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by ARLnow.com — August 20, 2014 at 9:30 am 1,195 0

The aftermath of an accident in Rosslyn

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]

by Ethan Rothstein — August 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm 1,545 0

Wells-Fargo-robbery4Two 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.

by ARLnow.com — June 13, 2014 at 4:20 pm 1,643 0

Arlington County Police and the FBI are looking for a man who robbed a bank on S. Glebe Road Friday morning.

The suspect entered a PNC Bank branch, located inside the Giant Food Store at 2901 S. Glebe Road, around 10:20 a.m. and demanded money from a teller, according to the FBI. The suspect fled after obtaining an undisclosed amount of cash.

“The subject was described as a black male with a full beard and mustache and shoulder length dread locks,” the FBI said on its website. “He was described as wearing a black and brown suit, black shoes, sunglasses and a black bag across his body.”

The FBI offers up to $5,000 for tips that least to the arrest and conviction of bank robbers.

Photos courtesy FBI

by ARLnow.com — May 1, 2014 at 9:05 am 1,096 0

The Flame (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Arlingtonian Walter Walsh Dies at 106 — Walter Walsh, a world-class Olympic marksman who had a knack for tracking down and shooting gangsters as an FBI agent in the 1930s, has died just a week shy of his 107th birthday. After battling gangsters in the U.S., Walsh entered combat in the Pacific during World War II, at one point killing an enemy sniper from 80 yards away with a single pistol shot. Walsh died at his home in Arlington. [New York Times]

Orange Line Delays This Weekend — This weekend, starting at 10:00 p.m. Friday, Orange Line trains will run every 24 minutes due in part to fence repairs and work on a communications cable between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. [WMATA]

Arlington Participates in National PrepareAthon Day — Personnel from Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management went around to local coffee shops yesterday morning, handing out flyers on National PrepareAthon Day. OEM employees urged Arlington residents to prepare themselves for strong summer storms and to sign up for Arlington Alert emails. [WUSA 9]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by ARLnow.com — March 4, 2014 at 9:15 am 1,804 0

A perfect snowflake lands in a girl's hair in Arlington (photo courtesy Kimberly Suiters)

Richmond Named Acting AED Director — Cynthia Richmond has been named the acting director of Arlington Economic Development following the untimely death of Terry Holzheimer. Holzheimer died of a sudden heart attack over the weekend. Richmond was serving as the deputy director of AED. Arlington County plans to begin a recruitment process to find a permanent director for AED soon. [Arlington County]

FBI Cracking Down on Corruption in N. Va. — The FBI has created a task force to investigate public corruption in Northern Virginia. Public corruption is the FBI’s “number one criminal investigative priority” at the moment and the agency has “cases in all categories in Northern Virginia.” [Loudoun Times]

Man Sentenced in $30 Million Fraud Scheme — A Florida man has been sentenced in a $30 million scheme that defrauded NASA into awarding contracts on false pretenses. Michael Dunkel, 60, was awarded contracts by NASA intended for minority-owned businesses by claiming he was an employee of an Arlington company supposedly run by a woman of Portuguese descent. Dunkel in turn paid kickbacks to the company. [Associated Press, U.S. Justice Department]

APAH to Purchase Apartment Building — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is purchasing the Arna Valley View apartments near Glebe Road and I-395. The purchase will allow 101 apartments to remain as committed affordable housing for at least the next 60 years. [Sun Gazette]

Fundraising for Pike Documentary Book — Photographer Lloyd Wolf is raising money to print a book based on photos taken by the Columbia Pike Documentary Project. [GoFundMe]

Photo courtesy Kimberly Suiters/All News 99.1 WNEW

by Ethan Rothstein — January 2, 2014 at 4:15 pm 4,897 0

FBI agents on the scene of a bank robbery at the Wells-Fargo on S. George Mason DriveAn FBI SWAT team observed while three men allegedly robbed the Wells Fargo at Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive at gunpoint on Tuesday, apprehending the suspects a block away after the robbery had been committed.

The men — two from Maryland and one from Washington, D.C. — had been under FBI surveillance after being suspected of committing several bank robberies around the D.C. area, according to federal prosecutors.

The men left the bank with $47,000, but were apprehended a block north on George Mason Drive. They have been charged with armed bank robbery.

Below is the full press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – James McNeal, 63, of Hyattsville, Md., James Link, 56, of Washington, D.C., and Alphonso Stoddard, 59, of Forest Heights, Md., were charged today by criminal complaint with armed bank robbery.

Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the initial appearance of defendants Link and Stoddard before United States Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson.

The defendants each face a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment if convicted.

According to court documents and court proceedings today, the FBI received information in December 2013 that McNeal, Link and Stoddard had been responsible for the armed robberies of multiple banks in the Washington metropolitan area.  After identifying the subjects, the FBI kept the three men under close surveillance, which included observing the defendants as they cased banks in Arlington, Va. for potential robberies.

On December 31, 2013, FBI agents followed the three subjects as they drove from Maryland to a Wells Fargo bank branch in Arlington.  An FBI SWAT team was prepositioned near the Wells Fargo bank before the defendants arrived.  At approximately 1:15 p.m., Link and Stoddard entered the bank with their faces covered.  Link brandished a gun and pointed it at individuals in the bank, while Stoddard jumped the teller counter and removed approximately $47,000 in cash from teller drawers.  The two men exited the bank and returned to their vehicle, where McNeal was waiting.

As the three subjects attempted to flee the scene, FBI and Arlington County Police apprehended them approximately one block away.  A handgun and cash were found in the vehicle.  A search of McNeal’s house in Hyattsville, Md. led to the discovery of additional firearms, gloves and items of clothing that were linked to previous bank robberies.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office with the assistance of the FBI’s Baltimore Division and the Fairfax County and Arlington County police departments.  The United States Attorney’s Offices for the District of Columbia and the District of Maryland also provided assistance in the investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Adam B. Schwartz is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

Criminal complaints are only charges and not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

by Katie Pyzyk — June 6, 2013 at 1:00 pm 1,475 0

A man has been arrested and charged in connection with the March 19 smash and grab robbery at Pentagon City mall.

As seen in the above surveillance video released by the Arlington County Police Department, four suspects entered the Torneau store and broke the jewelry case with Rolex watches. The FBI has since taken over the case, and said the suspects got away with 22 watches worth more than $500,000 before fleeing to a getaway car with a fifth suspect.

Last week, Walter A. Douglas was arrested in connection with the robbery, claiming he “did knowingly and unlawfully, conspire, confederate, and agree to delay and affect commerce and the movement of articles and commodities in such commerce, by robbery.” According to the FBI affidavit, Douglas has a history of robbery, grand theft and grand larceny in the D.C. metro area. The document connects him to seven other high profile robberies in the region between December 3, 2012, and April 30, 2013, for which he has also been charged.

The affidavit states that an informant contacted the ACPD on April 10 and claimed Douglas was responsible for the Pentagon City robbery, and possibly for others. The informant reported hearing Douglas speaking with another man, the recently arrested Floyd Davis, about high end watches and rings.

Davis was reportedly arrested early last month, but the list of alleged crimes in his affidavit did not directly name the Pentagon City incident. Davis was, however, mentioned in the Douglas affidavit for having been in the immediate area and in contact with Douglas around the time of the Torneau robbery.

Evidence against the men includes cell phone records showing Douglas and Davis in frequent contact with each other on or around the days of the robberies. Cell phone records also place one or both men near the locations of several of the robberies at the times they occurred.

Additionally, the FBI matched cars spotted at a couple of the robberies with those Douglas apparently rented around the time of each incident. Records show he rented a grey Dodge Charger — like the one investigators saw in the Pentagon City surveillance video — four days before the robbery. The vehicle was returned the day of the robbery.

An FBI spokesperson would not comment on the possibility of other arrests in the case because the investigation is still active.

by ARLnow.com — December 13, 2012 at 11:05 am 3,493 21 Comments

Arlington County Police and the FBI have released surveillance video of Tuesday’s robbery of the Bank of America branch at 3600 S. Glebe Road.

The video shows a man wearing a black jacket, cap, sunglasses and gloves entering the bank and passing a note to the teller. The teller then hands the man a stack of cash, which the man inspects before quickly fleeing on foot.

ACPD and the FBI are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the man.

“He is described as black male, between 5’10 and 5’11” and weighing approximately 165 pounds,” police said in a press release. “He was wearing a black jacket, a knit hat and scarf. He also wore mirrored sunglasses, black gloves, dark pants and tennis shoes.”

“Anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of this individual is asked to contact the FBI’s Washington Field Office at 202-278-2000 or Detective Gary Skeens with the Arlington County Police Department at 703.228.4166 or investigations@arlingtonva.us,” police said. “To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”

by ARLnow.com — December 5, 2012 at 11:20 am 5,693 66 Comments

(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) The FBI conducted several raids in and around Rosslyn this morning.

An office at 1901 Ft. Myer Drive was raided, as was a townhouse just north of Rosslyn. So far, the FBI Washington Field Office is mum on the details.

“We are serving search warrants at multiple locations in Arlington this morning,” said spokesman Andrew Ames. “There is nothing public at the moment that we can share.”

A source tells ARLnow.com that the FBI was searching offices of the Rosslyn-based University of Management and Technology. The house that was searched is owned by the private university’s academic dean, according to property records.

UMT’s U.S. website was down, but is now working, and a Hong Kong-based website for UMT is still active. The school offers degrees in criminal justice, homeland security, information technology and business administration, among other areas of study. It advertises itself as “military friendly,” and accepts military personnel using the G.I. Bill. The school also accepts foreign students using F-1 visas and sponsored J-1 visa international exchange students.

According to a U.S. Department of Commerce web page, UMT has “deep roots in the Federal sector” and academic dean Dr. J. Davidson Frame is a “world-class leader in project and acquisition management.”

 

by ARLnow.com — October 19, 2012 at 8:15 pm 5,140 37 Comments

Arlington County Police, the county bomb squad and FBI agents are on the scene at the Woodbury Park Apartments, on the 2200 block of 11th Street N. near Clarendon, searching the apartment of Leon A. Traille, Jr.

Video of the search, courtesy of Fox 5, can be found below. So far, there’s no indication that the apartment building has been evacuated, but the investigators are still on the scene. Bomb technicians entered the apartment via the window.

Traille is facing a federal arson charge after police say he tried to fire bomb the Ballston Common Mall food court. He was arrested several hours later while eating lunch at Courthouse Plaza.

Social media accounts linked to Traille, along with public records, suggest he’s an out-of-work computer programmer who has previously lived in Georgia, Oregon and New York City.

Courtesy photo
DC Breaking Local News Weather Sports FOX 5 WTTG

by ARLnow.com — September 24, 2012 at 9:45 am 3,529 55 Comments

The FBI is conducting a training exercise on the 4400 block of 16th Street N., in Waverly Hills, until about 4:00 p.m., according to an Arlington Alert.

The exercise inadvertently drew a large police response to the area when a 911 caller reported seeing a man dressed in camouflage with an assault rifle strapped to his back near Glebe Elementary School. Police searched the area and eventually discovered the training exercise, according to scanner traffic.

This is the third such FBI training exercise in Waverly Hills in the past year and a half.

File photo

by ARLnow.com — August 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm 6,748 141 Comments

(Updated at 10:00 p.m.) The suspect in a shooting at the Family Research Council in D.C. might have parked at the East Falls Church Metro station, ARLnow.com has learned.

FBI agents and Metro Police officers blocked off part of the parking lot at the East Falls Church Metro station with crime tape this afternoon. When we photographed the scene, investigators were still in the process of obtaining a warrant to search a car in the parking lot that they believe belongs to the shooting suspect, according to FBI Washington Field Office spokeswoman Rebecca Callahan. Later, news footage showed a silver Dodge Neon being searched and photographed.

The shooting happened around 10:45 this morning at the Family Research Council building at 801 G Street NW, in D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood. A guard was shot in the arm while confronting a gunman in the building’s lobby, according to various news reports. The gunman was arrested, placed in FBI custody, and charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

In a statement, the FBI has identified the suspect as Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, of Herndon, Va.

The Family Research Council is a conservative Christian lobbying organization that opposes gay rights, abortion, pornography and stem cell research.

Photos by Katie Pyzyk

 

by Katie Pyzyk — February 27, 2012 at 10:30 am 3,483 25 Comments

Several readers contacted ARLnow.com this morning about activity in the Waverly Hills neighborhood. A number of people dressed in FBI gear were spotted at a house near N. 16th St and Glebe Rd.

There’s no need to worry, though. Neighbors report it appears the FBI was using the private residence for a training exercise.

Photo courtesy of Lucy Brookover

by ARLnow.com — February 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm 8,719 38 Comments

An Arlington man has been sentenced to 40 months in prison for “possessing firearms after being convicted of a felony.”

The charge stems from an incident in October when a number of guns were found buried in the ground near Patrick Henry Drive and I-66. Investigators from the FBI and the Arlington County Police Department used forensic evidence to link the guns to 61-year-old Cherrydale resident and convicted felon Rodney M. Gunsauley.

In all, prosecutors say they recovered at least 35 tubes containing 14 guns and more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office issued the following press release tonight.

Rodney Melvin Gunsauley, 61, a resident of Arlington, Va., was sentenced today to 40 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a $6,000 fine for possessing firearms after being convicted of a felony.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee.

According to the statement of facts and court records, on Oct. 12, 2011, construction workers discovered two weapons caches located at the 1000 block of Patrick Henry Drive, Arlington, Virginia. FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) agents and Arlington County Police and Fire responded to the location and recovered one short barrel AR-15, thirteen AR-15 magazines, 385 armor piercing rounds, two handguns – a Para-Ordinance .45 and Delta Elite Semi-Automatic 10 mm – additional clips for the .45, a lock pick set and coded letter with references to additional locations. Forensic evidence led law enforcement to Gunsauley, whose house was searched pursuant to a federal search warrant on October 20, 2011. Inside his apartment, law enforcement found 12 M16 firing pins, materials to make weapons caches, a shovel and a lock pick set. Gunsauley was taken into custody the same day.

Gunsauley pled guilty on Dec. 8, 2011, to felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. With Gunsauley’s cooperation, law enforcement reported in court today that 33 additional weapons tubes had been recovered in Arlington Va., containing six additional AR15 rifles, five additional handguns to include a 9mm, a 40 caliber and another 45 caliber and 20,000 additional rounds of ammunition.

This case was investigated by FBI Washington Field Office and the Arlington County Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Ronald L. Walutes Jr. prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States, with assistance from the Arlington County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.

by ARLnow.com — February 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm 8,232 41 Comments

(Updated at 5:30 p.m.) FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force agents are conducting a terrorism investigation at a house in Douglas Park.

The FBI, NCIS and Arlington County Police are on the scene on the 1600 block of S. Randolph Street. Earlier, agents could be seen talking to two men outside the home, where the FBI says it was executing a search warrant.

The FBI now seems to be focusing their search on a shed behind the house. Agents wearing latex gloves and face masks have removed dozens of shoe boxes from the shed and piled them in the backyard. Agents have also put up a blue tarp to help shield their investigation from the dozen or so TV, radio and newspaper reporters camped at the corner of S. Randolph Street and 16th Street.

ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck confirms this is an “offshoot” related to today’s arrest of a Moroccan man by the FBI. The man, identified as 29-year-old Amine El Khalifi, planned on conducting a suicide attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to federal prosecutors. El Khalifi was living in Alexandria but was in the country illegally, prosecutors say.

(See the full U.S. Department of Justice press release, after the jump.)

The home raided by federal agents today has been owned by the same man and woman since 1997, according to Arlington County property records.

A longtime family friend who only identified himself as “Fred” was visiting and said he doesn’t know why the FBI would be interested in the couple. He said they have grown children as well as grandchildren, and live a quiet life at home.

“I don’t understand,” he said. “They’re good people.”

Though it doesn’t specify the address of the house in question, a federal court affidavit mentions a “residence in Arlington, Va.” as a place where El Khalifi allegedly discussed terrorism activity. From the Justice Department press release:

According to the criminal complaint affidavit, in January 2011, a confidential human source reported to the FBI that El Khalifi met with other individuals at a residence in Arlington, Va., on Jan. 11, 2011. During this meeting, one individual produced what appeared to be an AK-47, two revolvers and ammunition. El Khalifi allegedly expressed agreement with a statement by this individual that the “war on terrorism” was a “war on Muslims” and said that the group needed to be ready for war.

 
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