BREAKING NEWS — Bank Robbery in Clarendon

by ARLnow.com August 3, 2011 at 11:14 am 7,958 98 Comments

A robbery has been reported at the Wachovia Bank at 3140 Washington Boulevard in Clarendon.

Initial reports suggest a suspect implied he had a weapon, then made off with cash. Police are looking for the suspect, who fled on foot. He’s described as an older white male with scruffy facial hair.

This is the fifth bank robbery in Arlington since the beginning of June. There have also been two bank robberies in the neighboring Falls Church area during that time.

Update at 4:10 p.m. — In a press release (which includes surveillance photos), Arlington Police say that the suspect in today’s robbery appears to be the same man responsible for the robbery of two BB&T banks in June.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Robbery Unit is investigating a bank robbery that occurred this morning in the Clarendon area of Arlington County.

On Wednesday, August 3, 2011, at approximately 11:10 am, police responded to the 3100 block of Washington Boulevard for a bank robbery that just occurred. An unknown male entered a Wachovia/Wells Fargo Bank and demanded money from a teller while implying that he was armed with a weapon. The suspect fled the area after receiving cash.

The suspect is described as a white male with facial hair, in his late 50’s, 6’ tall with a medium build. At the time of the robbery he wore a white short-sleeve polo shirt with horizontal stripes, light colored pants and a dark colored baseball cap. This man appears to be the same suspect who robbed two BB&T Banks in Arlington during June 2011.

Anyone who has information about this robbery or the identity of the suspect is asked to call the Arlington County Police Department Tip Line at 703 228-4242, or Detective Donald Fortunato at (703) 228-4197. Det. Fortunato can also be reached by email at [email protected]

  • Tabby

    Was it Mitch McConnell?

    • YoBimbo


    • steve85


    • CW

      “ACPD caught up with the suspect after he tripped on his own neck fat and fell.”

  • WestoverBabe

    A Wachovia?!? Did they finally hit all the BB&Ts?

  • JamesE

    alright let’s start a pool. I got $5 on Courthouse being hit next Tuesday.

    • Tre

      $15 on the Federal Reserve

      • abc123

        $5 in N. Arl @ Lee Hwy & Glebe area – No, make it $15!

        • Lee-n-Glebe

          Perfect! After the robbery, they can stop in at Thirsty Bernies for a celebratory beer-n-brat.

          • wilbur

            Yeah, sorry, those banks have already been knocked over numerous times.

          • Random Person

            Lee&Glebe, do you know what’s going on with that huge vacant lot there behind the Thirsty Bernie’s strip mall? Huge swath of valuable land, and it’s been vacant forever! Figured you might know based on your screen name. Thanks.

          • Lee-n-Glebe

            It’s owned by an SPV offshoot of Archstone (nationwide owner-operator of apartments). I looked it up on the County website, which is pretty thorough, even if a little confusing. It’s currently going through permitting for (I think) 300 apartment units, in four, 4-storey buildings with a 5th building as a parking garage.*

            Looks like it was underway a while back and put on hold during the downturn, but it’s back on track.

            *Note – I’m going off memory here. Said memory has been known in the past to be failure-prone.

          • Random Person

            Thanks for the info! Interesting. Really odd that this prime real estate has been sitting idle for so long. (I think there were THs there way back.)

    • ClizzleDizzle

      $10 on the Clarendon TB bank

      • ClizzleDizzle

        TD! Sorry

  • Here’s a surprise.

    Hey, all criminals, come rob banks in Arlington and make an easy getaway.

    • wilbur

      Clear indication of how good Arlington’s transportation plan has been!

    • JamesE

      They escaped on a segway

      • Lou

        While the cops were stuck in traffic playing with their computers in their cars.

        Car Free diet for the police. Get some of them out there pounding the pavement.

        • LuvDusty

          This is actually a good pt. I have lived in Clarendon now for almost 10 years. I have not seen a single cop walking the beat near that area..ever.

  • SaveDaveMcKenna

    Maybe this spate of bank robberies is tied to the FBI putting more heat on the DB Cooper case.

  • LP

    This is getting out of control, seriously. Has one arrest been made in any of the robberies at Arlington banks?

    ACPD needs to station a cop at each branch. They know sooner or later they’ll catch/solve it.

    • Aaron

      Do you think before you comment LP? How would you like a limited number of resources (officers) to be posted at each branch — there are probably 10 banks in Ballston alone. Think of the rest of county.

      • Bard

        Pretty sure that was hyperbole. At least that’s how I read it.

      • LP


      • Aaron, it wasn’t meant to be taken literally. I’ve had the exact thought – knowing quite well it’s not possible.

        I’ve also considered the idea of banks getting their own security or at least a mean German Shepherd to sit at the front entrance.

        This is getting to become comical. Someone should start feeling mortified in the banking and police communities!

    • david

      I’d love to know some historical figures on these crimes. I’m wondering if there really has been an uptick in bank robberies in Arlington or if we’re just more aware of them now this site is covering all of them.

      • NPGMBR

        Good point but it sure does seem like this is happening an awful lot lately.

  • Southeast Ben

    Yes…another bank robbery to get me through this day! How awesome is this.

  • ArlSouthie

    Can’t you put it all together? A bank robbery happens in Clarendon, then in a few days a new “eatery” opens. Clarendon is not a cheap place so the start-up capital is going to be pretty high… what is a quick and easy way to pay the rent, build out costs, stock up on cupcake molds and ice cream/yogurt machines? I think ACPD needs to look at these new business owners…

    • Tre

      The robber was heard yelling “Froyo hands in the air!”

      • Mesbah


  • Tre

    EXCLUSIVE: The newly installed surveillance equipment captured this image of the robber’s face. Please call authorities if you can recognize this person.

    • John Fontain

      That looks exactly like the Pine Sol Splasher, but if they locked him (her??) up yesterday….

    • ESTSRN8

      Actually you can see pics of some of the Arlington robbers – and the latest in bank robber chic (Nixon mask, Hillary mask, yellow rain slicker) at the “Bandit Gallery” here: http://bankbandits.org

    • JamesE

      Zoom in and enhance

    • HA!!!!! Agree – another bad photo.

      Maybe banks don’t really care if someone takes their money.

    • FC_United

      I saw the sailboat!

  • yo yo ma

    these bank robberies would be a lot cooler if they went down like the movie Heat.

    • Grahmor

      Better lock up your cello!

  • CW

    Seriously though, without any repercussions word is going to get out that this is really, really easy to do. All they’re doing is asking for money and being given it. I wouldn’t be surprised if we found these suspects passed out en masse in front of the Ballston 7-Eleven.

    • Lou

      It was explained in the last robbery thread that the system is set up to not challenge the robber and to simply let them walk away with the money. That’s the type of mindset that allows these to keep happening.

      Parts of the county are essentially a small city. It’s time Arlington had beat walkers.

      • Southeast Ben

        There was a request for volunteers to assist ACPD or something (I can’t remember what you call them…good samaritan cops or something). Not sure if they would try and stop bank robbers though

      • CW

        No, I understand the system. The tellers aren’t doing anything wrong. I’m talking about the lack of repercussions down the line. Of course we should have beat walkers. Or, even better, cycle cops. (According to the county website, the only “cops” on bikes right now are auxiliary police) An added benefit would be that, as soon as you put a couple ACPD officers on bikes for a daily patrol, I bet you see some of those delivery trucks blocking the bike lanes start to disappear…

        Either way, there is no reason why the response time to that bank should be more than two minutes. Every last one of these guys has fled on foot. Either they’re VERY local with a hideout close by, they’re using the metro to escape, or the cops are literally not looking for them, because how far can somebody go in that amount of time? There should be officers patrolling the main drag all day, not just for bank robberies but because it is common sense.

      • They should immediately push a button and have the place locked down with bars over the doors and windows like something out of Get Smart (for those of you old enough to remember that). Catch them in place with nowhere to run to. Do it once and the bank won’t get robbed again.

      • Josh S

        But it has been the system probably nationwide for many years. The system doesn’t explain it.

  • Sam

    This is starting to get hilarious…I’m actually at the point now where Im starting to thinkin Arlington County PD is in on all the bank robberies…someone get Advanced Towing on the phone..

  • velotron

    Maybe Casey Anthony just swooped in from Ohio to grab some cash to pay off her attorney’s fees and buy some new party attire.

  • Southeast Ben

    Point Break was on VS last night. Maybe that led to the scruffy bearded man’s inspiration. Probably doesn’t hurt that bank robberies in Arlington seem to occur at the rate in which burger/yogurt places pop up along Wilson/Clarendon Blvd.

    • SaveDaveMcKenna

      Didn’t Versus just change it’s name to NBCX?

      • ArlingtonNative

        Versus name change does not “officially” go into play until the Winter Classic Hockey game (02 Jan 2012 – I believe)

  • I’m not sure what’s worse. Our serial bank robber or Fairfax’s serial a** stabber.

  • JimPB

    — Wondering, the guy might have had to make a big withdrawal in order to have the dough required to eat (and not have to wash dishes afterwards) at all those new restaurants.

    — No explosive red dye in amongst the bundle of money handed over???
    Why not?

    — End the robberies:
    Screen customers for weapons before admitting them to the bank premises.
    Weapon-free bank premises are no-robbery premises.

    • Or you could argue the other side of the gun issue and state if someone had a gun who was waiting in line he may not have made it out of the bank with the money, and hence the next robber may think twice about even trying.

      (I don’t feel strongly on either side of this debate by the way, but do love to stir the pot.)

  • JamesE

    Suspect described as white male wearing polo-shirt, cargo shorts and flip flops.

  • Jorge

    I bet this white man is illegal.

  • esmith69

    Obviously the word has spread among criminals that this is an extremely easy and nearly foolproof way to score some cash. As long as the banks instruct their employees to not challenge in any way a robber, and as long as no additional security (either guards or special locking doors, etc.) is implemented, I don’t see how this is ever going to stop.

    I don’t really care if the banks get robbed–I don’t use a local bank and can’t remember the last time I set foot inside a bank branch. It also appears that individual customers are never harmed or even robbed during all of these events.

    What I do care about though is that these crimes negatively affect our crime statistics, and to the outside observer it makes the area seem much less safe than it really is.

    • LP

      How about the potential affect on property values?

      That doesn’t concern you?

      • Miriam Webster

        “E”-ffect. That is all.

        • if you’re going to…

          Merriam…that is all

          • dk


          • F.K.A. Miriam Webster


          • Touché……that is all.

      • esmith69

        Of course I care if the property values are affected. I consider that the same thing as the negative effect on crime statistics though (which I already said I do care about).

        • Grahmor

          I hope the cops can effect a quick arrest, in which the affect of the culprit will be melancholy.

    • Arlwhenever

      Actually in 2010, the robbery crime rate was about 86 percent higher in Arlington County that it was in Fairfax County. If people think Arlington is some kind of safe haven, they just aren’t paying attention. Fairfax County has substantially lower crime rates for all major crime categories except murder.

      • Thes

        And how does Arlington compare to PG County and the District?

      • esmith69

        I never said I thought Arlington was crime free, just that it makes it look much worse than it is when these kinds of crimes happen repeatedly.

        When aggregate crime statistics are provided to the public, they typically do not differentiate between street robberies (i.e. the kind most people would truly be afraid of) and commerical bank robberies, so people just see a bunch of “robberies” happening in Arlington this year and think it’s all sorts of dangerous.

      • LuvDusty

        Still not movin’ to Fairfax County…

  • I got that PMA

    Older white male with scruffy facial hair, sounds illegal.to me.

  • I got that PMA

    D.B. Cooper

    • jan

      good one

  • Valerie

    Orange Line robberies, lock down the Metro

  • Steve

    I bet the ONLY bank in all of Arlington that will not get robbed (unless these guys are on PCP) is the BoA right next to the FDIC on Fairfax Drive. There is ALWAYS a cop car parked there becaues they are there to protect the FDIC.

    • Curious George

      Actually the Arlington PD Rent-a-cop is there for DARPA but the point is still valid.

      I used to work near Fairfax and Glebe and there was a bank that got robbed periodically. ACPD parked an empty cruiser there for a while.

    • AgencyMan

      Cop car is there not for FDIC but for DARPA (the agency that invented the intertubes and stealth bombers). Which raises the question WHY an ARL Co officer and not one of the many fed cops (Defense, Sec Service, etc.)?

      • Curious George

        Actually the officers are moonlighting and are not on county time. Still using county resources though.

        They don’t seem terribly alert so the bank is probably not any more protected.

    • ArlSouthie

      No that cop is catching up on his monthly Netflix

  • O.C.

    The word is out about the Arlington County police. They are not actually out doing patrols, so these bank robbers know they have time to get away. Whether it’s because of gas costs, or because police don’t want to ride bikes, or because police feel they can do better work on their in-cruiser computers–I can’t say.

    End result, though, is that the chance a police officer is mobilized and able to respond quickly is very, very low.

    • Steve

      But at least we are all safe from people drinking in public, that’s the greater threat to the county..

      • John Fontain

        Is drinking in public illegal in Arlington?

    • Steve

      I bet the county board would change the priorities if someone claimed bank robberies hurt the democratic party or harms the prospects of diversity in the county, then they would be all over it.

  • ArlingtonNative

    This really is getting to be comical.
    I decided to click over to ArlNow as I was eating lunch, literally thinking to myself “Hmm – let’s see what bank was robbed today?” and … Bingo!
    At least these guys are reliable!
    (More so then either the Metro or ACPD!)

  • He’s probaly spending it in Jay’s Saloon.

  • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

    I went through the drive-thru for that bank this morning. Quick, call the press, I have a quote about the incident: redonkulous. ACPD = fail.

  • yush

    The cops here find giving idiotic speeding tickets and parking tickets a better utilization of their time than stopping a robbery.
    Bet you the bank robber def. put his quarters in the machine this time.

    • Parking tickets are typically issued by parking agents, not police officers.

      • yush

        Thanks for that.
        Now I can feel a lot better about the cops.

      • BerryBerryCold

        But I have seen Arlington police issue tickets. Usually when they are bored late at night in residential neighborhoods far from any urban areas.

  • JimPB

    RE: ARLCo police deployment and response times.
    The ArlCo police force is quite modest in size relative to the population (and this is appropriate, given the overall low crime rate). And, if as is likely, officers are deployed in good part on the basis of when and from where and how often calls come in, few officers would be assigned to the corridor (Ballston, Virginia Square, etc. to Courthouse) during the day.

    RE: “locking down” a bank when there is a hold-up so the robber can’t get away. This would also lock-in the bank employees and other customers and set things up for a hostage situation. Not good.

    • Curious George

      In all fairness the few times I have had to all police the last 10 years the ACPD have always been responsive. I even see them in my neighborhood sometimes nailing the rampant stop sign runners or watching over the nightly Oakland Park bum feedlot.

      I doubt the people robbing the banks are pros so we are not talking armed robbery with stray rounds going through the window of the local Froyo/cupcake emporium.

    • Lou

      Arlington has less than two officers per 1000 people.

      Don’t know how that compares to PG County or DC though.

  • FedUp

    I wonder how many of these robberies are inside jobs with one of the bank employees participating.

  • JimPB

    Bank robberies could be almost completely prevented. Keep customers separated from bank staff by bullet-proof glass and building material. (Some businesses in high crime areas do things along these lines.) But the arrangement is not very friendly. So folks might well go elsewhere to do their banking.

    Similarly, shoplifting can be almost completely prevented. Have customers order items to exam, try on and buy from a catalog. Only one or a few items to try on at a time. To prevent customers from walking out (stealing items), prohibit customers from taking items that they want to buy to the check-out. Instead, they order and pay for the items there, then get the items. I recall a store that did this. It’s not in business anymore.

    A secret: Some merchants monitor the loss to shoplifting. Too little means that the merchandise is not readily enough available to potential customers to examine and try on, so they make the merchandise more readily available.

    Another fact: Employees account for about as much stolen merchandise as do customers.

    And remember: The biggest $ thefts are not at banks, stores or on the street, but in the offices of white collars. That’s where the big money is — and where the big dollar thefts occur.

  • Mickey

    I will volunteer to rotate among our local banks as a roving guard armed with a few weapons, for example, a .45, 9mm, and a .357 to ensure that our robber expires early from his endeavors. It appears that the ACPD is unable to deter or catch the perp. I guess they don’t have enough personnel on the dole, uh payroll to cover the local banks? Maybe we don’t pay enough? Are they unionized? No donuts for “entitlements”?

  • MomOfTeens

    Anyone else feel like we’re living in the Old West? Where’s Marshal Dillon when you need him?


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