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Attacks on Two Women Prompt Warning from Police

by Katie Pyzyk May 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm 8,146 55 Comments

Attacks on two women on the same night, believed to be by the same suspect, have Arlington County Police cautioning walkers, particularly women. Both incidents took place late last Friday, May 11.

The first occurred around 11:15 p.m. in the 3300 block of Washington Blvd, according to police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. A 26-year-old female walked home alone after having spent a night out with friends. After she typed in the security code to open her garage door and walked inside the garage, she noticed the suspect standing at the bottom of her driveway. She became frightened and tried to close the automated garage door, but the man allegedly rushed toward her and stuck his hand over a sensor, causing the door to re-open. She made it inside the house, locked the door and called police while the suspect fled the scene.

According to Sternbeck, the victim described the suspect as a black man with a dark complexion and short hair, about 5’11”, 200 pounds and around 30 years of age. At the time, he had been wearing khaki pants and a red and white checkered shirt. The victim noted that she saw the suspect wearing black gloves when he put his hand over the garage sensor.

About an hour later, an individual matching the same description is believed to have attacked a woman in the 2100 block of Lee Highway. The 24-year-old female was walking home alone when the suspect allegedly grabbed and sexually assaulted her. The woman struggled and managed to punch the suspect in the stomach. He then reportedly threw her in some bushes and fled.

This victim told police that the suspect had covered her mouth to prevent her from screaming, and was wearing black gloves.

“Based on their descriptions and the similiarities in the incidents, we believe it’s the same individual,” Sternbeck said.

Police are reminding people to be aware of their surroundings, not to walk alone and to carry a cell phone for emergencies. Walkers are warned not to put themselves in vulnerable situations, or to have the “that can’t happen to me” mentality.

“We want people to be educated if they’re going to be out late at night,” Sternbeck said. “These are things you need to be aware of.”

Anybody with information about the suspect that may lead to his arrest is asked to call the police non-emergency number, at 703-558-2222.

  • Vicente Fox

    Is Federico Alfonso Umana Barrera out of jail?

  • KalashniKEV

    “Police are reminding people to be aware of their surroundings, not to walk alone and to carry a cell phone for emergencies.”

    When the nature of the emergency involves imminent penetration, there are far more practical things to carry than a Phone to call the police and tell them what’s happening to you…

    • Karzai’s Mammy

      Stand yo’ ground, honey.

    • John Fontain

      Kev – You’ll get a kick out of this. Liberty Firearms has rented out the Lyon Park Community Center on May 26th to hold a gun safety class.


      There will be no live ammunition (obviously, this isn’t a shooting range) and, again, the purpose is to teach people how to safely handle a firearm.

      So what do a handful of ninnies in the neighborhood do? They go ballistic (pun intended) and throw a fit that there will be firearms in the community center because of their danger to the community DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT IS A GUN SAFETY CLASS.

      The ninnies are now proposing amendments to the community bylaws to ban firearms and ammunition from the community center, all as a result of what could be a one-time rental for a safety course.

      In response, a few level-headed folks in the neighborhood have pointed out to the ninnies:

      -if people in the neighborhood are going to have guns, don’t you want them to know how to safely handle them?
      -should a safety class really be considered a major risk to the community?
      -if we’re going to ban unloaded guns for a safety class due to possible injury, maybe we should ban lots of other things that happen in the community center such as dancing (could fall and get hurt), or cooking (could cause a fire).

      • KalashniKEV

        Wow… I had not heard that, but it doesn’t surprise me considering the level of common sense demonstrated by some of our neighbors.

        I think there will be a net positive effect from this though- when they see their friends and neighbors register for the class and obtain the certificate.

        Perhaps they may even be able to educate some of these folks…

      • drax

        Luckily its just a handful.

      • WeiQiang

        Liberty Firearms … isn’t that redundant?

        What a great introduction to a neighborhood that might reasonably be expected to not hold a monolithic perspective on firearms: “Have you ever wanted to learn how to shoot a gun? Do you want to get your Virginia Concealed Carry Permit? Do you just want to blow off some steam at the range? Check out Liberty Firearms Instruction!”

        I commend the instructors’ desire to foster gun safety. As a business person, that might not be the ad that I’d use if I was trying to achieve the same goals.

  • South Awwlington

    I’m noticing a pattern developing here.

  • HayCaramba

    Ahh trevor is about to get a new bunkmate….

  • John Fontain

    Holy crap, that’s some scary stuff. I feel terrible for these two women but I’m glad the outcome wasn’t worse than it was (which was obviously horrible enough).

    Right or wrong, I wouldn’t be surprised if people start calling the police when they see someone in a place that they don’t stereotypically believe they should be (even if that person isn’t committing a crime). Again, I’m not saying that that is right, just that it may start happening.

    • KalashniKEV

      When something doesn’t look right, it usually isn’t.

      • NRA

        so shoot at it! yeay!

        • KalashniKEV

          Stay alert, Stay alive.

    • jackson

      If you’re wearing gloves when it’s 80 degrees outside, you deserve to have the cops called on you.

      • drax

        What if you’re black in a mostly white neighborhood? That’s what he’s talking about.

        • jackson

          Is that area a few blocks from Giant “mostly white”? I honestly don’t know where the mostly white neighborhoods are.

  • Gotta Love the Metro

    Thank you Metro for bringing people like this into our county. (Something tells me that a would-be rapist is not making the kind of bank needed to rent or purchase in Clarendon.)

    • ArlRes

      LOL its the metro’s fault. Clarendon (and the rest of the orange line strip) would be nothing w/o the Metro. If you don’t like the metro in ARL, you can always move to Loudon.

      • Thes

        Loudoun managed to have reports of 9 rapes in the first three months of 2012, even without a Metro. I wonder how they managed that?

        • jackson


          • Richard Cranium

            Outlaw Slug Lines!

        • DarkHeart


    • MC 703

      That was the argument against the Orange Line before it was built.. It’s just like inviting criminals from DC to come out to VA and commit crimes. Gotta Love Stupid Comments

  • PG County Resident

    We be having cars over here.

  • Tumblebum

    That part of the orange line opened in 76. Can’t blame public transportation for criminals moving about. That being said, this is a dangerous individual. Use caution ladies.

  • Ey

    Honestly, it’s reports like this that ruin it for everyone. The description of the suspect in question could easily be mistaken for me, and from that, no one wins. People should just stop hurting others, bc it’s times like this that make everyone who “fits the description” become even more stereotyped than we already are, unfortunately.

    • Jason S.

      Should they leave out the description?

    • frank

      Are you kidding me Ey?…so you would rather they leave out the description, so nobody knows who this maniac is and he can potentially strike again..usually when you are looking for a criminal, it helps to know what he looks like…sorry the description “ruined it for everyone” as you say…

      • Maria

        Actually, what he said was “People should just stop hurting others,”… not “People should leave out the descriptions.”

        • tool

          “Can’t we all just get along?”

    • drax

      Ey, that’s unfortunate, but it’s the (attempted) rapists’ fault. Leaving out a description of a rapist on the loose just so you won’t be looked at funny is not an option.

    • John Fontain

      Ey, I hear what you’re saying. The two women are the direct victims in this case, but you are an indirect victim as a result of the stereotyping that (rightly or wrongly) happens after events like this.

      When white people read the crime reports and see that the perpetrator (of a robbery, for example) is very often a young, black male and they know that there aren’t many (if any) young, black males living in their neighborhood, they begin to look with suspicion when they see a black man in their neighborhood. And it’s the innocent black male who then becomes a victim as he gets harrassed by police for walking while black and gawked at by the white folks.

      • drax

        John, you’re right. But there’s a difference between “looking at someone with suspicion” and harassing or gawking them.

      • frank

        John, are you kidding me – so for this reason (we don’t want to hurt any one’s feelings) we should be PC and not give a description so this guy has a better chance of lurking around and actually raping someone – wow, you are from the school of “I must be PC” or be shunned by soceity – wake up and stop being a coward…

        • Maria

          Again – NO ONE said the descriptions should be left out. They’re just commenting on the other consequences of these crime reports.

  • From the only GOP in Arlington

    Since this happened to the young woman who lives in my townhouse on Washington Blvd., I have a personal stake. No stereotyping here: a Black man who wears a pair of black gloves in the middle of May — and tries to follow people into their homes IS suspicious. I was afraid he was in my garage so I was glad the police came immediately. It was a very scary evening.

    • Thes

      Try reading your post again without the word “Black” (with a capital “B” no less) and see if it’s any less true. Then decide if you’re stereotyping.

      Or possibly trolling, in which case, you win.

      • frank

        Thes, you seem like an overly PC type…I suggest YOU re-read the post..I think the fact that the above poster actually lives in the building, gives him a little more credence than you have…you Troller (with a capital T !!)

        • Justin Russo

          You mean SAYS he lives in the same building. This is the internets after all.

      • RyanRecks

        I have no idea why you would focus on the use of the description of this person’s skin color in the above post. Unless you have something in common with them. Either way, you seem blind to the actual point of the post.

        • Josh S

          “Unless you have something in common with them.”

          Yes, many things. As do you.

      • drax

        I think she just meant to give a description.

  • JimPB

    How to be safer yet able to function as a free person?

    “Police are reminding people to be aware of their surroundings, not to walk alone and to carry a cell phone for emergencies. Walkers are warned not to put themselves in vulnerable situations, or to have the “that can’t happen to me” mentality.”

    The Devil is in the Details.

    Be aware of surroundings?
    OK, but how do I quickly determine, ideally at a good distance, whether a person is a threat, particularly in the dark and without night vision goggles, and if they are in a public space, e.g., on a sidewalk, or in a general use private space, e.g., a parking garage?

    Not walk alone.
    Those with whom I work and socialize with live at different places. So we should go on a car-everywhere diet in Arlington County?

    Carry a cell phone.
    OK, and I set it so I can quickly dial 911. Then what? Will my call be answered immediately? Will the police respond to a word of distress (not a lengthy discussion of situation)? Will the police know exactly where I am from the GPS (I may not always immediately know my exact location)? Will an officer be dispatched if I am “just” worried/concerned? If an officer is dispatched, how quickly will the officer arrive?

    Don’t put myself in a vulnerable situation.
    OK, but what’s a “vulnerable situation.” If there are known such locations (and times), why not take action to reduce their vulnerability, e.g., light up the area and install cameras so the areas can be continually monitored.

    • KalashniKEV

      1) You should *always* be aware of your surroundings. Take the iPod out. Look around you. Look behind you. Use your intuition when judging whether a person is a threat or not, or if they have nefarious intent. This comes naturally.

      2) Yes. Don’t walk alone. Why is that crazy? Bring a buddy, preferably one with the means to stop an attack. It’s a far greater challenge for one man to subdue and control two people. Unless there are multiple attackers, this alone is probably the most powerful deterrent. (Don’t bring that car-free garbage into this because we all know that’s just nonsense.)

      3) Carry a GUN. A cell phone will bring an officer… who will collect a report… that will turn into a post on ARLnow. A gun will stop the attack.

      4) Take foolish risks… at your own risk.

      That is all.

    • drax

      If there’s someone near you in a place where there aren’t others who might stop him as a threat, consider him a possible threat.

      If you’re walking on a busy sidewalk, you’re not alone. Stay off side streets alone at night. Take a cab if need be.

      No, a cell phone is not always going to save you. Hence the other precautions. A cell phone is useful for calling a cab.

      We can’t light up every square inch of the world. Any dark place where you are alone is going to be a vulnerable situation. Rapists will go there and wait for you.

      Nobody said staying safe was easy, Jim. It beats the alternative though.

    • tumblebum

      You hit the nail squarely. The average uniformed officer is anxious to respond to calls for immediate help in all situations. They are well trained and equipped. The problem is getting your call for help to the officer. The communications center is (in my personal experience) detached and dismissive.

    • tool

      Life is dangerous, and in the end, we all die. Ultimately, you are the only person you can count on to protect yourself.

  • RebeccA

    I love how we spend all this money for the “concierge” and “security” to monitor apartments and condos (either by walking around or veiwing monitors) when in fact they are so useless. My concierge (by securitas) during the 11pm-7am shift wears a headset to play online computer games. What a joke.

    • KalashniKEV

      You are responsible for your own safety. Everyone is. Even the President.

      Don’t rely on others to provide for your personal safety and you won’t be disappointed by their uselessness.

      • Compassionate Connor

        You’re wrong.

        A two year old kid is not responsible for his own security.

        Please adjust your statement accordingly.

  • Ladies,

    Buy yourself a civilian Taser. http://www.taser.com

    you do not need a permit to carry one.

    • Tabs

      TASER electronic control devices are not considered firearms and are legal to carry in most states without permits. Restricted from consumer use in MA, RI, NY, NJ, MI, HI, District of Columbia, and certain cities and counties. Buyer is responsible for researching and knowing the applicable state and local laws prior to purchasing, possessing, transporting or using a TASER ECD.

      • Tabs

        “Oh excuse me, Mr. Would-Be-Attacker, while I retrieve my TASER from its holster.”

        • drax

          How’s that any different from “Oh excuse me, Mr. Would-Be-Attacker, while I retrieve my handgun from its holster.”?

  • From the only GOP in Arlington

    I’m a woman (not a man) who does lives at the townhouse where my housemate was followed into my garage. I capitalize all references to “description” not pointing out “race” since I teach PR writing. SO, if it was a White man wearing black gloves and a red shirt, I would have described it as such. And I don’t even know what a “troller” is, or whether it should be capped as “Troller.” It was scary and unexpected and has put her/me on edge this week.


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