Press Club

Morning Notes

ART bus in traffic in Ballston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Crashed Car Still Along Riverbank — “Two months after a man’s car careened two hundred feet off George Washington Parkway in Virginia, the National Park Service is developing a plan to remove the vehicle from an embankment next to the Potomac River… Police tape surrounds the car, which remains resting upside down. The driver’s papers and personal belongings are still scattered next to the car, which has graffiti painted on it.” [Patch]

February Rents Up Slightly — “The median monthly rental for an apartment in the county last month was $1,982 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,399 for two bedrooms, according to data reported March 1 by Apartment List. Compared to the period immediately preceding the arrival of the pandemic in March 2020, Arlington rents are up 0.5 percent.” [Sun Gazette]

Clarendon-Based Axios Expanding — “This year, Axios is pouring $30 million into expanding its footprint, said Jim VandeHei, the chief executive. It is spreading into cities (Axios Local), industries (Axios Pro) and workplaces (Axios HQ)… It now has more than 400 employees, with 150 in its newsroom in Arlington, Va., and 2.2 million subscribers across its 34 national and global newsletters.” [New York Times]

Arlington Man Arrested for Abduction — “Victim One stated that she had been at an establishment in the 500 block of 23rd Street S. with the known suspect when they became involved in a verbal dispute. When Victim One attempted to leave with Victim Two and another witness, the suspect approached Victim One and allegedly began physically assaulting her before being separated by additional witnesses. The victims then went to retrieve Victim One’s vehicle from a garage in the 500 block of 12th Road S., when the suspect approached them, brandished a firearm and made threatening statements… A struggle ensued, during which the suspect attempted to prevent Victim One from leaving.” [Arlington County]

Comcast Upping Broadband Speeds — “Comcast announced today that it has increased speeds for its most popular Xfinity Internet tiers, providing an extra boost for millions of residential customers across 14 northeastern states from Maine through Virginia and the District of Columbia.” [Comcast]

Va. Tornado Drill Today — “Join us for the Statewide Tornado Drill TOMORROW at 9:45 AM! Practice sheltering from a #tornado: Go to a lower level of your home or office, away from windows. Get under sturdy shelter like a desk if you can.” [Twitter]

Record High Temperature Set — “For the second day in a row, record highs were set across the area. Highs of at least 80 in Washington, 76 at Dulles, and 78 at BWI are all records for the date. That 80-degree reading in the city is 10th-earliest on record.” [Capital Weather Gang]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 56 and low of 41. Sunrise at 6:31 am and sunset at 6:10 pm. [Weather.gov]

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An Arlington man is facing numerous charges after an alleged abduction and shot fired along Columbia Pike.

The incident happened Tuesday night near the western end of the Pike in Arlington.

“At approximately 9:56 p.m. on January 11, police were dispatched to the report of a dispute,” said today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the known suspect and female victim became involved in a verbal dispute. During the incident, the suspect allegedly brandished a firearm, threatened the victim, attempted to force her into a vehicle before discharging a round into the air and fleeing the scene.”

A suspect was later arrested.

“Officers identified the suspect, obtained warrants and subsequently located him and took him into custody without incident,” ACPD said. The 27-year-old man is facing an array of charges including “Abduction, Brandishing a Firearm, Assault & Battery, Reckless Handling of a Firearm, and Discharging a Firearm in a Public Place.”

Separately, a 33-year-old Arlington man is facing charges after an incident Wednesday night in the Westover area, on the 1100 block of N. Kenilworth Street.

“At approximately 10:36 p.m. on January 12, police were dispatched to the report of a person with a gun. Upon arrival, officers determined the suspect’s location inside an apartment, announced themselves as law enforcement and gave him commands to exit,” said the crime report. “The suspect exited the residence with a firearm in his hands, complied with officers commands to drop the weapon and was subsequently taken into custody without incident.”

“The investigation determined that the witness was inside her residence when she heard a loud noise coming from across the hallway and observed the suspect allegedly banging on an apartment door, making threatening statements and armed with a firearm,” the crime report continued.

A suspect was arrested and is facing charges of Reckless Handling of a Firearm and Disorderly Conduct, according to ACPD.

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Morning Notes

The Grinch, illustrated in Post-It Notes by Brigid Donaghy on the front of the H-B Woodlawn school building in Rosslyn (photo courtesy Dan Donaghy)

Redevelopment of Parking Garage Proposed — “The owner of a pair of Crystal City hotels along Richmond Highway is moving to redevelop a parking garage on the property into residential, the latest bit of change for the neighborhood as part of an Amazon.com Inc.-inspired development boom. Miami’s Sound Hospitality is on the hunt for a development partner to manage the transformation of a garage that currently serves Crystal City’s Hampton Inn and Suites and Hilton Garden Inn.” [Washington Business Journal]

Parent Group Wants More Class Time — “An advocacy group is pressing the Arlington School Board to add more instructional time to the school system’s proposed 2022-23 calendar. The comments came at the Dec. 2 School Board meeting, in which board members were presented with a staff proposal that meets the letter of state law in providing at least 990 hours of instructional time. But the school system should be going further – holding classes the full 180 days that had been the pre-COVID standard – said Camille Galdes, who spoke on behalf of Arlington Parents for Education.” [Sun Gazette]

Firefighter Unions Call Out Alexandria — “Understaffing within the Alexandria Fire Department put people and buildings at risk during a fire at Crystal City’s restaurant row on 23rd Street earlier this month, according to two unions representing more than 500 Alexandria and Arlington firefighters, medics and fire marshals.” [ALXnow]

Middle School Student Disciplined for Weapon — “On Thursday afternoon, the Swanson Administrative team received a report that a student was in possession of a weapon on their walk home from school. As a result of our investigation and consultation with the Arlington [County] Police Department on Friday, the student was disciplined in accordance with the Arlington Public Schools code of conduct.” [Twitter]

New ACPD Officers Sworn In — “December 10, 2021 marked a significant milestone for the Arlington County Police Department’s 18 newest officers as Session 145 graduated from the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy. During the graduation, the officers took their oath to serve and protect the Arlington community and safeguard the Constitutional rights of all.” [ACPD]

Abduction Arrest in Clarendon — “At approximately 3:22 a.m. on December 10, police were dispatched to the report of a check on the welfare. The reporting party advised the female victim was inside a vehicle with a known suspect who would not allow her to exit… [The suspect], 26, of Washington D.C. was arrested and charged with Abduction and held without bond.” [ACPD]

W&OD Trail Bridge Gets Decked — “Enjoy a smooth ride on the newly-redecked bridge east of Little Falls St in Arlington.” [Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Today will be sunny with a high of 54 and a low of 38. Sunrise at 7:19 a.m. and sunset at 4:47 p.m. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a high of 55 and a low of 39. [Darksky]

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A boy was walking his dog in Cherrydale when a stranger tried to engage him in conversation and then started following him around.

That’s according to Arlington County police, who describe the Saturday afternoon incident near the intersection of N. Monroe Street and 18th Street N. as an attempted abduction.

The suspect fled the scene in a black SUV and remains at large. Police say they are still investigating.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ATTEMPTED ABDUCTION, 2021-08070159, N. Monroe Street at 18th Street N. At approximately 3:47 p.m. on August 7, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined that the juvenile male victim was walking his dog in the area when the unknown male suspect attempted to engage him in conversation. The victim ran from the scene and observed the suspect following after him. As the victim returned to his residence, he observed the suspect turn and run back towards his vehicle. The suspect is described as an unknown race male, approximately 5’9″ to 5’10” tall, 170 – 180 lbs with long black hair. He was wearing a black long sleeve shirt, black ski hat, black pants with a tear on the right leg above the knee, a black mask and gray shoes. The suspect vehicle is described as a black SUV. A canvass of the area by responding officers concluded with negative results. The investigation is ongoing.

Arlington County police are investigating an incident involving two teen girls and a man who tried to lure them into his car in a 7-Eleven parking lot.

The incident happened Saturday afternoon, outside the convenience store at 5747 Lee Highway.

“At approximately 2:46 p.m. on September 19, police were dispatched to the report of suspicious circumstances,” Arlington County Police said in a crime report today. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the female juvenile victims were exiting a business when the male subject pulled up next to them in his vehicle and attempted to engage them in conversation. They declined and began to run away.”

“The subject yelled to the victims again to come back to his car, at which point a witness came to the aid of the victims and contacted police,” the crime report continues. “The subject fled in the vehicle prior to police arrival.”

On Nextdoor, a Leeway Overlee resident who identified himself as a parent of one of the 13-year-old victims further described what happened, calling it an “attempted abduction.”

“Our daughter and one of her friends walked up to 7-Eleven next to Sloppy Mama’s BBQ yesterday, they walked past a small white car when the driver yelled out ‘I will buy you Slurpees if you get in,'” he wrote. “They ignored, bought their goods and left, again walking by the car, he opened the door and yelled at them to get in, they ignored and proceeded towards Lee/Lexington intersection, the man drove out of the lot to that intersection and again yelled once again.”

According to the poster, the witness who intervened was the manager of the nearby District Taco restaurant. The company’s founder and CEO confirmed to ARLnow today that the restaurant’s general manager was on her break and jumped into action upon seeing what was happening.

“Lashelle Mason was there at the right spot and time,” said Osiris Hoil. “Thank God.”

Hoil, who lives in the neighborhood and has three children, added that he’s being more cautious after the incident.

Also quick to intervene, according to the Nextdoor post, was Joe Neuman, founder of Sloppy Mama’s, who provided security camera footage to police.

“We immediately went to our cameras and helped Arlington PD as best we could,” Neuman confirmed. “We had the incident on our cameras but the car had [a] license plate cover on it so we were unable to get a plate.”

“The investigation is ongoing,” ACPD said in today’s crime report.

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A 25-year-old man is in custody after police say he attacked a woman in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood near Pentagon City.

The alleged attack happened around 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at the intersection of 18th Street S. and S. Ives Street.

Police say the man wielded a knife as he knocked the victim to the ground, with the intent of sexually molesting her. The woman fought back and the suspect was ultimately scared off by a witness. Officers located a man matching the suspect description nearby and took him into custody.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ABDUCTION WITH THE INTENT TO DEFILE, 2020-02110202, 18th Street S. at S. Ives. At approximately 7:23 p.m. on February 11, police were dispatched to the report of an assault that just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was walking in the area when she heard someone behind her. The victim turned and confronted the suspect who allegedly knocked her to the ground, brandished a knife and assaulted the victim. A witness yelled at the suspect, causing him to flee the scene on foot. Responding officers located an individual matching the suspect description and he was later positively identified. The victim suffered minor injuries. William Peoples, 25, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Abduction with the Intent to Defile and Carrying a Concealed Weapon. He was held without bail.

Abduction with the Intent to Defile is a serious, infrequently charged crime that, if convicted, is punishable by 20 years to life in prison.

This was the fourth notable criminal incident in the Pentagon City area since Sunday.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Labor Rule Violations Alleged at Temporary HQ2 Projects — “A union is charging that employers at six construction projects that will house Amazon employees or operations in Northern Virginia have evaded federal and state taxes by misclassifying workers, failing to carry workers’ compensation coverage and avoiding overtime pay.” [Washington Post]

Beyer Voting Yes on Impeachment — “The facts allow for no other interpretation: President Trump violated his oath of office to faithfully execute the laws. In order to cover up his offenses, he engaged in unprecedented obstruction of Congress’s oversight power and role as an equal branch of government.” [Press Release]

Voting Precinct Changes Planned — “Voters in two Arlington precincts will see their polling locations changed in 2020. Those in Overlee Knolls (Precinct 017) will move from the Reed School at 1644 North McKinley Road… Those in Rosslyn (Precinct 019) will move from 1911 Fort Myer Drive to the new H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program building.” [InsideNova]

How Arlington’s Streets Got Renamed — “If you harbor gripes that our county government gets too ambitious, consider an episode from the 1930s. In what probably ranks as the most disruptive Arlington project ever, our entire street grid was renamed.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Road Closures for Wreaths Across America — “The annual Wreaths Across America escort of handmade, balsam wreaths destined for Arlington National Cemetery will begin arriving in Arlington County on Friday… On Saturday, December 14th, several thousand volunteers will descend upon the Cemetery and help lay wreaths on every gravesite throughout the property beginning at 8 AM. The public can anticipate large crowds and heavy pedestrian traffic related to the event.” [Arlington County, YouTube]

Holiday Arts and Crafts Show in Crystal City This Weekend — “GRUMP is back for its 9th year, returning to The Shops at Crystal City at 2100 Crystal Drive. GRUMP Crystal City is where you can shop local from 50 exciting artists and makers and stop for a photo op with one of our many Yetis.” [Event Calendar]

Nearby: Police Warn of Abduction Attempt — “City of Falls Church Police are seeking a suspect in an attempted abduction… The suspect is wanted for questioning after he approached a juvenile outside of a grocery store and told the juvenile to leave with him. The suspect left when the juvenile’s mother returned.” [City of Falls Church]

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(Updated at 11:25 a.m.) A man inappropriately touched and attempted to restrain a teen girl in the Arlington Heights neighborhood Tuesday evening.

That’s according to Arlington County Police and an email on the local civic association listserv.

The incident happened around 5 p.m. on the 300 block of S. Irving Street.

“My 14 year daughter was walking home the boy she babysits for with another friend and was grabbed by a man who was walking behind following then when he attended to snatch her around the waist while crossing the street,” the victim’s father said via an email, which was reposted on the civic association’s Facebook page.

“She screamed and slapped the man who dropped her and ran away. A local family came outside when they heard the scream, and let them wait in the house for the police and my wife to show up. All three are traumatized.”

So far no arrests have been reported and police say the investigation is ongoing. More on the incident, including the description of the suspect, from ACPD:

SEXUAL BATTERY, 2019-12100186, 300 block of S. Irving Street. At approximately 5:12 p.m. on December 10, police were dispatched to the report of an assault that just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that three juveniles were walking in the area when the suspect allegedly began to follow them. The suspect then approached the female victim from behind, grabbed her buttocks and placed his hands around her, pulling towards him. The victim pushed the suspect away and yelled for help. The suspect fled the scene on foot prior to police arrival and a canvas of the area returned with negative results. The suspect is described as a white male, 30 – 40 years old, 5’7″ – 5’9″ tall with a lanky build. He has dark hair, a dark brown goatee with highlights of gray and stubble around the cheeks. He was wearing a tan hoodie and baggy, light blue jeans at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Spike Mendelsohn Planning New Restaurants in Crystal City — “Already in National Landing with Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza, Mendelsohn has a letter of interest out for two new spaces. One will bring his Mexican taco shop already on Capitol Hill, Santa Rosa, to Virginia. Another is a new concept: fried chicken.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Shutdown May Fry Local Economy — “Come February — perhaps by the beginning of the month, probably the middle and definitely by the end — the financial, occupational and psychological impact of this now-record government shutdown will go from the theoretical to the very, very real.” [Washington Business Journal]

Trump Signs Shutdown Backpay Bill — President Trump has signed a bill championed by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) that will provide backpay to federal employees affected by the government shutdown. Now Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner are working to provide a similar guarantee for low-wage federal contractors. [Federal News Network]

JBG’s ‘Brutally Honest’ Amazon Pitch — A quote attributed to JBG Smith Chief Development Officer Kai Reynolds, talking about his pitch to Amazon’s HQ2 team: “So we literally sat down at 8 in the morning, and I started the presentation by saying ‘I’ve lived [in this region] a number of years, I had never been [to Crystal City]. While it’s better than I thought, it’s kind of a shithole.'” [Bisnow]

Snow May Disrupt Evening Commute — “The main band of snow is likely to come through during the evening and overnight hours. As the onset of snow may coincide with the evening commute, especially in our western areas, build in extra time to get home or consider leaving a little early to beat the rush. Some slick spots could develop, especially on untreated roads.” [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]

Nearby: Attempted Kidnapping in Georgetown — “As she neared her front door about 5 p.m. Tuesday, a woman grabbed the child from behind and tried to abduct her, D.C. police said. The girl fought back and broke free. The nanny in the car screamed, and the woman ran.” [Washington Post]

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A masked man tried to abduct a woman outside of her residence along Wilson Blvd this past weekend, according to Arlington County Police.

The abduction attempt happened early Saturday morning on Wilson near the intersection with Patrick Henry Drive. The man tried to drag the woman away but she fought back and the attacker eventually fled.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ABDUCTION, 2019-01120041, 6100 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 3:00 a.m. on January 12, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was walking in the area when she noticed an unknown male subject following her. As she approached the entrance to her residence, the male suspect pulled the victim’s hair from behind and wrapped his arms around her, preventing her from leaving. The suspect attempted to pull the victim away from her residence, however she resisted and the suspect eventually fled on foot when a vehicle drove by the area. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, with light-olive toned skin, possibly in his late 20’s or early 30’s, approximately 5’8″-5’11”, 150-180 lbs., wearing black pants, a black jacket, black shoes and a winter mask. The investigation is ongoing.

Also last week, police were dispatched to a store in Pentagon City for a man who exposed himself to a group of children inside a fitting room.

The incident happened Friday night, on the 1100 block of S. Hayes Street — which is address of both the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall and the Pentagon Centre shopping center.

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2019-01110259, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 7:11 p.m. on January 11, police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that the juvenile victims were in the area of the fitting rooms inside of a business when they observed a male expose himself and touch himself inappropriately. The suspect is described as a Middle Eastern male, 25-35 years old, taller than 6’1″, approximately 190 lbs., with short black hair, brown eyes, scruff on his face, wearing a dark gray shirt, black jacket and black jeans. The investigation is ongoing.

Below are the rest of the highlights from this week’s crime report, including some we’ve already reported.

Read More

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(Updated at 6 p.m.) Virginia State Police have issued an “Amber Alert” for a 12-year-old girl they believe was abducted from Reagan National Airport today (Thursday).

Police believe JinJing Ma is in “extreme danger” after a woman led her away from the arrivals area of the airport earlier today. Ma had just arrived from China as part of a tour group at the time of the alleged abduction.

Airport police believe the woman led Ma into a white Infiniti SUV with New York license plates. Police say a man was driving the vehicle, but otherwise don’t have any details on his description.

State police describe Ma as having black hair and brown eyes, standing 4’11” and weighing 90 pounds. She was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and a black jacket.

The woman who led her away is described as an Asian woman with black hair, approximately 40 year old and wearing a black dress.

“[The abducted girl] received her passport just prior to checking in and left her group,” says the Amber Alert. “She met up with an unknown middle age Asian female, who assisted her in changing clothes. They then walked together to the arrivals area of the airport and disappeared out of camera view. Witness stated he may have seen same woman in NYC meet up with victim and hand her food.”

Police plan to release a video of the girl being led away later this evening.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority at 703-417-2400, or visit www.vaamberalert.com.

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