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Boot Bandit Busted in Courthouse

by ARLnow.com August 17, 2011 at 11:03 am 7,012 87 Comments

It was a bold move — trying to defeat a county parking boot just steps away from Arlington police headquarters in Courthouse. Unfortunately for the driver accused of attempting it, cops caught up with him before he could get away.

Police received a call around 5:00 last night for a man who had his booted car jacked up in the county surface parking lot across from police headquarters. The man allegedly removed the wheel with the boot on it, placed it in the trunk and replaced it with a “donut” spare tire.

He was getting ready to drive away when police showed up and put the kibosh on the whole operation.

Officers recovered the boot from the man’s trunk and, after talking to him for a while, placed him handcuffed in the back of a squad car.

  • Thes

    I wonder what the charge was. It’s his car. Unless he didn’t intend to return the boot to the County, I’m not sure what he did wrong.

    • TGEoA

      Theft of the boot

      • brendan

        didn’t the county give it to him?

        wish he had gotten away.

        • Tabby


    • PikerShorts

      I believe that it is illegal to tamper with a boot in any way.

  • Nunya

    now boots are being stolen. what’s next.

    • Lou

      They can be melted down for their valuable iron ore.

  • Hmmm

    It’s a felony to remove and steal a boot

    • Thes

      The boot was still on the tire, no? And perhaps he was meaning to mail it back to the County. If he’d left his tire in the parking space with the intact, un-tampered-with boot would he have been in the clear as he drove away?

  • Rick

    Sounds like “Parking Wars” — what a great show on cable. Those people who get their car booted get so PO that they go after the parking patrol folks or the office were they have to pay the fine. This guy has – well you know!

  • TJ

    Disparaging the boot is a boot-able offense.

    • biabiaaa


      • Aaron

        It’s one of their proudest traditions.

  • Mr. Brown

    I’m concerned about the trend of crimes being committed within blocks of the county jail. The neighborhood is called “Courthouse.” There are poice cars everywhere. I don’t feel like we could make it any more obvious unless we changed the name to “Jail Town.”

  • CW
  • Don

    I’ve always thought it was somewhat questionable whether or not you had a reasonable right to attack these things. They’ve been bolted to your vehicle without your permission, after all.

    Makes me similarly wonder about the GPS tracking devices that there’s ongoing legal battles about right now. If you stick something on my car and I find it, isn’t it now mine?

    • normal

      They’re like handcuffs for cars. You don’t have a right to try to wiggle out of handcuffs if a cop puts them on you either.

    • The Constitution

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      • CW

        “Unreasonable” being the operative word here…even back in the day those old guys loved their weasel words.

      • Bob Loblaw

        The key word being “unreasonable.”

    • Carmen

      They are usually put on a vehicle because that person parked somewhere without permission (several times before being booted) and then did not pay the fines for doing so.

  • Critic_Corner

    I have to admit, he should get the boot… trying to remove that right across the street from the police department. Oh look, there is a guy in the parking lot removing his tire to get away from das boot! Send someone down the elevator to catch that dummy. That’s two days that we’ve had news articles that WTOP can use for their “knuckleheads in the news” segment.

    • FYI

      Das boot means “the boat” in German, not the boot. It’s a pretty good film about a U-boat.

  • Arlingtron

    The boot doesn’t make sense. Isn’t the idea of keeping parking spaces open? When you boot a car you kill a parking space. I realize it’s cheaper and easier than towing but does little to facilitate parking.

    • CW

      I always wonder that myself too. At least once a week I see cars booted on L street where they’re trying to open up the extra lane for rush hour. Great. In an attempt to enforce a law that keeps a lane open, they have put an immovable obstacle in the middle of the lane.

    • John Fontain

      A boot is a temporary measure to hold the car until the tow truck can come and take it away.

      • Bob

        Does the county never merely issue parking tickets rather than tow on the first violation? In other jurisdications, you get a ticket and then if you don’t pay, you get towed. Was it ever that way here?

        • AllenB

          I don’t think anyone gets a boot here on first violation. I’ve gotten my share of parking tickets and never have been booted. The boot is reserved for people with several unpaid tickets.

          • Bob

            But evidently Arlington tows on the first violation, as it seems some other large cities do. When did this start happening? Until recently, I thought you were towed only with several unpaid tickets or if you were blocking a driveway or hydrant.

          • Southeast Jerome

            You definitely dont get towed on your first offense unless the sign clearly saws you will be towed. For exp: they dont tow you for overrunning a meter or for parking in a permit zone without a permit.

          • CW

            Are you confusing private towing from private lots with municipal infractions?

          • Bob

            I must be.

          • Maria

            There are several parking lanes that becoming travel lanes during rush hour, so if you are parked there for too long during those hours, they could tow you, even on your first offense (though I’ve seen cars with just tickets quite a lot, so I don’t really know what the protocol is).

        • Carmen

          Failure to pay parking tickets is what usually gets a car booted in the first place. I don’t think they tow on the first violation.

  • YTK

    HAHAHAHA!! This reminds me of the Woody Allen Movie “Take the Money and Run” — where he is cutting a piece of glass out of a jewelry shop window (to steal the goodies in the window) with EVERYONE across the street watching him. LOL!!!!

  • James


    • Grateful


  • KalashniKEV

    I had to think about it for a minute, but I say let him go- isn’t the county running enough scams? Don’t they get enough money already that they can waste it on foolish boondoggles and massive staffs?

    Count the number of ACPD officers in the above pics, all making fat salaries and unbelievable benefits just to NOT catch bank robbers, tolerate vagrancy and obscenity, and OPT OUT of enforcing our laws? Disgusting.

    But one revenue enforcement crime and they’re all over it… Bravo!

    I’ll bet the guy is a hardworking dude who just doesn’t have the cash for the fine and has to go to work in the morning. How many welfare rats would actually break a sweat changing a tire? He probably did more work himself that day than every cop in the pic…

    • Matt

      Ohh the non-fact based assumptions… gotta love Arlnow comments. I’m curious why some people dont just write, “I hate the police” instead of ranting and raving about all this other nonsense when it really just comes down to the fact that they just don’t like the police. Got it. Move on.

      • KalashniKRAP

        Silly Matt, all homeless and welfare recipients are lazy and evil and probably child molesters too. No need to check facts. Oh, and all government workers are grossly overpaid, automatically.

      • KalashniKEV

        I think your comment is non-fact based.

        I LOVE police. (seriously)

        • hmmm

          Have you told them how overpaid and underworked they are? Lovingly?

    • PikerShorts

      Yes all police are lazy and don’t deserve their exorbitant salaries and we should all just own assault rifles (not machine guns for cryin out loud!) and handle our own law enforcement on a personal, individual basis as needed.

      Just like Dodge City, Kansas.

    • CrystalMikey

      I love the police too…sometimes I wonder what some of these complainers do for living?

    • John Fontain

      KEV – I want to make sure I understand your position clearly. Cops are bad when they don’t catch criminals and they are also bad when they do. Do I have that right?

      • CW

        There is a difference between a crime and a civil infraction.

        • normal

          Removing a boot is a crime, I think.

          • If they didn’t apply the boot, there would only be a civil infraction. Thus, applying a boot is entrapment! LOL

      • KalashniKEV

        ACPD is excellent at revenue enforcement, and incompetent at preventing crime.

  • If they put a ticket on his windshield, they would expect him to take it with him. Right?

    Look at all the cops standing around arresting this guy when there are bank robbers to be caught.

    I need to remember to put my lighter-powered lug wrench in the car. It makes changing a tire so much faster.

    • PikerShorts

      Really? Paper ticket vs steel boot contraption?

      The point of booting cars is to get people to pay their parking tickets. I’ve had my share and when I had nothing to contest, I paid them quickly so the fine wouldn’t double.

      NOTE: Always contest a DC parking ticket. I contested one and mine along with half of the other tickets in the room were thrown out b/c the parking enforcement people often turn their tickets in late.

      • I think the boot contraption is a device meant to make the car immobile until a tow truck can come and take it. Perhaps this guy’s error was trying to take it. Although, if you place anything on my car and leave I’ve going to (1) assume it as mine and take it, or (2) in the case of garbage discard it. If he merely defeated the boot and left with his car would he be breaking the law?

        I’m not sure I’d do it right in front of police headquarters, but if I had the capability to defeat a boot I’d do it in a heartbeat.

        • PikerShorts

          Yeah you’re right but what I am saying is that if there wasn’t a threat of worse things happening if I don’t pay my tickets (doubling fine is enough to motivate me) then there are people who would simply never pay their tickets. Like all those diplomats and DC City Council members with glove boxes jammed full of parking tickets.

          I wonder what the next step from the county would be if you tampered with the boot.

          • If I got my hands on a boot, I’d take it to an unrespectable locksmith and have a master key made for them.

          • KalashniKEV
          • I think that would attract too much attention in front of police headquarters.

          • TGEoA

            Or if you are just pissed, the put crazy glue in the lock.

          • normal

            Or just pay your tickets and don’t park illegally, etc.

    • KalashniKEV

      “Look at all the cops standing around arresting this guy when there are bank robbers to be caught.”

      In their defense, this is across from Police Headquarters… and this is an organization that doesn’t understand Patrolling and Community Policing. You can do anything you want once you’re out of sight from ACPD HQ, and easily get away with it. They’re all hanging out in Courthouse and nowhere else (Ballston??).

      Also, it’s not the individual officers fault for being lazy- they’re going to get away with whatever they can.

      This is a failure of leadership that goes hand in hand with our county government.

      • bob

        Let’s see, two bank robberies and one mugging one block from police HQ.

    • really??

      Correction: Most likely “bank robber,” and I believe that I, overweight middle aged soccer mom, could take this guy.

  • JamesE

    They need to boot every car tax evader, but they probably don’t have nearly enough for that.

    • Kay

      The car tax is crap.

      • JamesE

        It is, but you still need to pay it and not keep your car registered in Florida.

        • KalashniKEV

          How come? What’s it for?

        • PikerShorts

          Remember how great Gilmore’s no car tax thing worked?

          • normal

            Precisely. What a joke that was, and it didn’t actually lower taxes at all, just shift them around.

  • Arlwhenever

    I feel so safe and secure.

  • charlie

    that car looks like it is from Maryland.

    but more importantly, what is with the DOUBLE SUNOCO stickers??

    and why are they blurred out?

    • Stephen

      Copyright concerns?

    • JamesE

      I have Dale Earnhardt 3 stickers on my car.

  • charlie
    • Lou

      Is it too much to ask that they proofread stuff they publish on the internet?

  • KalashniKEV

    I think we should boot all the cop cars and actually make these guys PATROL!

    (Too bad their government employee unions/PBA would probably demand segway scooters)

    • TC

      … actually the sheriff’s office already has the Segways so the police could just borrow a few of them…

      • KalashniKEV

        Because walking is obsolete.

        • JamesE

          Damn that bank robber went up some stairs, our segways can’t follow him.

          • KalashniKEV

            That would never happen… ACPD has a no pursuit policy.

  • R

    Just curious, if they put the boot on your car and you have to leave your car in that lot because you can’t move it, will they continue to ticket you for an expired meter?

    • Tabby

      Yes. 🙁

      My, was that an expensive lesson.

  • So Arlington is not using a boot that covers the lug nuts? How does it attach?

  • BerryBerryCold

    What ever happened to police wearing blue?

    Arlington police look like they’re off to war with their black vests over their blue shirts.

  • novasteve

    Is that an obama sticker censored out of the photograph?

    • novasteve

      My apologies, he has twin Sunoco stickers. Curious why you censored them from one pic, but not the other.

  • Steve

    4 cops for this? Figures. Probably had 5 old ladies get mugged 2, a couple of bank robberies and a car jacking while they were dealing with this evil doer. Just one more reason I avoid Arlington as much as possible.

  • Rob

    I got booted there once. I deserved it, I had a bunch of old tickets I hadn’t paid. I walked across the parking lot to the County Building, paid the tickets, and by the time I got back to the car, they had removed the boot. This happened around 5 pm, so maybe the county treasurer’s office was closed and he would have had to have waited until the next day or something.


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