(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) A robbery occurred just past noon today at a bank branch on Lee Highway.
The United Bank at 5350 Lee Highway, across from the Harris Teeter, was robbed by a man who implied a weapon and passed a note to the teller.
The man fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash before police arrived. Police searched the area for the suspect but were unable to locate him. The FBI is also on the scene and investigating the incident.
The suspect is described as a black male, about 6 feet tall, with a muscular build. He is said to be wearing a gray hat, shirt, and pants.
BU-GATA, a nonprofit that advocates for tenants rights and Latino issues, issued a statement during ACPD’s community outreach meeting last night asking the ACPD to step up its hiring practices so its department reflects the demographics of the community it serves.
“[The] lack of Latino, Spanish-speaking police officers is a major problem,” the group’s statement says. “In Arlington where 15.3 percent of the population is Latino, only 6-8 percent of the police force is Latino.”
The group charged that the lack of a “Latino, go-to liaison within the police department” and the lack of professional interpreters at community meetings have helped foster a “lack of trust between police officers and community members.”
“There continues to be great concern in the Latino community about rising numbers of Latinos being stopped and arrested by Arlington County police,” BU-GATA states. The ACPD only compiles demographic statistics based on “white” or “black” arrests, with Latinos largely grouped into the white demographic, an issue BU-GATA says should be rectified for a broader analysis of why Latinos are arrested at a higher rate than other demographics.
BU-GATA analyzed arrest data from 2011, it said, and found that Latinos made up for 23 percent of all those arrested in Arlington, based on “Spanish last names.” Many of the arrests were for one of three crimes: drunk driving, driving without a license and drinking in public.
Arlington County Police Chief Doug Scott responded to the call for hiring more Latino officers with an acknowledgment that the ACPD can do a better job.
“Our numbers of Latino officers may not be exactly where we want to be, but more and more we’re recruiting officers who are bilingual, so we’re trying to address some of those issues,” Scott said. “We do our best to have a police department that reflects the community that we serve.”
The ACPD offers incentives for bilingual officers, but BU-GATA said it does not do enough outreach to find bilingual candidates. The police department also has a standard of two years of college for its officers, which it recently has decided to waive for some with military or prior law enforcement experience.
BU-GATA said Arlington could create a “basic patrol” position, which other jurisdictions have, in an effort to hire more Latino officers who don’t qualify for the education requirements. After being hired, the “basic patrol” officers could then be reimbursed for tuition costs, the group proposed.
Scott said that although the numbers don’t fully match up demographically, he’s pleased with the department’s recruitment and diversity efforts. He said federal and local law enforcement agencies in the D.C. area are all competing to recruit Latino officers.
“Our numbers are pretty good in terms of the demographics of Arlington and the demographics of our police department,” he said. “We do quite a bit in terms of targeted recruiting for more African American officers, Latino officers, Asian Pacific officers. In fact the county manager gave an award to our recruitment staff for meeting our goals.”
The man entered the store just past 8:00 p.m. and brandished a gun at the pharmacist, demanding prescription medications. The pharmacist was able to shield himself behind protective glass, foiling the robbery attempt.
The suspect took off on foot before police arrived.
“The suspect is described as a white or Hispanic male in his twenties, approximately 5’8″ tall and 160 lbs,” according to a crime report. “He was wearing a black long sleeve sweater, blue jeans and a white and orange baseball hat at the time of the incident.”
The Arlington County Police Department wants to build its relationship with the community in light of the national unrest surrounding the events in Ferguson, Mo., this summer.
To help strengthen the community’s trust in the ACPD, the department is hosting a forum this Wednesday at the Wakefield High School auditorium (1325 S. Dinwiddie Street) from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
“With recent national media coverage of law enforcement and community relationships, the Arlington County Police Department feels it is imperative to continue to build relationships through open dialogue,” ACPD said in a press release. “The Arlington County Chief of Police, along with Commonwealth Attorney, County Sheriff and other distinguished panel members, will conduct a community forum focusing on the community’s trust and confidence in the criminal justice system.”
Police Chief Doug Scott, Sheriff Beth Arthur, Commonwealth Attorney Theo Stamos, NAACP Arlington President Elmer Lowe, community activist Andres Tobar, who is the director of the Shirlington Employment and Education Center, and ARLnow.com founder and editor Scott Brodbeck.
WJLA’s Jeff Goldberg will moderate the panel, which will hold a discussion with topics including use of force, community policing and the use of police body cameras, according to the police department. After the discussion, the panelists will answer audience questions.
The event is free and open to the public. ACPD will be live-tweeting the event at its Twitter account for those who can’t attend.
The 7-Eleven store at 3600 Columbia Pike was robbed at gunpoint in the early morning hours last Saturday.
The suspect, who was wearing a surgical mask, made off with an undisclosed amount of cash. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
ARMED ROBBERY, 141004019, 3600 block of S. Columbia Pike. At 3:18 am on October 4, an unknown male subject brandished a firearm and robbed the cashier at 7-11. The suspect fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his thirties, approximately 5’6″ tall with an average build. He was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt, black pants and had a white surgical mask covering his face.
Last Friday, a teen stole beer from the Giant supermarket at Penrose Square. He allegedly assaulted a security guard who tried to stop him as he fled the scene.
ROBBERY BY FORCE, 141003057, 2500 block of S. 9th Street. At 7:30 pm on October 3, a male subject concealed beer in a backpack at a grocery store and assaulted a security guard when he was confronted. The suspect fled the scene on foot. He is described as a teenage Hispanic male and approximately 5’6″ tall. He was wearing a white shirt with gray stripes.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
The 26-year-old woman was crossing Route 50 (Arlington Blvd) at N. Irving Street just after 6:00 p.m. when a driver in a westbound Honda Accord blew through the red light, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The woman was struck and thrown a distance, landing on the westbound lanes, Sternbeck said. She was transported to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital with “significant and critical injuries.”
The driver, identified only as a 46-year-old Arlington man, remained on scene. He’s facing several charges, Sternbeck said.
Rush hour traffic was “significantly impacted” during the accident investigation. All but one lane in each direction was closed for about two hours, according to Arlington Alerts.
File photo via Google Maps
Police say 23-year-old Jeffrey Gaskins showed up to his ex-girlfriend’s house on the 1900 block of N. Culpeper Street around 9:35 p.m. this past Sunday. He tried to kick in the front door, police said, and when that didn’t work he went to the back of the home, took out a gun and allegedly fired four shots at the house.
The ex-girlfriend, her two young children and an adult male were inside the home at the time but were uninjured. The man fled the scene after firing the shots and remains at large, according to a crime report.
“Warrants for four counts of attempted malicious shooting, shooting into an occupied dwelling, attempted burglary with the intent to commit murder, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and misdemeanor assault were issued” for Gaskins, police said.
The incident happened just before 7:00 p.m. Police say an unknown suspect exposed himself at the water fountain outside the school, near the athletic fields.
“The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his thirties, approximately 5’3″ tall and 140 lbs,” according to an Arlington County police crime report. “He was wearing a bright red shirt and blue jeans at the time of the incident.”
There’s no indication that any children saw the man’s genitalia, police told ARLnow.com. WJLA reported that the fields were likely in use by community groups at the time.
Police were called to Washington Blvd near I-395 at 2:20 a.m. for reports of a single-vehicle crash. When police arrived on the scene they found the victim’s motorcycle, but not the driver. After a search, 27-year-old Joel A. Morales of Woodbridge was found in a nearby wooded area. He died at the scene.
Police believe Morales was driving westbound on Washington Blvd from the I-395 off ramp when he apparently struck a jersey barrier. He was thrown from his motorcycle and landed below the overpass in the wooded area. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
Arlington County police assisted VSP with traffic control and security when the road had to be shut down to investigate the accident scene. VSP continues to investigate the cause of the crash.
Police say a 31-year-old woman was driving through the Ballston area around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday (October 4), when the suspect pulled up behind her and turned on a rotating red light on his dashboard. The victim pulled over on N. 11th Street near Quincy Park and the suspect approached her car, displaying a badge. The man reportedly told the victim to get out of her car and go with him to the police station. The woman was skeptical and stayed in her car. She told the man she was going to call the police to have an officer in uniform respond to the scene. At that point, the man took off in his car.
“This suspect had the intention of getting the victim into his vehicle,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “If something doesn’t seem right to you, trust your instincts and contact police. This woman’s actions likely kept her from being abducted.”
ACPD will confirm if a traffic stop is legitimate for any citizen who calls the police non-emergency line at 703-558-2222.
The police impersonator is described as a black man, around 6′ tall and 200 pounds. He was driving an older, dark colored car that appeared to be a Crown Victoria or a similar car resembling an unmarked police vehicle.
Anyone with information about this incident should contact ACPD Detective Conigliaro at 703-228-4193 or email@example.com. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS (8477).
ACPD Promotes Domestic Violence Awareness — Arlington County Police cruisers are displaying purple ribbon magnets in October to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month. [Twitter]
Closed Ballston Restaurant Expanding in Maryland – Red Parrot Asian Bistro, which closed in Ballston last year, now has locations in Hanover and Ellicott City, Md., with a third set to open in Baltimore. Owner Wendy Cheng says Ballston and another closed location, in Baltimore, were shuttered “due to location and performance issues.” SER, the winner of the Ballston Restaurant Challenge, is set to open in Red Parrot’s former storefront this winter. [Baltimore Sun]
Arlington High Schools in Playoff Hunt — With just over half the season left to play, all three Arlington public high school football teams are on pace for playoff berths. [InsideNova]
Wakefield QB Transferred from Yorktown — Wakefield High School’s football team, a perennial also-ran, is in contention this year at least partially thanks to the play of quarterback Riley Wilson. Wilson transferred from Yorktown, a perennial playoff contender, for the chance to start as quarterback. [Washington Post]
Photo courtesy @mikematyas
A homeowner in the East Falls Church area encountered a pair of burglars in his or her home Monday afternoon. The burglars fled, but not before taking numerous valuables.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
BURGLARY, 140929045, 6400 block of N. Washington Boulevard. At 3:15 pm on September 29, as a residence was being burglarized, a homeowner confronted the subjects and they fled on foot. Numerous items of value were taken. Suspect one is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 6’0″ tall and 170 lbs. He was wearing a black wool cap and jeans at the time of the incident. Suspect two is described as a black male in his twenties and approximately 5’9″ tall. He was wearing a black long sleeve plaid shirt and had short, cropped hair.
Also this week, someone smashed windows on 11 cars and stole various belongings in an apartment parking garage in Rosslyn.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 140924008, 1800 block of N. Oak Street. Between 12:40 am and 3 am on September 24, an unknown subject(s) entered a parking garage and smashed the front passenger side window of at least 11 vehicles and had various items stolen. There is no suspect(s) description.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
(Updated at 3:00 p.m.) A 4-year-old boy was separated from his mother after an ART bus drove away with him on it and her still at the Ballston Metro station this afternoon.
The mother was folding up her infant’s stroller and preparing to get on the ART 52 bus when the boy and an adult male boarded. The bus driver assumed the man was the 4-year-old’s father, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The bus driver then “took off” without the rest of the small child’s family.
The driver told police that she didn’t see the mother outside, preparing to board.
The mother, distressed, called the ART bus hotline, which told her the next bus would be waiting for her at its next stop — Virginia Hospital Center — Sternbeck said. The mother and infant boarded the next ART bus, but there was no bus and no son waiting at the hospital.
At that point, police were called and responded to the hospital and to the bus’s next stop, the East Falls Church Metro station, where the bus with the boy turned around and drove back to the hospital, ending a stressful afternoon for the young family. The separation was deemed accidental and no charges were filed.
“It was a scary moment for the mother and child,” Sternbeck said. “The mother and child were very thankful for our assistance in reuniting them.”
It was a relatively quiet seven days in Arlington, at least according to this week’s Arlington County crime report.
In one notable incident, two men reportedly assaulted a man near Ballston Common Mall early Saturday morning, stealing his prescription medication, cash and a cell phone.
ROBBERY, 140920013, 600 block of N. Randolph Street. At 2:26 am on September 20, two subjects assaulted a 29 year-old male victim and stole his prescription medication, cash and cell phone. Suspect one is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 6’5″ tall and 220 lbs. He was wearing dark clothing and a black baseball hat. Suspect two is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 5’9″ tall and 160 lbs. He was wearing a white t-shirt and jeans at the time of the incident.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are innocent until proven guilty.
County Can’t Stop In-Home Gun Sales — Concern was raised during the public comment period of Saturday’s Arlington County Board meeting about a resident of Fairlington who’s selling weapons out of his home. The Board responded to the complaint about the weapons sales, saying it can’t stop the business from operating as long as it has all the proper permits. The resident has been trying to find a retail location to open a gun shop. [InsideNova]
Cyclists Encourage Cycling Etiquette — A sidewalk stencil appeared in Rosslyn earlier this year, encouraging those on the Custis Trail to “make us bicyclists look good.” One local blogger has four tips for conscientious cycling. [Ode Street Tribune]
Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in Arlington — The Arlington County Police Department will participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, Sept. 27. Police personnel will be on hand at three Arlington fire stations to accept “potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs,” no questions asked. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber