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Crime Report: Racist Graffiti in Ballston

by ARLnow.com | August 20, 2014 at 3:30 pm | 2,288 views | No Comments

A homeless man was arrested last Friday after allegedly writing “racist” graffiti around Ballston, according to Arlington County Police.

From this week’s Arlington crime report:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (series), 140815014, 4200 block of N. Fairfax Drive. Between 4:30 and 6:55 am on August 15, an intoxicated subject wrote profane language with a green marker on buildings, vehicles, bus shelters and signs. Phillip Cannon, 55, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with five counts of destruction of property and drunk in public.

The rest of the crime report, after the jump.

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Police: Naked Biker Crashes into Cars, Runs Through Woods

by ARLnow.com | August 19, 2014 at 11:00 am | 6,773 views | No Comments

Roland Hitchens (photo courtesy ACPD)A drunk and naked man on a motorcycle crashed into two cars and ran into the woods in the Arlington Village area Friday night, according to a police report.

The incident happened just before 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 15. The nude biker struck two cars on the 1600 block of S. Barton Street, near Columbia Pike, before fleeing on foot into a wooded area, according to the Arlington County Police Department.

Arlington resident Roland Hitchens, 42, was located by officers a short distance from the scene — residents told ARLnow.com he was found on S. Edgewood Street — and taken into custody. He was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries before being locked up at the Arlington County jail, police said.

A car on S. Barton Street allegedly damaged by a naked motorcyclist (submitted photo)Hitchens has been charged with felony hit and run, indecent exposure, DUI, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and driving while revoked.

This is the second time this summer an alleged naked and intoxicated driver crashed a vehicle in Arlington and tried to flee. In June, a bar crawl attendee in Clarendon was accused of stripping naked and leading police on a brief car chase that ended with a wreck on Wilson Blvd.

Photo (top) courtesy ACPD. Photo (bottom) courtesy anonymous. Hat tip to Brendan L.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | August 18, 2014 at 9:30 am | 3,059 views | No Comments

A lunch-goer looks at a construction area at the Pentagon City mall food court

Prostitution Arrests on the Rise — Arrests of prostitutes are on the rise in Arlington. Halfway through the year, ACPD has made 26 prostitution arrests, compared to 32 for all of 2013 and 18 in 2012. Police say many of the prostitutes come from the West Coast and are attracted to areas like Crystal City, Ballston and Rosslyn due to high-income clientele and easy access to highways. [Washington Post]

Artists Build Art Studio After Fire — Husband and wife artists Bryan and Julie Jernigan have built a freestanding, 16′x20′ art studio in their North Arlington backyard. The project follows a period of hardship in their lives: a fire broke out in the couple’s home in 2012. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

State Budget Woes — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has revealed that the state is facing a $2.4 billion budget shortfall and that additional budget cuts are necessary. McAuliffe blamed the shortfall, in part, on federal defense spending cuts. [Washington Post]

Arlington’s Best-Reviewed Apartment? — The Concord, an apartment building in 2600 Crystal Drive in Crystal City, has been named the best apartment building in Arlington by a national research firm. The firm ranked 120 properties in Arlington based on online reviews and reputation. [Multi-Housing News]

Red Light Camera Revenue Falls in Arlington

by ARLnow.com | August 14, 2014 at 11:00 am | 1,617 views | No Comments

Red light cameras in RosslynThe amount of revenue Arlington County brings in from ticketing violators caught on camera running red lights is on the decline.

The Arlington County Police Department has recorded a decrease in red light violations, and therefore ticket revenue, since fiscal year 2012.

The county currently has four working cameras, at N. Lynn Street and Lee Highway, Ft. Myer Drive at Lee Highway, N. Glebe Road at Fairfax Drive and Washington Blvd at Lee Highway. Each violation carries a fine of $50.

ACPD reports the red light cameras have brought in the following revenue for the last four fiscal years:

  • FY 2014 — $236,792 (as of July 30)
  • FY 2013 — $322,682
  • FY 2012 — $444,427
  • FY 2011 — $327,292

The police departments points to safety education campaigns as contributing to the drop in red light violations.

“We believe it’s a combination of people understanding and knowing locations of the cameras, along with being better and more aware drivers as the result of educational campaigns put on by our officers regarding traffic safety,” said police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “Safety is our biggest concern.”

Although they’ve been delayed for more than a year, seven new red light cameras are still in the works for Arlington. They will go in at five intersections shown to have high rates of red light running: two cameras at Columbia Pike and Glebe Road, two at Jefferson Davis Highway and S. 23rd Street, one at Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive, one at Lee Highway and George Mason Drive, and one at Washington Blvd and Glebe Road.

ACPD says the delay has been, in part, due to a Virginia Department of Transportation approval process. The county recently re-submitted information VDOT requires for the approval and hopes to hear back soon. However, VDOT spokeswoman Joan Morris told ARLnow.com the agency submitted its comments to ACPD July 1, and it is “not opposing any of the proposed sites since the signals are maintained and operated by the County.”

Once construction begins at the camera sites, ACPD plans to begin another educational campaign. The department typically offers a one month grace period when drivers will merely get a warning for running red lights at the intersections with newly installed cameras. Violations after the grace period will result in tickets.

Crime Report: Cigarette Thieves Get Burned

by ARLnow.com | August 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 1,783 views | No Comments

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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Construction Worker Killed by Giant Log

by ARLnow.com | August 7, 2014 at 10:30 am | 3,388 views | No Comments

Arlington police carPolice spent much of Wednesday night carrying out an investigation in the Rock Spring neighborhood where a construction worker died when he was crushed by a giant log.

Police responded to the 4800 block of Rock Spring Road just before 6:00 p.m. for reports of an accident at a residential construction site. Subcontractors at the site had been removing large trees from the property and were using a backhoe to load huge sections of the trees onto a flatbed truck.

The 30-year-old victim had been trying to secure the tree sections onto the truck when a log weighing in excess of a ton rolled off the flatbed and crushed him. Police say the two other workers at the site did not see the accident, but heard a large noise and rushed to assist the victim. The other workers managed to remove the log, but the victim is believed to have died instantly. Police and medics pronounced the man dead upon arriving at the scene.

The victim’s two co-workers remained on scene and provided statements to police. The site manager, owner of the trucking company and an OSHA representative all responded to the scene as well. The victim’s family has been notified.

“There was no reason to believe there was any suspicious activity, it just appears to be an absolutely tragic incident,” said Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

Hall’s Hill Hosts Second Peace Walk for Murder Victims

by Ethan Rothstein | August 6, 2014 at 11:30 am | 706 views | No Comments

A candlelight vigil was held in the Hall's Hill community for homicide victims Keefe Spriggs and Carl MotenTonight, the residents of the Hall’s Hill neighborhood will hold a “peace walk” in memory of two residents who were killed two years ago in a double homicide.

From 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., starting at 1945 N. Dinwiddie Street, members of the community will gather to remember Carl Moten and Keefe Spriggs, who were found murdered in an apartment on the 1900 block of N. Culpeper Street on Aug. 7, 2012. The crime is still unsolved, but according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, it’s still an active investigation.

Moten, known as “Pooh Bear,” and Spriggs, known as “Kee Kee” to friends and family, were born and raised in Hall’s Hill. Moten worked as a cook in Falls Church and was 31 years old at the time of the incident. Spriggs, 59 when he was killed, worked at a body shop. This is the second annual walk to raise awareness of the crimes.

ACPD will have a presence during the walk, Sternbeck said, and continues to encourage anyone who has information about the crime to come forward.

“It’s important to get this back out there and visible to the public because the smallest piece of new information given to the detectives could be the big break in the case,” Sternbeck said. He added the department “has been working with both families throughout this whole thing in an attempt to find the killer.”

File photo

Police Swear In ‘Chief-for-the-Day’ Contest Winner

by Morgan Fecto | August 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm | 824 views | No Comments

A 9-year-old boy wearing an Arlington County Police Department t-shirt may not seem like a symbol of authority. But for today, he is.

This morning Police Chief M. Douglas Scott swore in Patrick Omberg, the winner of the inaugural “Chief-for-the-Day” essay competition.

“Today is National Night Out, so Patrick you’re going to work until about 10:00 or 11:00 tonight,” Scott joked during his speech at the ceremony.

Outside the police department in Courthouse, 9-year-old Patrick Omberg took an honorary police oath, read an excerpt of his winning essay and received a commemorative plaque before standing for pictures with police and his parents.

On July 8, the Arlington County Police Department announced the contest, which they plan to hold every year from now on. ACPD asked for essay submissions from children, ages 8 to 12, that answered the question: “What does it mean to be a police officer?”

“Based on his essay, it was a pretty easy selection for us,” ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said. “Even at 9 years old, he seemed to have a good understanding of the police and for our role in the community.”

Omberg said that he wrote about how “the police keep people safe” in his essay, and although he doesn’t know if he wants to be a police officer, he was having fun as an honorary chief. He didn’t have to wrangle drunken pub-crawlers or chase down criminals, but Omberg did get a glimpse at the inner workings of the police department.

“We wanted to show him what life in the Arlington County Police Department could be like,” Sternbeck said. “We want to build positive relationships in the community. It’s been a great experience for us just as much as [it has been] for him.”

Before the ceremony, police picked up Omberg from his house in a patrol car and guided him on a tour of the police station, where they took his fingerprints and introduced him to their K-9 unit.

“My favorite part was seeing the dogs,” Omberg said.

“Do you remember what his name was?” Omberg’s father, Peter, asked his son.

“Drogo,” Omberg said, although the rising fourth-grader didn’t seem to get the “Game Of Thrones” reference in the name.

To cap off his day, Omberg would look at the station’s booking department with the sheriffs and have lunch with Scott, Sternbeck said.

“I can use all the help I can get,” Scott said at the ceremony. “So having someone like you help me [for today], is very much appreciated.”

Life in Prison for Man Convicted in Murder-for-Hire Plot

by ARLnow.com | August 5, 2014 at 11:30 am | 2,276 views | No Comments

Mack Wood, Jr.(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Arlington Circuit Court Judge Daniel S. Fiore II sentenced Mack Wood, Jr. on Tuesday to life in prison. The 49-year-old Wood, Jr. pled guilty for the murder of his 87-year-old father.

Wood, Jr. was one of three people arrested last year in the murder-for-hire case. Mack L. Wood was found dead in his Arlington home in October 2012 from what first appeared to be an accident. However, an investigation by the Arlington County Police Department and the Henrico County Police Department uncovered evidence leading to the arrests of Wood, Jr., as well as Jean Caleb Pierre and Sapien Edmonds. All three men lived in Henrico, VA.

Prosecution documents state Wood, Jr. agreed to pay Pierre and Edmonds $25,000 each to kill his terminally ill father. The three began conspiring in April 2012, according to prosecutors, and made a failed attempt to kill Wood in July 2012. They kept in contact and came up with a new plan, which they successfully carried out in October 2012 when prosecutors say Edmonds beat and strangled Wood. Edmonds reportedly then positioned the body to appear as if the victim died from a fall down the stairs.

Mack L. Wood“It was horribly tragic for the Wood family. Mr. Wood was 87 years old and his wife had died a number of years earlier. They had adopted both of their children. He gave Mack Wood, Jr. his name, and they raised and provided a very good home for them,” assistant commonwealth’s attorney Andrew Parker told ARLnow.com. “Mr. Wood lived by himself and had been diagnosed months earlier with terminal cancer and was very ill. But because of these three men, he died at the hands of a stranger in his own home, by himself.”

Judge Fiore sentenced Wood, Jr. to life in prison for capital murder and an extra 20 years for the charge of conspiracy to commit murder. He is not eligible for parole under Virginia law.

Pierre and Edmonds both are waiting for their sentencing. As part of a plea deal, they agreed to provide information to authorities and therefore will be sentenced for first degree murder instead of capital murder. That means they will receive prison time, but not a death sentence.

Wood, Jr. has claimed his father abused him, but prosecutors have not been able to find any evidence to corroborate the claims. Evidence indicates Wood, Jr.’s motive was to inherit his father’s money. Wood, Jr. told Pierre he forged his father’s name on a contract to sell timber on land his father owned, and that he had received money from the sale. Wood, Jr. said he was afraid his father would reduce or eliminate his inheritance when he found out about the forged contract.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Wood, Jr. gave a lengthy statement. Part of his statement involved apologizing to his sister, Laura Kopack. She read her own statement, in which she explained what a blow this was to her and the family.

Events for National Night Out on Tuesday

by ARLnow.com | August 4, 2014 at 5:00 pm | 1,105 views | No Comments

2014 National Night Out logoArlington residents will join others across the country on Tuesday night (August 5) in coming together to take a stand against crime in their communities.

Residents and business owners are encouraged to spend the evening getting out of the house and meeting their neighbors for National Night Out. Police officers and community leaders also will make the rounds to chat with residents.

The nationwide event happens the first Tuesday of every August and is sponsored by the non-profit organization National Association of Town Watch. It raises safety awareness and gives residents the opportunity to get better acquainted with the officers who patrol their neighborhoods.

Everyone is welcome to attend the family friendly events at the following locations:

  • Arlington Forest Ice Cream Social – 200 block of N. Gavelston Street, 7:30 p.m. – TBD
  • Barcroft Ice Cream Social – Community House at 800 S. Buchanan Street, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Fairlington – 3001 S. Abingdon Street, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
  • Douglas Park – S. 12th Street & S. Irving Street, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
  • Park Glen Condominium – behind the community center on S. Arlington Mill Drive, 5:00 p.m. – TBD
  • Columbia Knoll Condominiums – 5111 S. 8th Road, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • 6207 N. 31st Street – 6:30 p.m. – TBD

Police: Arlington Resident Celebrating Birthday Stabs Woman in Neck

by ARLnow.com | July 31, 2014 at 11:15 am | 4,571 views | No Comments

Joanie Dunbar (photo courtesy ACPD)A 55-year-old Arlington woman is in jail after allegedly stabbing another woman in the neck and arm.

The incident happened on the 3200 block of 24th Street S. in Nauck early Wednesday morning. Police say Janie Dunbar was “celebrating her [July 29] birthday and consuming alcoholic beverages” just past midnight when she began arguing with the victim.

Dunbar became enraged and stabbed the woman just below the throat and in the left bicep, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The victim suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries and was rushed to the trauma center at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Dunbar has been charged with malicious wounding. She’s scheduled for a preliminary court hearing on Aug. 25.

Photo courtesy ACPD

Man Exposes Himself on Rosslyn Elevator

by ARLnow.com | July 28, 2014 at 4:05 pm | 1,740 views | No Comments

Arlington police carArlington County Police are looking for a man who flashed two women on an elevator in Rosslyn.

The incident took place around 11:30 Friday night, on the 1400 block of Lee Highway. Police say a man got onto an elevator and exposed himself to two female victims.

“The suspect is described as a black male in his thirties, approximately 6’0″ tall and 150lbs,” according to ACPD’s crime report. “He was wearing a blue plaid shirt, jeans, and high top ankle boots.”

Man Jabbed, Woman Punched at IHOP

by ARLnow.com | July 21, 2014 at 6:30 pm | 6,586 views | No Comments

Aftermath of an alleged assault at IHOP on 7/20/14 (submitted photo) Aftermath of an alleged assault at IHOP on 7/20/14 (submitted photo)

A man was jabbed with a fork and a woman was punched in the face during a scuffle at the International House of Pancakes (935 N. Stafford Street) in Ballston late Sunday night.

Police say a verbal argument escalated into a physical confrontation at the restaurant around 11:45 p.m. The suspect, identified as 45-year-old Arlington resident Ernesto Juarez-Cabrera, allegedly jabbed another man in the hand with a fork, then punched a female family member in the face, according to police.

Neither victim required a trip to the hospital, although the fork broke the skin on the man’s hand, Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said. The fight was broken up by an IHOP manager, who escorted the suspect outside. While outside, Juarez-Cabrera repeatedly punched a restaurant window, breaking it, according to Sternbeck.

The broken glass cut Juarez-Cabrera’s hand and he was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Juarez-Cabrera, who police say was intoxicated at the time of the incident, has been charged with malicious wounding, attempted malicious wounding, felony destruction of property, and domestic assault and battery.

Report Shows Mixed Bag for Crime Stats in 2013

by Jason Hargraves | July 11, 2014 at 5:30 pm | 1,529 views | No Comments

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.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 9, 2014 at 10:30 am | 2,266 views | No Comments

Post-storm sunset over North Arlington and D.C. (Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber)

County Official: I-66 Doesn’t Need More Lanes — Arlington County officials have repeatedly expressed opposition to widening I-66 inside the Beltway. Now one county official is even decrying a proposal to add lanes to I-66 outside of the Beltway. Arlington County Commuter Services chief Chris Hamilton says the plans “are not only maddening, but they fly in the face of everything we’ve learned about induced demand… it’s impossible to build ourselves out of congestion because the roads themselves cause traffic.” [Mobility Lab]

ACPD to Hold ‘Chief-for-the-Day’ Contest — The Arlington County Police Department is holding an essay contest for children ages 8-12. The kid who submits the best answer to the question “what does it mean to be a police officer?” will be named “chief-for-the-day.” The winner will be “picked up at his or her house on August 5, 2014 by a patrol car and driven to the ACPD to spend the day involved in fun filled activities.” [Arlington County]

Arlington Beauty Queen Almost Married Dean Martin — Beauty queen and Washington-Lee High School grad Gail Renshaw, who was named Miss USA-World in 1969, nearly married the late Rat Pack crooner Dean Martin. In the end, Renshaw turned down Martin’s marriage proposal, moved to Prince George’s County, worked as a dialysis nurse and married a banker. [Falls Church News-Press]

Arlington Native Goes to China, Voices TV Show — Yorktown High School grad Emily Jeffers wasn’t sure about what exactly she wanted to do for work when she traveled to China on a one-way ticket and a tourist visa. Eventually, she found employment dubbing a state-produced Chinese sitcom into English for syndication on South African TV. [InsideNova]

Potomac Yard Metro Station Progress — Federal transit authorities have narrowed down the list of potential locations for a Potomac Yard Metro station from four to two. The two remaining locations are also the two least expensive options studied — one is relatively close to the existing Potomac Yard shopping center while the other is close to the Potomac Greens neighborhood. [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber

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