “haven for commuters,” according to the Sun Gazette.
The gymnasium has two full basketball courts and lines painted for volleyball and pickleball, which Facility Manager Rob Carter said was the most-requested activity in community meetings.
Arlington Mill also has a satellite office of the Arlington County Employment Center, classrooms, multipurpose rooms available to reserve, a room for the Project Family service and a rooftop garden. The center will have WiFi and, on the first floor, Pan American Bakery and Café. However, the bakery won’t be open for a few months after the center itself opens.
Next door, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is still in construction on its apartment building, on land leased from the county. The window to apply for the waiting list for the building opens today and closes Saturday, Aug. 31. The fourth floor of the center is currently unoccupied, and is part of 9,900 square feet of the facility that is designated for future use.
When asked what he would tell critics who say Arlington Mill has been a vanity project, Tejada responded, “I would invite them to come here and meet the diverse people who will use this center, and then we can chat them up.”
Three males, including a 17-year-old juvenile, entered an apartment building in the Columbia Heights West neighborhood by following a resident through the front door, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. As they entered they put on masks and gloves and went down to the garage, Sternbeck said.
A resident called police around 11:25 p.m. after observing suspicious individuals looking into cars. Police arrived at the building, on the 800 block of S. Greenbrier Street, and arrested the three suspects inside the garage, Sternbeck said.
A woman, who police say was the getaway driver, was later arrested in a van outside the apartment. She apparently didn’t notice the commotion inside the garage because she was talking on her cell phone when the arrests were made, Sternbeck said.
The two adult men — Charles Messiah of Annandale and Kareem Taylor, both 19 — were charged burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. One was also charged with resisting arrest.
The female suspect, 19-year-old Ciarra Rice of Lorton, was charged conspiracy to commit burglary.
Sternbeck recommended that residents be mindful of individuals trying to gain access to apartment buildings and secured parking garages. He also commended the resident who alerted police to this incident.
Photos courtesy ACPD
(Update at 7:10 p.m.) A woman somehow drove her car onto the front porch of an apartment building in the Columbia Heights West neighborhood this afternoon.
The accident happened at the corner of 8th Road S. and S. Emerson Street. A witness tells ARLnow.com that the driver was trying to back into a street parking spot when she lost control, hit the front of a Honda, drove in a U-turn in the front yard of the building and came to rest on the front porch. In the process, the woman’s car took out one of the porch’s columns.
We’re told the small, three-story apartment building is currently vacant.
The woman did not appear injured, though her car suffered significant damage to the drivers side. Firefighters from Fairfax County managed to drive the car off the front porch and into a nearby parking lot.