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Police Investigate Homicide on Columbia Pike

by Katie Pyzyk July 28, 2012 at 4:10 pm 14,485 94 Comments

(Updated at 5:25 p.m.) Arlington County police are investigating a deadly armed robbery at a Columbia Pike jewelry store.

The body of a 52-year-old man was found inside Capital Jewelers in the 3200 block of Columbia Pike just before midnight yesterday (Friday). According to police, he was declared dead at the scene from an injury he sustained.

Family members had called police when the Herndon resident didn’t return home from his shift at the store last night.

Police are releasing still photos taken from the store’s surveillance video with the hope that the public can help identify the suspect, who is still at large and considered armed and dangerous. According to police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, the video indicates the suspect entered the store around 4:00 p.m. on Friday. He’s described as a black man in his 50s, about 5’7″ with a medium build. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a neon traffic vest.

Anyone with information concerning this incident or the identity of the suspect is asked to contact Detective Richard Conigliaro at 703-228-4193 or [email protected]

This was the second murder in Arlington this week, after the county went more than two years without a single homicide.

  • DeportEmAll

    And they want to put a streetcar in this area?!??

    Just plain nuts!

    • Jeff

      What’s the connection between this horrible crime and putting in a streetcar?

      • Tomn


        • Richard Cranium

          It’s Bush’s fault.

      • SHlady

        people who think they are being funny.

    • Mary-Austin

      extremely trashy.

    • Kevin Diffily

      Seriously a comment about the streetcar here is irrelevant and completely inappropriate. Condolences to this man’s family.

  • novasteve

    Too bad the streetcar wasn’t their to run down this monster that needs to fry if he gets caught and convicted.

    • Glebe Roader

      Agree with you 100% on this one.

  • Bon Air

    Just saw this on the news. I hope they find this guy quickly

  • Condolences

    …to this man’s family. This was Phnom Penh Jewelers for years, and then I think they just changed the name. What a shame that a hard-working refugee lost his life to some waste of space. Hope they find the b–tard who did this and give him what’s coming.

  • steve85


    Are u serious with these comments. A person is murdered and youre talking about the streetcar…Plain stupid!!!

  • Jerome

    Someone has to recognize that guy. Bet he’s caught within a week.

    • Tabs

      Agree. That vest is probably a work uniform. Genius.

      • Josh S

        Errr, no. I’d be pretty surprised if it was. It was a “disguise.”

        • jackson

          Here’s hoping the man is just a dope then.

  • Jackson

    That’s awful. I got a watch battery replaced there once. You have to be buzzed in to the place. Hope they catch this murderer.

  • Tabs


  • Matt H

    The man murdered at this store was incredibly kind and generous. He sold me my last two watches. Your insensitivity sickens me. There really is something wrong with your inabilities to have respect for life. Please stop. Grow up.

    • Tabs

      I trust that you’re speaking to the streetcar obsessives and not me?

  • Edward T

    My father had an office in that building on the 2nd floor for 22 years. I worked with for the past 10 years. My father knew since the man opened his store and I knew him when I was a kid. He was one of the nicest and kindest and courteous person I have ever known. It’s was terrible tragedy and my condolences to his family. My father after 22 years in this building closed his office 1 month ago.

  • SHlady

    Can someone explain exactly where this is located? This is so sad. for you streetcar obsessives, lay off.

  • Tom

    the north side of Columbia Pike between Highland and Glebe

    • SHlady

      Thank you.

  • Diana Williams

    Isnt this by that small Spanish store? Miguel’s or whatever?
    Yeah….. Arlington needs to get its act together. People move here because of out great businesses and insentives.
    Yal need to try harder.

    • Ryan

      What are you talking about? How is our act not together? One murder is one too many but our murder rate is nothing compared to other areas in the metro.

    • Not really…

      I think the store you’re talking about is gone.

      This place is next to Thai Square. The last business before you get to the alley that goes behind Papa Johns/Boston Market/Carquest/etc.

  • Mark

    My wife and I frequently visited the shop. He was always very curteous and helpful. He recently did a custom watch band replacement for me at a very reasonable cost as well as the batteries he replaced for us. We are both sickened at this sensless act of violence and we wish his family peace and comfort.

  • Sean

    I knew this man. My firm had an office above his store, for 2 years, and he was just as nice and gracious as you could hope for. This is a disgusting, tragic, senseless crime. I’m sickened.

    For those of you trivializing this comments sections with jokes and streetcar comments — shame on you. I’d like you to be in the same room with his family and make jokes. Douchebags. Shame on you.

  • jorge

    The “stop snitchin'” effect is going to prevent the arrest of this guy, despite the video. I hope I’m wrong.

    My condolences to the family of this man. I’m very sorry that we as a society were not able to protect a man who immigrated to this country (assuming from the name of the shop that he indeed came from the war-torn Cambodia).

    Our immigration policy is upside down. We’re too willing to coddle illegal immigrants rather than protect the legal ones. The guys at Weenie Beenie don’t bring a lot – as soon as they economy gets worse, they’re gone (a lot of them have already left in fact). Real immigrants are committed and stay through thick and thin, and deserve protection. Instead, we leave the legal immigrants vulnerable to the LA, NY, and DC street gangs. No wonder Korean shop owners are armed. Unfortunately, it’s not politically correct to crack down on these gangs. Around these parts, the police know who these gangs are. Unfortunately, for some irrational reason (Jesse Jackson and the Department of “Justice” I suspect), they are held at bay, and cannot or will not act more aggressively.

    • neutrinod

      Is the killer an illegal immigrant?

      • jorge1234

        That’s quite a bit of assumption you’re making there.

    • Trish

      And exactly how do we know the assailant is a member of a gang? That’s quite a bit of assumption you’re making there.

      • jorge1234

        Look in the mirror Trish

    • chimichanga

      Your paragraph makes no sense, Jorge.

    • Hank

      It’s really easy to tell that someone has an agenda when s/he tries to draw parallels between her/his pet issue and an incomparable situation.

      Although, I am impressed that Jorge was able to throw Jesse Jackson into the mix. Way to hit that out of left field! I myself blame Phyllis Diller and her irreverent brand of comedy for any violent crimes occurring in the Commonwealth.

  • jorge –

    what in the world are you talking about??? This has nothing to do with illegals or immigration. From the looks of the photo, this man is not hispanic/latino.

    • Josh S

      Only “hispanic/latino” people immigrate to the United States?

  • sam

    I think the relevance of the streetcar is that the county is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on this when the dollars could potentially be spent on additional police and buses, instead.

    • Al

      $250 million would turn Arlington County into a police state. Is that what we want or need?

      • KalashniKEV

        $250M would get them off their sticker fetish and out doing REAL POLICE WORK.

        I’d take $250M worth of REAL POLICE WORK + buses over a morning commute being stuck behind a streetcar stopping every 2 blocks while my girlfriend gets raped on a jogging trail while ACPD is drinking coffee at the 66 on ramp.

        • Josh S

          Do you blame the police for what other people do?

          • KalashniKEV

            I hold police responsible for controlling the rate of crime in their jurisdiction.

        • AL

          You could solve your streetcar problem by riding it!

          • KalashniKEV

            What would you then do about the “odor of the streetcar” problem?

            It sticks to you.

  • APSnumberone

    I have a lot of faith in the Arlington police dept.–they always solve murders, and I don’t think this will be an exception, even if it takes a while. Those photos are pretty clear and someone with a conscience who knows this guy hopefully will recognize him and call them.

  • brian

    So the homicides doubled for the year in Arl country?

    • jackson

      From zero to two is not doubling. You can’t double zero.

      • brian

        the murder-suicide last week doesn’t count?

        • Again…

          From zero to two is not doubling.

          From one to two would be doubling.

          From zero to two is an infinite increase.

          • J

            You think Brian is saying something, but he didn’t say what you think he said, hence the confusion. He wasn’t talking about last year. He was talking about this year. Last week, we had the murder-suicide and assumed that was number one. This week, it was this murder. Hence from one to two is doubling in 2012.

          • jackson

            If he is asking if last week’s murder plus this week’s murder equals two murders, then yes.

            Is he really asking if 1 + 1 = 2?

          • Fair enough…

            Maybe he’s asking if a suicide counts.

            I WANT to give him some credit here, and assume he’s not asking if 1+1=2.

          • J

            Or maybe he couldn’t remember whether there was another murder this year, and he was implicitly asking if this were in fact the second murder in the year.

  • sam

    I have confidence that they’ll catch him too. My concern is the number of murders and vandalism in this vicinity and Lyon Park in the last few years. It would be nice if Arlington dollars were spent on a stronger police presence to help prevent these crimes to begin with.

    • Greg

      Maybe parking enforcement will track him down.

    • KalashniKEV

      More $$$ isn’t really going to help. A culture change within ACPD is necessary. The top guys who have been around since the “sleepy Arlington” days and made their way up politically need to HIT THE ROAD.

    • HighViewPunk

      My guess is that this guy will be caught when he tries to find a fence for this stuff.

  • demonfafa

    The comments on this thread make me wonder if I’m on ARLnow or WTOP’s website.

    • Josh S

      Oh, man. This is nothing.

    • Jeff

      I’ve wondered that for a while now, not just this thread.

      • FrenchyB

        Sadly, it’s been pretty bad for a while.

  • Greg

    I can’t read it but that best looks like it has some identifying words, or so it appears.This guy is going to be caught, in all likelihood.

    • Greg


    • CW

      While the text, as it stands in the released photo, is illegible, the pattern certainly would be recognizable to anyone who had seen it before, I would think.

      • sunflower

        given his current m o, i would guess that he stole the vest

        • CW

          Yes, no, maybe so, it’s still evidence – even if stolen, it was stolen from someplace quantifiable.

          • sunflower


  • KalashniKEV

    These crimes will continue to increase in number and severity until:

    1) ACPD adopts a Community Policing Strategy.

    2) The local politicians reverse their “progressive” agenda.

    Both of these will come at the expense of VIBRANT DIVERSITY.

    • Josh S

      Or, these crimes will not increase in number and severity.

      One of the two.

      • CW

        I do not agree with KEV at all as to the implied cause but I do believe that as a matter of common sense, until 1) the police become more proactive by making a strong presence felt in the name of deterrence, and 2) the County judicial system makes a couple well-publicized examples out of these criminals, there would reasonably be the perception that Arlington is a good place to get away with crimes.

        • jackson

          They caught the last murderer (the one in Clarendon) and more police would not have stopped a domestic murder/suicide. But I do agree that there was definitely the perception last year that Arlington banks are easy to rob, because they apparently were.

          • CW

            I find the brazen daytime sexual assaults much more alarming than either the domestic incident or the jewelry heist gone bad, as unfortunate as these two recent homicides have been.

        • CW2

          Regarding the “making a well-publicized example” of these types of criminals:

          In Virginia, if you are committing a crime, and someone is killed during the process, the criminal(s) involved can be charged with the death penalty, correct?

          That would certainly serve as a strong warning to other criminals. Condolences to the family of the victim. I’m very sad to read this news today.

      • drax

        Josh, didn’t you know that Kev’s agenda was implemented and we went two full years without a homicide?

        Oh, wait, it wasn’t.

        The overall crime rate trend in Arlington is down, Kev.

      • KalashniKEV

        You’re right. You changed my mind. Let’s do NOTHING.

  • Not so fast my friend…

    Terrible news. He went above and beyond to fix the spring in my wife’s bracelet. It took him a few weeks, but every time I’d stop in, he’d show me what he had tried and how it didn’t work, and promised he’d get it fixed. He eventually did, and charged me something very reasonable. He was just an extremely friendly man who exhibited exemplary customer service. Exactly the type of local businessman I wanted to support as much as possible. It’s really a shame.

    • Tabs

      I have jewelry that needs fixing. I wish I’d patronized Mr. Wong’s store.

      • YTK

        Nice trite thing to say about this tragedy

        • Tabs

          Didn’t mean it that way.
          How about: I wish I’d had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Wong.

  • Sean

    This is a very unfortunate incident and I have confidence that ACPD will solve this crime. Arlington’s vibrant diversity is not the problem, neither is your perceived “progressive agenda”. Crime is opportunistic and happens even in the best communities. The difference now is that we have instant access to crime reports and statistics which can be used to create a sense that crime is worse than it actually is.

    Compare Arlington to all cities and towns in America with a similar population size, and you will find that the crime rate in Arlington, including 22204, is one of the lowest in the nation for its size. This means Arlington is one of the safest places in America in which to live for its size. Also don’t forget that Arlington is a very small community at only 26 sq miles and densly populated, so a relative few crimes in any area seems like a lot, but in the bigger picture is not.

  • Arlie

    Very sad. My prayers are with this man’s family.

  • YTK

    My prayers are with that man’s family– what a tragedy!! I

  • YTK

    Perp probably has a rap sheet a mile long but is out on the streets– and many more like him — Arlington County– use the streetcar money to get rid of the dirtbags in this county instead of gentrifying this miserable county!!!

    • Josh S

      “this miserable county”

      Gosh, you really don’t get around much do you? Miserable compared to where – La Jolla? Westchester?

      • Have you been to Yonkers?

        It’s paradise on earth.

        • YTK

          No, but I’ve enjoyed the wonderful ambiance of East Blotnick New Jersey.

  • R0bespierre

    The second word on his vest is “Construction,” I can’t make out the other word but it looks to be about 8 letters and may begin with an M.

  • ShirlingtonBF


    Lots of govt workers on this site with no work to do during the day???

    • Are you new here?

      Just curious.

  • neerveer

    So close to guittin time too. The area was packed with people at that hour. He looks more like late 40s to me. Also, it looks like to me the guy wears glasses. The pictures are helpful, and over 6,000 views already. Wow. Lets find this killer!

  • Kiersten Kukawa Stadler

    Prayers and Condolences to the family of this respected businessman, craftsman, and member of our community. May his memory and legacy be celebrated.

  • Alex Sakes

    Devastating loss for our community. Both my parents were frequent customers. He will be surely missed.

  • Patty

    Can anyone read the affilitation on the back of his safety vest?


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