According to police, an unknown man called the woman, saying he had kidnapped her daughter and would harm her unless he received a payment. The woman called police, but not before withdrawing money for a potential ransom payment. Officers located the woman’s daughter and confirmed that the kidnapping claim was a scam, stopping any potential payments to the scammer.
More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
EXTORTION, 2017-11260099, 5200 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 12:05 p.m. on November 26, police were dispatched to a possible robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that a female victim called the Emergency Communication Center after receiving a threatening phone call from an unknown suspect. The suspect stated that he had kidnapped the victim’s daughter and would harm her unless the victim provided the suspect with money. The arriving officer was able to contact the victim’s daughter and confirm that she was not in danger. The victim had withdrawn money, however, the suspect was unable to provide her with a method for transferring the money as officers had arrived on scene and interrupted the transaction.
Police said the incident followed a pattern seen in similar kidnapping scams that have been reported recently. ACPD offered the following tips for someone who may receive a phone call claiming to be from a kidnapper.
The ACPD wants you to stay safe and be well-informed. To avoid becoming a victim of this extortion scheme, look for the following possible indicators:
- Calls do not come from the kidnapped victim’s phone
- Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone
- Callers prevent you from calling or locating the “kidnapped” victim
- Ransom money is only accepted via wire transfer service
If you receive a phone call from someone who demands payment of a ransom for a kidnapped victim, contact police immediately.
The incident happened Monday around 4 p.m., near the Costco and Best Buy parking lot. Police say a 10-year-old girl was approached by a man after being dropped off by her school bus.
“The victim described the suspect as speaking with a British accent as he offered her candy and reported to have dogs inside his van,” police said in a press release. “When the victim refused, the suspect grabbed her backpack and jacket before the victim was able to escape. The suspect fled the area by vehicle.”
From the press release:
The suspect is described as a white male, possibly in his 20’s with black hair and wearing a black shirt and possibly red pants at the time of the incident. His vehicle is described as a white van with a sliding side door.
Police have increased patrols in the area. Anyone with information on the identity of this individual or details surrounding this incident is asked to contact Detective K. Bercovicz of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit at 703.228.4235 or at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
(Updated at 4 p.m.) A Woodbridge man has been arrested in connection with the sexual assault of a Lyon Park woman last month.
The sexual assault was linked via evidence to two attempted abductions in Arlington in 2007, according to Arlington County Police. A renewed investigation into those cold cases led to the arrest of 34-year-old Justin Poe.
Poe has not yet been charged in the May sexual assault.
“We are awaiting additional evidence and additional charges are expected related to the 2016 case,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department has arrested and charged a 34 year-old suspect with two counts of attempted abduction for his role in attacks stemming from 2007. Justin Wingate Poe, 34, of Woodbridge, VA is currently being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility. Additional charges are expected.
At approximately 4:56 a.m. on May 15, 2016 a female victim awoke in her residence in the 700 block of N. Edgewood Street to an unknown male sexually assaulting her. Following the attack, the male suspect fled the scene and the victim was able to contact 911. DNA evidence recovered from this assault was submitted to the state laboratory for analysis. The DNA results linked this case with an unsolved 2007 attempted abduction in the 1100 block of N. Vermont Street.
At approximately 2:27 a.m. on May 28, 2007 a female victim was walking in the 1100 block of N. Vermont Street when an unknown male suspect confronted her from behind and attempted to cover her face with a plastic bag. The victim screamed and the suspect fled the area on foot. The plastic bag was processed for evidence and a latent fingerprint was recovered.
An additional attack occurred on June 7, 2007 at approximately 1:20 a.m. when a female victim inside her residence in the 2600 block of Lee Highway heard a knock on her door. When she opened the door, an unknown male subject standing against the wall just outside the door attempted to place a plastic bag over the victim’s head. The victim screamed and the suspect fled the scene on foot. The victim was able to provide a detailed description of the suspect to police and a composite sketch was released to the public.
Upon receiving the link between the 2007 and 2016 cases, Arlington County Police Department detectives began an intensive investigation including the review of cold case files, crime scene evidence and laboratory results. The review led to additional information that led detectives to identify Justin Wingate Poe as a possible suspect. Forensic evidence and thorough investigative efforts linked the suspect to the incidents in the 1100 block of N. Vermont Street and the 2600 block of Lee Highway.
Officers from the Arlington County Police Department’s Tactical Unit and the Prince William County Police Department took Poe into custody at his residence in Woodbridge, VA in the evening hours of June 17, 2016. Poe has been charged with two counts of attempted abduction. Additional charges are expected. The apprehension of Poe was the direct result of outstanding police work and the leveraging of resources from our regional law enforcement partners.
The investigation into Poe is ongoing. Anyone who has information regarding these incidents or concerning Poe is asked to call Detective Sloan at 703.228.4198 or [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
The incident happened around 11 a.m. Monday, at the suspect’s house on the 2700 block of S. Grove Street in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood, near Crystal City.
Police say 50-year-old Joseph N. Mondello “refused to let a computer technician leave the residence until his computer was fixed.” Mondello also “allegedly had a gun in his possession and threatened to kill the victim,” according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.
Mondello, who’s a registered lobbyist, was charged with abduction by force or intimidation and use of a firearm in a felony, according to court records. The abduction charge can carry a sentence of anything from a couple of months in jail to up to 10 years in prison.
According to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, Mondello had a previous “run in” with another computer technician, but that encounter did not escalate to the degree of this latest incident.
Police say the 23-year-old woman was walking down the 1200 block of N. Quincy Street around 10:20 p.m. Tuesday when she was grabbed from behind by an unknown man. The man tried to pull her into some nearby bushes but quickly fled the scene.
“The victim screamed out for help causing the suspect to flee,” according to Arlington County Police. “The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his 20-30’s, approximately 5’6″-5’8″ and weighed 130-160 lbs. He was wearing a white t-shirt, dark pants, loafer shoes, and a backpack at the time of the incident.”
Though the suspect description is similar to that of a man suspected in up to a half dozen similar attacks on women in August, police say they don’t think it’s the same person.
“It doesn’t appear that this is the same guy, but we’re not going to rule that out,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Sternbeck said there’s additional information or evidence that suggests it’s a different suspect, but so far that information is not being publicly released while investigators continue to work the case.
A woman told police that an SUV pulled up to her around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, on the 1300 block of S. George Mason Drive. There were two women inside the SUV, who flashed a handgun and demanded that the victim get into the vehicle.
While inside, according a crime report, the suspects robbed the victim of a handbag containing cash, a cell phone and a passport. They drove a few blocks then let the victim out of the vehicle.
From the crime report:
Both suspects were described as Hispanic females, approximately 45 years old. One suspect wore a baseball cap and grey hoodie. The second suspect had bleached blonde hair. She was wearing a hoodie with floral print, ripped blue jeans and ankle-high snow boots. The suspect’s vehicle was described as a dark color SUV, unknown make, model or tags. The investigation remains on going at this time.
The incident happened around 8:00 a.m. at the new 19Nineteen apartments, on the 1900 block of Clarendon Blvd in the Courthouse area.
Police say a man grabbed a woman as she came to the front door of the building to see if her Uber driver had arrived. He allegedly threw the woman to the ground, at which time the building concierge tackled the man and held him until police arrived.
“The victim did not sustain physical injury but was clearly shaken when interviewed by our detectives,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Washington resident Jerome King, 32, was charged with abduction with the intent to defile. He was held without bond.
Photo courtesy ACPD
The suspect, described as a white, Hispanic or Middle Eastern man in his mid- to late-20s, jumped into the woman’s car while she was dropping off the man at the East Falls Church Metro station at about 4:20 p.m., according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm. The victims told police the suspect said “I need a ride” and directed her to drive.
“Just drive and no one will get hurt,” the alleged abductor told the two victims, according to Malcolm. “Don’t do anything stupid, and no one has to get hurt.”
The victims pulled into the Exxon station at 400 W. Broad Street in Falls Church, Malcolm said, and were able to exit the vehicle and call police after the suspect fell asleep in the back. The suspect, described as 5-foot-9 to 5-foot-11, 160-170 pounds with black hair, wearing a dark ball cap, dark blue hoodie, and blue jeans, fled the scene and avoided apprehension when he heard police sirens approaching.
From this week’s crime report:
ABDUCTION, 141122061, 1900 block of N Sycamore St, On 11/22/14 at 1620 hours, the male and female victims told police they had exited the highway and had stopped to allow the male victim to exit the vehicle when an unknown male suspect entered the rear of the vehicle demanding they continue to drive and threatening them if they called police or used their cell phones. The victim(s) continued to drive into Falls Church where the pulled into a gas station, exited the vehicle, and called police. The suspect, who was now asleep in the back, was alerted by police sirens and fled the scene. He is described as a white Hispanic or Middle Eastern male with no discernable accent, unshaven, 5’09” to 5’11”, mid to late 20s, 160-170 lbs, black hair, wearing a dark ball cap, dark blue hoodie, and blue jeans.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
Police say a 31-year-old woman was driving through the Ballston area around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday (October 4), when the suspect pulled up behind her and turned on a rotating red light on his dashboard. The victim pulled over on N. 11th Street near Quincy Park and the suspect approached her car, displaying a badge. The man reportedly told the victim to get out of her car and go with him to the police station. The woman was skeptical and stayed in her car. She told the man she was going to call the police to have an officer in uniform respond to the scene. At that point, the man took off in his car.
“This suspect had the intention of getting the victim into his vehicle,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “If something doesn’t seem right to you, trust your instincts and contact police. This woman’s actions likely kept her from being abducted.”
ACPD will confirm if a traffic stop is legitimate for any citizen who calls the police non-emergency line at 703-558-2222.
The police impersonator is described as a black man, around 6′ tall and 200 pounds. He was driving an older, dark colored car that appeared to be a Crown Victoria or a similar car resembling an unmarked police vehicle.
Anyone with information about this incident should contact ACPD Detective Conigliaro at 703-228-4193 or [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS (8477).
The incident, described by police as an “attempted abduction,” took place at 10:35 p.m. on the 3800 block of 12th Street S. Two men allegedly ran up to and grabbed an 18-year-old woman as she was getting into her car.
The woman fought off the attackers, who took off on foot when they spotted a police car nearby, according to the Arlington County Police Department.
From the police report:
ATTEMPTED ABDUCTION, 140908058, 3800 block of S. 12th Street. At 10:35 pm on September 8, two subjects allegedly grabbed an 18 year-old female victim from behind as she was attempting to enter her vehicle. The victim tried to fight off her attackers and sustained minor injuries. The suspects fled the scene when they observed a police vehicle in the area that was responding to a separate incident. The victim flagged police down and a K9 search was unsuccessful. Suspect one is described as a Hispanic male, between 5’5″ and 6’0″ tall and had two stripes shaved into his hair near his temple. Suspect two is described as a Hispanic male, between 5’5″ and 6’0″ tall. He was wearing dark clothing at the time of the incident.
Police say a 30-year-old female jogger was running on the 3400 block of S. Utah Street at approximately 6:00 a.m. when a white, four-door sedan — driven by a white male in his 40s with brown hair and a goatee — approached her.
The man allegedly asked the victim for directions before he grabbed her and attempted to pull her into his car. She was able to break free and run home to call police.
The suspect was possible wearing a white t-shirt during the incident, police said, and drove off in the southbound direction of S. Utah Street.
The police department is asking those with information about the incident or suspect to contact Detective LeFrancois of the Special Victim’s Unit at 703-228-4095 or at [email protected]. Anonymous tips can also be provided through the Arlington County Crime Solvers Hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Circuit Court Judge Louise M. DiMatteo imposed the jury’s sentencing for 54-year-old Rodolfo Hernandez-Suazo — which included 50 years for rape, 25 years for abduction with intent to defile and 5 years for incest — but ordered that the sentences run concurrently.
Hernandez-Suazo lured his then 22-year-old daughter to a south Arlington hotel room last year, claiming he was going to complete some maintenance work there. Once both were at the hotel, Hernandez-Suazo forced sex on his daughter.
Prosecutors say Hernandez-Suazo then told the daughter to take a shower, but she did not end up doing so. As a result, after she reported the crime to police several hours later, investigators from the Arlington County Police Department Special Victims Unit were able to retrieve DNA evidence from her.
Hernandez-Suazo had been estranged from his daughter since leaving El Salvador about 20 years ago. They were reunited in 2009, when the daughter came to the United States to live with her mother, but she broke off contact after Hernandez-Suazo touched her inappropriately. He then re-initiated contact last year, leading to the incident in the hotel room.
“The victim held the understandable but misguided belief that she and the defendant could at last have a normal father-daughter relationship. Unfortunately he turned out to be a predator, not a parent,” said Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Lisa Tingle. “Her courage in coming forward should give others similar strength knowing that our community treats these offenses with the utmost seriousness.”
In this week’s Arlington County crime report, a man pulls a gun on his ex-boyfriend on Valentine’s Day, leading to a struggle. The victim manages to take away the suspect’s gun, and the suspect flees. Ironically, this scene played out only one block from police headquarters in Courthouse.
ABDUCTION 02/14/11, 2000 block of N. 15th Street. On February 14 at 6:50 pm, a man was walking to his car when his ex-boyfriend approached him displaying a firearm. The suspect attempted to force the victim into a car, and the two struggled. The victim was able to recover the weapon and call police. The suspect fled. Warrants are pending.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
It’s looking increasingly likely that Jorge Torrez will face charges in connection with the murder of two young girls in Zion, Ill. back in 2005, a case that captivated Chicago and made national news at the time.
Charges were dropped today against the man who was originally accused of the crime. Jerry Hobbs, who confessed to the gruesome murders but later said the confession was coerced, has been released from prison, according to Chicago Breaking News.
Lake County, Ill. prosecutors are expected to hold a press conference later this morning to discuss “new information” in the case. That information is likely revolve around Jorge Torrez, a former Marine currently being held in Arlington on charges of abduction and rape.
DNA evidence in the case reportedly linked Torrez to the murders last month. Torrez used to live in Zion and was close friends with the older brother of one of the victims.
Jorge “George” Torrez, a Marine who’s being held at the Arlington County Detention Center on charges of abduction and rape, has been linked via DNA to a double homicide outside Chicago, his attorney confirmed to ARLnow.com today.
Attorney Denman Rucker said he was contacted by investigators but had no further information about how the DNA test was performed or whether the test was “legitimate.”
The crime that Torrez is being linked to occurred in 2005.
Laura Hobbs and Krystal Tobias, ages 8 and 9, were found repeatedly stabbed in a park in the lakeside city of Zion, Ill. Jerry Hobbs, Laura’s, confessed to the crime after a 20-hour interrogation, but later said the confession of coerced, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Prosecutors pressed the case against Hobbs despite the fact that his DNA did not match semen found on one of the girls’ body and clothing. He has been held in jail for five years. The DNA was matched to a new suspect last month, prosecutors told the Tribune.
Torrez’s sister, who lives in Zion, says investigators told her that evidence points to her brother. Sara Torrez says Jorge, 21, was friends with Tobias’ brother, but says she believes her brother is innocent.
So far, Torrez has not been charged in connection with the murders. Arlington County authorities have been alerted to the DNA link and are following the case.
In Illinois, meanwhile, a court hearing that may result in Hobbs’ release has been set for July 21.
The Zion murders achieved infamy in Chicago and received national media attention. In an 2005 interview with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News Channel, Lake County, Ill. prosecutor Michael Waller defended the prosecution of Hobbs even though there were inconsistencies with his confession.
“It’s not unusual to have a defendant give untruths in a statement where he admits his guilt. It’s something we deal with all the time,” he said.
Waller also explained why Sheila Hollabaugh, the mother of Laura Hobbs, maintained that her boyfriend was innocent.
“It’s not unusual for the girlfriend or the wife to stick with the defendant,” Waller said. “If that happens in this case, you know, I won’t be surprised.”