The following stories received the most page views on ARLnow.com in 2012. All of these articles, with the exception of No. 5, benefited to varying degrees from links from national websites like Drudge Report and Reddit.
5. Road Sign Wishes Passersby a ‘Happy 420′ (18,012 views) — Some pranksters hacked into a road sign near the Madison Community Center in north Arlington on April 20, and 3,500+ Facebook shares later the article had a very “high” page view count.
4. Crime Report: Man in Wheelchair Robs CVS (27,341 views) — A man in a wheelchair tried to shoplift an electric razor and some bottles of wine from the CVS Pharmacy in Courthouse, according to police. When an employee tried to wheel the alleged thief back into the store, police said, he brandished a knife and made a getaway — that is, until cops caught up with him at the Courthouse Metro station.
3. Video: Arlington Resident Has the World’s Largest Natural Breasts (33,061 views) — Fairlington resident Annie Hawkins-Turner raised some eyebrows around town when she appeared on the TLC show Strange Sex to talk about her size 102ZZZ chest, recognized as the world’s largest natural breasts. While much of the traffic for this story was local, coming from email links and social networking sites, Reddit also contributed several thousand views.
2. Man Questioned for Molotov Cocktail at Mall (55,372 views) — The much-maligned Ballston Common Mall briefly made national news, but for all the wrong reasons. A man threw a Molotov cocktail-like incendiary device into the mall’s food court, but the flammable liquid inside failed to ignite after it hit the floor and no one was injured. The FBI and the ATF came to investigate the incident, but good old fashioned police work — acting on a tip from a citizen — led to the arrest of a suspect near the county government building by ACPD officers.
1. Crime Report: Pulling Guns on the Ritz (65,535 views) — We wish we could claim it was the semi-clever headline, but really it was a link from the Drudge Report that led more than 60,000 people to read the strange tale of Andrew Dziuk, a 29-year-old Centreville man. Dziuk was accused of brandishing a pair of loaded handguns, apparently in a drunken state of incredulity after learning the room rates at the Pentagon City Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Our No. 1 article’s 65,535 views makes it the second most-viewed article since the launch of the site in January 2010. The most-viewed ARLnow.com story of all time remains our article about former Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Gene C. McKinney, who was accused of hitting a person with his car after what his passengers described as the slug line ride from hell. The article has received 74,188 views, thanks in part to the Drudge Report. McKinney pleaded guilty to reckless driving and disorderly conduct late last year and was ordered to serve 10 days in jail.
Continuing our Top 15 list of the most-read Arlington stories of 2012, today we present numbers 6 through 10.
Page view counts for each article are listed in parenthesis. So far this year, ARLnow.com has recorded more than 12 million page views, up from 7.2 million in the same time period last year.
10. Thousands Still Without Power in Arlington (13,267 views) — After the June 29 derecho blew through the area, with winds up to 70 miles per hour, much of Arlington County was in the dark. Some 68,000 Dominion customers in Arlington lost power during or immediately after the storm. Dozens of trees and utility poles were knocked down, numerous local roads were blocked and some gas stations ran out of fuel. On top of it all, sweltering heat followed in the wake of the storm.
9. Woman Dies After Being Hit By Cyclist (13,609 views) — An 80-year-old woman, identified by police as Ita Lapina of Arlington, died after she moved into the path of and was struck by a passing cyclist who had just yelled “on your left.” The 62-year-old cyclist was not charged with a crime.
8. Police Investigate Possible Meth Lab in Va. Square (15,270 views) — A 225-unit high rise apartment building in Virginia Square was evacuated for several hours on a Monday night in August when police discovered a suspected meth lab inside one of the apartments. Two men were arrested and charged with Attempted Manufacturing of Methamphetamine. On of the suspects was a former USA Today technology writer.
7. Police Investigate Critical Pedestrian Accident in Clarendon (17,114 views) — A 27-year-old man from Collinsville, Va. suffered a severe head injury after being struck by a car in Clarendon. Numerous bar-goers witnessed the accident, which occurred on Clarendon Boulevard, near the Metro station, at 12:30 a.m. on a Saturday. Earlier this month, the victim’s father told ARLnow.com that his son, Michael Sizemore, is slowly but steadily recovering his cognitive and speech abilities.
6. Police: Man Sent Ex-Girlfriend Topless Photos of Herself (17,728 views) — A 27-year-old Arlington resident was accused and later convicted of taking a topless photo of his ex-girlfriend while she was sleeping. The victim told police and the jury that the suspect, Trevor Frye, emailed the photo to her following an argument. Fyre, who represented himself in court, was acquitted on a separate charge of unlawful entry.
Today we begin our annual countdown of the top stories in Arlington in the past year.
The list reflects the articles with the most page views in 2012. Crime was a major theme this year, whereas the story selection was a bit more varied last year. Unlike in years past, not a single restaurant-related article made it on our list. (At #28, with 9,687 views, the news that World of Beer was coming to Ballston was our most-viewed restaurant story.)
Note that this year the view count in the articles themselves might be significantly different from the page view numbers listed here; ever since our website redesign, the public view counts have been much lower than the actual view counts (as measured directly by Google). Our web developers are still working to fix this.
Our list will be divided into three parts, with the other two parts to be published Thursday and Friday. Here are top stories No. 11-15:
15. ACPD: Woman Raped on Four Mile Run Trail (11,547 views) — A 23-year-old woman was jogging along the Four Mile Run Trail near Glencarlyn park when a man with a kitchen knife grabbed her, pulled her into some tall vegetation and sexually assaulted her. The suspect was reported to have a small head and a high-pitched voice.
14. Police Investigate Murder-Suicide (11,897 views) — Two people were found dead in an apartment near Fairlington, in what was determined by police to be a murder-suicide. The victims were later identified as Xiomara Benitez, 30, and Juan Carlos Mox Mox, 30, both of Arlington. Police identified Benitez as the victim and Mox Mox as the subject. They were married with two children, according to police.
13. Major Accident on Washington Blvd in Ballston (12,003 views) — Three people were sent to the hospital after a serious ten-vehicle wreck in Ballston. An out-of-control SUV ended up on top of a convertible as a result of the accident, which snarled evening rush hour traffic. The SUV driver was later charged with reckless driving.
12. Police Investigate Stabbing Near Clarendon (13,115 views) — A man suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of a brutal stabbing in broad daylight near Clarendon. The victim was stabbed outside the Pio Pio restaurant on Wilson Boulevard after police say he chased a man who was trying to break into his car. In November, police arrested 28-year-old Elin Daniel Reyes of Arlington for the crime.
11. Englin Blasts GOP Bill for Requiring ‘Vaginal Penetration’ (13,197 views) — Del. David Englin (D) spoke out against a bill that had just passed the Virginia House of Delegates, in what would become the signature state legislative controversy of 2012. Del. Englin issued a statement blasting Virginia Republicans for the bill, which would have required women seeking an abortion to undergo an invasive “transvaginal” ultrasound. After a furor that made national news, the state legislature would later pass a watered-down version of the bill which only required an external ultrasound. Englin would later resign after admitting to an extramarital affair.