Woman Sexually Assaulted in Ballston Parking Garage

by Katie Pyzyk July 5, 2012 at 10:50 am 9,684 70 Comments

A woman was sexually assaulted in the Ballston Public Parking Garage (665 N. Glebe Road) yesterday (Wednesday).

According to police, around 2:30 p.m., a 23-year-old woman was walking to her car, which was parked on the fourth level of the garage adjacent to the Ballston mall. Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said a man approached the victim from behind when she was just feet from her vehicle. The suspect reportedly lifted up the woman’s skirt, grabbed her buttocks, and sexually assaulted her with his hand.

Police say the suspect was startled when the victim screamed, and he fled the scene. The woman then left the parking garage and called police. She did not have any other injuries requiring medical attention.

Although the victim didn’t get a good look at the suspect’s face, she was able to provide other details. Police say the suspect is described as a black male, about 6′ and 150 pounds, between the ages of 17 and 25. At the time of the assault, he was wearing dark pants, a light shirt, sneakers and a black knit hat.

Anyone who can provide information about the assault or the suspect should call the police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222.

  • WeiQiang

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

  • EatingPopcorn

    WOW! This is ridiculous. Where the hell is “security” strolling around their carts when you need them? These sexual assaults & recent rape report is getting out of hand in Arlington.

  • Frivolous

    Not a good week…

    • SomeGuy

      Depends on your perspective.

      • NotBornInBarn

        That’s not even remotely funny.

        • SomeGuy

          Wasn’t intended to be.

          • Moderated

            Hey. How often do you think they disinfect that parking garage. Just asking.

          • SomeGuy

            I don’t know, pal. When the county starts encouraging citizens to use that parking garage as the near-equivalent of a homeless shelter, I’ll think your unpunctuated question is more relevant. However, it doesn’t seem like they’re doing that at this time.

          • Undermoderated

            You forgot to say that you were serious when you asked the question that wasn’t punctuated as a question.

  • JohnB2

    There was a rape on Four Mile Run Trail this week too. Not good.

  • YoBimbo

    Clearly, she shouldn’t have been wearing a skirt.


  • CW

    Lesson learned from yesterday’s thread – don’t imply that ACPD could do anything to increase their presence and create a heightened deterrent effect against these sorts of crimes. That is “disgusting”.

    Instead, as I understand it, “high risk” areas do not exist and “sh*t happens”. Carry on.

    • Pat M

      ACPD DEFINITELY needs to do something about Ballston. A lot of deadbeats at the Mall and the Metro. How many times are we going to read about someone getting mugged at the Metro and something shady going on at the Mall garage?

      • KalashniKEV

        Are you proposing a round-up?

        • drax

          Rounding up people without having committed a crime, while illegal, stupid, and pointless itself, would also take time from police patrols on trails and in parking garages.

        • Pat M

          That would be a good start! Or maybe just patroling the area a bit more. Either would work…

        • Jason S.

          An actual presence would mitigate the need for any legally questionable round-up. If you want this problem solved, we need to find a way to raise revenue by catching perverts. Until that issue is resolved, it’s just not going to be a priority.

          • CW

            If it weren’t for that pesky “cruel and unusual punishment” prohibition, they could make all sorts of money off of these pervs. $5 for a whack with a leather strap, who’s first in line?

          • sunflower


      • FedUp

        I think the mall management/owners need to do something about upgrading the place with better stores. That would be a start.

        • drax

          A start to what? Preventing rape?

          • FedUp

            Those are dumb questions.

    • ScoresMan

      Too busy with speed traps.

      • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

        You mean to achieve their monthly “proactivity expectations?”

        • SomeGuy

          I think I saw them doing that yesterday while idling their vehicles with the hoods up and the AC blaring.

    • Aaron

      Are you saying that you didn’t earn a graduate degree in criminal justice overnight? Well then peon, you have to admit you don’t have the intellectualness to properly understand the nuances involved in this situation and just have to trust the smart people who are smarter than you to make the smart decisions for the good of the entire community.

      It’s the Arlington Way.

      • CW

        Thank you Leader, all has become clear, my eyes have been opened.

    • John Fontain

      I agree with your views about use of police resources to an extent. But these two events just go to show that attacks can truly happen anywhere in the county and the police can’t be everywhere all the time. I don’t know if I would have thought of these two locations as the top hotspots for potential attacks to occur.

    • ArlForester

      This is private property. I refer you back to my example of having an officer in every home to prevent any crimes there too.

      • JohnB2

        I think the garage itself is owned by the county, right? Or is it still considered private?

        • drax

          Yes, the garage is county-owned.

        • Pat M

          I believe the garage is county property hence the low parking prices. If it was own by a private company, no way you could park there for 2 hours for a buck….

          • ArlForester

            I remember now. They told us that parking would only be charged for the first year or two and then it would be free. That went away of course.

  • Joe

    There aren’t cameras in the Ballston parking garage? It’s a pretty major public space to not have them.

    • KalashniKEV

      Cameras usually only give you an approximate height and a guess at race. Nobody ever gets stopped by police, “Hey! You look just like the guy that did ____! Hands on the wall!”

      • Pat M

        Yeah, cameras haven’t worked at catching bank robbers…

        • William

          A bank lobby is a tad smaller and with slightly better lighting than a multi-story parking garage.

  • 22a rider

    This is pretty scary, and sexual assault seems to be happening with increasing frequency in Arlington (or at least is reported on ArlNow more). Can anyone recommend good local area self-defense classes for women? Does ACPD offer any such classes for free?

    • Gypsy

      I inquired about that because they mention free self defense through ACPD on the website, but I think you need to put together a group of people who are interested in doing it with you. The person in charge was very responsive and helpful though, so it’s worth an email or call to her to check.

      • Noelle

        Try checking out http://www.shecanshoot.com. Not only are we an all-female organization with all-female NRA-certified firearms instructors, we also teach self-defense, situational awareness, and personal defense in and out of the home.

      • Arlie

        I can’t find the info on the ACPD site. Can you help/post a link?

    • KalashniKEV

      There was recently an NRA FIRST Steps Pistol course taught at Lyon Park.

      There are also numerous classes given weekly in Chantilly as well as locally in Arlington and Alexandria.


      Check out: NRA Refuse To Be A Victim® Seminars and NRA Defensive Pistol plus NRA Home Firearm Safety Course and NRA FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation

      • always right

        These classes are wonderful!

    • John Fontain

      Women who might want to learn to use a gun to protect themselves used to be able to take a gun safety course in the Lyon Park community center. But this will likely no longer be available because the community took a vote and – based on the small percentage of neighbors who actually showed up to vote – decided they didn’t want even unloaded guns in the community center. Unloaded guns and safety training classes are just too dangerous I guess.

      Lyon Park’s message to women looking to learn to protect themselves: Not in our community you won’t!

      • brendan

        honestly the idea that a handgun would have stopped this or the one on 4mr is naive. the victims were surprised and attempting to draw a firearm during a physical struggle with someone larger than you can lead to very bad consequences.

        • An Arlington Resident

          Oh Brendan: have you ever been to any handgun training?

          I wonder aloud whether it’s you who is a little naive….

        • KalashniKEV

          It is not hard to create the space needed to draw and fire from the clinch. Especially if you’re about to get raped. I too question if you know what you’re talking about…

    • girlFace

      Learn to fight.
      become confident you can take down just about anyone, or at least put a hurtin’ on them …

      Muay-thai….Brazilian Jiu jitsu…Boxing, kickboxing

      locally one can learn & train at NovaMMA…on Wilson blvd

      • b

        scream like crazy, claw the face to leave marks and hit, grab, bite the jewels but make sure you don’t miss.

  • Elmer

    With this and the sexual assault on Four Mile Run trail, Arlington is entering its Big City Phase.
    This is the real War On Women; not that phony bologna stuff the pols scream about.

    • Skeptical

      I’d say they’re both the same war, wouldn’t you? Lowlifes grab and attack women in places where they should be perfectly safe (shopping centers, community trails) and then when the woman who’s been attacked wants something like emergency contraception, it won’t be there if the Holy Righteous Party gets their way.

      In both cases it’s “Let us decide what’s going to happen to you and shut up.”

      Think it over.

      • KalashniKEV

        You chose the right bullet point off of their list (“Emergency Contraception”) to make your point, but remember that the “War on Women” isn’t about *access* to contraception, no one is trying to ban condoms and there is no danger of abortion becoming illegal, but about who PAYS for it.

        • neutrino

          Santorum definitely proposed bans on contraception and pornography. How can I practice safe masturbation?

          • KalashniKEV

            Santorum? Isn’t that the gooey stuff that…

  • EatingPopcorn

    Why was my comment removed? It was appropriate, I saw nothing wrong with it!

  • sunflower

    this is hindsight– but if i were heading for my car i’d be prepared to hit the alarm button on the remote. might provide a distraction

  • Willy

    Ballston is really a problem for the County. Between the poor selection of stores, the incredible inconvenience of the parking lots, and the perceived and real crimes, its not the kind of place that we as Arlingtonians visit often. (The same goes for Pentagon City). The slightly longer drive to Tysons is much more inviting.

    • Greg

      Agreed. Not sure if it’s just more reporting but it seems to be getting worse. I hope this isn’t a trend. The best defense against this is catching the scumbags who do it to make sure they aren’t repeat offenders and to deter others from trying it around here.

      • An Arlington Resident


        The best defense is a good offense.
        That means arming yourself with mace or other personal defense weapon…. and of course getting training, regularly and consistently, on how to use them, and be aware, so as to avoid any potential situation in the first place.

        Awareness Color Codes also figure in to many of these scenarios.

    • drax

      You don’t ride Metro, do you, Willy?

    • b

      not sure why you need to go to a mall at all unless your motive is simply shopping for the sake of shopping. manage to avoid all of them just fine w/ the exception of occasionally hitting the pent. city nordstroms. would love to see ballston renovated (with new tenants) but doubt that will ever happen to the degree that it should.

  • Steve

    TSA spokesmen responded to inquiries:
    “While no explosives were found in this incident, we support the initiative taken by this agent. TSA agents are authorized to inspect any suspicious individual who may pose a threat to our transportation infrastructure. Agents using high tech video forensics (slow-mo, freeze frame, close-up, and zoom functions) are most fastidiously reviewing the surveillance video. Thus far, extensive review has yet to discover any evidence of contraband hidden in the suspected terrorist’s panties. We will continue this review to ensure the public is safe. Any additional inquiries by reporters will result in placement of said reporter on the “no fly list”.

  • Sarah Foster

    This is disgusting. That poor woman was assulted, and yet so many comments are making light of the situation. That last comment is really abhorrent.

    • Elmer

      I agree with you Sarah Foster, plus if you’ve heard any of the lyrics to the rap music and other noise of the sort youth are addicted to today you’d discover much about the sorry attitude of some young men toward women.
      Tipper Gore was 100% correct and ahead of her time on that subject and I’m saying that as someone who not a Dem.

  • chimichanga

    Whats even more disturbing are the related articles: a woman dies from fall from parking garage twice in two years? Hows all this change working out for us?

  • Justin

    Get rid of that mall and the trash it attracts.

  • neutrino

    Why are attackers always startled when their victims scream? I feel as though I would have steeled myself for such a reaction prior to attacking.

  • An Arlington Resident

    While I haven’t read through all of the comments, I didn’t notice anyone call out other obvious solutions:
    1) become more aware of their surroundings, especially in parking garages [this means removing ear plugs a.k.a. iPod buds, keeping heads-up and rotating, and getting their faces out of their mobile devices
    2) carry an easily-accessible Mace gun [they’re getting generally positive reviews] or
    3) we’re still in the Old Dominion, last time I checked, and conceal & carry [yes, invoke your right to the Second Amendment] is an option.

    In the Awareness Color Codes, I have to ask: was this girl in Code White or Code Yellow?


Subscribe to our mailing list