A couple was robbed in Arlington’s Ashton Heights neighborhood over the weekend by a gun-toting man in a distinctive white mask.
The robbery happened around 1 a.m., according to a police report and an account of the robbery by the victim, which was obtained by ARLnow after being posted on Nextdoor.
“Around 1 a.m. on Saturday morning, my boyfriend and I had just parked… when we were robbed at gunpoint,” the victim wrote. “The car pulled up quickly, blocking our car from moving, and he ran up to the driver side where I was, threw open the door, pointed the gun in my face and told me to stop screaming or he’d kill us.”
“He took everything we had an said ‘Y’all have a blessed day’ before driving off and taking a right down Irving toward Arlington Blvd,” the victim continued. “Through Find my iPhone we were able to track him into DC, into Maryland where he stopped for gas, and back into the city before my phone was erased. He has not been caught, but I have reported all this information to the police.”
The victim added that the man was wearing a “full white mask” similar to those worn by the Jabbawockeez, a well-known dance group. He was driving a Toyota RAV4 with what appeared to be temporary paper tags, she said.
More from today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:
ARMED ROBBERY, 2020-12050007, 3200 block of 1st Place N. At approximately 12:56 a.m. on December 5, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victims were inside their parked vehicle when they observed the suspect vehicle pass them and stop in the middle of the street. The suspect exited his vehicle, approached the victims and forcefully opened the door to their vehicle. He displayed a firearm, threatened one of the victims and demanded items of value. The suspect stole personal belongings from both victims, then fled in his vehicle prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a Black male in his 20’s, average height, medium build, wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood up, and a white face mask. The suspect vehicle is described as a black or dark colored, newer model Toyota Rav4. The investigation is ongoing.
Also in today’s crime report, a driver in Pentagon City allegedly spat on a pedestrian he nearly ran over, before deliberately backing in to him. More from ACPD:
ATTEMPTED MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2020-12050091, 1000 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 1:46 p.m. on December 5, police were dispatched to the report of a hit and run just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was crossing the street in a crosswalk when the driver of the suspect vehicle turned and almost struck him. The suspect then turned his vehicle around, parked, and approached the victim. A verbal dispute ensued, during which the suspect spit on the victim. The suspect returned to his vehicle, and, as the victim attempted to take a photo, began to reverse towards him. The victim attempted to back away, however he was pushed by the vehicle into oncoming traffic. The suspect vehicle then fled prior to police arrival. The victim was not injured. The suspect is described as a young Black male, 20-25 years old, with a slim build, short hair, and approximately 5’7″. The vehicle is described as a white, four door sedan. The investigation is ongoing.
Additional weekend crime report items, including a series of car thefts, are below.
Homes on N. Jackson Street in Ashton Heights may put up Halloween decorations this year, but most will not hand out treats in order to discourage trick-or-treating and follow state and national health guidelines.
The Virginia Department of Health recommends that people avoid traditional trick or treating because it is a “higher risk activity.” North Jackson Street neighbors — noted for having the most elaborate Halloween decorations in Arlington — decided that respecting this guidance would mean foregoing the usual Halloween revelry.
The street has been a popular destination for trick-or-treating for decades. Homes between Wilson Blvd and Pershing Drive deck out their houses with witches, pumpkins and skeletons galore, create a haunted house, and give out enough candy to keep pediatric dentists in business.
“Halloween is a treasured tradition in our community,” said Scott Sklar, president of the Ashton Heights Civic Association.
Some homes will be decorated on N. Jackson Street, but Sklar said he anticipated many others along the street and in Ashton Heights may avoid decorating, to discourage crowds.
“We regret seeing a scaled-back Halloween, but want to be good neighbors and do our part to keep our community safe,” he said.
Sklar said he hopes his neighborhood can bring back the ghouls, ghosts and graveyards next year.
COVID-19 is slightly dampening the spooky spirit in Arlington County. A recent ARLnow poll found that of more than 2,000 respondents, nearly half are not planning to hand out candy this year. Another poll found that more than a third of locals who usually decorate for Halloween are either skipping it or scaling it back this year.
The county’s guidance encourages people to decorate, but discourages them from going door-to-door for candy, walking through haunted houses with screaming people, and attending large, in-door parties.
“Everyone planning to celebrate Halloween this year should avoid close contact with people who do not live in their household, wear a mask, keep 6-feet distance and practice frequent and proper hand washing,” said Arlington County Public Health Director Dr. Reuben Varghese. “There are still ways to celebrate Halloween, but it will have to be on a more limited scale.”
Several vehicles were damaged Wednesday afternoon after a woman in a vehicle that was reported stolen twice tried to ram her way out of traffic stops, according to police.
The incident started shortly after 4 p.m. in the Buckingham neighborhood.
Police say the woman stole a car that was left idling and unattended, near the intersection of N. Henderson Road and N. Thomas Street, and was subsequently spotted driving north of N. Glebe Road near Route 50.
She refused to stop for officers, but was followed through Ballston by police in unmarked vehicles, as witnessed by an ARLnow reporter. Police tried to block her in on N. Monroe Street, near the Arlington Arts Center, but she reportedly hopped the curb and kept driving. The mirror of a parked vehicle, as well as the front of a police SUV, appear to have been damaged in the process.
An Arlington County Police Department crime report details what happened next.
“Officers briefly lost sight of the vehicle, but located it again when the suspect backed into a parking spot in the 3300 block of 2nd Street S.,” near Thomas Jefferson Middle School, according to the crime report. “The suspect refused to exit the vehicle and began to drive again, striking a cruiser blocking it into the spot.”
“Spike sticks were deployed as the driver attempted to flee again by reversing the vehicle onto the curb behind it,” the crime report continues. “Following multiple attempts to have the suspect exit the vehicle, officers forced entry and took her into custody without incident.”
“Latia Hill, 27, of No Fixed Address, was arrested and charged with Grand Larceny: Motor Vehicle Theft, Eluding Police and Reckless Driving, and held on no bond,” the crime report concludes. “During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect also struck a parked vehicle in the area of Wilson Boulevard and N. Monroe Street.”
A Virginia State Police trooper assisted with the final traffic stop, according to scanner traffic. No injuries were reported.
Arlington County police recently warned residents of a wave of thefts of unattended vehicles, many of which are delivery vehicles.
(Updated at 7:15 p.m.) A teenage boy was struck by a speeding driver this morning on a residential street in Ashton Heights, near Virginia Square.
The hit-and-run happened just before 11:45 a.m. on the 600 block of N. Kenmore Street and was caught on a neighbor’s home surveillance video system. Miraculously, the teen escaped with only minor injuries.
The video, provided to ARLnow by the victim’s mother in the hopes of helping to identify the driver, starts with the sound of squealing tires. A four-door Chevy sedan can then be seen speeding down the street, followed by the 17-year-old victim tumbling down the roadway after being struck.
The teen was crossing the street when he was struck, according to his mother. The driver did not stop and fled the scene.
The boy — a Washington-Liberty High School student — suffered lacerations and road rash and “is in a lot of pain,” but was not seriously injured, we’re told. He was unable to spot the license plate number.
An Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman echoed the mother’s account of what happened and said the crash is under investigation.
“The driver of the striking vehicle failed to stop at the scene of the crash and fled traveling south on Kenmore Street,” said Ashley Savage. “The pedestrian was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with non-life threatening injuries. The striking vehicle is described as a white sedan. The investigation is ongoing.”
The incident comes a day after a woman was struck and killed by a driver while crossing the street in Pentagon City.
Anyone with information about the incident can call the Arlington County non-emergency line at 703-558-2222 or can provide an anonymous tip to the police department by calling 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Arlington County firefighters are on scene of a large, outdoor gas leak near Ballston.
A 2-inch gas line was ruptured on the 500 block of N. Pollard Street, ACFD says. Washington Gas is working to shut off the leaking gas line.
At least one local resident says he can smell a “strong” odor of gas in the Ballston and Virginia Square areas.
I assume it’s safe/ok to breathe in? Strong smell in ballston/Virginia Square @ARLnowDOTcom
— Brian Kalish (@BrianKal) July 8, 2020
#FINALUPDATE – gas leak has been isolated and clamped by gas utility. Residual odor may remain for next 30-60 mins.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) July 8, 2020
(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Someone defaced a sign promoting racial justice, placed by a church near Clarendon.
The vandalism happened overnight in front of the Clarendon United Methodist Church (606 N. Irving Street).
A photo sent to ARLnow (above) shows the words “It’s OK to be white” scrawled in block letters on the second of a pair of banners. The banners are signed by parishioners and declare: “Clarendon United Methodist Church is committed to fighting against systemic racial injustice. I will be part of the solution.”
The church tells ARLnow that it was able to successfully remove the graffiti this morning.
“We lament that anyone would choose to deface our sign but we are glad that they have given us further opportunity to affirm our stand against systemic racial injustice and our commitment to be a part of the solution,” a church employee said via email. “We restored the sign to its original intended message this morning.”
The church’s pastor, Rev. Tracy McNeil Wines, also released the following statement.
The murders of George Floyd and countless other Black men, women, and children have further brought to light a long history that bears the unmistakable stains of exclusion, oppression, and violence. We are called by conscience and by God to rise up and stand with those whose pain is etched onto the heart of our nation. We recognize the significant disparities in opportunity for all people of color in education, housing, health, and employment, and in restricted access to security and justice. As people of faith in Jesus Christ, it is essential that we act to dismantle racism.
At Clarendon United Methodist Church, we are committed to the fight against systemic racial injustice. We acknowledge that racism is a sin that works in direct opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we join in the call to resist its powerful influence. Together we yearn for a world that reflects God’s will for just treatment and full inclusion of all persons. We resolve to resist evil, injustice and oppression, and so we cannot rest until the work of dismantling racism is done. Courage and conviction are required in the fight, and we pray that God’s Spirit may empower us with grace equal to the task.
We must take both communal and individual responsibility for justice. Change ultimately begins with transformed hearts. Therefore, we commit to opening our hearts to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ. Deep repentance is required. We will seek to educate ourselves and others — to discern the breadth of racism’s impact, to see and acknowledge its effects, and to uncover its influence in our own lives and in our shared life together. We will follow equal employment practices, and intentionally increase opportunities for the voices of Black people and all people of color to be heard in the life and leadership of our church. We will work to tear down the entrenched racial and economic divide that is present in Arlington County and beyond, dedicating resources to aim at both the effects and the root causes of injustice. We affirm that this effort must be an ongoing commitment.
None of us can move forward if one of us is left behind.
This is the second such vandalism of a racial justice sign on church property in as many weeks in Arlington. The “Black” in “Black Lives Matter” was cut out of a sign in front of Rock Spring Congregational church last week. In D.C., meanwhile, a mural “lifting up the names and legacies of Dorothy Day and MLK Jr.” in front of a church was found ripped down this morning.
Photo (top) courtesy anonymous, (bottom) courtesy Clarendon United Methodist Church
Update on 5/12/20 — In an update, Arlington County Police say a man has been charged in connection to this incident, which is still considered a “suspicious death.” From ACPD:
This incident remains classified as a suspicious death. Detectives continue to investigate the events that preceded the death and are working with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine cause.
Pursuant to our investigation, the condition of the body indicates the death occurred days prior to police being summoned to the residence. Roscoe James Shaw, 51, of Arlington, VA, has been arrested and charged with Virginia Code § 18.2-323.02 Concealment of Dead Body. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.
Original article: Arlington County Police are investigating a “suspicious death” in the Ashton Heights neighborhood, south of Ballston.
The death was discovered following a police dispatch around 4:45 p.m. Friday.
Officers responded to the 200 block of N. Piedmont Street, which is primarily a collection of garden apartment buildings, “for the report of suspicious circumstances,” ACPD said in a press release.
The SWAT team was later called in to make entry into a residence. A tipster described a large police presence in the area.
“Any info on whatever is happening around N. Piedmont Street and Glebe,” the tipster asked around 9:15 p.m. “Fifteen plus cops, road shut down, full tactical gear.”
Upon entering the residence, police say they found a man dead inside.
The death is considered “suspicious” and is being investigated by homicide detectives and the medical examiner. If determined to be homicide, it would be the third homicide in the county so far this year. The last reported homicide happened on April 23.
More from the police press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating a suspicious death in the Ashton Heights neighborhood.
At approximately 4:44 p.m. on May 8, police were dispatched to the 200 block of N. Piedmont Street for the report of suspicious circumstances. During the course of the investigation, information was developed about a possible deceased individual inside a residence. Officers established a perimeter, secured a search warrant and entry into the residence was made by members of the SWAT team. Once inside, an adult male was located deceased.
Cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The identity of the decedent is being withheld pending proper identification and notification of next of kin.
This remains an active and ongoing criminal investigation. Anyone with information related to this case is asked to contact Detective S. King of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4243 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Map via Google Maps
Around 500 homes and businesses are without water service tonight due to a water main break in Ashton Heights.
Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services says emergency repairs are underway at the intersection of N. Monroe Street and 7th Street N., about 3-4 blocks from the Virginia Square Metro station.
The repairs are not expected to be complete until daybreak.
Emergency Water Main Break: 7th St N and N Monroe St. Over 500 customers may be impacted. Repairs will begin this evening at 11pm and are expected to be completed by 6am, 8/1. Questions? Call 703-228-6555. pic.twitter.com/E5IaD7IFj3
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) August 1, 2019
Map via Google Maps
(Updated at 1:30 p.m.) One person has died after a fire in Ashton Heights, near Ballston, Tuesday morning.
First responders were dispatched to a garden-style apartment on the 3800 block of 5th Street N at 7:44 a.m. today where they found an unconscious man in the living room, the Arlington County Fire Department said in a statement at 1:30 p.m. today.
“There was no fire evident when firefighters arrived, but the reporting party told firefighters it smelled like something was burning in the building,” said the department. “Firefighters on the back of the building identified the source of the smell as a first-floor apartment. They forced entry and found a small fire on the stove at the rear of the apartment that was quickly extinguished.”
The department said firefighters located the apartment’s smoke detector — but the early warning device lacked a battery.
By the time they found the man, the apartment had filled with smoke, department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant told ARLnow at 11:15 a.m.
The man was rushed to a local hospital as medics performed CPR, according to O’Bryant. He was later pronounced dead.
Authorities are not yet releasing the man’s name, as they work to notify next of kin. He was only identified as an adult male.
As is standard for a fatal fire, the fire marshal’s office and Arlington County Police are jointly investigating the cause of the fire and the man’s death.
See the full department press release below:
At 7:44 a.m. on Tue., June 11, firefighters from the Arlington County Fire Department and Ft. Myer Fire Department, and officers from the Arlington County Police Department, were dispatched for a possible structure fire at a two-story apartment building in the 3800 block of Fifth Street North.
There was no fire evident when firefighters arrived, but the reporting party told firefighters it smelled like something was burning in the building. Firefighters on the back of the building identified the source of the smell as a first-floor apartment. They forced entry and found a small fire on the stove at the rear of the apartment that was quickly extinguished.
Upon searching the residence, firefighters located an unconscious adult male in the living room. The occupant was immediately removed from the apartment and resuscitative efforts initiated by Fire/EMS personnel. Responders continued to treat the patient en route to the hospital where the patient was later pronounced deceased.
The fire was contained to the room of origin and did not affect any other residences in the building. There was a smoke detector installed in the apartment, but it did not contain a battery.
Investigators from ACFD Fire Prevention Office and ACPD responded and are working collaboratively to investigate the fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The identity of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. No further information is available at this time.
Photo via ACFD/Twitter
Christmas Closures in Arlington — “Arlington County Government offices, courts and libraries will be closed on Mon., Dec. 24 and Tue., Dec. 25, 2018, for Christmas and on Tue., Jan. 1, 2019, for New Year’s Day. Courts will also be closed on Dec. 31, 2018, and libraries will close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31.” [Arlington County]
Low-Income Workers Finding Metro Alternatives — “As Metro fares have risen, hours for train service have been cut and gentrification has made it more difficult for low-income workers to live near rail stations, workers making lower wages in Washington and in Arlington have become less likely to commute by transit… down 5 percent from the previous five years.” [Washington Post]
Arlington, Alexandria Firefighters Learning Yoga — “It’s a revolutionary training course helping firefighters cope [with] stress & sleep deprivation. One firefighter who was at the Pentagon on 9/11 says it helps him deal [with] the memory of that day.” [NBC Washington, Twitter]
Holiday Wrapping Paper Alternatives — Local designer Beth Singer, whose firm designed the ARLnow logo, has penned a new blog post just in time for the holidays: “Five Reasons I Will Never Buy Wrapping Paper Again.” [Beth Singer Design]
Eclectic Estate Sale Near Clarendon — “Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift for that special person? Are you a collector of unusual paintings, furniture, or sculpture? A curious browser of all things uncommon and quirky? You won’t want to miss this special estate sale, this weekend in Ashton Heights.” [Team Cathell]
Nearby: Amazon’s Effect on Chirilagua — “Between Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood and the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington is a swath of land home to a vibrant Hispanic community… For many Chirilagua residents, Amazon’s arrival threatens the end of the community they love, bringing increased housing costs, new residents and creeping gentrification.” [NBC Washington]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley