Four Arrested After Armed Bank Robbery in Ballston

by ARLnow.com December 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm 11,863 49 Comments

Arlington County Police Department badgeA crew of heavily armed men robbed the Navy Federal Credit Union at 875 N. Randolph Street in Ballston Saturday morning, in a heist reminiscent of a Hollywood movie.

Three men who were wearing ski masks and pointing guns entered the credit union, located a block from Ballston Common Mall, just before 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

They shouted threats and forced the 13 customers in the business to lie on the ground. The men made off with several bags full of cash — an undisclosed but substantial sum of money — and were whisked from the scene of the crime by a getaway driver who was waiting outside, Sternbeck told ARLnow.com.

The suspects threw the bags (minus the cash) out of the car window as they made their escape to D.C. via I-66, Sternbeck said, but they were apparently unaware that the cash contained a GPS transceiver. Metropolitan Police used the GPS signal to track the cash to a residence in Southeast D.C., where all four men were arrested.

The FBI is investigating and the men may face federal charges, Sternbeck said.

  • bobbytiger

    Well that settles it, it time to pass a law to ban credit union robberies in Arlington, particularly with a use of a dreaded gun. That should take care of it, no?

    • Regulation!

      ***Correction*** Police were easily able to identify the robbers as they operated their getaway vehicle unlike most northern Virginia drivers: following all traffic laws, signaling when changing lanes, and yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk…

    • VaSqJay

      Hilarious and original.

    • Jon

      Ah yes, a gun proponent lashing his tongue AGAIN. You know, if Arlingtonians and their liberal views bother you so much, I hear Manassas is nice.

      • General McDowell

        ” I hear Manassas is nice.”

        Where in hell did you hear that ??

    • ihavenosense

      Yes – lets get rid of all laws- as occasionally people break them so what’s the point. I am really stupid but my mom lets me use her computer

      • YesMom.

        While we’re at it, we shouldn’t shame the men with guns, but instead teach them how to carve and whittle with them.

  • Liberal Steve

    We must ban the sale of all ski masks or require background checks on anyone wanting to purchase a ski mask. The ski mask lobbyists must be stopped.

    • NRA

      That’s nonsense! This crime would’ve been prevented if all bank employees wore ski masks. The way to stop bad guys wearing ski masks is to have good guys wearing ski masks.

    • Marc

      We need to arm the tellers. If all of the tellers were armed, Bank Robberies would be a thing of the past.

      • Bleh

        That’s actually not a bad idea, but what is a bank teller gets disgruntled and shoots all of his or her co-workers?

        • DCBuff

          Because all the good tellers will also have guns, they will take care of the bad teller.

  • fedworker

    Whaaat? Criminals from SE DC?

    • DeportEmAll


  • john

    Great police work! Glad officers were able to apprehend them without any police getting hurt.

  • Marie

    Hats off to the Arlington County Police Dept and the detectives who were able to arrest these guys in one day. Nice to know that we have the right people on the job plus smart use of technology to assist in solving crimes.

  • Instructor Sean

    If anyone would like to check out our Northern Virginia based firearms training company. We teach classes in Arlington.


    We are on yelp too.

    • Great!

      Joing the ranks of responsible gun owners like Nancy no-locks Lanza and Dick shoots-ur-face Cheney!

    • Greg


      Do you offer bank robbery training classes as well?

      • Joe Hoya

        Lesson #1: They put GPS tracking devices in with the stolen money. Who knew?

        • Ziv

          Almost everyone knows that they put gps units in the bags, hence the robbers tossed the bags out. What most robbers didn’t know until media types announced it, is that there are more gps units in with the money. So next time bank robbers hit a bank, they will be riffing through the bills until they find the hidden gps, thereby making the technique as useless as the formerly useful technique of putting the gps unit in the money bags.
          Thanks media types! Your desire to look knowledgeable trumps the value of keeping the technique quiet. And yes, the more knowledgeable crooks probably already knew this, but if most crooks were smarter, they wouldn’t be crooks.

          • Duh

            Yup it is the media’s fault….hoo boy, did your mother have any children who lived ??

          • Ziv

            Duh, (apt name, by the way) I didn’t say the robbery was the “media’s fault”. I said that media services would serve us all a lot better if they kept their mouths shut about some aspects of crime stories. That isn’t rocket science but it apparently flew right over your head.

          • duh

            So I guess that the answer is “No”…….thanks for your prompt response !!

          • James

            Yep…kinda stupid to reveal there are trackers in the money also. They should have just said that they were apprehended hours later.

          • Joe

            You guys act like the information about the investigative techniques used are not public information, which they are.

            In the court case that has yet to occur, but will, the steps that led to this arrest will be examined, including how the police found the location.

            How do you claim to support the US Constitution’s Due Process Clause and 4th Amendment clause when you seem to wish that the Government’s investigative techniques are willheld from public view? How does one exersize oversight of activities to which they are unaware?

    • JustMe

      Cool, I will check out all out.

  • Andrew

    I’m used to crime seeming to spike this time of year, but this is a lot more brazen than the usual car break ins. Who would think 10:00AM in the heart of Ballston? Damn

    • YTK

      They probably needed to get an early start on their last minnute Xmas –oooops — HOLIDAY shopping

  • Louise

    ed. note: should be “lie” on the ground, not “lay”. You lay a pencil down. You lie your own body down. ex. I lie down on the floor. I lay my purse on the floor beside me.

    • Thank you. We’ve fixed that and another typo in that sentence.

    • Ricardo

      Not quite. You can “lay your body down,” or you can “lie down.” (“Lay” takes a direct object, “lie” does not.) But you were correct in your diagnosis of the original mistake.

  • Buckingham Bandit

    As a member of the credit union, I will be pleased to see the liquidity restored to that branch. I realize of course that the credit union is likely indemnified against robberies.

  • Shocked

    Southeast DC? Well, that must be a first.


      Musta got a bootleg copy of THE TOWN and thought- “hey we can do that”

  • Crime Fiction Fan

    Since no one was hurt, I am just going to cheer for how exciting this is! Who doesn’t love a good bank robbery, especially one with a happy ending! Hats off to the bank and Arlington Police for setting a trap and catching the crooks!

    • I think you are forgetting the 13 customers and however many bank tellers who could be traumatized by the experience of being shouted at by men with guns and forced to lie on the floor, not knowing what the robbers planned to do should anything go wrong.

      • Former Bank Teller

        +1. Was robbed as a young bank teller. Having a gun pointed at you at close range is not “exciting”.

        • AL

          What was it then? Boring?

          • b0rk

            I’d guess “very scary.”

      • Joe

        you guys ever see fight club, where he threatens to kill the kid if he doesn’t go to school, and indicates that “tomorrow morning will be the greatest day of his life”? Do you guys think that living through the emotional trauma of an armed robbery could in some manner have made this the best Christmas Morning of these people’s lives?

        I’m obviously not saying that being threatened with an Uzi is good, but wondering if people can take/make some good become of it.

  • JimPB

    Aren’t the names of those arrested and the address in DC at which the arrests occurred available?

    Could have been: A confrontation of three “heavily armed” robbers and one surprised credit union armed guard in a small space with about a dozen others. Sounds like the setting for bullet-mayham with multiple injuries and deaths.
    Was: Robbers “given” money (and more) with no bullets fired and no injuries or deaths from gun fire. But with the covert GPS in the money, the robbers were tracked and, with the police organized, then were surprised and arrested, presumably without guns fired and no injuries or deaths from gun fire. Way to go.

  • JD

    Wow, was there at 0930. Glad to hear everyone is safe. Thanks ACPD.

  • Jane

    Maybe if they used the street car instead of 66 , they would have gotten away.

  • AR12

    No wonder.. GPS jamming would be next and all money travel in metal box with FRID Shield.Solved.

  • Scott

    Four armed men rob a business during daylight on a Saturday. <<Reason #1 why law-abiding citizens should be able to own semi-automatic rifles.

    • Joe

      Unless these law-abiding citizens would have been carrying their rifles, this robbery would have still ocurred. Are you suggesting that you would carry around an AR-15 to the pharmacy, bank, McDonalds, Metro, farmers market, movie theater, et cetera?

      I’m not trying to make an anti-gun argument. I support Gun rights. I’m just trying to understand what you ae trying to say.

  • Joe

    Unless these law-abiding citizens would have been carrying their rifles, this robbery would have still ocurred. Are you suggesting that you would carry around an AR-15 to the pharmacy, bank, McDonalds, Metro, farmers market, movie theater, et cetera?

    I’m not trying to make an anti-gun argument. I support Gun rights. I’m just trying to understand what you ae trying to say.


    Glad they were caught.. should be included on WTOP knuckel heads on Monday morning


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