WJLA and NewsChannel 8 for Sale — Rosslyn-based TV station WJLA (ABC 7) has been offered for sale by Allbritton Communications. The company is seeking to sell WJLA and its companion cable channel NewsChannel 8 in order to continue investing in new media, like its Politico website and newspaper. Disney, owner of the ABC television network, is thought to be a likely buyer. [WBJ, Washington Post, Politico]
Brink, Lopez Announce Reelection Bids — Dels. Bob Brink and Alfonso Lopez announced their bids for reelection to the Virginia House of Delegates at last night’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting. As part of his speech, Lopez made fun of a Republican effort in the state legislature to study the creation of a Virginia-based currency. Lopez joked that he wanted his face on the Virginia $5 bill and Brink’s on the $10 bill, so that “in Virginia it would cost a Brink and a Lopez to buy a pizza.” [Blue Virginia]
‘Over the Edge’ Fundraiser in Crystal City — Today, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., people will be rappelling 15 stories down the Hilton Crystal City at 2399 Jefferson Davis Highway as part of a fundraiser for the Special Olympics. Among those scheduled to go “over the edge” today is Washington Nationals mascot Screech. The fundraiser will also run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. tomorrow (Friday). [Event Calendar, Special Olympics Virginia]
County Sells $206 Million in Bonds — Arlington County sold $206 million in bonds on Tuesday. The bonds were sold at a low 2.5 percent interest rate. The refunding of older bonds under the low rate will save the county about $5 million. [Arlington County]
Police Looking for Wallet Thief — Arlington police are looking for a man who allegedly stole a victim’s wallet in the Clarendon area last month. [ACPD]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
A thief or thieves stole laptop computers in three separate burglaries this week, according to this week’s Arlington County crime report.
BURGLARY, 04/11/13, 4600 block of S. 34th Street. Between 7:30 pm and 8 pm on April 11, a victim went on a walk in his neighborhood. When he returned home, it was discovered that a laptop had been stolen from the kitchen. There were no signs of forced entry and there is no suspect(s) description.
BURGLARY, 04/13/13, 700 block of S. Ode Street. Between 3 and 8:30 pm on April 13, an unknown subject(s) entered a residence and stole a 13” Macbook Pro. There is no suspect(s) description.
BURGLARY, 04/16/13, 3000 block of N. Harrison Street. Between 7:45 am and 6:15 pm on April 16, an unknown suspect(s) entered a residence and stole a Dell laptop and US passport. There is no suspect(s) description.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.
Advisory Lifted for Local Waterways — A warning from Arlington County to stay out of Arlington Branch, Lower Long Branch and Four Mile Run has been lifted. The advisory was issued on April 9 after a sewage release near Columbia Pike. “The precaution was issued to allow time for the effect of the release to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams,” the county said. [Arlington County]
Husband of Track Coach Caught Boston Chaos on Camera — John Walls, the husband of Bishop O’Connell cross country and track coach Cindy Walls, captured the chaos of the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings on video. Walls was waiting for Cindy and his daughter Katie to cross the finish line when one of the bombs exploded across the street from where he was seated. He was shaken but uninjured. [WJLA]
Burned-Down House Cited for Code Violations — The Hall’s Hill house that was destroyed by fire yesterday has been cited several times in the past for building code violations. Officials are now investigating whether property owner Paul Chretien was in violation of the code by allowing more than four unrelated people to live in the house. [Washington Post]
Police Seek Theft Suspect — The Arlington County Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a 21-year-old man who stole an iPhone. “Police believe that the suspect has also been involved in several other crimes,” according to a press release. [Arlington County]
Update on 4/11/13 — Bouhou and Blunt have been arrested, police say.
The Arlington County Police Department has released photos of six theft suspects in the hopes of getting new information on their whereabouts.
The police department is asking for the public’s help in locating the men, who are accused of various thefts around Arlington. Among the suspects:
- Hamid Bouhou, 44, who’s accused of stealing credit cards from a Starbucks store in Rosslyn
- Frederick Blunt, 33, who’s accused of stealing personal hygiene products from a CVS in Ballston
- One man, 25-35 years old, accused of stealing patio chairs from a restaurant in Shirlington
- Two men, 20-30 years old, accused of stealing from the Virginia ABC store on Columbia Pike
- One man, 40-50 years old, also accused of stealing from the ABC store on Columbia Pike
A police spokesman says the department is trying to be more proactive about asking for the public’s help when trying to locate suspects.
Photos courtesy Arlington County Police Department
USS Arlington To Be Commissioned – The USS Arlington will be commissioned in Norfolk on Saturday. Fundraising for a 9/11 tribute room on the ship is continuing, as supporters have only raised $362,000 of the hope-for $500,000. [Washington Post, Patch]
Police Seek Wallet Thief — Arlington County Police are looking for a man who stole a victim’s wallet while at a bar/restaurant in Ballston. The man then used the victim’s credit cards at a store on the 200 block of S. Glebe Road. [Arlington County]
Fundraiser for Prisoner Assistance Org — A fundraiser was held Thursday for Offender Aid and Restoration, a group that “works in Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church with support programs for those in jail and prison, and assistance when they return to life outside a cell.” [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Police say Kyle David Stefanye, 20, was attempting to steal a car from a repair shop — likely the Don Pool Mercedes-Benz repair shop – on the 6900 block of Lee Highway in East Falls Church. He allegedly managed to turn the car on, but his escape plan hit a snag: he tried, unsuccessfully, to ram the garage door, according to police.
Police later arrived and arrested Stefanye inside the shop. From the crime report:
BURGLARY, 02/07/13, 6900 block of N. Lee Highway. At 1:42 am on February 7, police responded to a report of a burglary in progress. The subject was inside the garage of a repair shop and was attempting to steal a car. After turning the car on, the subject attempted to drive through the bay door by ramming it. When police entered the building, they were able to take the suspect into custody. Kyle David Stefanye, 20, of Reston, VA was arrested and charged with burglary and attempted grand larceny of an auto. He is currently being held without bond.
Arlington County auto crimes detectives are “actively engaged in” an investigation into the thefts, said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, who couldn’t recall any other taxi thefts in Arlington in the past year. The cabs all had D.C. tags and ranged in model year from 1998 to 2004.
From the stolen vehicle portion of this week’s crime report:
01/23/13, DC 01232H, 2004 Ford Crown Victoria (Taxi), White/Yellow, 5500 block of S. Columbia Pike
01/23/13, DC H95014, 2002 Ford Crown Victoria (Taxi), Blue, 5500 block of S. Columbia Pike
01/28/13, DC H87744, 1998 Ford Crown Victoria (Taxi), Blue and Gray, 5500 block of S. Columbia Pike
Also in this week’s crime report, a woman was grabbed from behind while walking home from the Ballston Metro station. Her purse was stolen but she was otherwise physically uninjured.
ROBBERY, 01/24/13, 4400 block of N. 4th Street. At 11:53 pm on January 23, as a female victim was walking home from the Ballston Metro station alone, she was approached from behind by a male subject who placed his hand over her face and grabbed her purse. The subject fled the scene on foot and was not located. He is described as a black male, approximately 5’7” tall and 160 lbs. He was wearing a black wool coat, dark jeans, knit hat, light colored scarf and dark gloves at the time of the incident.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
Thieves Steal Wheels from Hotel — Two suspects were seen stealing tires and rims from two vehicles parked at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Highway) early Thursday morning. A security guard tried to intervene but the suspects fled. Arlington, particularly south Arlington, has seen an apparent uptick in wheel thefts recently. [NBC Washington]
Santa Coming to Clarendon Saturday — Santa Claus will be coming to Clarendon on Saturday evening. The Jolly Old Elf will arrive at Market Common Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd) on a “big red sleigh,” otherwise known as an Arlington County fire truck, at 4:00 p.m. He will be on hand for photos until 7:00 p.m. There will also be strolling carolers and other family-friendly entertainment. It’s the shopping center’s 12th annual “Winter Wonderland” event. [Market Common Clarendon]
Last Westover Farmers Market of 2012 — The new Westover Farmers Market will hold its last market of the year from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The market, located at the corner of Washington Blvd and N. McKinley Road, will go on a holiday hiatus before returning on Jan. 13, 2013. The market’s winter hours run through April. [Westover Farmers Market]
Brink Commends Funding for Blind Students — Del. Bob Brink (D-Arlington) is praising Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) for his proposal to add $4.9 million in funding for blind and visually impaired students to the upcoming Virginia budget. The funds will help localities cover the cost of teachers, teacher’s aides and staff for blind and visually impaired students. [Alexandria News]
Bike Advocates Call For Plowed Trails — Bicyclists are calling on Arlington County to start plowing snow from bike and pedestrian trails. “By failing to plow the trails, [Arlington's Department of Environmental Services] puts more people onto the streets in cars,” said one bicycle advocate during yesterday’s county-organized online snow chat. “Is that really what you want, during a snow event?” [Along the Pike]
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
(Updated at 6:50 p.m.) About half a dozen Arlington residents have woken up to find their car up on blocks over the past month.
Arlington County police have been responding to a seemingly increasing number of wheel thefts. Thieves have been been stealing the wheels — rims, tires and all — from parked vehicles in the middle of the night. So far, all of the thefts confirmed by ARLnow.com have taken place in south Arlington, but a tipster reported a “rash of wheel thefts” in the Madison Manor neighborhood of north Arlington in late October.
The most recent incident was reported Monday, Dec. 3. Two vehicles — a Dodge Challenger and a Dodge Magnum — had wheels stolen on the 2700 block of S. Veitch and S. Lang Streets. Meanwhile, two SUVs in the Riverhouse apartment parking lot on S. Joyce Street have had wheels stolen since the beginning of November, and a coupe had its wheels stolen in the complex’s parking garage. Also, a car on the 4700 block of Arlington Boulevard had two wheels stolen during Hurricane Sandy.
Police say they don’t have much to go on this point.
“We don’t have a very good suspect description right now,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “But we know it’s more than one person.”
Sternbeck said the suspects are likely driving a vehicle large enough to haul a set of four wheels, possibly a van or a truck. Residents should be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles or activity in their neighborhoods at night, he said.
Police say vehicle owners can protect themselves by using lug nuts or wheel locks, and by parking in well-lit and high traffic areas. If given the choice of parking in a garage or outside, police recommend parking inside the garage.
“An ongoing goal of ours is to prevent this,” Sternbeck said.
Update on 12/7/12 — Police are investigating another report of a car left up on blocks. In the overnight hours of December 5, someone stole the wheels from a 2012 Toyota Camry. The car had been in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 2700 block of S. Fern Street. This theft is near two incidents reported on Monday in the 2700 blocks of S. Lang and S. Veitch Streets.
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.
Robert Brockington, 37, is accused of “multiple counts of credit card larceny and credit card fraud.” He is “known to frequent area gyms, and will take wallets and credit cards from both locked and unlocked lockers,” according to police.
The police department is asking anyone with information on Brockington to contact Det. Steven Roeseler at 703-228-4182.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in locating an at-large larceny suspect. Robert Brockington is wanted for multiple counts of credit card larceny and credit card fraud. Brockington is known to steal credit cards from gym lockers at various gyms in North Arlington and uses the cards throughout the region.
Brockington is a 37 year old black male. He is approximately 6’0” tall and weighs 250 lbs. The suspect has a tattoo on the right side of his neck. Brockington is known to frequent area gyms, and will take wallets and credit cards from both locked and unlocked lockers.
If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Robert Brockington, please contact Detective Steven Roeseler of the Arlington County Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division at 703.228.4182 or at Sroese@arlingtonva.us. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
The gyms the suspect allegedly targeted in Arlington include the Gold’s Gym at 3910 Wilson Blvd, the Gold’s Gym at 1220 N. Fillmore Street and the Sport and Health at 1122 N. Kirkwood Road.
In response to questions and requests he has received regarding increasing patrolling since this information was released to the public on Wednesday (November 7), ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck points out that police typically do not patrol private property.
One or more suspects broke into a locked house on the 5500 block of 7th Street S., in the Forest Glen neighborhood, at some point on Sunday. According to police, the suspects played beer pong while inside the house. They then allegedly stole two cars parked outside, leaving the residence “in disarray” with empty beer bottles strewn about.
The crime was reported Sunday afternoon by an adult female house sitter – a friend of the family that owns the house and the vehicles, according to police.
There is no suspect description available.
(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) A group of bystanders helped out a Metro rider last night (Tuesday) by tracking down and detaining three men who allegedly tried stealing a woman’s cell phone.
Springfield resident Jonathan Jackson says he was riding the Blue Line home around 7:00 p.m., when he noticed a man acting suspiciously. When the doors opened at Arlington Cemetery, the situation grew weirder.
“All of a sudden we saw this guy weaving in and out of the train cars,” Jackson said. “He ran into our car and then ran into the next car down.”
Just as the chimes were ringing for the doors to close, Jackson says a woman ran out of the train yelling that the man had stolen her phone. That’s when Jackson ran off the train and onto the platform trying to find the accused thief. He saw that farther down the platform, several people had tackled the man.
“At that point, I thought the best thing I can do is call the cops,” said Jackson.
Jackson called 911 while others detained the alleged thief.
“It really was a team effort, but nobody even knew each other,” said Jackson.
Jackson says for a while, two other men, who appeared to be the alleged thief’s friends, tried freeing him while he was being held on the ground. After a few minutes, however, they took off. Jackson believes bystanders followed the friends and pointed them out to police, because they were detained along with the accused thief.
Metro Transit Police were the arresting officers, and they were assisted by Arlington County Police. According to WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel, the accused thief is 17 -years-old, and has been charged with robbery. Police talked to the other two people who were detained because they matched witness descriptions, but both were released.
“We’ve had a few snatch robbery events this year where witnesses or victims chased after the criminal,” Stessel said. “But it’s not something we encourage because of the potential of injury. It’s always best to let the property go. This one has a happy ending, we’re certainly happy for that.”
Jackson believes the train driver must have seen what was going on, because he kept the doors open while bystanders ran down the platform to catch the alleged thief. The train reportedly ended up holding at the station for about 10 minutes, until police arrived and were able to make arrests.
Although he has heard of people having their electronic devices stolen on the Metro, Jackson said it was far different to witness it. While he obviously can’t say for certain, he said it didn’t seem like this was a one time incident.
“It seemed like it was pretty well coordinated,” Jackson said. “But they just didn’t anticipate a group of people stepping in.”
There are no reports of injuries from the incident.
The Arlington County Police Department has released video showing would-be thieves getting arrested after getting into a police bait car.
According to police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, Arlington was the first jurisdiction in the D.C. metro to start using bait cars, back in 2002. Since its inception, the bait car program has helped police levy 200 criminal charges, with a 100 percent conviction rate.
When a potential thief enters the car, it triggers an alarm that signals police, and the hidden camera starts recording. Sternbeck said most of the individuals are startled when approached by an arresting officer, and are usually compliant.
Police target certain parts of the county based on crime rates, and use vehicles popular with car thieves. The program is fully funded through insurance companies.
The youngest individual police have picked up in Arlington for allegedly attempting to steal a vehicle was 10-years-old. The youngest caught allegedly attempting to steal items from inside the vehicle was 7-years-old.
Arlington police are investigating an incident in which goods purchased with a stolen credit card were mailed to the victim of the credit card fraud, then stolen from the victim’s home.
“There were at least ten pairs of women’s shoes and several purses mailed to [the victim's] residence several days after his credit card was stolen,” said Arlington County police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “A day later the package he received was stolen, along with jewelry from the house.”
BURGLARY/CREDIT CARD FRAUD, 05/18/12, 3000 block of N. Lee Highway. On May 18 at 4:50 pm, a victim reported a burglary at his residence of various items. One day prior, the victim received numerous packages in the mail that were purchased with his stolen credit card, which were stolen during the burglary along with additional items. There is no suspect description.
The rest of this week’s Arlington County crime report, after the jump.