Crime Report: Man in Wheelchair Robs CVS

by ARLnow.com November 7, 2012 at 11:00 am 39,165 99 Comments

(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) Last Thursday, a knife-wielding man in a wheelchair robbed the CVS Pharmacy in Courthouse, according to this week’s Arlington County, Va. crime report.

Police say the man attempted to shoplift an electric razor and several bottles of wine. After initially leaving the store, a CVS employee reportedly wheeled him back in and asked him to replace the stolen goods. The employee backed off and let him leave again after the man brandished a knife, according to police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

Police caught up with the suspect at the nearby Courthouse Metro station. The knife was allegedly found under the seat of his wheelchair.

ARMED ROBBERY, 11/01/12, 2100 block of N. 15th Street. On November 1 at 6:09 pm, a subject in a wheelchair entered a pharmacy, placed several items in a backpack and left the store without paying for the merchandise. An employee went outside and pushed the subject back into the store to recover the items. The subject brandished a knife and fled the scene. Police located him a short distance away at the Courthouse Metro station. The knife was recovered on the subject and the merchandise was returned . William Louis Chase, Jr., 45, of Washington, D.C., was arrested and charged with armed robbery. He was held without bond.

The rest of the crime report, after the jump.

ROBBERY, 11/04/12, 4200 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. At 2:15 pm on November 4, two juvenile subjects assaulted an employee of a pharmacy and stole cigarettes. Both subjects attempted to flee the scene but were detained by employees. Both subjects were arrested and charged with robbery.

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 10/31/12, 600 block of N. Glebe Road. At 11:30 pm on October 31, a intoxicated subject was caught behind the bar and when confronted swung a bottle of Amaretto at the manager. The manager sustained a laceration to her leg from being hit and was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for minor injuries. Jorge Zunagua, 30, of Alexandria, VA, was arrested and charged with malicious wounding. He was held without bond.

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 11/04/12, 4200 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. At 11:25 pm on November 4, a subject was hit in the head with a plate during a altercation at a bar. The victim sustained a serious laceration to the ear and was transported to Virginia Hospital Center. Mario Lewis, 53, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with malicious wounding. He was held without bond.

BURGLARY, 11/01/12, 200 block of S. Clark Street. Between 11 am and 1:30 pm on November 1, an unknown subject(s) entered an office suite and stole computer equipment. There is no suspect(s) description.

BURGLARY, 11/02/12, 1900 block of N. 13th Street. Between 3 and 8:55 am on November 2, an unknown subject(s) entered a residence and stole various items. Items reported stolen included a television, computer equipment and electronics. There is no suspect(s) description.

BURGLARY, 11/05/12, 4200 block of Columbia Pike. Between 8 am on September 21 and 1:52 am on October 24, an unknown subject(s) broke into a vacant residence through a window. It is unknown if anything was stolen or how long the subject(s) were there. There is no suspect(s) description.


10/31/12, PA 2280746 (tags only)
11/04/12, VA YBG9881, 2002 Dodge Caravan, White, 1800 block of S. 26th Street
11/04/12, VA XET2292, 2003 Toyota Camry, Maroon, 2700 block of S. Quincy Street
11/05/12, VA XLM6063 (tags only)
11/06/12, VA XTR6487, 1996 Honda Accord, Black, 1700 block of S. Hayes Street

  • novasteve

    Bet you CVS will fire the employee for touching the thief. When iw orked at CVS in 1993, we had to let people who were shoplifting just walk out out of fear of lawsuits. We were told we would be fired if we tried to stop them.

    • Chud

      Those were the good old days – now they have anything remotely worthy of value in a locked case that you have to “ask for assistance” to get. Which makes me pretty much not want to go to those places for anything unless it’s a last resort.

    • DCBuff

      Steve, you likely are wrong on this one. See the item on the attempted robbery by juveniles at the Ballston CVS.

      • novasteve

        This was 1993. That’s what we were told. We had a couple come in, fill up brown paper grocery bags in cart, and we had to let them walk out with it. The entire cart was filled up of their loot and we were told to just let them go.

        • HeSaidWhat

          Remember kiddies, believe everything you read on the internet.
          Even if it’s posted by a gregarious tourettes sufferer.

          • Captain_Obvious

            He’s actually right on this one…I have 2 family members who work at Best Buy and they confirmed the same thing…can’t chase a shoplifter outside.

          • WeiQiang

            wouldn’t be a surprise. a company’s insurance underwriter isn’t going to support a policy in which the employees chase suspects outside and risk injury to them, a perp, or a third party or property.

            as the recent arrest of the Pio Pio guy reminds us, there may be consequences to doing that.

            while no business wants to see its merchandise walk out of the store, risk management is a popular discipline for a reason.

          • Smashicus

            You might not be able to physically detain them but you can see if they get in a vehicle and note the liscense plate or if they are on foot what direction they are headed.

          • Mick

            Though in this case, seems like it would have been pretty easy to “physically detain” a wheelchair bound thief. Wish the employee had given him fair warning then roundhouse kicked the guy square in the face or simply crashed a broom handle across the bridge of his nose. What crust for a cripple to attempt strong arm robbery and what a sad commentary that he was able to do it.

            “A man’s gotta know his limitations.”

          • drax

            On foot?

          • Phillep Harding

            Gee, isn’t that what Zimmerman got in trouble for? “Stalking” a suspected criminal?

          • NIMBY The Chicken

            I worked at Best Buy for 5 years and our rules were not dissimilar to what novasteve is describing. You cannot use physical force on a shoplifter, you must see the act, maintain visual, and the perp must attempt an exit before it’s considered “shoplifting”. We had to kindly ask them to come to the office with us but we were not allowed to tackle, push, grab, cuff etc. What these employees can absolutely get them fired and sued by the thief.

          • NIMBY The Chicken

            Also once the plane of the door was crossed, it’s all over. You can’t apprehend outside of the store as an agent of the store, that was VERY frowned upon

        • DCBuff

          Steve, don’t doubt your experience. Just found it telling that in the same crime report, at another CVS the alleged robbers were detained by employees.

      • David

        It makes perfect sense that employees would be prohibited from touching shoplifters. The attorneys’ fees defending a personal injury claim or the attorneys’ fees and cost of a workers’ comp claim would probably be much greater than the item(s) stolen.

    • Arlingtoon

      Although I’ve never worked in a CVS store, I did see a couple of kids dash out of the Lyon Village CVS and jump into a waiting car, which then high-tailed it out of the parking lot. I thought it looked like a shoplifting, so I jotted down the license number and took it to the store manager. He thanked me politely, but said it happened so often that they didn’t even bother notifying the police. No need for the license number.

      • Mick

        Wow. Saw some high school kids take a couple cases off a beer truck one morning in Herndon, I was leaving a c-store w/my coffee and saw the kids plain as day. Got a license # and gave to the beer truck drive. The driver of the getaway vehicle probably got a visit from the po po later that day. Little turds.

    • Ballston Resident

      Was there a description of the robber?

      • Mick

        Yeah, he stands about waist high, has big arms for a guy his height, and anger-management issues, and a freshly shaven face.

    • internet tourettes

      I guess you weren’t in management. The liablity exposure is more with the employee than the offender. In your job description there was nothing about loss prevention, which was done so that even if you did hurt your self you could never sue your employer for “doing your job.” Learn some labor law sometime.

    • Jo Anne

      It is too easy for a store to be sued by a shop lifter when untrained employees make apprehension. If a clerk sees a person put something into a purse or leave the store with merchandise they didn’t pay for , they need to alert the management and the security. The times that clerks have made the error of confronting people and then being assaulted , and the ones who made errors have been a long list. People have taken stuff out in a purse and later claimed that they just put it there to pay and forgot it was there. If there is enough cash to make payment of the item that fact can blow the case. Little things do count. It’s great to be vigilant and to do all you can to stop a thief. But not if it means getting hurt or killed or getting the store sued in process.

    • Eastwood

      No-contact order for Nova was probably because management knew he was not man enough to do anything and management did not want a crying little boy on their hands.

      PS: Any time, any place, and I hope you are feeling lucky, punk.

  • Captain_Obvious

    Wow, did anyone not think of just hitting the brake on his chair ?

    • KalashniKEV

      Broomstick through the spokes- stay out of striking distance!


      • drax

        You could just round up all those in wheelchairs. Crime problem solved.

        • MOsly

          If you outlaw wheelchairs, only outlaws will have wheelchairs.

    • MissKittenCat


  • BoredHouseWife

    sounds like you had stupid management Steve.

    • Have you ever worked retail?

      Hate to break it the folks who just don’t agree with Steve 99% of the time (cause that’s me), but saying his management was stupid is not exactly a great counter-point. AND many basic retail loss prevention policies include a strange combination of wanting to avoid theft in advance because once it’s happened it’s often a liability to the company to have an employee approach them. At the risk of the employee getting hurt OR taking it too far trying to act like a cop, etc. This is pretty standard. I’ve had a 20 year career in retail and loss prevention, it’s a strange world, and it defies some logic in the small picture, but overall it’s saved a lot of $$ in law suits and a lot of pain and suffering of actual employees who attempts to help go awry.

      • McroAce

        I used to work at Micro Center in Fairfax Virginia 1995 and they had extensive classes and hoops to jump thru with interesting looking diplomas.Some were a joke but some were quite detailed and their loss prevention said NEVER ever touch anyone you see stealing but keep your eyes on them and the stolen merch and call loss prevention which at that time there was ran by an intelligent ex-police officer. The laws for Va back then as per the training course were #1 they must conceal the item they are stealing and if its put in their pocket and item is visable even a tiny portion of it, its not concealed so intent isnt positive yet but if they place it in an inner pocket its concealed but if they take the item out before POS they are not guilty and thets why they wanted us to keep an eye on them the entire time to see if they dont ditch the item or whip it out and py for it at last min and #2 they didnt need to reach any door but once past POS (Point of sale) thats when they LP moved in for the takedown, Past the POS the exit isnt far but still about avg of 10 ft so they liked to get them inside the store.

        Hope that helps for the 90s, who knows what the laws are now.

  • JimPB

    Banishing a knife after shoplifting just might be a way for a wheel chair bound person to get food, shelter and care that (shame, shame) might well not be available otherwise.

    From when I lived in Indiana and in Iowa: there were mentally impaired persons who could cope well enough to get by (barely) in nice weather, but when winter settled in, their lives were at real risk. Social services weren’t good “in the good old days” either. The avenue to food, shelter and care through the winter was to walk out of a grocery store displaying openly a couple of unpaid for items, and then howl when nicely asked to return them. Per the script, the sheriff was called, and these folks were lodged in the jail for the winter where they got the food, shelter and care that they needed.

    • KalashniKEV

      “Brandishing a knife” is a good way to get shot by a gun…

    • drax

      Sounds like the Republican health care plan.

      • Cass

        Sounds like Obama’s “Revenge”….

        • Daisytoo

          Exactly right. And since when does an electric shaver and multiple bottles of wine constitute ‘necessities”?

          • drax

            To please the ladies.

    • TrishaDishawareagle

      I say, Let them Die then, and decrease the surplus population

  • RK

    I’m having so much inappropriate laughter over that wheelchair robbery.

    • 120

      This is too funny. Sounds like this guy needed a place to stay and was looking to get arrested. Armed robbery from a wheelchair? Agreed RK, inappropriate laughter here also.

  • Drunk_IrishChick

    Sounds like a case for HandiMan

    • 120

      Good one….

    • nom de guerre

      Sounds more like a case for Detective Head

  • nunya

    dude in wheel chair gets A for effort and F for execution.

  • Garden City

    “…fled the scene” is just killing me.

    • blah

      I keep trying to imagine wheeling a wheel chair while carrying carrying a knife; unless the wheelchair is mechanical.

      • Garden City

        In which case he’s fleeing the scene at about 3 mph.

        • Paul Blart

          there’s a movie about that

  • Former Retail Employee

    When I worked at a CVS-like store in college we also had the “no chasing shoplifters rule.” It was for OUR protection first and foremost.

    • Former Retail Employee

      Meant to be a reply to the thread above… sorry

  • Deshotz

    Maybe I spent too many years as a bartender, but I’m kinda curious as to why the first malicious wounding item including the little detail that the suspect used a bottle of amaretto. Would it make any difference if he used a bottle of rail vodka? Creme de Noyaux? Now, if he grabbed the Galliano bottle, that would be a different story.

    • drax

      Classy taste in the liquor you use for assault is a mitigating circumstance.

      • Ricardo

        Prosecutor: And then Mr. X picked up a bottle of Johnnie Walker and…

        Judge: Red or Black?

        Prosecutor: It was blue, your honor.

        Judge: GUILTY!

    • WeiQiang

      Blue Book Foul: my question is, why did the report capitalized “Amaretto”? Amaretto di Saronno, yes. Not, no.

      • WeiQiang

        ERRATA: … capitalize …

  • YTK

    Guy in a wheelchair robs a CVS? With all due respect, Mel Brooks could really go to town on this.

  • Htos1

    Dumber than dirt(sorry dirt).

  • b

    Knowing that a package of 4 gillette sensor disposable razors sets me back over $10 at CVS every few weeks or so, I don’t really blame this guy for liberating an electric razor. But obviously they should throw him in the clink for pulling a knife on someone.

    • drax

      Sure, makes sense.

  • Ferrell Aepps

    another day, another ape in a wheelchair try to ‘keel’ someone

  • aapatel1

    I wonder if that was little Chris from Boyz in the Hood.

  • Soulman

    He must have been looking for his free “Obama Phone” !!

  • Phil

    This ward of the court would make a great community organizer…..available, unskilled, unemployed, persistent..and provides his own tools. Might even run for President.

    • WeiQiang

      or he might just be Agent Free Willie of Project ORCA, which worked out just as well for Mitt

      • Smashicus

        What planet are you from?

        • nom de guerre

          He is from SARWOK-South Arlington Ridge West of Kent.

          • drax

            I thought Sarwok was moon of the Klingon planet.

          • WeiQiang

            Have you BEEN to Arlington Ridge? It could be both.

  • ty

    We will end up paying for his chair, his court costs, his medical care, his lawyer……and in the end……with a few days in the pokey, he will find a lawyer from the Huffington Post’s want adds to sue for defamation of character, slander, loss of income and loss of the use of his tools of trade, and of course, racism.

    • WeiQiang

      … because this often happens.

    • drax

      And yet, none of this will actually happen.

  • Aleric

    Let a criminal try and sue me and see how long he is around to press the charges. I am sure a crack head would be willing to beat the hell out of him for a lot less than the cost of a lawyer.

    • WeiQiang

      /\ paragon of virtue /\

    • Cass

      I agree- cheaper and oh so much more satisfying !

    • drax

      But then you end up in jail with the criminal (and the crackhead). Awkward.

      • WeiQiang

        no no no… higher pitch. try this: AWKwaaaaaard

        • drax


          Yeah, much better, thanks.

  • Eastwood

    Back in the day when I worked retail, I would ask a shoplifter a simple question: “Do you feel lucky, punk?”

  • Cass

    Why did he do this ?
    “Cuz Obama won and ain’t no way Holder gonna do nuttin to me !”

  • JBnID

    I’ve worked in several (gun) shops where shoplifters are supposed to be not only restrained, but shot if they need it.
    We had ZERO shoplifting problems.

    • drax

      How about armed robbery?

      • kcm

        Certainly wasn’t legged robbery…

  • ManOnPoint

    Do like those Vietnamese ladies did in CA when something similar happened except the robber had a machete, They smashed him in the face with the very bottles of wine he tried to steal!!! Being shot dead by the pharmacist wouldn’t hurt either…Sometimes they have a CWP!!!

  • MOsly

    “If you outlaw wheelchairs, only outlaws will have wheelchairs.”
    – Benjamin Frainklin, 1785.

  • GrumpyOlGuy

    Heartwarming! People with disabilities can accomplish anything they put their minds to.

    • drax

      I think I saw this on an after-school special.

  • GrumpyOlGuy

    There’s always a bright side. If he can’t get out of the wheelchair, he can go to prison and not worry if he drops the soap.

    • Smashicus

      I don’t know he might end up as a lap-warmer.

  • Jim Wiseman

    Maybe they should put a red-light cam at the door next to the height sticker..

  • Ernie

    No disrespect to the handicapped but unless the guy had a gun, how did this happen? I mean really …

  • kcm

    He robbed the CVS and drove the get-away vehicle…Efficient…

  • jackass

    i bet he had a bumper sticker on his wheel chair that read FORWARD

    • WeiQiang


  • David B. Thomas

    This is Northern Virginia. Isn’t this where Obama did very well – in the DC suburbs. Interesting.

    • Mick

      No less noteworthy than the meth epidemic and attendant dental issues rife in red counties.

      Was in Front Royal two weekends ago. I haven’t seen rotted teeth since I tuned in to one of those 70’s British sit coms they carry on WETA.

    • drax

      How is that interesting?

      • WeiQiang

        Do you really want to endure the answer?

  • Morris65

    Nice thing about Arlington, however, is you’ll note that all the violent criminals (burglary excluded) were apprehended and arrested.

  • Snurfend

    Robbed–as in with a gun? Or robbed–as in CVS was forced to spend millions of dollars on wheelchair friendly ramps, widening isles, shortened counters, and host disability awareness employee seminars or face state-imposed financial punishments?

    • drax

      Anonymity encourages people to say really stupid things.


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