Man Arrested After Brazen ATM Robbery in Courthouse

by ARLnow.com August 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm 6,552 106 Comments

(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) A man has been arrested after a brazen daytime robbery attempt just outside the county government building in Courthouse.

The crime was called into police around 1:10 p.m. Initial reports suggest the man put a female victim in a choke hold after she entered her PIN number into the Arlington County Federal Credit Union ATM in Courthouse Plaza, just steps from the main entrance of the county government building and across the street from the Arlington County Police headquarters.

The woman reportedly ran away while the man attempted to use her ATM account. It’s unclear whether he withdrew money from the machine.

Several people then started chasing the suspect into the residential Lyon Village area, just north of Courthouse, according to police radio traffic and a witness. Police eventually took over the chase and arrested the man in a yard just near Key Elementary school.

One of the people who initially helped to chase the suspect was an employee in the county’s Commissioner of Revenue office, according to county spokeswoman Mary Curtius. The employee heard the victim scream and then gave chase, Curtius said.

  • Mr. Brown

    It’s not a bank robbery, but it will keep us from getting the shakes around here.

  • TMP

    Wow, someone was actually caught in relation to a robbery and a bank in Arlington? I was starting to think we have collectively been transported to the Old West with all the bank robberies that people have been getting away with.

  • TGEoA

    Bad boys bad boys

  • cass

    2100 block? Isn’t that the ACPD HQ building? Brilliant

    • AllenB

      Police HQ is on 15th Street.

      • Mr. Brown

        Good point. Robbery two blocks from police HQ is much smarter than one block away. Either way, super close to jail when he robbed someone in the middle of the day…

        • AllenB

          Two blocks versus right next door, actually, as the poster implied. No one said they were smart but I’m guessing their plan was to just head to the metro.

          • TC

            if the plan was to head to the metro then he’s a real idiot… the escalator was right behind him.

  • JamesE

    The suspect was apprehended after his car was towed due to the new zoning in Lyon Village.

    • PikerShorts


  • Ben Rothlesburger

    What ATM was it??

    • Worker

      Arlington Credit Union

  • Sam

    I’d like to thank the men who chased down and apprehended the suspect for the ACPD, somebody get those guys a job over there.

    • Jennifer

      Here’s hoping this was one of the people who has been ripping off other area banks. Stop terrorizing my town, jerk.

    • ZoningVictim

      I was really pleased to read that. I’m sick of hearing of situations where someone is getting accosted and people just stand there and do nothing. It’s hard to blame them in some ways since our government has been teaching people not to resist and juries have awarded to settlements to people who have come to other’s aid before, but I’ve always hated that policy and can’t stand hearing about situations where Americans have the chance save each other from being victimized and don’t.

      I add my sincere thanks to those who helped this woman and brought one of the scourges of our society to justice.

      • Thes

        I agree. Remember the heroes of Flight 93.

        • charlie

          oh please. and the people on the other three flights are less?
          go Saturday and buy your gun, if you don’t already have a few.

          • ZoningVictim

            Nobody said that. Thes is referring to the fact that law enforcement changed their tune about telling people not to fight back as a direct result of the 9/11 attacks and the people on Flight 93 did the right thing.

          • PghBigDog

            Oh please, yourself. Move to DC, Maryland, or England where you’re not allowed to defend yourself then. Don’t criticize people who choose not to cower in the face of agression by criminals. It’s our neighborhood, our city, our county… it’s up to the law abiding citizenry to make and keep it safe. You can stand by fiddling with your cell phone while someone gets robbed, but the brave among us will at least try to do something about it. Just stand out of the way and try not to wet yourself, okay?

            Check the figures… when gun ownership by law abiding citizens goes up, violent crime goes down. We not only *can* buy, own, and legally carry firearms in Virginia, we *should* do so if it will make our community safer, which it does. Guns are *not* illegal here in the Exceptionally Fine Commonwealth of Virginia.

            When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

          • Theakston

            :when gun ownership by law abiding citizens goes up, violent crime goes down” Absolute BS:
            In the US (population c. 298.5m) there were an estimated 16,137 homicides in 2004 (FBI, 2006a) – a rate of about 5.4 per 100,000. Of these, 10,654 were carried out with guns (FBI, 2006b).

            In the UK (population c. 60.5m) there were 765 reported incidents of murder for 2005-6 (Home Office, undated) – a rate of about 1.1 per 100,000.

          • ZoningVictim

            There are plenty of other countries that have as high a rate of gun ownership as the US and don’t have the murder problems we have. This was directly covered by the gun hating liberal Michael Moore in “Bowling for Columbine.” Additionally, Theakston specifically mentioned violent crime, and murder isn’t the only violent crime.

            Instead of comparing the US to England, which is a very different culture, why don’t you compare gun ownership versus the ability to legally own and carry in the different cities in the US? You’ll find a very different story, but obviously, correlation isn’t causation. Despite my belief that Americans (and really anybody in the world) have the natural right to own a gun and defend themselves with it, I think blaming guns for the crime rate or the crime rate on a lack of guns is counterproductive to solving the real issue. The real issue is we have a culture problem in America when it comes to our willingness to kill each other.

    • PikerShorts

      Implication that the ACPD is incapable of performing law enforcement duties and anyone off the street could do a better job than a deputized member of the force?

      • ZoningVictim

        One would hope that it was more praise for the citizens who exercised bravery than it was a complaint that the police can’t be everywhere at once.

        • PikerShorts

          That’s what I was hoping Zoning Victim – The majority of ACPD comments on this site are of the opinion that ACPD is useless and ineffective.

          • ZoningVictim

            I’ve lived in a lot of different places, and on the whole I find the ACPD to be very professional and well trained.

          • Dezlboy

            Yep! Agreed!

          • PghBigDog


      • Thes

        I think the only implication is that there are way more citizens in more places at more times than the ACPD, and if empowered to act, we can all do a lot of good for one another.

      • Swag

        ACPD was on the guy before he made it 4 blocks. I saw the people chasing him and pointing him out to the cops as he passed Ray’s The Steaks (ironically while withdrawing cash from the Wells Fargo ATM)

  • Dave

    hooray for the courthouse bum shelter, always bringing respectable people to the business areas of arlington.

    • AllenB

      It’s closed this time of year.

    • PikerShorts

      Should those who’ve fallen on hard times be required to head for Fauquier County?

      Should Steve85 drive them out to his Countryvilles and Dairylands with the horses that walk the streets?

      I’m not saying I’d like to see Arlington turn into SF with the crazy, aggressive, drug-addled bums everywhere but there is nothing wrong with an emergency winter shelter collocated near the County gov center.

      I hope you never fall on temporary hard times.

      • bb

        Of course we shouldn’t drive them out to Countryvilles and Dairylands. If we do that, the bums will ride back and terrorize us from horseback.

        If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. It’s a warning!

      • Worker

        Amen to that!

  • anon

    There is a Wells Fargo ATM around there right by the metro elevator….

    • ConstantCritic

      couldn’t be the Credit Union ATM – it’s always broke!

      • Southeast Jerome

        sorry for the critical review of your post but the irony is too hard to ignore here, “its always BROKEN”

        • PikerShorts

          No he meant that it gone done spent all it’s money

        • ConstantCritic

          “broke” is right – it’s always out of money.

          • Southeast Jerome


    • Karri

      I don’t think it was the Wells Fargo one. I was on my way there and saw a woman yelling and running towards that direction, instead of from it.. .and a number of men started running with her. She seemed to come from inside the courtyard area (with the construction) and out towards Clarendon Blvd. I think there’s another ATM in there, maybe for a credit union?

      • Worker

        That was the woman who’s money was being taken from

    • Chouse

      Sigh, thats my bank. However, that ATM is inside the first set of doors of the bank so this guy definately was an idiot, why would you not try one just right on the street instead of inside the building…??

  • CW

    Oh, Lyon Village, well yeah the cops will get there ASAP.

  • HighTech Redneck

    Need more Rent a Cops!!!

  • Henry

    They need to do something about the ballston area, it is getting very ghetto around the metro station.

    • JamesE

      they do have the BID, but they really need loitering and panhandling laws, it is getting out of hand. This weekend there were literally 6 people just sitting outside 7-11, subway begging for money.

      • Lou

        Hey guyz, did you hear about the violent mugging/robbery that happened in COURTHOUSE today.

        Just trying to stay on topic.

      • Southeast Jerome

        that little strip of Paradise by the new burger joint, 7-11 and Subway is the most creepy part of north Arlington there is, even worse than little havana by the McDonalds on Glebe/Route 50 intersection.

        • hmmm

          Little Havana? Latinos are creepy, is that it?

        • JamesE

          I wouldn’t go that far!

        • novasteve

          I walk by there all the time. I’ll probably do it tonight on my walk up 50.. You have to walk by that mcdonalds and past the church with touchdown jesus to get back onto 50.

        • PikerShorts

          I WISH there were Cubans in Arlington. I’d murder a revolutionary for some good Cuban food.

          • Aaron

            Would a Puerto Rican work? Comparing native-born U.S. citizens to Russians and North Koreans is a time-honored ArlNow tradition! Since yesterday anyway.

  • Karri

    For the record, the cops arrived very quickly.. not really a smart place to mug someone.

  • EyeOta

    I think it was Justin Trawick……

    • Larchmont


  • Jayson

    Get these scumbags and lock them up for good!

  • Jayson

    They need to get rid of the bus depot in Ballston to help make Ballston nicer.

    • hmmm

      And put it where?

      • Lou

        They can certainly thin out and redistribute a lot of the routes. It’s an arcane carryover from when Ballston was the end of the subway.

        It’s absurd that a bus that passes by 395 on Seminary has to wind its way all the way to Ballston.

  • Jayson

    and, they should also get rid of the ballston mall – worst mall on the planet!

    • Critic_Corner

      I think Springfield Malll has Ballston beat hands down.

      • ZoningVictim

        The shops in the Springfield Mall are way better than the ones in Ballston. I can’t believe the Ballston mall is still in business it’s so lame. The county should use tax dollars (by deficit spending, of course) to buy the Ballston Mall and turn it into an indoor cat park.

      • Jayson

        Could be. Only nice mall left in the area if Tysons. Pentagon City is awful too.

        • AllenB

          Pentagon City mall is awful too? Or you just don’t like to shop with “those people” around?

          • JamesE

            White people?

          • Tabby

            Tourists? No, I don’t, not really.

            The shops aren’t bad.

            The layout is terrible. What a maze. And the parking rigamore and the fact that you have to pay for it sucks!

        • hmmm

          Pentagon City is awful too? Or you’re just a spoiled little Northern Virginian?

  • novasteve

    These people must be on drugs….

    • normal

      Like nicotine?

  • SouthArlJD

    That looks like the ATM machine located across from the Courthouse AMC theaters, so it’s on the inner part of the Plaza. What an idiot. The parking lot for the Courthouse and Plaza are right there, a few yards from the ATM, and across from the parking lot is the Courthouse. This guy must be a nut. Not only are there cops everywhere, but also sheriff’s deputies. A lot of them go to the Plaza to eat.

    • novasteve

      And people want to legalize drugs ….

    • O.C

      But note he was caught right by the Key Elementary School playground. That means he literally ran right past the Corner Bakery–aka the ACPD’s Wilson Blvd. satellite office. The cops couldn’t help but catch him when he ran right past them.

      • Novanglus

        Not the Key playground. I think “yard just near Key Elementary school” means the yard of a residence.

  • LibraryLady

    Kudos to the guys who “gave chase” after hearing her scream. It’s nice to know that some people still care about helping their neighbors.

    • CrystalMikey

      Yes…good to see some people will still help their fellow man.

  • SaveDaveMcKenna

    He’s probably one of those people who brings his dog to the farmer’s market.

  • Or

    I’m going to guess the suspect was black since the only time any report like this doesn’t mention the criminals race is when they are black.

    • normal

      You don’t know that though, Or. He may simply not know the race.

    • el burrito sabanero

      Or, you could not be any farther from the truth. whenever a crime is committed by a non-white person, the individuals ethnicity is made public. It is when he is white, that you don’t hear jack!!

      • BrownFlipFlops

        Huh. THIS is really weird, then:

        “The BB&T Bank branch at 3001 N. Washington Blvd in Clarendon was robbed this afternoon by a man described as an older white male. The suspect fled on foot after the robbery.”

  • Arlington spectator

    Um… what is happening at BBT in Clarendon????

  • TC

    … so my question… where were all the security guys (Vernado has their own rent a cops walking the area…) while this was going down?

  • EyeOta

    Where was Justin Trawich during all of this?

  • charlie

    i think the Commissioner of Revenue person was thinking it was a turf battle — isn’t 2100 Clarendon their territory for robbing people?



    • Aaron

      Really? That’s whom I addressed my check to last tax season.

      • FedUp

        Then you wrote your check to the wrong office. The Treasurer collects. Duh!

  • Critics_Corner

    At least you don’t have flash mob robberies in Arlington. What is up with that? I think I want to go shop lift with 20 of my closest neighbors.

    • Lou


  • JimPB

    Hurrahs for and Kudos to the citizen activists.

  • dpspc11

    I’m the one who chased that prick. It was amazing to see just how many people just stood and watched. It was more amazing to see no police.

    Even as I was running after him people would just stand and point me in the right direction.

    • Clarendon Cruiser

      I see running shoe endorsements in your future, but seriously thanks. You did great.

    • DudeInBrownFlipFlops

      That was an honorable thing to do. ::pats on the back::

      I mean, I would’ve ran after him too but I was wearing my brown flip flops and all….

    • el burrito sabanero

      True, a lot of stand buyers… but you know i was next to you with a rock in hand in case a fight broke. I’m the other dude hehe. But the guy was big so i was not about to fight him on my own.. anyways, what had to be done was done

    • R0bespierre

      I applaud what you did and would do so myself but we have to also recognize that not everyone is confrontational in nature, nor is it somehow a prerequisite of their citizenship.

      • ZoningVictim

        Yeah, a lot of untrained people just freeze and don’t know how to react. In one way, it’s somewhat understandable, especially since the government has been telling people since I was a child not to fight back.

        Awesome job guys; my hat’s off to you.

  • dpspc11

    yeah it was just our luck that the guy was huge. I was ready to pounce on him until I saw that he was almost a foot taller than me. One of the guys did challenge the jerk to a fight.

    The thief was a dope tho, he just stood there while I was on the phone w/the cops.

    • Idea_for_an_App

      They need a Tazer iPhone App. I mean a real one not the silly ones.

    • Thes

      So, to re-cap: a bunch of unarmed (no firearms, apparently) citizens took initiative, stuck together and drove a dangerous criminal into the arms of the police. Great work. I love this community.

      • Lou

        pssst, in case you haven’t heard, our banks are being robbed left and right, and nobody seems willing to lift a finger to stop it.

  • Patti

    I saw at least six police cars and easily more than a dozen people chasing him on Custis Rd. to 16th street and over to Mr. Tire. Some were young women, others were old guys in dress slacks running with their cell phones to their ear. I was so impressed to learn they chased him the whole way from the Credit Union ATM by the movie theater.

  • Southeast Jerome

    why is nobody chasing this old white dude thats robbing banks?

    unless hes got forrest gump endurance, shouldnt be tough to catch him

  • Dpspc11

    The woman that was robbed was the bravest of the pack. She wouldnt give up, she was right behind us in hot pursuit. She gave him hell when he was caught. Props to her for hanging in there.

  • I guess this guy figured all the cops were dealing with car boots today.


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