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Car Theft Suspect Apprehended After Chase, Crash

A teen is facing a number of charges after some early morning vehicular mayhem in Arlington on Saturday.

Arlington County police say the teen was prowling the Hall’s Hill neighborhood in a stolen Chevrolet Camaro, looking for unlocked cars. He was accompanied by at least three other suspects and two other vehicles.

“At approximately 5:07 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle tampering in the 2000 block of N. Cameron Street,” police said in a press release Monday. “The reporting party advised they had observed four suspects associated with a Chevrolet Camaro trying door handles of parked vehicles in the area. A responding officer located the suspect vehicle, with two other vehicles following closely behind and attempted a traffic stop.”

The three vehicles fled at high speed, but were located nearby.

“Additional officers attempted to stop the vehicles on N. Culpeper Street where the driver of a sedan with Maryland temporary tags accelerated towards them, attempted to strike an officer who was on foot, and crashed into a police cruiser,” police say. “No officers were injured.”

The suspects then fled onto Lee Highway, where officers again spotted them and initiated a chase. The Camaro later crashed into a median near the Washington Blvd and Route 50 interchange, and the teen was taken into custody after “a brief foot pursuit.”

He is now facing charges of Conspiracy to Commit a Felony, Burglary, Eluding, and Motor Vehicle Theft.

Another of the suspect vehicles — a black Mercedes — was found abandoned on the 100 block of N. Edgewood Street, a few blocks from where the Camaro crashed. Officers, assisted by the U.S. Park Police helicopter, searched the area but did not find the driver.

The Camaro was stolen from Arlington’s Dominion Hills neighborhood, police said, while the Mercedes was stolen from Hall’s Hill after a home break-in.

“The suspects had entered a separate unlocked vehicle, located a garage door opener and made entry into their residence from the garage,” said ACPD. “Once inside, the suspects stole a purse containing keys to the Mercedes and fled the scene in the vehicle before being located by officers.”

The thefts and chases are the latest in a year-and-a-half long spate of vehicle break-ins and thefts, many involving suspects who search for unlocked cars and other crimes of opportunity.

The police press release noted that another recent crime — a car stolen from a home with an open garage door on Friday — may be related.

This incident is being investigated as related to a similar residential burglary reported on February 19. At approximately 9:59 a.m., police were dispatched to the 2300 block of N. Quebec Street for the report of a burglary just discovered. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 5:00 a.m., the suspects gained entry to the residence from an open garage door. Once inside, the suspects stole wallets, cash and vehicle keys. The suspects then used the vehicle keys to flee the scene in the victim’s 2021 white Mercedes.

ARLnow hears that the home from which the white Mercedes was stolen is owned by former Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat. Real estate listings suggest that the property in the Cherrydale neighborhood is being rented.

The Arlington County Police Department, meanwhile, is asking for the public’s help in identifying the car theft suspects.

The investigation into these incidents and the identities of the involved parties is ongoing. Anyone with information or video surveillance that may assist with the investigation is asked to contact Detective D. Johnson at 703-228-4193 or [email protected] or Detective S. Whalin at 703-228-4159 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

The department also offered the following burglary prevention and safety tips.

Residential Burglary Tips and Crime Prevention Measures

Consider these tips to help keep you and your property safe and secure:

  • Ensure all doors, windows and skylights are properly secured.
  • Install deadbolt locks on external doors. Engage both the knob and deadbolt locks overnight and each time you leave your home.
  • Keep garage doors closed and locked, even when home. If you have an attached garage, lock the door into the house.
  • Never hide spare keys around your property. Instead, leave a spare key with someone you trust.
  • Consider exterior lights, security cameras and alarm systems and activate them overnight.

If you are the victim of a residential burglary:

  • Call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 immediately.
  • If you locate signs of forced entry, don’t enter your residence.
  • While awaiting the arrival of officers, don’t touch anything or allow anyone to enter. This preserves evidence for crime scene agents.
  • Assist police by compiling a list of serial numbers and/or exact descriptions of stolen property to increase the chance of property recovery.

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