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.
The eatery opened this morning and attracted a long line during today’s lunchtime rush. Like Panera’s sit-down stores, the food court location offers artisan breads, salads, soups, sandwiches, pastas, bagels, smoothies, coffee, tea, espresso drinks and baked goods.
Panera is open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. For local office workers and residents, the restaurant accepts phone-in orders at 703-412-5080 or fax orders at 703-412-5082.
This is the second Panera Bread location in Arlington. An existing Panera is located at Ballston Common Mall (4238 Wilson Boulevard).
Had tip to Peter Brooks
The Arlington County Police Department has released surveillance video of Tuesday’s smash and grab robbery at Pentagon City mall in the hopes the public can help identify the suspects.
The video shows four subjects entering the Tourneau retail store at 10:37 a.m. on Tuesday (March 19). Police say they headed directly to the Rolex watch display case. One of the subjects used a hammer to break the front side of the glass display case to gain access to the merchandise. Before fleeing, the four subjects managed to grab 23 Rolex watches, worth approximately $609,000. Police say the four suspects were in the store for less than 30 seconds.
All four subjects are described as being black males wearing ski masks and hooded jackets. Three were wearing all dark clothing and suspect four was wearing a red hooded jacket and dark pants. A fifth person was reportedly waiting in a getaway vehicle on the S. Hayes Street side of the mall. The vehicle is described as a charcoal gray four-door sedan.
If anyone has information on the identities and/or whereabouts of these individuals, please contact Detective Paula Brockenborough of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4241 or at email@example.com. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS (8477).
(Updated at 2:50 p.m.) A group of robbers got away with $609,000 worth of Rolex watches in a smash and grab robbery at Pentagon City mall this morning.
According to police, four men wearing ski masks and gloves entered the Tourneau watch store, near the main S. Hayes Street entrance to the mall, around 10:30 a.m. The men smashed the front of a display case with a hammer, then grabbed 23 Rolex watches valued at $609,000, police said.
The men then fled, hopped in a getaway vehicle parked in front of the mall with an accomplice in the driver’s seat, and took off. The car was described as a charcoal gray, four-door sedan.
The entire robbery took less than 30 seconds, according to police.
No customers or employees were on the “floor” of the store at the time of the robbery. One employee who was cleaning the outside of the store yelled for someone to call police during the robbery. Five employees were in the back of the store, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The crime is similar to another smash and grab robbery at the mall last month — during which 27 rings worth approximately $128,000 were stolen — but police so far have not been able to determine a definitive connection.
Surveillance video of the robbery is expected to be released at some point. Still images from the video are provided below.
Pentagon City Mall Renovations — Coming on the heels of the news that Ballston Common Mall will be getting a revamp, the owners of Fashion Centre at Pentagon City announced plans to renovate that mall as well. Although no formal plan has been revealed, changes could include adding office space or apartments. Renovations for the 24-year-old mall would be paid for out of a pot of about $1 billion that Simon Property Group Inc. has set aside for updating its properties. [Washington Business Journal]
Fire Hydrant Color Meaning — Arlington doesn’t have one standard color for fire hydrants; instead, the county adopted a coloring system in the 1990s indicating the flow of water at each particular hydrant. Blue hydrants have water flow above 1,500 gallons per minute (gpm), green is between 1,000 and 1,500 gpm, orange is 500 to 1,000 gpm and red is below 500 gpm. The color scheme allows firefighters to quickly determine if one hydrant will be enough to fight a fire, or if a water relay system is necessary. [Washington Post]
More Signs Requested for Westover Market — Organizers of the Westover Market believe a drop in attendance occurred for the new winter market because of the county’s sign restrictions. There has been a drop of up to 90 percent, according to organizers, and they believe the attendance would be greater if they were allowed to post more signs advertising the market. The County Board asked County Manager Barbara Donnellan to investigate the issue. [Sun Gazette]
Library Hosts Croatian Ambassador — The Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) will host a celebration of Croatia tonight featuring music, food, cultural displays and a visit from Croatian Ambassador Joško Paro. The event begins at 7:00 p.m. [Arlington Public Library]
Hybrid Tax Petition — Virginia Senator Adam Ebbin and Delegate Scott Surovell launched a petition to get Gov. Bob McDonnell to eliminate the so-called hybrid tax in the newly passed transportation bill. Under the bill, drivers of hybrid vehicles would have to pay a $100 fee each year. McDonnell said he’d review that portion of the bill. [NBC 4]
The Arlington County Police Department has released surveillance footage of today’s smash-and-grab robbery at the Zales jewelry store in the Pentagon City mall.
The video shows four men entering the store, their faces covered by hoods and masks. They then use hammers to smash a glass jewelry case, quickly grab the merchandise, and flee the store. Police say the men made a clean getaway with 27 rings worth $128,000.
Anyone with information about the suspects is encouraged to contact Det. Paula Brockenborough at 703-228-4241 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS (8477).
Update at 5:10 p.m. — Police have released surveillance video of the robbery.
A group of men armed with hammers smashed a jewelry store display counter at the Pentagon City mall and fled with handfuls of jewelry.
The robbery took place around 11:00 a.m. at the Zales store in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.
Four younger adult men — described as three black males and one white male — entered the store wearing jeans and black hoodies over their face, according to Arlington County police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Two of the men smashed the glass counters with hammers and “grabbed as much as they could,” Sternbeck said.
The men then ran to a car in the nearby parking garage, where a getaway driver was waiting. The car — a red Nissan sedan — smashed through a parking gate and drove off, according to Sternbeck. Police have so far been unable to locate the vehicle or the suspects.
All told, the men stole 27 rings, worth approximately $128,000 — just in time for Valentine’s Day. Police are reviewing surveillance footage as part of their investigation.
School Enrollment Surging – Enrollment in Arlington Public Schools is now projected to increase from 22,657 pre-K to 12th grade students today to 30,777 students by the 2023-24 school year. The projections suggest that enrollment will near 27,000 by the 2017-18 school year, breaking the previous record for APS enrollment. [Sun Gazette]
Ukrainian Mayor Presents Library With Sculpture – Viktor Anushkevychus, the mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk, Arlington’s sister city in Ukraine, presented Arlington Central Library with a metal sculpture of a tree yesterday. [Arlington Public Library]
Libby Garvey Looking for New Assistant — Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey is seeking a new aide in the County Board office, after her previous aide left for a new position in the county. “If you know of anyone who might be interested in the position, please encourage them to check out the announcement and apply,” she said in a recent email to supporters. The full-time job pays between $39,062 and $63,523, plus benefits. [Arlington County]
Model Bootcamp Coming to Pentagon City — A “bootcamp” for wanna-be models is coming to the Pentagon City mall on Saturday. From 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City will host a promotional event for “The Face,” a new modeling competition show on the Oxygen network. Participants will be put through a “casting session” that will include a short photo shoot; in the end, they’ll be emailed an animated GIF of photos from the shoot. [Oxygen]
On Thursday, Jan. 3, a man posing as a police detective entered two stores in the Pentagon City mall, flashed a badge and said he needed to seize a number of wristwatches as “evidence in a case,” according to ACPD. Store employees weren’t fooled, and they asked the man to leave the store. Then, they called the real police.
“The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’8” tall and 170 lbs,” according to an ACPD press release. “At the time of the incident he was wearing dark colored jeans, a gray jacket and a red and black plaid hat.”
“If anyone has information on the whereabouts of this individual, please contact Detective James Stone of the Arlington County Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division at 703.228.4245 or at email@example.com. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”
Photo courtesy Arlington County Police Department
The Williams-Sonoma gourmet food and cookware store at Pentagon City mall is closing after this week.
The store’s last day in business will be Sunday, Jan. 20, according to a sign at the entrance. Until then, the store is offering display items for up to 50 percent off.
As of Saturday, Jan. 12 many of the store’s shelves — especially those that once contained sale items — were bare.
Streetcar Referendum Might Be Necessary — Arlington County might be forced to hold a bond referendum for the Columbia Pike streetcar if it’s unable to sell a certain type of revenue bond to partially fund the $250 million project. For now, the project is awaiting word on whether it will receive up to $75 million in federal funding. [Sun Gazette]
Higher-End Stores at Pentagon City Mall — The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City has undergone a transformation that brought higher-end “aspirational luxury” stores to the mall. Recent addition to the malls include Oakley, Sperry, Mezlan and Cole Haan. Among the stores that have recently left is Aeropostale, which was forced out by a Microsoft Store. [Washington Post]
‘Dooring’ Law Proposed in Richmond — A law has been proposed for the upcoming Virginia General Assembly session (which starts tomorrow) that would make a vehicle occupant liable in the event they open their car door in the path of a cyclist, causing an accident. Similar laws are already on the books in Maryland and D.C. [WTOP]
State Dept. Cancels Search for Lease in Rosslyn — The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, based on Lynn Street in Rosslyn, has canceled a search for a new lease. The agency is now looking for a building to buy, raising the prospect that it may be looking to move into the District. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Jkurl11
The auditions will take place at the mall from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Previously only open to women, this latest round of tryouts are open to both men and women, between the ages of 18 and 27. A list of eligibility requirements and a required 100+ question application are both available via the DC50 website.
The auditions will be followed by a private screening for the new show The Carrie Diaries, a “prequel” to the hit HBO show Sex and the City. The screening will take place at 5:00 p.m.; interested viewers must register online.
A man robbed the Currency Exchange store at the Pentagon City mall on Chrismas Eve by implying that he had a weapon, according to police.
No weapon was seen, but the man was able to flee the scene after obtaining cash. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
ARMED ROBBERY, 12/24/12, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At 2:42 pm on December 24, an unknown suspect robbed the Currency Exchange at Pentagon City Mall. The subject fled the scene on foot in the direction of the Metro. The subject is described as a black male, approximately 50 years old, 150 lbs, with a short beard. He was wearing a jean jacket over a black hooded sweatshirt and a black Nike hat at the time of the incident.
Also this week, a man was arrested and charged with indecent exposure after has was caught masturbating at the L.A. Fitness health club in Crystal City, according to police.
A gym patron walked into the sauna and witnessed the man mid-act, police said. According to Arlington County spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, the suspect began to “tussle” with the witness after he said he was going to alert the manager; no charges were filed as a result of the scuffle.
INDECENT EXPOSURE, 12/21/12, 3500 block of S. Clark Street. On December 21 at 9:21 am, a subject was seen masturbating inside the sauna of a gym. Morris Umansky,
63, of Arlington, VA, was charged with indecent exposure and released on a summons.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.
(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) Two new stores are coming to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, while another is closing at Pentagon Row.
A new Oakley store and a new Sperry store are both under construction on the second level of the shopping mall. The stores are directly adjacent to one another. Oakley is best known for its sunglasses, while Sperry is best known for its boat shoes. Oakley also sells clothing and Sperry sells other types of footwear.
Both stores are expected to open in time for Christmas shopping, with the Sperry store hoping to open around Dec. 7 and the Oakley store hoping to open around Dec. 14, according to a PR rep for the mall.
Lucy, an women’s activewear store, will be closing soon at Pentagon Row. A sign in the window advertises a 25 percent off sale at the store, while directing shoppers to other locations at Union Station in D.C. and Tysons Corner Center mall in Fairfax County.
Photo (right) courtesy Desiree Lomer-Clarke
About 15 vehicles in the garage were broken in to Monday afternoon, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The cars each had their door lock “punched,” allowing a thief to gain access to the inside of the vehicle. Valuables like wallets, purses, credit cards, cash, phones and GPS units were taken.
Sternbeck said the suspect or suspects moved from car to car, sometimes leaving items stolen from one vehicle in another vehicle. The thefts all took place between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., Sternbeck said.
Thefts are fairly common in the Pentagon City mall parking garage, though a large series of thefts such as this doesn’t happen very often. In July, thieves struck at least 10 vehicles, including two police vehicles, in one afternoon.
“That’s one of the known hot spots for thieves due the the number of vehicles,” Sternbeck said of the parking garage. “[The mall is] typically a place where you leave valuables inside your vehicle. It’s easy pickins for these criminals.”
Police advise shoppers to keep valuables out of plain sight — perhaps locked in a trunk or a glove compartment — when parking one’s car in a public area.