Police: Newspaper Carrier Carjacked at Gunpoint

by Katie Pyzyk July 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm 6,296 125 Comments

(Updated at 7:15 p.m.) Police say a newspaper carrier was carjacked early this morning (Wednesday) in the 2300 block of S. Joyce Street, between the Aurora Highlands and Arlington Ridge neighborhoods.

Around 4:30 a.m., the 73-year-old woman was doing her rounds of paper delivery and had just exited the car to place a paper on a customer’s doorstep. According to police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, two men then drove up in a van next to her, and one said “give me the car.”

Police say both of the subjects, one of whom had a gun, pushed the woman to the ground. At that point, one of the men reportedly jumped into the woman’s car and threw her dog out of the vehicle, before driving off. The other suspect got back into the van and drove off.

Sternbeck said the woman yelled “fire” hoping someone would hear and help her. The resident at the house she was in front of came outside to assist, and they called police together.

According to police, the victim said she never leaves her car except at this one residence.

A tipster tells us the woman is a carrier for The Washington Post. The carrier and her dog, named Sparkle, were both shaken up but are otherwise fine, the tipster said. She didn’t report any injuries and denied medical attention.

Sternbeck said the woman describes both suspects as black men, about 5’9″, medium build, wearing dark sweaters and ski masks. The victim’s car was a beige Toyota Corolla, but there was no additional information provided regarding the suspects’ van. Anyone with information about the crime or the suspects is urged to call the police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222.

A Washington Post spokeswoman declined to comment about the incident.

  • JohnB

    At least they didn’t take the dog.

    • C10serMom

      Unfortunately, poor Sparkle died last week, and the paper carrier lost her constant companion along with her sense of security. It’s so sad to scroll down and read posts that make light of violence and the way some of us earn a living.

  • CrystalMikey

    Holy heck…what in the world is going on around here? :p

    • UptonHiller

      I know. 73-year-old women taking away jobs from 15-year-olds! It’s a jungle out there.

    • Tumblebum

      Welcome to the real world. Crime swings like a pendulum. It’s been a downward trend (pretty much everywhere) for 15 years and it appears that it’s reversing.

      • Henry

        The crimes we have had reported on here in the last couple of weeks likely don’t indicate any larger trend.

  • HenryBennetXIII

    Should I call the police on any car driven by a 5’9″ BM or is there a particular model year tag available?

    • bringmetheyuppies

      well its a van..and yeah, if you follow who is committing the crimes couldn’t hurt.

      • sunflower

        what about the lady’s car–which they stole?

      • UA

        Thats bad.. But Funny..

  • AL

    “The carrier and her dog, named Sparkle, were both shaken up but are otherwise fine…”

    WTF? The dog was shaken up?

    • Mary-Austin

      Well obviously. The dog was thrown out of the car by an armed carjacker while her master was thrown to the ground.
      …poor Sparkle. Lets hope they catch these pieces of trash.

  • nom de guerre

    A 5’9” bowel movement? What diameter?

    • MC 703

      heh heh

      • Aaron

        That’s at least 7 courics.

        • Cakes

          I was waiting for this!

    • Mary-Austin

      That’s what they are!

  • Elmer

    Low life cowardly scum but there will be enablers to inform us why we shouldn’t jump to any adverse conclusions about these two guys.

    • MC 703

      Enablers? People who indirectly support chemically dependent people?

    • drax

      No, there won’t, Elmer. You can conclude that the guys who committed this crime committed this crime.

  • South Awwlington

    Who carjacks old women? Grow some [email protected] creeps and bring it to someone who can kick you @ss.

    • novasteve

      Who carjacks anyone?

      A criminal thug that has no place in civilized society.

      • South Awwlington

        I guess I had hoped that even thugs have some level of decency. Clearly, I was wrong.

        Arlingonians have become too complacent when it comes to personal safety given the headlines of late.

    • JohnB

      Because that’s a good business model. You liberals will never understand the private sector. /sarcasm

    • drax

      There’s no more honor in victimizing someone who might fight back.

  • novasteve

    I read the crime reports on here, and unfortunately the suspects accused of these crimes are not very diverse. Should we have a law requiring more caucasians here to be involved in violent crime?

    • JohnB

      No. Let’s have a law providing for more investigation of white collar crime.

      • Observer

        Irony right there folks.

      • novasteve

        Yes, I am very afraid of having a white collar criminal carjack me. I lose sleep about the prospects of a white collar criminal raping women in parking garages and on trails. White collar crime is a huge threat to the safety of people.

        • Glen Carlyn NOW

          “You mean you robbed a bank, with a gun???”

    • Arlington cat

      Yeah, but one stupid white guy’s crime is always more entertaining (or disturbing) then any three crimes of any of the other groups combined.

      B&E and taking pictures of an ex sleeping
      Loaning your BMW to a guy and woman you just met in a bar.
      wearing a chest pad and protending you are a cop.
      The Wash Capitols mascot incident
      Kid touching durring his daughter’s slumber party.
      Pullin people over and impersonating a cop (well, that was Mitt Romney, and it didn’t happen in or near Arlington, but he is white, and it was stupid).
      Congressman driving drunk and admitting to police he has a love child.

      I can go on and one.

  • tmginnova

    What’s with the snarky racial jibes? The real issue here is an apparent crime and how to solve it (and prevent similar ones), but some would rather show off their sophomoric reaction.

    (Yeah, I’m also talking about you, bringmetheyuppies: Who is committing “the crimes?” A lot of 5’9″ black males? How do you know? And which crimes? Where?)

    • OnTheOrange

      Well put! The comments on this site almost make me more fearful for society than the actual crimes.

      • EnvelopePlease

        You should see the comments on WTOP.com for a Joe Arpaio / Birther story. They would scare Karl Rove.

      • novasteve

        Yes, no doubt words on a message board is worse than violent crime. Fortunately people who don’t share the state’s views on political correctness will be sent away to gulags for reeducation.

        • drax

          No, Steve, this isn’t about comments on a message board, it’s about the society behind them. Read much?

  • Rick

    I don’t know why ACPD bothered releasing this without releasing a description of the vehicle and the plate numbers. It’s not like stealing a mailman’s vehicle where 99 percent of the fleet looks the same…

    • Clarendon

      That does seem weird. We should know the plates of the stolen vehicle, right ?

      • bman

        maybe the lady didn’t even know her make and model and plates on her car, or the color. lol

  • jorge

    Awful to take from anybody, but pretty damn low to take from that lady. I see her early in the mornings on the route, working her 73 year old a** off. If they catch these guys, I hope they let her kick each of them in the n*ts before they go off to prison.

    Meanwhile, I hope we’re updated as to if she gets a car back, if I remember correctly, it’s a pretty beat up auto. Looks shabby to us but to her, her livelyhood.

    • South Awwlington

      I’d like to hold them while she kicks them. After she’s done, I am sure I would enjoy educating the punks further,

  • KalashniKEV

    I would like to officially denounce the racist comments above.

    I personally get the “racist” label on here every once in a while because that’s just what you always get when you win an argument with a liberal, but Crime knows no Color.

    VIBRANCY has more to do with DIVERSITY of income and the entitlement mentality than DIVERSITY of race.

    • Aaron

      Hey, there are plenty of law-abiding people with low incomes! Not having material comforts doesn’t equate to not understanding right and wrong.

      • KalashniKEV

        I’m 100% in agreement.

        • drax

          But no law-abiding homeless people, right? Round them up!

          • KalashniKEV

            Does not compute.

          • drax

            Of course it does, Kev. It computes perfectly.

    • drax

      Who here has called you a racist?

  • SnArl

    Should be easy to find – who would wear sweaters and ski masks in this heat?

    • nom de guerre

      Wearing dark sweaters may be code for an excess of chest and back hair.

  • meh..

    I’m sorry…her story just sounds suspect.
    Who the heck wears black ski-masks and sweatshirts in the middle of a heat wave in July to car jack a paper carrier???
    And how many car jackers would take the time to toss the dog out????
    i’m not buying this one….sorry.

    • JimPB

      Meh …
      It was 4:30 AM. Warm but not oppressively hot. Sweaters and ski masks for the robbery only. Smart way to prevent identification.
      Toss the dog out: I’d like to give them a credit for doing so, but most likely, get rid of a space taker and distraction (and, who knows, the dog might bite. What robber needs that!).

      • meh..

        When i’m out skiing, I can never tell the race of the folks wearing ski masks…..
        i’m just saying…..

        • marf

          Maybe you have an extra vehicle you could lend her so she may continue earning a living?

          • meh..

            I’ll wait to see how her insurance company handles it all…….

        • Trish

          Perhaps, but she did hear their voices, and there are notable vocal differences between races. And perhaps she saw their hands (article says nothng about gloves)

          • meh..

            At 4:30am…in the dark…she saw their hands???
            And yeah…you’re right…all of us do have the same vocal sounds….smh..

          • Trish

            I used to deliver the paper at 4:00 a.m. years ago, in a suburban area, and there was always enough light of some sort from my own car, streetlights, porch lights, or even at times from the moon, that you could totally tell the color of someone’s hands or whether or not they were wearing gloves. The area of Arlington that this happened in has just as much light at night as the neighborhood where I carried the paper, so I believe it would have been possible for her to see these creeps’ hands.

    • Tommy

      I live in the neighborhood and it absolutely happened.

      • meh..

        i’m sure SOMETHING happened….
        i’m just not sold on the scenario….

  • JimPB

    Rick — Right on.
    What’s the make, model, year and color of the vehicle and the license plate? That info should be readily available.

    I know multiple seniors who are delivering papers as a way to help pay the bills. Social Security helps, but it’s really not sufficient itself.

    Bravo for the 73 year old women for delivering the paper to the door. That’s how I and other youth carriers did it in Cincinnati. Place the paper squarely in front of the front door with the text facing the door. That became history when the pool of kids to deliver papers shrunk (what have kids been doing with the time that used to be spent delivering papers?) and were replaced by adults who, to get a sufficient number of deliveries to make the effort worth while, tossed the papers from their vehicles.

    We also mowed grass. What have kids been doing with the time that used to be spent mowing grass?

    Kids don’t deliver papers and, with a few exceptions, don’t mow grass for money, yet most (at least in the suburbs) seem to have plenty of money to spend (just consider the electronics). Is this progress?

    • Observer

      Right on. I had mad paper-tossing skills. None of that rolled up throw stuff. By the fold, underhand, I could toss it 10 to 15 feet, depending on the day of the week and have it slide right up to the door step.

      Not to mention banking a couple hundred bucks a month. That’s not bad when you’re in junior high school.

    • Elmer

      Yes, and we continue to build the little darlings world class soccer fields, aquatic centers and soon boating facilities.
      We also support many “choice” schools in the APS system so they are not subjected to neighborhood schools. With so many publicly supported diversions and entertainment to keep them happy and occupied, why should they have to do such menial chores as mowing lawns and delivering newspapers. That’s not the Arlington Way.

      • Ronan

        Don’t blame them…blame their parents

  • WeiQiang

    Two armed carjackings in my ‘hood in a year. Last time, the stolen vehicle wound up in bank robbery in DC the next day … with automatic weapons involved.

    I wonder if I can convince KalashniKEV to move to South Arlington.

    • KalashniKEV

      I used to live in S. Arlington. Until they change this, I only go back for Chinese Food:

      § 18.2-308. Personal protection; carrying concealed weapons; when lawful to carry.

      M. For purposes of this section:
      “Handgun” means any pistol or revolver or other firearm, ***except a machine gun***, originally designed, made and intended to fire a projectile by means of an explosion of a combustible material from one or more barrels when held in one hand.

      Read more: http://vagunforum.net/carrying/concealed-carry-submachinegun-mp5-mp5k-t8948.html#ixzz210qpfIjO


  • Swag

    “the woman describes both suspects as black men, about 5’9″, medium build, wearing dark sweaters and ski masks.”

    Way to reinforce the stereotype, guys.

    • DeportEmAll

      Can’t handle the truth?

    • herpderp

      black people don’t steal cars.

      terrible people do.

      (that are probably black)

  • SouthArlJD

    If they ever catch this guy you can rest assured those two are going to get some major time on this. They’ll be lucky to be sentenced to less than 20 years. Arlington don’t play.

    • CW

      Unless you do a really great job and get them off light?

      • darsasx

        That’s only in MD, where repeat offenders get 1,937 chances before they are finally put behind bars for any length of time.

  • Soarlslacker

    The woman who was carjacked this morning is a lovely lady. She gets out of her car and places the paper right at the door for older residents. She has worked multiple jobs in the past (cutting grass and pet sitting) and has even done volunteer work delivering the local civic assoc. monthly newsletter. She is very well known and liked in the Aurora Highlands and Arlington Ridge neighborhoods. During the monster snow storm she and her dog still delivered the paper to residents. She has been the carrier for the Washington Post here for well over 20 years. This crime will have a serious financial and emotional impact on her.
    Have a bit of empathy. But for luck, juju, fate, the grace of God, or whatever you believe in, it could have been you.

    • Elmer


    • bman

      You or the police are lying.

      You: “She gets out of her car and places the paper right at the door for older residents. ”

      5-0: “According to police, the victim said she never leaves her car except at this one residence.”

      • drax

        So perhaps this is the only residence where she has an older customer who wants that service. Get over it.

  • The Resident

    As “the resident at the house,” who became involved, I can assure all that this is a real tragedy and not suspected fiction despite the ski masks in hot weather. The woman works hard and diligently at her delivery job EVERY DAY, and was promptly calling the WP and her distributor to report the inability to complete her delivery duties. I believe she does this work of rare thanks only because she must, and I trust my neighbors will join my hope that she is back at it as soon as tomorrow morning. She is a gentle and strong soul weaving a connecting thread through our streets every morning.

    I appreciate these daily Arlington Now reports about the County. Yeah, they missed some detail here about the stolen car (beige Toyota Corolla) and they seem to have a food fetish, but it is otherwise very constructive for our community. Then they let us scroll down and read the forces of destruction who FREQUENT these pages and let loose on our world. I find some here that should stand in line right behind the carjackers for a kick in their non-existant balls. But I hope you live to 73 and look back to find God has had mercy on you.

    • Soarlslacker

      Thanks so much for helping her. You are a very good neighbor.
      Your neighbor across the alley with the yappie dogs!

    • JimPB

      Labels accurately.

    • Dezlboy

      Thanks for doing the right thing at the time, and for your followup posting.

  • Rick

    Oh! Perfect! Keep your eyes peeled for a beige corolla. Shouldn’t take long to find these a-holes…

  • DeportEmAll

    This is in South Arlington.

    • Tommy

      And therefore, what? This is in the Aurora Hills/Arlington Ridge neighborhood with house values matching those of most of North Arlington, and populated primarily by professionals.

  • Skeptical

    +100. I cannot speak to the incident but I am with you all the way about the comment fungus on this site, which I only flick through because sometimes I encounter a post like yours. Testify, brother.

  • 4 8 15 16 23 42

    Comment fungus it may be over here, but I suspect other news sites wish they had the comment volume this one does.

    Care to testify?

    • Rick

      WJLA.com is a pretty vile place but they do delete the really horrible comments. Volume is way lower on commenting unless it’s something big, but it doesn’t touch numbers this site does when people really get in it. Fairfaxunderground, while purely a forum, would have a comparable number of replies to someone posting this story, but it’s lawless over there…

  • meh..

    There is absolutely NO way that the culprits race should have been mentioned in the police report. Once again, we’re all on a witch hunt for the mysterious black boogie man, based solely on a description by a victim that couldn’t possibly have been able to discern their race given the clothing they were described as wearing.

    And for everyone that has the insane belief that you can tell a persons race by their voice….I employ you to get out of your bubbles and try spending some time in the more diverse & urban areas of our region for just a smidgen of time. You’ll be amazed by what voices you connect to the varied faces.

    • UA

      I strongly disagree. Race should always be given in a crime report. There is a reason the cops start of by saying Sex/Race and then description. It narrows it down to the least possible suspects as quickly as possible. Sex = roughly half the population knocked out of the lineup, Race = depending on the location can be very helpful. Male/white/5’9” wearing cargo shorts, old t-shirt and brown flip flops in Clarendon, not so much.

      • meh..

        If race is definitively know, then yes, it should definitely be noted. But in this case, I don’t see any possible way that the perps race could have been known given the description of their clothing. Ski masks and sweaters tend to cover the body parts that would allow for the determination of one’s race. That in addition to the crime being committed at a time of the day where there is little to no natural light.

        • KalashniKEV

          Ummm… Unless they had on “Ski Goggles” and “Ski Gloves” I’m pretty sure it’s easy to tell a black male from any other race. Hispanic/ Asian/ Middle Eastern, White Hispanic/ White would be tougher though…

        • CW

          Are you crazy? Unless these are custom masks that have such tight tolerances that they go right up to the eyeballs then yes you can see skin. Also were they wearing gloves? Were gloves tucked into the sweaters? Point being, yes there was probably some piece of skin exposed. What are you trying to prove here? Why are you attacking the victim for providing a witness statement?

          • meh..

            Although you all don’t realize it, or don’t care to admit it….to you….ALL of us non-minorities appear to look the same. With the ethnic diversity in this region, the perps could very well have been black, they could have been Latino, they could have been Greek, they could have been Ethiopian, they could have been a number of races with darker skin tone.

            I understand the error in my earlier post doubting the victim. My displeasure is more appropriately directed at Arlington County Police Department for their poor reporting. Or perhaps it was ArlNow that didn’t provide the police report in full. Either way, there was waaay too much information omitted. But it’s funny how the race of the perp made it so prominently into the report.

          • meh..

            typo… that should read “ALL of us minorities” …..

          • meh..

            Also…..I do grasp the construct of racial identity in the U.S., and I realize that Latino, Greek, Ethiopian, etc… are not races…..

          • drax

            meh, you have got to be kidding. White people can’t tell the difference between black, Latino, Greek, Ethiopian? What a crock.

          • Tabs

            Agree. That was a racist assumption.

          • VaGurl

            seriously? i cant believe you just said “all minorities look alike to white people” and really meant that LOL wow.

          • Rick

            Lets leave sex out of it too, wouldn’t want to offend the male species as they are perceived to be more violent.

          • JamesE

            I cannot tell the difference between Asian an African, throw in a Latino and my head explodes.

          • Trish

            meh, how bold of you to assume that CW is not a minority simply because he/she disagrees with you.

          • Aaron

            Kind of like the rape-forum thread the other day where a woman accused all of the other posters, even the female ones, of obviously being male for not having the right thoughts on the subject.

        • Keith

          Maybe they were wearing shorts.

          • Elmer

            Now if they were really smart, they should have been wearing KKK robes complete with the pointy hat and mask.

          • Kumar

            Doesn’t work

    • Vikram

      The police did not label them by race. They described them as black. That is a descriptor used in the BOLO.

      Nothing to go all tilt over.

      • meh..

        Honestly, I wasn’t really tilted about this at all until the numerous asinine racially pointed comments started popping up.

        • Rick

          But you said race shouldn’t have been mentioned in the police report in your original post? Did you want ACPD to leave it out or ARLNow to edit it out?

    • Trish

      Insane belief, eh? You need some ears. I love how you assume we who can tell the difference live in bubbles. Besides living in a very diverse building and having diverse friends and coworkers, I ride Metrobus and/or ART buses multiple times every single day. If nothing else, what sort of non-diverse bubble do you think a Metrobus is? It’s not like a Metrobus is crammed full of white people — a Fairfax Connector might be, but certainly not a Metrobus.

      And no, not everyone of the same race has the exact same vocal qualities, but the commonalities are distinguishing enough that you can tell the difference between races. Seriously, dude, it’s nothing negative. It’s just that different races are going to have different nasal shapes, bone structures, etc., which all affect sound.

      • VaGurl


      • observer

        Most of the time. A lot of people under 30 of all races imitate urban rap dialects, though, especially kids coming up in poorer urban areas. I’ve heard plenty of asian and white kids who I thought were black until I looked at them.

        • Trish

          It has nothing to do with dialect or language, really, but rather, it has to do with the tonal quality.

    • drax

      Of course we should mention their race. It’s part of their description.

      You have no idea if she could tell their race or not.

      I’ll be glad to take a test of telling race by voice. I’ll bet most people can tell accurately at least 95% of the time.

      • Pointer Outer

        If someone else posted this, you would self-righteously and condescendingly demand a cite to the study proving that statistic.

        Now go ahead and tell me you weren’t using it as a “statistic” because you said “I’ll bet.” You know you want to.

        • drax

          I AM asking for a study, genius.

          You understand the meaning of the terms “I”ll be glad” and “I’ll bet” right?

          Hint: They don’t mean “I say” or “I assert.”

          • Pointer Outer

            Perfect. Just perfect.

    • JamesE

      I agree, it is absurd. In fact they shouldn’t even mention male or female because that is sexist. The report should just say “something”, how do we even know it was human? Maybe it was a robot wearing a ski mask. These assumptions are dangerous.

      • Tumblebum

        That’s great! How dare the police ask the victim for a description. In fact, how dare the victim call the police. It is the victim’s fault for being out in public “just asking for it”.
        Man, there are some real strange thought processes out there.

  • charles

    too close to my house!

  • Drunk_IrishChick

    Its becoming Baltimore here!

    • KalashniKEV

      I got that PANDEMIC!
      (and “affordable” housing)

      • Omar

        Got dem WMDz……..

  • JimPB

    RE: reports about assailants.
    Use what you get, but be aware, research finds frequent inaccuracies in witness and victim reports.
    Remember the “beltway snipers” — for some time the guidance was to look for a white van. Wrong re: color and type of vehicle.
    And consider rape convictions based on victim testimony and/or testimony of others that were overturned when DNA was analyzed.

    RE: involvement in crime.
    Yes, males and African-American are disportionately involved in street crimes. BUT, add “white collar” crime — vastly more costly (because the big bucks are where the “white collars” work) and whites, not African-Americans, emerge as the most frequent perps. Males continue, as with street crime, to far exceed females in propensity, although the female crime rate is increasing. (Still: a way to prevent a good part of crime: eliminate males. Reproduce the species using stored sperm.)

    A perspective on crime and race:
    Consider sexual assault. When African-Americans were transported to this country in chains they were uniformly dark black. How did so many acquire a lighter skin color? You know: White men sexually assaulting and victimizing Black women and girls. That prevalent crime was highly successful for the perps (very few arrests, convictions).
    Today: The most likely perp. of sexual assault is not a stranger but an acquaintance or date. And the races of perp and victim are usually the same.

    • KalashniKEV

      So you’re saying it was non-consensual between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson?

    • Tabby_TwoTone

      “And the races of perp and victim are usually the same.”

      Yes. Studies of serial killers reveal a strong correlation to that.

  • Pointer Outer

    Please submit cites to these studies to our resident contrarian before he gets all uppity on you.


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