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.
Metro Keys Stolen from Arlington Fire Truck — Two men wearing masks and black clothing stole keys to secure areas of the Metro system from an unattended Arlington County fire truck last week. The theft happened during a medical call in Crystal City, and the thieves also stole a forcible entry tool called a Hydra Ram. [NBC Washington]
New Wakefield Aquatics Center Debuts — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new aquatics center at Wakefield High School on Sunday. The center is expected to draw a larger crowd than the aging, existing Wakefield aquatics facility it replaces. The cost of entry is up to $5.50 per day for Arlington residents. [Sun Gazette]
Ft. Myer Heights Playground Opening Imminent — A new playground in Ft. Myer Heights, with slides made to look like hollowed-out logs, is set to open as soon as Wednesday. The playground also features a sand pit and picnic benches. [Ode Street Tribune]
New Poll Shows McAuliffe With Lead in Gov. Race — Democrat Terry McAuliffe is leading Republican Ken Cuccinelli 47-39 among likely votes in the Virginia governor’s race, according to a new Washington Post poll. Cuccinelli had a 10 point lead in a poll conducted this spring. [Washington Post]
Lt. Gov. Debate in Arlington Tonight — The candidates for Virginia lieutenant governor — Republican E.W. Jackson and Democrat Ralph Northam — will face off in a live debate in Arlington tonight. The 90-minute debate will take place at 7:00 p.m. at George Mason University’s Founders Hall Auditorium in Virginia Square. [George Mason University]
Flickr pool photo by ddimick
Howard Montgomery, 47, of no fixed address, was spotted just before 3:00 a.m. last Thursday riding a bicycle and carrying another alongside him, Arlington County Police said. When an officer questioned Montgomery, he tried to flee but was taken into custody “after a brief struggle,” according to the police report.
Montgomery, who was also in possession of “a power grinder with numerous blades,” admitted to stealing the Cannondale and Drossinger bikes, police said. He was arrested and charged with grand larceny, larceny with intent to sell, possession of burglarious tools and obstruction of justice.
The arrest comes after ACPD announced that bike thefts in Arlington had hit an all-time high.
The two bikes stolen were not registered with the the police department, making it more difficult to return them to their owners, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Sternbeck said the area where Montgomery was arrested, around the 1600 block of S. Eads Street, is one of the “hot spots” for bicycle thefts around the county. Bicycle thefts tend to happen more frequently at commuter locations with lots of bike racks, he said.
While Montgomery confessed to stealing the two bikes, he did not admit to any prior crimes, said Sternbeck.
(Updated at 1:10 p.m.) There have been 41 reported thefts of vehicle tires and rims in Arlington so far this year. Of those, 24 have been stolen from just two models: the Honda Fit and Civic.
In keeping with what seems to be a national trend, the Fit is the most-targeted of the two, accounting for 16 — nearly two fifths — of the 41 thefts, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Tara-Leeway Heights resident Tom Olsen says he recently was the victim of the wheel thieves.
“My wife and I woke… to find that all 8 wheels had been stolen from our cars — a Honda Fit and a Honda Civic,” he told ARLnow.com. “The cars were in the driveway of our house. Both cars were locked… and near enough to a streetlight that the thieves would have been seen by a passerby. Also, the Civic had locking lug nuts on the wheels, but the thieves didn’t have any problem removing them. The officer said a pro can get them off easily, it just takes them slightly longer.”
“According to the police, [the] tow operator and rental car agent, Honda Fits (and to a lesser extent, Civics) have been targeted recently in and around Arlington as well as in Maryland and D.C.,” he continued. “In fact, when we told the rental car guy that our wheels had been stolen, he immediately asked ‘Do you have a Fit?’”
The Honda Fit Sport model is in demand because its 15-inch allow wheels fit low-riding cars customized for street racing. They also fetch high prices on the illegal car parts market.
The thefts usually happen between midnight and 5 a.m., [Fairfax County police officer Brendan] Murphy said. The thieves usually break into the car first to remove the jack so they can get the wheels off. The whole operation only takes a few minutes.
He advises Honda owners to install motion sensor lights. Car alarms with tilt sensors would be good, too. And if you happen to get up in the middle of the night, check on your car.
Photos courtesy Tom Olsen
A total of 67 bikes were stolen in July, but police say they’ve been working “aggressively” to reduce the number of thefts. At least six suspects were recently arrested in connection with bicycle thefts, and one pleaded guilty to nine felony counts.
According to police department statistics, from June 1 to Aug. 5, a total of 126 bikes were stolen for a total property loss of nearly $100,000.
The most common time for bike thefts was between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Wednesday through Friday. Trek was the most commonly-stolen bike brand, while the Clarendon area was the “hottest area for stolen bikes.”
Police are asking residents to take steps to make sure their bike is safe. From an ACPD press release:
Recent data shows that bicycle thefts are at an all-time high in Arlington County and the Police Department is asking the public to join in the efforts to reduce this trend.
Sixty-seven bicycles were reported stolen in July 2013 and police have been aggressively working to reduce the number of incidents. Residents can do their part too by following a few simple steps:
- Register your bicycle with the Arlington County Police Department at http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/police/citizens/forms/bicycle_registration.asp. You will receive a decal that may be a visible deterrent to theft. Your bicycle information will also be on file should become a victim
- Take a photo of your bike and record the serial number. Also, list distinguishing features and save the file to your computer or email account
- Always lock your bike’s frame and wheels with a high quality modern U-Lock
- Remove all detachable items such as lights and bags
- If you are a victim of bicycle theft, post the theft as stolen online in an attempt to locate it
- Always file a police report with ACPD
Citizens should be reminded to call the non-emergency line [703-558-2222] if they observe suspicious behavior around bike racks. A police officer will respond to the area and determine if a crime is being committed.
ACPD has recently been able to identify and arrest at least six subjects in connection to bicycle thefts across the County. One of the subjects, Michael Cullen, 42, of no fixed address, pled guilty this past week to nine felony counts related to bicycle thefts.
Fish and Wildlife Service Nears Lease Deal in Falls Church — Vornado Realty Trust is reportedly close to securing a lease deal that would move the Fish and Wildlife Service out of Ballston and into Falls Church. The deal would send the agency’s 2,100 employees to 5275 Leesburg Pike in the Skyline area. [Washington Business Journal]
Man Pleads Guilty in Pentagon City Robbery – Walter Douglas, who was arrested in June, has pleaded guilty to a string of smash and grab robberies, including the March 19 Tourneau store robbery at the Pentagon City mall. Douglas admitted he was an organizer of the group that allegedly carried out the robberies, and he pleaded guilty to a federal robbery charge and a robbery-conspiracy charge. He reports the group stole between $800,000 and $1.5 million in high end goods. Douglas will be sentenced on November 8. [Washington Post]
Police Seek Assistance Identifying Thieves — The Arlington County Police Department is requesting the public’s help with identifying two people accused of entering office buildings and stealing wallets. The two are believed to have taken part in a wallet theft in the 4600 block of N. Fairfax Drive on June 25, and another on the 1600 block of N. Wilson Blvd on July 8. They were caught on surveillance video using the stolen credit cards at a CVS store. Surveillance photos of the suspects and police contact information can be found on the press release. [Arlington County Police Department]
Arlington Band Makes Fortune Magazine’s Finals — An in-house rock band at Excella Consulting, a technology consulting firm based in Courthouse, is a finalist in Fortune magazine’s 13th annual Battle of the Corporate Bands. The band, Detached Retina, will compete at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on September 28, along with seven other finalists. The contest’s proceeds benefit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [Excella Consulting]
We’re told the driver was near the end of his route and the van had only a handful of packages left inside at the time of the theft. The van was idling in the parking lot when the driver stepped inside the gas station’s convenience store for “a couple of minutes,” a witness said.
While the van was idling, an unidentified suspect allegedly jumped in and speed off onto Clarendon Blvd. Police are now looking for the thief and the white-and-red van.
County Mulls Streetlight Changes — Arlington County is considering changing the type of LED streetlights it uses after complaints from residents. One possible change is using lights with a color temperature that more closely matches traditional sodium-vapor lighting. [Sun Gazette]
Cyclist Sets Up Stolen Bike Sting — A cyclist whose bikes were stolen from a Fairfax County parking garage managed to set up a sting operation in Arlington to try to catch the thief. The cyclist found one of the bikes for sale on Craigslist, arranged for the seller to come to an Arlington parking lot, and flagged down a police officer to lend assistance. After agreeing to a sale, listened to by police via a cell phone in the cyclist’s pocket, the seller was arrested. [Gripped Racing]
Transgender Fashion Show to Benefit Arlington Org — A transgender fashion show will be held this Saturday in Falls Church to benefit NovaSalud, a Courthouse-based HIV/AIDS nonprofit. The show’s Honorary Mistress of Ceremonies is Kristen Beck, a retired Navy SEAL who was formerly known as Chris Beck. [Falls Church News-Press]
This Day in Arlington History — On this day in Arlington history, 1937, it was reported that the County Board was debating whether movie theaters should be allowed to open on Sundays. Also, it was reported that a majority of the $176 million the IRS collected in Virginia in 1936 came from taxes on tobacco. [Sun Gazette]
Photo courtesy James Mahony
Three suspected burglars got an unpleasant surprise overnight when they allegedly tried breaking into a string of vehicles in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood. The problem? One of the vehicles was an undercover police car with an officer inside.
Due to a number of recent complaints about thefts from cars, the Arlington County Police Department sent a plain clothes surveillance team to the neighborhood. Around 1:30 a.m., officers saw three subjects acting suspiciously in the 1800 block of S. 28th Street. Police say they saw the suspects trying to open car doors and entering unlocked vehicles to steal items.
The three men then reportedly attempted to enter an unlocked, unmarked police car and were startled by an undercover officer in the back seat. Tactical units immediately moved in and arrested 22-year-old Hilary Edmond of Arlington and 18-year-old Robert Holt of Alexandria. With the assistance of a K-9 unit, police later arrested 23-year-old Enrique Vanterpool of Alexandria, who was found hiding under some brush. Vanterpool sustained a dog bite to the arm from the K-9 and was treated at the scene by medics.
Police believe the three men may have been involved in more than a dozen recent thefts from cars. Charges against the suspects continue to be compiled in this active case as the men are tied to more of the reported thefts.
An ACPD spokesman notes that so far it does not appear the suspects forcibly entered any of the vehicles they allegedly stole from; all the car doors were unlocked.
“People have to be aware if they are going to keep valuables in their vehicles that they should lock their vehicles and keep valuables out of sight,” said Lt. Mike Watson. “But people really shouldn’t even keep valuables in their vehicles.”
The suspect, 58-year-old Ibrahim Abdullah, was arrested by Fairfax County police at a house on the 1700 block of N. Quebec Street. The arrest happened around 1:40 p.m. on Thursday and prompted some curious neighbors to question why police from another jurisdiction were carrying out an arrest an Arlington home.
According to Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell, Abdullah is accused of swiping a credit card from a victim’s purse or wallet. The alleged theft happened at a Panera Bread restaurant in the Tysons Corner area on Monday, May 27.
Police say Abdullah then used the credit card to make purchases at several Tysons Corner stores. He has been charged with credit card theft and credit card fraud, Caldwell said.
Arlington County police are asking for help identifying three suspects who allegedly stole credit cards and cell phones from from the locker rooms of two high school pools.
The suspects were caught on surveillance camera at a CVS in northwest Washington where police say they used their victims’ credit cards.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying three suspect that were involved in larcenies that took place in local aquatic center locker rooms.
On the morning of March 30, 2013, a victim was swimming at the Washington and Lee High School Aquatics Center and had his belongings stolen from his locker in the locker room. In this incident, the victim found that his lock had been cut, and also discovered that his iPhone 4 and credit cards were among the missing items. Later that same day, a victim was swimming at Yorktown High School Aquatics Center and had his wallet stolen from his locker room locker. The victim’s lock, Blackberry phone, cash, and credit cards were among the items stolen. Credit cards stolen from both aquatic centers were used at a CVS in NW, Washington, D.C. by the three suspects in the attached photographs.
Suspect one is described as a black female, wearing black pants, a blue jacket, and a baseball cap while using the credit cards. Suspect two is described as a black female, wearing dark pants, a red hooded sweatshirt, and had a short style haircut. Suspect three is described as a black male with glasses, wearing camouflage pants and a t-shirt with a unique graphic. These subjects have been seen together at the Wakefield High School Aquatics Center in recent weeks, but it is unknown if anything was stolen at that time.
If anyone has information on the whereabouts of this individual, please contact Detective James Stone of the Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit at 703.228.4245 or at Jstone@arlingtonva.us. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
Photos courtesy ACPD
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