The leader of a smash-and-grab robbery crew that committed more than 20 robberies around the D.C. area, including one at the Tourneau store in the Pentagon City mall, has received a lengthy jail sentence.
District resident Walter Douglas, 34, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and, along with his co-defendants, ordered to pay $1.25 million in restitution. From the U.S. Attorney’s office:
Walter Douglas, 34, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 240 months in prison for his role in a series of smash-and-grab robberies. Douglas and his co-defendants were also ordered to pay $1,251,978.75 in restitution to the victims of these robberies.
Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police; M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County Chief of Police; and J. Thomas Manger, Montgomery County Chief of Police, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
Douglas pleaded guilty on August 8, 2013. According to court documents, Douglas was a leader of a smash-and-grab robbery crew that committed over twenty robberies in the Washington, D.C. area and elsewhere. The crew entered various high-end retail establishments as a group, and through force and intimidation, stole merchandise from the stores. Douglas and his crew stole over $1,000,000 in merchandise during the robbery spree from retailers such as Tourneau, Cartier, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Fairfax County, Arlington County, and Montgomery County Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Fahey and Special Assistant United States Attorney Edward Reilly prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
Four men who robbed a Navy Federal credit union in Ballston last December have been sentenced to 60 years in prison.
The men, ages 21 to 24, were convicted in June of three armed robberies in Northern Virginia during the 2012 holiday season. The third robbery, of the Navy Federal, the last of their crime spree.
They robbed the credit union (875 N. Randolph Street) on Saturday, Dec. 22 in a heavily-armed heist reminiscent of a Hollywood movie. No one was hurt and, because police were able to track the money, the men were arrested within an hour of the robbery.
The men were convicted and sentenced in federal court. From the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
Keith Willie Reed, 24, of Washington, D.C.; Tobias Richard Dyer, 21, of Upper Marlboro, Md.; Anthony Cannon, 24, of Washington, D.C.; and Stanley Winston, 23, of Washington, D.C., were each sentenced today to 60 years in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, for conspiracy, robbery affecting interstate commerce, armed robbery of a credit union, use of a firearm during crimes of violence, and being felons in possession of firearms. They were also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $76,915.15.
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 sentencing by United States District Judge Claude M. Hilton
Reed, Dyer, Winston, and Cannon were found guilty after a jury trial on June 21, 2013. According to court records and evidence adduced at trial, the defendants committed three armed robberies in Northern Virginia during the December 2012 holiday season. Specifically, on December 7, they robbed VVM, Inc., located in Fairfax County, Virginia. Two days later, they robbed the Shoppers Food Warehouse on Jefferson Davis Highway in Alexandria, Virginia. Then, on December 22, they robbed the Navy Federal Credit Union on Randolph Street in Arlington, Virginia. The total loss amount from these three armed robberies was over $75,000. In each robbery, three of the defendants entered masked while the fourth waited in a stolen getaway car. All four were arrested within an hour of the Navy Federal Credit Union robbery when law enforcement was able to track the money.
This case was jointly investigated by FBI’s Washington Field Office and Baltimore Field Office, and the Metropolitan, Fairfax County, Arlington County, and Alexandria Police Departments. Assistant United States Attorneys Patricia T. Giles and Rebeca H. Bellows are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Flickr photo by Joe Gratz
Treasurer Makes Deal for iPark Refills — Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary has struck deals to allow the county to refill iPark devices, while adding more devices to the cache that can be used to replace non-functioning units. The county paid $10,000 to the bankrupt manufacturer of the devices for the codes necessary to add value without additional authorization or payment to the company. The move comes about a month and a half after the company’s bankruptcy suddenly prevented the county from refilling the devices. [Sun Gazette]
Man Gets 10 Year Sentence for Custis Trail Robbery — A 23-year-old D.C. resident has received a 10 year sentence for a robbery on the Custis Trail that left a jogger with a head injury and lingering cognitive effects. The attacker and his 17-year-old brother, who’s expected to receive a 1.5 to 3 year sentence, were both arrested as they fled toward the Ballston Metro Station. The victim, a 55-year-old personal trainer, says he still suffers from headaches, nightmares and memory loss. [Washington Post]
Remembering Allison’s Tea House — From the 1920s to the 1950s, Allison’s Tea House, at 1301 S. Arlington Ridge Road, was “a coveted neighborhood restaurant… that had been visited by dignitaries including Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt.” The restaurant’s iconic stone well house was preserved after the restaurant and its grounds were redeveloped into an apartment building in the 1960s. It still stands, and is used as storage for the apartment’s swimming pool. [Preservation Arlington]
ACPD Participating in Drug Take-Back Day — The Arlington County Police Department is participating in National Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday. From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at fire stations No. 1, 8 and 9, officers will collect expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. “The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked,” police say in a press release. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Michael Cullen, of no fixed address, received a 12-year jail sentence for the thefts. He pleaded guilty to eight counts of grand larceny with the intent to sell, and one count of possession of burglarious tools. Cullen has the ability to suspend four years of his sentence if full restitution is paid to his victims.
“In Arlington, we have the ability to prosecute all types of cases,” said Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos. “Protecting the property of residents is of the utmost importance and thieves such as Michael Cullen will be prosecuted to the fullest.”
Because recent data compiled by the police department indicated bike thefts are at an all-time high, the Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit spearheaded a regional police cooperation to reduce the amount of bicycle thefts and to identify suspects. An increase in patrols and surveillance, along with hours of police detective work, led to a number of arrests.
Police say the following individuals have been arrested, in addition to Michael Cullen, as part of the regional bike theft crackdown:
- “Aldrick Johnson was observed on video attempting to break into an apartment building. Security called police and Mr. Johnson was apprehended. He pled guilty to possession of burglarious tools and burglary and received a sentence of four years with three years suspended.”
- “Ositafimma Emegbuism was Aldrick Johnson’s co-defendant. Mr. Emegbuism pled guilty to unlawful entry and received 6 months.”
- “John Sears was apprehended after a citizen observed him tampering with a bicycle inside of a parking garage. Police located Sears with a stolen bicycle in his possession not far from the incident. The bicycle had a cut cable lock and the rear tire was partially removed. Warrants for possession of burglarious tools, possession of drug paraphernalia, providing false ID to law enforcement, attempted grand larceny, destruction of property, and credit card theft were obtained.”
- “Irvin Coleman was identified as a suspect in multiple bike larcenies in Arlington, Fairfax, and Alexandria after pawning multiple bikes on separate occasions. Warrants were obtained for Coleman for his involvement in the theft/pawning of bicycles from Ballston Mall. Coleman avoided apprehension for some time but was eventually arrested. Coleman is currently held in Fairfax on no bond. His preliminary hearing for his Arlington charge, grand larceny with intent to sell, is currently set for October 24, 2013.”
- “Howard Montgomery was stopped after an officer observed him riding one bike while rolling a second beside him. He admitted that the bikes did not belong to him. After further investigation, it was determined that these bikes were stolen from a secured bike cage in an apartment building. Montgomery is to be indicted on charges of possession of burglarious tools, grand larceny and grand larceny with intent to sell.”
- “Five juveniles involved with bike thefts from Thomas Jefferson Middle School have been identified and adjudicated. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered for all suspects. Four of the defendants were sentenced. One juvenile is still pending.”
In some of the cases, the bicycles were recovered and returned to their rightful owners. Police continue to ask people to register their bikes for this very reason.
“We encourage people to register their bikes because if there is a bike recovered, then it’s not a long process to figure out who it belongs to,” said police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Cyclists can register bikes online, and will receive a registration decal to place on the bike. Owners should also take a photo of their bicycle and record the serial number and any distinguishing features it may have.
Anyone who has had a bicycle stolen or who notices suspicious behavior around bike racks should call the Arlington County Police Department non-emergency number at 703-558-2222.
Fisette Weds Long-Time Partner — Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette married long-time partner Bob Rosen last week. After 30 years together, the couple tied the knot in a low-key ceremony at All Souls Unitarian Church in the District. Fisette and Rosen’s union will not be recognized in Virginia, but Fisette said he thinks that same-sex marriage will be legalized in the Commonwealth within five years. [Sun Gazette]
Smash-and-Grab Lookout Sentenced — The man who served as a lookout in a series of smash-and-grab robberies in the D.C. area, including this robbery at the Tourneau store in Pentagon City, has been sentenced. Floyd Davis, 43, was sentenced to 7 years in prison for his role in the crimes. [Washington Post]
Reevesland Group Refines Proposal — A group that wants to convert the historic Reeves farmhouse into an agricultural learning center for school children has submitted a proposal to Arlington County. The group says its volunteers will lower the cost of necessary renovations to the building by 30 percent. It has offered to operate the center and make it available to Arlington Public Schools. In exchange, the group wants the county to pay for renovations (about $700,000), ongoing maintenance costs and utilities. [Sun Gazette]
Library Seeks Info on Mystery Football Photo — Arlington Public Library’s Center for Local History is seeking more information about a photograph found at a local home. The photo shows a group of men wearing early 20th century football equipment, posing in front of a school. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Circuit Court Judge Louise M. DiMatteo imposed the jury’s sentencing for 54-year-old Rodolfo Hernandez-Suazo — which included 50 years for rape, 25 years for abduction with intent to defile and 5 years for incest — but ordered that the sentences run concurrently.
Hernandez-Suazo lured his then 22-year-old daughter to a south Arlington hotel room last year, claiming he was going to complete some maintenance work there. Once both were at the hotel, Hernandez-Suazo forced sex on his daughter.
Prosecutors say Hernandez-Suazo then told the daughter to take a shower, but she did not end up doing so. As a result, after she reported the crime to police several hours later, investigators from the Arlington County Police Department Special Victims Unit were able to retrieve DNA evidence from her.
Hernandez-Suazo had been estranged from his daughter since leaving El Salvador about 20 years ago. They were reunited in 2009, when the daughter came to the United States to live with her mother, but she broke off contact after Hernandez-Suazo touched her inappropriately. He then re-initiated contact last year, leading to the incident in the hotel room.
“The victim held the understandable but misguided belief that she and the defendant could at last have a normal father-daughter relationship. Unfortunately he turned out to be a predator, not a parent,” said Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Lisa Tingle. “Her courage in coming forward should give others similar strength knowing that our community treats these offenses with the utmost seriousness.”
(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) The jury that convicted 25-year-old Javon Martin of robbery and first degree felony murder yesterday for the stabbing of Arlington resident Carl Diener recommends that Martin receive a 27 year sentence.
The jury had the option of recommending sentences up to life in prison for Martin. He is expected to be formally sentenced before Judge Louise DiMatteo in May.
Martin’s cousin and co-defendant, Roger Clark III, pleaded guilty to Diener’s murder last year and will be sentenced at some point in the future. The maximum sentence Clark could receive is 25 years in prison; he was offered a reduced sentence as part of a plea deal for testifying against Martin.
Arlington County sent out the following press release about Martin’s conviction and recommended sentence:
ARLINGTON, Va. – An Arlington County jury yesterday found Javon Martin guilty of murder and robbery for the December 29, 2009 homicide of Carl Diener. Following the guilty finding, the members of the jury recommended a 27 year sentence for Martin, 25, formerly of Washington, D.C. Formal sentencing by Judge Louise DiMatteo is scheduled for a later date.
Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement after the conclusion of the trial.
Diener, 57, a retired federal government employee and a well known and loved member of the Lyon Park community, was found by a passerby stabbed to death lying on the street in the 3200 block of N. 13th Street. As was his practice, he awoke early in the morning to open a local health and fitness club for members. As Mr. Diener was walking from his longtime home to the health and fitness club, he was brutally attacked and left to die.
“From that cold December morning when Mr. Diener’s body was found, the Arlington County Police Department never wavered in their determination to solve this murder, investing hundreds of hours in this investigation,” commented Chief Scott. As a result, murder charges were brought against Roger K. Clark III, 22, of Severn, Maryland, and Javon Martin in June of 2011. Clark pleaded guilty and is currently awaiting sentencing.
Following the trial, Commonwealth’s Attorney Stamos said, “We are extremely grateful to the jury — all of whom worked so hard to reach the right conclusion. Our prayers go out to Carl Diener’s family and hope they will find some comfort in knowing those responsible for his death were held accountable by this community.”
Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division added, “The Homicide Robbery Unit’s efforts and a strong partnership with the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office have resulted in two dangerous individuals being removed from the streets. Unfortunately none of our efforts could ever bring Mr. Diener back and the Arlington community is much poorer for the loss of this great friend to everyone.”
Master Police Officer Rosa Ortiz was the lead detective and the case was prosecuted by Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Molly Newton and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney John Lynch.
John Reynolds was 24 at the time of his arrest in March 2011. He was accused of hitting a 22-year-old woman with his car while driving drunk on Fairfax Drive, near the Ballston Metro station, on December 30, 2010. Reynolds sped away from the scene of the near-fatal accident, but detectives were able to use debris from his car to track him down and arrest him.
Reynolds — who studied psychology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University — was charged with hit and run and DUI maiming. Following a three-day trial that started on Monday, an Arlington County jury found Reynolds guilty on both charges yesterday (Thursday) afternoon. Today the jury sentenced Reynolds to 4 years and 3 months in prison, plus a $2,500 fine.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jay Burkholder, who prosecuted the case with fellow Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Clarke, said Reynolds’ “level of intoxication” played a role in the jury’s decision-making. Reynolds did not testify at the sentencing hearing, Burkholder said.
The victim of the accident suffered what Burkholder described as “very serious” injuries to her hip and legs. She also suffered nerve damage.
“Due to some fantastic doctors at Inova Fairfax Hospital she survived and is walking today,” Burkholder said. “She is doing much better, but will always face some physical challenges from this crime.”
Reynolds is being held at the Arlington County jail pending a formal sentencing hearing in September, when a judge will have the option of suspending part of his sentence.
More Funds for Long Bridge Park — The county board is slated to decide whether to spend an additional $4.7 million to move forward with planning for an aquatics facility facility at the future Long Bridge Park, near Crystal City. [Sun Gazette]
Man Arrested in Metro Bomb Plot Sentenced – An Ashburn man who thought he was helping to plan a bombing of the Metro system was sentenced to 23 years in prison yesterday. Farooque Ahmed, 34, was accused of providing undercover federal agents with sketches, photos and videos of the Pentagon City, Courthouse, Arlington Cemetery and Crystal City Metro stations in what he thought was a plot to bomb the stations. [Washington Post]
Arlington Students to Attend Easter Egg Roll – A total of 250 Arlington elementary students will attend the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday, April 25. Fifty students from Arlington Traditional, Glebe, Jamestown, McKinley and Taylor elementary schools will be given tickets to participate in the event. [Arlington Public Schools]
Davies Driver Sentenced in Crash — The driver in the fatal 2009 George Washington Parkway crash that left soccer star Charlie Davies severely injured was sentenced to two years in prison Friday. Maria Espinoza was drunk when the SUV she was driving hit a guardrail near Memorial Bridge and split in half, killing her best friend and leaving Davies maimed. Davies, now playing for DC United, scored two goals in the team’s home opener at RFK Stadium on Saturday. [ESPN, NY Times, Washington Post]
Arlington Woman Rescued from Potomac River — An Arlington woman was rescued by the Coast Guard after her kayak overturned in the Georgetown Channel, near Key Bridge, just before noon on Sunday. The woman, identified at 61-year-old Jenie Upchurch, was reportedly struggling to stay afloat when a Coast Guard vessel arrived at the scene and threw her a life ring. [U.S. Coast Guard]
APS Principal of the Year Named – Arlington Science Focus School principal Mary Begley has been named the Arlington Public Schools 2011 Principal of the Year. [Arlington Public Schools]
Pet Dove Eaten By Hawk — A pet dove named “Paci” was out enjoying the great outdoors in Alcova Heights last weekend when, according to the Ode Street Tribune, a hawk swooped in and put an abrupt end to her peaceful existence. [Ode Street Tribune]
County Gears Up for Pothole Repairs — Arlington County and VDOT are preparing for a big spring pothole push. Crews have been out 5-6 days per week filling potholes, but as things warm up they may be able to start making more permanent repairs. You can report a pothole over the phone at 703-228-6570. [Sun Gazette]
Man Who Threatened Metro Sentenced — The Arlington View man accused of threatening to blow up Metro trains and Georgetown sidewalks has been sentenced. Awais Younis, 25, pleaded guilty in federal court to sending threatening communications. Younis, who said he never actually intended to carry out the threats, was sentenced to time served, a two-year supervised release, anger management courses and mental health counseling. [WTOP]
Rosslyn Blasting Starting Soon — The Rosslyn Metro entrance project has hit bedrock and will soon start blasting. The blasting will take place nightly between 1:00 and 5:00 a.m. for several months. Arlington County says the contractor is taking steps to minimize noise and vibration from the blasting. [TBD]
Crystal City Office Building to Be Renovated — An old 1960s-era office building at 1411 Jefferson Davis Highway will be renovated into “prime Class A office space” after BRAC forces its current tenant, the National Guard, to move out at the end of the year. [Washington Business Journal]
Englin Will Seek Re-Election — Del. David Englin, whose district includes part of South Arlington, says will not be seeking higher office this year. Instead, Englin announced yesterday that he will be running for re-election.
Flickr pool photo by Rukasu1
Arlington Tourism Declines — Tourism revenues in Arlington County, Virginia’s top tourist destination, declined by $276 million between 2008 and 2009, according to data released in December. Arlington is currently seeking state approval to renew a hotel tax surcharge that funds its tourism promotion efforts, but county officials acknowledge that Arlington’s tourism draw is primarily its proximity to the District. [Washington Examiner]
McDonnell To Propose Transportation Spending Splurge – Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell wants to borrow $3 billion over the next three years to pay for transportation projects in the state. [Washington Post]
Arlington Lawyer Gets Year in Prison — A local lawyer convicted of defrauding the parents of special needs children has been handed a one year sentence by an Arlington County judge. [Washington Post]
Mexican Food Search Reveals Uncle Julio’s — After three years of searching for some decent Mexican food in Arlington, a couple has finally discovered Uncle Julio’s Rio Grande Cafe in Ballston. [Patch]
Flickr pool photo by Paul Derby
Arlington County Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Kendrick had little sympathy for former Marine Jorge Torrez at the convicted rapist’s sentencing today.
Calling Torrez a “coward,” Kendrick imposed the jury’s recommendation that Torrez serve five consecutive life sentences, plus an additional 168 years in prison. Torrez will also pay a $190,000 fine.
Two of Torrez’s three victims were in court for the sentencing, as was one of the jury members from the October trial.
In her argument before the court today, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos said Torrez is a “predator” who made his victims endure horrifying ordeals. The jury “did the exact right thing” by recommending multiple life sentences, she said.
Torrez is currently being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility. He may eventually be transferred to a state prison, or may be sent to Illinois, where prosecutors are forming a case against Torrez in a 2005 double homicide.
Torrez Sentencing Today — The sentencing of former Marine and convicted rapist Jorge Torrez will be held in Arlington County Circuit Court today.
Chairman Zimmerman — Chris Zimmerman will likely serve as county board chairman in 2011, taking the reins from Jay Fisette. An official announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday. More from the Sun Gazette.
Webb Headlines Annual Chamber Meeting – The 86th Annual Meeting of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce will be held at the Sheraton National Hotel on Columbia Pike today. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) is the keynote speaker for the luncheon event. Others expected to attend include state delegates Adam Ebbin and David Englin, County Manager Barbara Donnellan, and numerous county elected officials.
NWS: No Sign of Tornado in South Arlington — Despite photos of car windows blown out and mass tree devastation, a team from the National Weather Service found no evidence that a tornado caused the worst of the damage in South Arlington. More from Fox 5.
Arlington FBI Impersonator Sentenced — Arlington resident Brenna Marie Reilly, 29, who told people she was the director of the FBI’s Forensic Division and later convinced a neighbor to quit his job and serve as her assistant, was sentenced on Friday. She will serve 30 days in prison, four months of house arrest and three years of probation. More from the Washington Examiner.
Cat Fight Breaks Out Over Roaming Pets — In June, the Sun Gazette ran a opinion piece from someone who wasn’t too happy with his neighbor’s cat roaming in his yard. “Do I need my neighbors’ cat in my backyard when my wife and daughter are allergic?” he asked. Now, courtesy of the Huffington Post, we get a counterpoint. Blogger Tamar Abrams is apparently the owner of the offending feline. She shoots back: “For the record, his dog has peed on my yard. His dog has barked many times. But I can’t imagine complaining about that.”