Park Activists Taking It Too Far? — Residents pushing for the Arlington School Board to scrap a plan to build a new elementary school on parkland next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School might have taken their effort to preserve parkland too far. Activists reportedly placed “Save TJ Park” signs in the yards of some school board members overnight before the vote on a new Arlington Public Schools Capital Improvement Plan. School-related activism “seems to be getting out of hand,” writes Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey. [InsideNova]
HOV Enforcement Today — Virginia State Police, Arlington County Police and other D.C. area law enforcement agencies are conducting an HOV enforcement campaign today on I-395, I-66 and other local highways. The enforcement took place during the morning rush hour and will take place again during the evening rush hour. [Associated Press]
WETA Takes Ownership of ‘NewsHour’ — Shirlington-based public TV station WETA has taken ownership of the PBS NewsHour from longtime owner MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. The NewsHour is produced at WETA studios in Shirlington, but has lately been struggling to raise funds for its $25-30 million budget. [New York Times]
Update at 12:00 a.m. — Following a half hour of public comments both for and against A-Town, and some tongue lashings from Board members, the Arlington County Board voted Tuesday night to renew A-Town’s live entertainment permit for three months, as recommended by county staff..
Earlier: A-Town Bar and Grill is facing scrutiny over noise and crime as it seeks to renew its live entertainment permit tonight (Tuesday).
The restaurant, located at 4100 N. Fairfax Drive in Ballston, has been drawing the ire of neighbors who complain about loud, drunken patrons. It’s also the subject of an investigation by Arlington County police and the Virginia Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), over a violent episode at an employee-only party on Feb. 12.
“The Arlington Police Department considers A-Town to be the most troublesome establishment in Ballston,” according to a report by county staff.
The Arlington County Board will decide tonight whether to renew A-Town’s live entertainment and dancing permit. County staff is recommending that it be renewed for three months, with additional restrictions on the establishment’s outdoor cafe area.
“Late night disturbances make it an unpleasant community experience and thus directly impact the value of all our homes,” said Roger Lindberg, president of the condominium association for the nearby Berkeley building, in December. “Late night outdoor partying even on weekends, is not a reasonable expectation of any homeowner.”
To help combat that, A-Town has voluntarily agreed to close the patio at 9:00 p.m. on Sundays, 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Previously, the restaurant had only agreed to close the outdoor bar early — at 10:00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Those provisions will be overwritten by the new patio closing times.
County staff noted that noise complaints to the police department declined from 25 between August and November, 2013, to nine between January and April, 2014. However, staff opined that “the long unusually cold winter (when the outdoor patio was not used and patrons refrained from lingering outside the establishment) may be at least partially responsible for a decline in noise-related calls.”
Non-noise police calls to A-Town declined by one — from 25 to 24 — during the same period. The 24 non-noise calls from January to April included four calls for fights, one for an assault, and one for a stabbing (the Feb. 12 incident). Separately, there were eight arrests for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) from January to April where the suspect reported coming from A-Town, according to county staff.
County staff says that A-Town should remain on thin ice even should the live entertainment permit be renewed.
“Staff recommends a three month County Board review in order to monitor progress with these issues, and if there is no substantial reduction in the number of police calls or reduction in the evidence of over serving patrons, staff is not likely to recommend renewal of the use permit for live entertainment and dancing,” the staff report says.
A-Town is facing possible disciplinary action from Virginia ABC pending the outcome of the Feb. 12 malicious wounding case. After the incident an ABC agent “issued an administrative charge to A-Town stating that ‘[t]he Licensee has failed to take reasonable measures to prevent the licensed premises… from becoming a place where patrons of the establishment commit criminal violations… and such violations lead to arrests that are so frequent and serious as to be reasonably deemed… a continuing threat to public safety.’”
The disciplinary action could range from a fine to suspension or revocation of its beer, wine and liquor license.
The incident took place around 4:50 p.m. Saturday afternoon on the 3800 block of 9th Street N., in the Virginia Square area. Police say Melvin Baxter, 57, grabbed the 87-year-old man by the neck and threw him to the ground before robbing him of the cash in his wallet and fleeing on foot.
“A witness immediately came to the assistance of the victim and contacted police, providing a detailed description of the assailant,” according to an Arlington County Police Department press release. “The victim sustained minor injuries and was treated by medics on scene. At approximately 5:00 p.m., an officer located and detained the suspect on the platform of the Ballston Metro Station.”
Baxter, a Capitol Heights, Md. resident, was charged with robbery and held without bond at the Arlington County Detention Facility.
Police were called to the intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Taylor Street around 9:30 p.m. for a report of a body lying in the street. Police and medics arrived on scene and and determined that the individual was bleeding from his head but was breathing.
Officers talked to a witness and learned that the man was “extremely intoxicated” and had been trying to walk backwards in the street when he lost his balance, fell, hit his head and knocked himself out, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The man, 33, was by himself at the time and it’s unknown where he was walking from. He was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
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
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.
A source tells ARLnow.com that the woman was intoxicated and within a restricted portion of the building’s rooftop when she fell through an old incinerator chute to her death. Police investigated the incident but no foul play is suspected and investigators believe it to be a “tragic accident,” we’re told.
No additional information is available about the accident at this time. An Arlington County Police spokesman declined comment.
Arlington County Police say the three men robbed a woman of her purse at a hotel on the 2000 block of Jefferson Davis Highway, near Crystal City, around 11:30 p.m. this past Saturday. As they were running away, one of the suspects accidentally left a couple of things behind.
“As the subjects were fleeing, one dropped his wallet and cell phone, which were recovered by security,” according to the police report.
The butter-fingered suspect was arrested after he went back to the hotel to try to find his belongings, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Another was arrested at his home a short time later.
“Muqtadir Mustafa, 19, of Arlington, Va. and Andre Costa, 19 of Arlington, Va. were arrested and charged with robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery,” the police report said.
A third suspect, whose identity is now known to police, remains at large.
The DMV asserts that the smartphone-based services, which allow drivers to make money by using their own cars like a dispatched taxicab, are illegal because they have not received the proper authorization from the DMV to operate in Virginia.
In letters to company officials, the DMV says it will “enforce existing laws by companies… and by individual drivers that lack authority to provide passenger transportation.”
Tonight the Arlington County Police Department said it plans to assist in that enforcement, effective immediately.
“We will enforce it, but it will not be a primary focus of our operations,” ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck told ARLnow.com. “We are going to take a soft approach, but we will not turn a blind eye.”
Both Uber and Lyft, meanwhile, told news outlets that they’ll keep operating in Virginia.
Sternbeck did not clarify how, exactly, officers plan to single out Uber and Lyft drivers for enforcement. While Uber drivers typically operate discreetly, with nothing to outwardly distinguish their vehicles, Lyft drivers are supposed to drive around with a large, pink moustache attached to their car’s grille.
Jon Liss, Executive Director of Tenants and Workers United, which has been rallying local cab drivers against Uber and Lyft, applauded the DMV’s action and called on the Arlington County Board to do more to protect cab drivers.
“It is time for Arlington to get in sync with the state DMV and enforce one set of rules for all taxi-like services,” he said. “Drivers in Arlington deserve ‘dispute resolution’ protections and fair and enforced regulations.”
Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans slammed the state’s response to Uber and Lyft, placing blame on Virginia’s Democratic governor.
“The DMV’s decision to crack down on Lyft and Uber is reprehensible,” said AFCYR Chairman Matthew Hurtt. “During his campaign, Governor McAuliffe emphasized the importance of efficient government and transportation in making the Commonwealth the best place for business. Yet, less than six months into his term, he stands idly by while his administration cracks down on a thriving industry that not only brings jobs to the region, but also provides safe and efficient transportation at an affordable price.”
“The DMV should withdraw their cease and desist letter along with their preposterous interpretation of this law,” Hurtt concluded.
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.
Police Locate Autistic Man With Lojack — The Arlington County Police Department’s Lojack-powered Project Lifesaver has helped locate another missing man. A 29-year-old autistic man who wandered away from his group home was located by police Wednesday morning, less than an hour after he was reported missing. [Arlington County]
APS Receives Award — Arlington Public Schools has received “the prestigious Medallion of Excellence Award presented by the U.S. Senate Productivity and Quality Awards for Virginia and the District of Columbia (SPQA).” APS is the ninth Virginia school division to be recognized since the award was established in 1983. [Arlington Public Schools]
W-L Advances to State Tourney — Washington-Lee High School’s boys soccer team defeated West Potomac 4-2 Tuesday night to advance to the 6A North Region title game and to the Virginia High School League state tournament. [InsideNova]
Library Digitizing Local Newspapers — Arlington Public Library is digitizing its microfilm archive of the Northern Virginia Sun newspaper, originally named the Arlington Sun. The new digital archives will be text searchable, “a boon for researchers, history buffs and anyone searching for specific moments in Arlington’s 20th century story.” The archives cover 1935 to 1978. [Arlington Public Library]
County Bureau Runs ‘Like a Startup’ – Arlington County Commuter Services, which is charged with getting more Arlington residents and workers to bike, walk or take transit rather than drive, “looks and operates more like a start-up tech company than a government agency.” [Mobility Lab]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
The incident happened around 3:30 a.m. It started, police say, when a man followed a 31-year-old woman off the Metro and, after exiting the station, threw her into a bush near the corner of N. Veitch Street and Wilson Blvd.
The man tried to sexually assault the woman, but her screams for help were heard by a group of four men who ran to her aid, fought off the attacker and called police, according Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The suspect was arrested as he tried to flee eastbound on Clarendon Blvd, Sternbeck said. Ryan Dean, 27-years-old of no fixed address, is charged with sexual battery.
Photo courtesy ACPD
The incident happened around 7:45 p.m. at a gas station on the 3300 block of Lee Highway, just east of Cherrydale and west of I-66.
Police say a woman was pumping gas when she saw an employee with his pants down, masturbating in one of the garage bays.
Police were called and Arlington resident Bishnu Bahadur, 37, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure.
Measles Patient Traipsed Around Arlington — Virginia health officials have released a list of businesses patronized by a person who has since been confirmed to have a case of measles. Three North Arlington businesses are on the list. Officials are trying to determine who might have been exposed to the disease. [Virginia Department of Health]
Beyer Calls for Carbon Tax — Democratic congressional candidate Don Beyer has released a third TV ad, in which he addresses the issue of climate change and calls for the imposition of a carbon tax. Beyer is the owner of several local car dealerships. [Washington Post]
ACPD Detective Recognized — An Arlington County police detective has been honored by Virginia State Police for his role in fighting auto theft. Detective Scott Whalin’s investigation of the theft of a Dodge Charger from Pentagon City mall resulted in the arrest of two suspects whose fingerprints were allegedly found on numerous other stolen vehicles. A total of 65 cases were closed as a result of Whalin’s two arrests. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Cameron Manuel
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.