(Updated at 6:50 p.m.) About half a dozen Arlington residents have woken up to find their car up on blocks over the past month.
Arlington County police have been responding to a seemingly increasing number of wheel thefts. Thieves have been been stealing the wheels — rims, tires and all — from parked vehicles in the middle of the night. So far, all of the thefts confirmed by ARLnow.com have taken place in south Arlington, but a tipster reported a “rash of wheel thefts” in the Madison Manor neighborhood of north Arlington in late October.
The most recent incident was reported Monday, Dec. 3. Two vehicles — a Dodge Challenger and a Dodge Magnum — had wheels stolen on the 2700 block of S. Veitch and S. Lang Streets. Meanwhile, two SUVs in the Riverhouse apartment parking lot on S. Joyce Street have had wheels stolen since the beginning of November, and a coupe had its wheels stolen in the complex’s parking garage. Also, a car on the 4700 block of Arlington Boulevard had two wheels stolen during Hurricane Sandy.
Police say they don’t have much to go on this point.
“We don’t have a very good suspect description right now,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “But we know it’s more than one person.”
Sternbeck said the suspects are likely driving a vehicle large enough to haul a set of four wheels, possibly a van or a truck. Residents should be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles or activity in their neighborhoods at night, he said.
Police say vehicle owners can protect themselves by using lug nuts or wheel locks, and by parking in well-lit and high traffic areas. If given the choice of parking in a garage or outside, police recommend parking inside the garage.
“An ongoing goal of ours is to prevent this,” Sternbeck said.
Update on 12/7/12 — Police are investigating another report of a car left up on blocks. In the overnight hours of December 5, someone stole the wheels from a 2012 Toyota Camry. The car had been in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 2700 block of S. Fern Street. This theft is near two incidents reported on Monday in the 2700 blocks of S. Lang and S. Veitch Streets.
Rep. Jim Moran (D) says lines to vote in last month’s election were “prohibitively long,” and is proposing legislation designed to reduce wait times at the polls.
Moran introduced a bill called the Voting Line Reduction and Online Registration Act yesterday (Tuesday). The bill comes a month after Arlington set a new voter turnout record, while residents reported waiting in 3+ hour lines to vote.
“Voters in many states, including Virginia, faced waits of up to four hours to vote, due in large part to insufficient or faulty voting equipment,” the congressman’s office said in a press release. “Moran’s bill addresses these problems by directing the Election Assistance Commission to set a minimum number of voting systems, poll workers, and other election resources at each voting site for all Federal elections.”
The 51-page bill also “establishes a system where individuals can both register and update their voting information” online, and mandates at least a week of early voting. Virginia currently allows in-person absentee voting, but voters must have a valid reason to be voting early.
A woman’s boyfriend and her ex-husband got into a physical fight as a result of a child custody dispute at the Arlington County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (1425 N. Court House Road), according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Sheriff’s deputies broke up the fight. One of the men was punched in the face and was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for “very minor injuries,” according to Sternbeck.
The man who was brought to the hospital, 38-year-old D.C. resident Maron Moss, Jr., was identified as the “aggressor” and charged with assault and battery, Sternbeck said. The second man was not charged.
An office at 1901 Ft. Myer Drive was raided, as was a townhouse just north of Rosslyn. So far, the FBI Washington Field Office is mum on the details.
“We are serving search warrants at multiple locations in Arlington this morning,” said spokesman Andrew Ames. “There is nothing public at the moment that we can share.”
A source tells ARLnow.com that the FBI was searching offices of the Rosslyn-based University of Management and Technology. The house that was searched is owned by the private university’s academic dean, according to property records.
UMT’s U.S. website was down, but is now working, and a Hong Kong-based website for UMT is still active. The school offers degrees in criminal justice, homeland security, information technology and business administration, among other areas of study. It advertises itself as “military friendly,” and accepts military personnel using the G.I. Bill. The school also accepts foreign students using F-1 visas and sponsored J-1 visa international exchange students.
According to a U.S. Department of Commerce web page, UMT has “deep roots in the Federal sector” and academic dean Dr. J. Davidson Frame is a “world-class leader in project and acquisition management.”
On Monday, District Taco founder Osiris Hoil officially became an American citizen.
“Today America has accepted me to be part of this beautiful country,” Hoil tweeted at the time. “Today I became an American!! Thank you USA!!”
The naturalization ceremony was yet another high point of a whirlwind three and a half years for Hoil, a native of Mexico. In that time Hoil went from laid-off construction worker to food cart operator to a partner in an expanding local restaurant chain. (District Taco is planning to open a third location, on Capitol Hill, early next year.)
We asked Hoil about his path to citizenship and business success.
ARLnow: Tell us a bit about your personal history before District Taco.
I am from Yucatán, Mexico, born and raised in small town call Tekax. Due of a lack of opportunities, my family (dad and mom) thought that I could have better opportunities in the USA. So I came here in 1999. My first job was as a dishwasher at a restaurant. I then worked my way up to become a kitchen manager (that took few years).
ARLnow: How did District Taco come to be?
It was founded by Marc [Wallace] and I. He was my neighbor and I used to go to his house to have picnics with my family and his family. He loves my food and we came up with an idea when I lost my job.
I applied in 2004, right after I got married. The process was hard, because it takes a lot of paper work and patience.
ARLnow: What was your reaction upon first learning that your citizenship had gone through?
It was great. When they told me that my papers were good, it was time to study the history of U.S. and civil rights, because they do an oral test in the interview. I didn’t have any problem answering the questions, so I passed the test. One of the questions I was asked was, “Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?” I simply answered: “Thomas Jefferson.”
Va. to Consider Tougher Texting Laws — In January, state lawmakers will consider bills that would stiffen the penalties for texting while driving in Virginia. Currently, texting while driving is a secondary offense — you can only be charged with it if pulled over for another violation — and the penalty is a $20 fine for the first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses. Del. Scott Surovell (D-Mt. Vernon) wants drivers to be charged with reckless driving if they get in an accident while texting. [Lynchburg News & Advance, Daily Press, WTOP]
Road Closures for ‘Jingle Bell Run’ — Parts of S. Joyce Street and Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City will be closed from 7:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. Race attendees are encouraged to take Metro. [Arlington County Police]
Hynes Lauds Animal Welfare Efforts — Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes has issued a proclamation praising the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and The Humane Society of the United States “for working together to improve the treatment of animals, including farm animals in the food industry.” [Humane Society]
PG Lawmaker Called ‘Too Arlington’ — Prince George’s County Council member Eric Olson, a progressive Democrat and noted environmentalist, recently lost his bid to become chairman of the Council. One lawyer who represents developers in Prince George’s County said of Olson: “Some people think he is too ‘Arlington.'” [Washington Post]