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by Ethan Rothstein — August 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm 2,682 0

Aman Lail (Photo courtesy Arlington County Sheriff's OfficeThe driver who killed an Alexandria man in a drunk driving accident in Rosslyn on Jan. 24 pleaded guilty to DUI aggravated involuntary manslaughter today.

Aman Singh Lail, 24, was traveling eastbound on Lee Highway when his Jeep Wrangler slammed into the car of 24-year-old Saqlain Chowdhury at 2:09 a.m. Chowdhury was transported to George Washington University Hospital, where he died.

The accident happened a block away from where Lail’s friend, Sami Ullah, died after driving 90 mph over Key Bridge 10 months earlier.

Lail pleaded guilty in Arlington Circuit Court this morning, and will face sentencing from Judge Louise DiMatteo on Nov. 14.

Lail, a Baltimore resident, had almost three dozen traffic violations on his record in Loudoun, Fairfax and Arlington counties since 2008, including a driving while intoxicated arrest in Arlington in 2009 and a DWI conviction in Fairfax County in 2012, according to prosecutors. Lail faces between one and 20 years in prison.

“On Jan. 24, 2014, Aman Lail decided to endanger the National Capital Region by driving drunk,” Deputy Police Chief Daniel Murray said in a press release. “This decision cost Saqlain Chowdhury his life. The aggressive investigation and prosecution by the Arlington County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Arlington County Police Department’s Critical Accident Team has resulted in today’s plea. While there is nothing that will bring Mr. Chowdhury back to his family, at least Aman Lail will not present a danger to the community as long as he remains behind bars.”

The case was prosecuted by Deputy Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jay Burkholder.

“The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is pleased that the defendant entered guilty pleas today, but there are no good outcomes here,” Burkholder said. “Our thoughts continue to be with the victim’s family and friends as they struggle with this tragedy.”

Photo courtesy Arlington County Sheriff’s Office

by ARLnow.com — August 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm 1,783 0

Two men allegedly stole cigarettes from the Clarendon CVS store early Monday morning and an employee chased after them. The employee’s suspect description helped police make two arrests shortly after.

From this week’s Arlington County crime report:

ROBBERY, 140804010, 3100 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 5:25 am on August 4, two male subjects stole cigarettes from a CVS. An employee chased the subjects on foot and was able to identify them for arriving police officers. Ronald Richardson, 53, of Washington D.C. was arrested and charged with robbery and possession of stolen goods with the intent to sell. Melvin Bradshaw, 47, of Washington D.C. was arrested and charged with robbery, possession of stolen goods with the intent to sell, and carrying a concealed weapon.

The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

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by Jason Hargraves — July 11, 2014 at 5:30 pm 1,529 0

MWCOG crime stats for Arlington in 2013There was good news and bad news for Arlington County in the latest compilation of annual crime stats.

The good: No homicides were reported in Arlington County in 2013 — a 100 percent drop compared to the five cases in 2012. Rape cases decreased from 31 to 26, a 16 percent drop. Reports of burglaries were also down 16 percent and motor vehicle thefts experienced a 14 percent drop.

The bad: reports of aggravated assaults were up 34 percent in 2013 and robbery and larceny reports also increased slightly compared to last year with 8 and 5 percent increases, respectively.

The statistics were released this week by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG).

Neighboring Alexandria had a reverse situation concerning homicides in 2013. The area reported no cases in 2012 compared to five in 2013. Alexandria experienced a 40 percent rise in reported rapes during the same period.

In total, Arlington County’s 358 sworn police officers responded tf 87,530 calls for service, up from the 80,872 calls reported in 2012. Overall, crime in the entire Washington metro region was down 2.6 percent from 2012 and 12 percent from the four-year high in 2009.

One noticeable uptick in crime for the entire Northern Virginia area highlighted in the report involved bicycle thefts, although no specific numbers were given. (Last year, MWCOG highlighted the problem of cell phone theft.)

Many of those bike thefts occurred from unlocked garages and near Metro stops, according to MWCOG. Officials say they weren’t surprised considering the growing popularity of bike commuting and facilities tailored to pedal-powered commuters. The United States Census recently reported a 30 percent increase in residents using bikes to get to work. 

Officials hope those theft numbers drop as more riders record their serial numbers with local police departments and as general awareness about bicycle safety and security increases.

by ARLnow.com — July 3, 2014 at 10:55 am 1,516 0

Arlington police carIn Crystal City last week, two cab drivers were robbed on the same block but in different days.

Both incidents took place on the 500 block of 15th Street S. Both involved two suspects in their twenties. One robbery was committed at gunpoint. The cab driver was assaulted during the other robbery.

From this week’s Arlington County crime report:

ROBBERY, 140626002, 500 block of S. 15th Street. At 12:20 am on June 26, two unknown suspects assaulted and robbed a cab driver of cash and his belongings. Suspect one is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 6’0″ and 160 lbs. He was wearing a black baseball cap, dark jacket over a white t-shirt, jeans, and black and white shoes. Suspect two is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 6’0″ and 160 lbs. He was wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans.

ROBBERY, 140629058, 500 block of S. 15th Street. At 11:10 pm on June 29, two unknown suspects robbed a cab driver at gunpoint of cash and his belongings. Suspect one is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 6’1″ with a skinny build. He had a full beard and was wearing shorts. Suspect two is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 6’2″ with a skinny build. He was wearing salmon colored shorts and a Hawaiian shirt.

The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

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by ARLnow.com — June 19, 2014 at 5:00 pm 1,414 0

William Couch (photo courtesy ACPD)A man has pleaded guilty to two 25-year-old cold cases in Arlington.

William Couch pleaded guilty to abduction with intent to defile and object sexual penetration in the cases, according to an Arlington County Police Department press release.

According to police, Couch admitted to the May 9, 1989 sexual assault and robbery of a woman whose home was broken into as she slept, and the Sept. 11, 1989 rape of a woman who was forced into a maintenance room by a man after she arrived early for her shift at work.

“In January of 2013, cold case detectives reviewed evidence from these cases and in June of 2013 William Couch became a suspect,” according to the press release. “On February 17, 2014 Couch was indicted on charges in connection to these assaults. On June 12, 2014, he pled guilty and was sentenced to 45 years on each case.”

The cases were investigated by detectives Rosa Ortiz and Robert Icolari, of ACPD’s Cold Case Squad, and prosecuted by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Cari Steele. Ortiz is best known for being the lead detective in the Carl Diener murder case.

“Once again the value of a having a Cold Case Squad has been proven as we were able to bring some closure to two victims while bringing this sexual predator to justice,” said Deputy Chief Daniel Murray, commander of ACPD’s Criminal Investigations Division.

by Morgan Fecto — June 13, 2014 at 1:30 pm 1,969 0

Home Depot gift cards (Flickr photo by Marie Coleman)An Internal Revenue Service impersonation scam has victimized some Arlington-based immigrants, threatening them with deportation unless they drive to Home Depot and add money to pre-paid gift cards.

“So many people already got in trouble,” Shamim Naseer, who received one of these calls, told ARLnow.com. “One of my friends said he paid them $6,000.”

Naseer said that at least four people she knows, including her son, got a call from someone claiming to be an IRS agent. One of her friends, Naseer said, got a call six months ago. The caller in each case told them to add money to gift cards within 10 to 20 minutes or else they would “get in trouble.”

“Some people just don’t know what to do,” said Naseer, who runs an in-home child day care service called Sunshine Day Care in Arlington. The scam may seem obvious to long-time American citizens, but is less so to “recent immigrants who are still figuring out how the tax system operates in this country,” said Sara Barker, a daycare client of Naseer’s.

An identical scam robbed a South Florida woman of $6,000 earlier this month, and a March press release from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said that thousands of people were victims of similar scams.

When Naseer got her call Wednesday, she knew not to believe the scam artist because customers from her sons’ Halal grocery store on Lee Highway warned her after receiving calls of their own, she said. She kept him on the phone so she could report details of their call to the police and the IRS.

After giving her a fake name, phone number and IRS ID number, the man asked Naseer if she had a lawyer. “Tell me what I did wrong first and then I’ll tell you if I have a lawyer,” Naseer said she told the caller. He said that Naseer had unpaid debt and needed to go to the bank to withdraw “cash money.”

“If I hadn’t heard about these scams before then I would have believed him,” Naseer’s daughter Amania, who was with her mother when the call came, told ARLnow.com. “He was so professional and very thorough.”

The caller wanted Naseer to go to Home Depot after she withdrew the $3,000 and add the money to gift cards. “He said, ‘put the phone on speaker so I know you’re taking out the money,’” Naseer said.

“I said, ‘there’s no point in talking to him anymore because I’m not going to do this,’” Naseer said. After she hung up, the caller called back twice. Naseer reported the call to the IRS, who said they received six similar calls.

Amania Naseer said that she was scared because the caller knew her family’s address. The caller also told them he would come to their house after Naseer paid to complete the “paperwork.”

The scam artist who called Naseer’s son said he was from his electric company, and that he would turn off power in their store unless they paid their supposed “bill” in 10 minutes. Naseer did not know if the same caller targeted her son, but she said he gave him the same set of instructions.

One of the victims Naseer knows is a government employee, according to Naseer. “He told me, ‘I’m working for the government too, so I’m hoping my money comes back,’” Naseer said.

The press release advised victims of these scams to report them to the Treasury Department at 800-366-4484 , or to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and add “IRS Phone Scam” to the online form’s comments.

Flickr photo by Marie Coleman

by ARLnow.com — June 12, 2014 at 3:30 pm 931 0

Police are looking for a man who allegedly used his iPhone to photograph a woman using the bathroom.

The incident happened Tuesday night on the 4200 block of Columbia Pike. Police say the woman looked out the window, saw a hand holding an iPhone and screamed, scaring off the suspect.

From this week’s Arlington County crime report:

PEEPING TOM, 140610056, 4200 block of S. Columbia Pike. At 10:18 pm on June 10, an unknown male subject was seen taking a photo of a female as she used the restroom. The victim stated that she glanced out the bathroom window and viewed a hand holding an iphone taking a picture or video of her. The suspect then fled after the victim screamed. There is no suspect(s) description.

The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

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by ARLnow.com — June 5, 2014 at 4:45 pm 4,804 0

Arlington County police carA man was reportedly able to scare away four people trying to rob him in his apartment when he drew a handgun.

Police say the 27-year-old victim was taking out the trash last Friday night in the Arna Valley View neighborhood near S. Glebe Road. When he returned to his apartment, four alleged, would-be robbers forced their way in.

As two of the suspects rifled through his things, the victim said there was a brief struggle and he was able to draw a pistol. The suspects then reportedly dropped everything and ran off.

From this week’s Arlington County crime report:

ROBBERY BY FORCE, 140602055, 2700 block of S. Adams Street. On May 30 at 11:30 pm, a 27 year old victim was allegedly forced into his apartment by four subjects and robbed of his wallet and cellphone. The victim brandished a firearm and the suspects dropped his belongings and fled on foot. Suspect one is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 6’1″ and 210 lbs. He was wearing a light blue t-shirt, light blue jeans, and white Nike sneakers. Suspect two is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 5’9″ and 155 lbs. He was wearing an oversized green polo t-shirt, brown khakis, and brown boat shoes. Suspect three is described as a Hispanic female in her mid twenties approximately, 5’3″ and 130 lbs with green eyes and black hair. She was wearing a black blouse and checkered pants. Suspect four is described as a black female in her mid twenties approximately, 5’2″ and 120 lbs with a long red wig. She was wearing a purple dress with brown boots.

The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

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by Ethan Rothstein — May 22, 2014 at 11:00 am 521 0

Bicycles at the Bike to Work Day pit stop in RosslynBicycle thefts in Arlington this are down about 40 percent so far this year.

The Arlington County Police Department announced yesterday that 74 bicycles have been reported stolen this year, compared with 124 at this same point last year.

The report comes less than a year after ACPD declared bike thefts to be at an “all-time high,” and just seven months after one bike thief was sentenced to 12 years in prison in the middle of a bicycle thief crackdown.

Despite the drop in reported thefts, ACPD says it still is “aggressively working to reduce the number of incidents,” but offered some tips on ways to avoid getting your bike stolen.

From Arlington County police:

  • Do NOT leave bikes unsecured on your lawn, porch or driveway.
  • Always lock your bike’s frame and wheels with a high quality U-Lock to a solid, fixed object. Cables don’t provide sufficient security to protect your bike.
  • If stored in a storage locker, secure your bike to an immovable object.
  • Take photos of your bike and any distinguishing features, to include the serial number and keep them on file.
  • Work with your Homeowner’s Association or property management to improve security for your bike storage area by adding locked cages and cameras.
  • If you are a victim of bicycle theft, file a police report.
  • If you notice suspicious behavior, call the police immediately.
  • Register your bike for FREE with the Arlington County Police Department. Visit www.police.arlingtonva.us and go to Online Services and click on Register Your Bike. Within approximately seven days you will receive an ACPD decal which, when visible, may be a deterrent to theft.

We strongly encourage residents to register the serial number of their bicycles for free as this is used for identification purposes if stolen and increases the chances it will be returned. If you cannot read your serial number and wish to register your bike, the Arlington County Police Department Crime Prevention Unit will assist you with engraving a number on the frame. Call 703-228-4057 to make arrangements.

File photo

by ARLnow.com — May 21, 2014 at 4:55 pm 2,856 0

A man with a gun allegedly tried to rob a woman in the Hilton Garden Inn in Courthouse, just a half block from Arlington police headquarters.

The incident happened around 11:20 a.m. this past Thursday. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 140515023, 1300 block of N. Courthouse Road. At 11:20 am on May 15, an unknown subject allegedly attempted to rob a female victim at gunpoint outside of her hotel room. The suspect fled the scene on foot prior to taking anything from the victim. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’6″ tall and 160 lbs. He was wearing a grey jacket, tan pants and construction boots.

The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump. All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm 2,458 0

A woman was reported carjacked Saturday afternoon near the Arlington Ridge and Arna Valley View neighborhoods.

Police say the woman was sitting in her car, talking on the phone, when two men approached. They implied a gun, ordered the woman out of her car and drove off. The victim was shaken but uninjured, police say.

From this week’s Arlington County crime report:

CARJACKING, 140510055, 2400 block of Army Navy Drive. On May 10 at approximately 4 pm, a 27 year-old female victim was carjacked by two subjects that implied they had a firearm. Suspect one is described as a black male in his early twenties, approximately 5’7″ tall with a skinny build. He was wearing a black t-shirt with blue jeans and a skull belt buckle. Suspect two is described as a black male in his early twenties with a heavy build. He was wearing a yellow and maroon t-shirt at the time of the incident.

The last carjacking to be listed in an Arlington crime report was in July 2012.

The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — May 8, 2014 at 11:15 am 5,117 0

Kendra Owens (photo courtesy ACPD)(Updated at 11:45 a.m.) When a verbal argument led to a malicious physical attack in the Nauck neighborhood Tuesday evening, according to police, the victim’s kids stepped in and began attacking the alleged attacker.

The incident took place just past 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, on the 2400 block of S. Lowell Street. Two neighbors who “have a long, combative history,” got into a verbal argument “that escalated” when one of them pulled out a baseball bat, Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said.

According to Sternbeck, 27-year-old Kendra Owens struck her neighbor in the head with the baseball bat, at which point two of the victim’s children — both under 10 years of age — managed to take the bat away and started striking Owens with it.

Owens and the victim were both found by officers lying on the ground, injured, among a crowd of about 8 neighborhood children. No other adults were present, Stenbeck said.

The two women were taken to hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries. From the crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 140506050, 2400 block of S. Lowell Street. At 6:06 pm on May 6, a female subject struck her neighbor in the head with a baseball bat following a verbal altercation. The victim’s young children disarmed the subject of the bat and began striking her with it. Police arrived on scene to find both women lying on the ground with injuries. Both were transported to the hospital. Kendra Owens, 27, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with malicious wounding following her release from the hospital. She was held on a secure bond.

The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

(more…)

by Ethan Rothstein — May 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm 5,824 0

Police car lights(Updated 5:25 p.m.) A jogger was nearly abducted in Fairlington Sunday morning, according to Arlington County police.

Police say a 30-year-old female jogger was running on the 3400 block of S. Utah Street at approximately 6:00 a.m. when a white, four-door sedan — driven by a white male in his 40s with brown hair and a goatee — approached her.

The man allegedly asked the victim for directions before he grabbed her and attempted to pull her into his car. She was able to break free and run home to call police.

The suspect was possible wearing a white t-shirt during the incident, police said, and drove off in the southbound direction of S. Utah Street.

The police department is asking those with information about the incident or suspect to contact Detective LeFrancois of the Special Victim’s Unit at 703-228-4095 or at blefrancois@arlingtonva.us. Anonymous tips can also be provided through the Arlington County Crime Solvers Hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

by ARLnow.com — May 2, 2014 at 4:15 pm 49,607 0

James Denham Watson (photo courtesy ACPD)An Arlington (Va.) man has been convicted of assault and battery in a strange case that received national and even international attention.

James Watson, 32, was found guilty this week of beating up his roommate after the roommate drew a penis on his face while he slept. An Arlington County Circuit Court judge sentenced Watson to a $1,250 fine and restitution on the misdemeanor charge, but no additional jail time.

During trial, the jury was told that Watson and his two roommates were out drinking in Clarendon on a Friday night last March. When they returned to their Lyon Village home, Watson fell asleep on the couch with his shoes on, prompting the victim decided to prank him by drawing a penis on his face with a black dry erase marker, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ben Inman, who prosecuted the case.

Watson awoke and “felt a tingling on his face,” leading him to use a mirror function on his phone. Upon seeing the cartoonish genitalia, Inman said, Watson went upstairs and began repeatedly punching the victim in the face. The victim testified that we awoke to Watson punching him, while Watson argued that a heated verbal argument preceded a physical fight between the two men. The third roommate corroborated the victim’s story, said Inman.

As a result of the assault, the victim suffered a broken nose, an eye that was swollen shut and other facial injuries, according to police and prosecutors.

The victim testified that pranks were a part of life in the home, and that it was a “house rule” that one would be drawn on should they pass out with their shoes on. Watson argued that he was aware of no such rule.

The victim also told the jury that he had tested the marker on his arm before using it, and that the black mark had come right off. Watson said he tried but could not remove the penis drawing from his face.

In recommending no jail time, the jury might have felt sorry for Watson and the negative attention, media and otherwise, he received as a result of the genitalia on his face.

“He was an object of ridicule in jail that weekend because he still had the penis drawn on his face,” Inman told ARLnow.com. Watson made bail early the following week.

Watson is scheduled to be back in Circuit Court in July as a result of the conviction. He was previously tried on felony charges of assaulting a law enforcement officer in 2012, but the imposition of sentence was suspended on the condition of good behavior. That suspension could be revoked, leading to possible jail time or other punishment.

by ARLnow.com — May 2, 2014 at 9:05 am 1,529 0

Arlington County's courthouse and police headquarters

Police Launch Juvenile Crime Initiative — With prom around the corner, the Arlington County Police Department’s School Resource Officers are launching a spring initiative to prevent and reduce juvenile crime. Offers will focus on preventing crimes like drug and alcohol-related offenses among middle and high school students. [Arlington County]

Woman Falls into Manhole — A woman says she fell into a manhole near Columbia Pike Thursday afternoon. It reportedly happened while crews were working on manholes in the area. The victim says she was hurt and and is considering legal action. [WJLA]

Venture Capitalist Moving to Crystal City – Venture capitalist George Kellerman is leaving Silicon Valley and coming to Crystal City. Kellerman has joined the new Crystal Tech Fund as a partner. [TechCrunch, MyFoxDC]

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