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Crime Report: Two Men Assault Rideshare Driver Following Destination Dispute

Arlington police are searching for two men who they believe attacked their rideshare driver in an Aurora Highlands neighborhood.

Police say the confrontation began yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) around the 700 block of 15th Street S., near the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, when the driver got into an argument with three passengers about where to drop them off.

The driver then ended the ride, and as the three men left the car, police believe one man “threw a glass bottle at the vehicle, shattering the window” while another spit on the driver. The three men fled before police arrived.

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

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED VEHICLE, 2018-07170218, 700 block of 15th Street S. at approximately 4:40 p.m. on July 17, police were dispatched to the report of a dispute. Upon arrival, it was determined that following a dispute over drop-off location between a rideshare driver and passengers, the driver ended the trip. While the three passengers were exiting the vehicle, one suspect threw a glass bottle at the vehicle, shattering the window, and a second suspect spit on the driver. The suspects fled on foot prior to police arrival. Suspect One is described as a black male, 16-17 years old, approximately 5’5″ and 100 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes, wearing a white tank top, blue jeans, a green and yellow bracelet. Suspect Two is described as a black male, 16-17 years old, approximately 5’5″ and 100 lbs., with long hair sticking out of the top of a black bandanna, brown eyes, wearing blue jeans and a white tank top, with a tattoo on his arm. Suspect Three is described as a black male, 16-17 years old, approximately 5’7″ and 120 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes, wearing a skull cap, white tank top, black jeans and diamond earrings. The investigation is ongoing.

Here are more highlights from the crime report, including some that we’ve already reported:

ATTEMPTED BURGLARY, 2018-07170184, 600 block of N. Vermont Street. At approximately 3:15 p.m. on July 17, police were dispatched to the late report of breaking and entering. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 12:00 p.m. and 2:45 p.m., a known suspect attempted to force entry to the victim’s residence, causing damage. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY (late), 2018-07160111, 1800 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 12:34 p.m. on July 16, police were dispatched to the report of a late burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 12:00 a.m. on July 15 and 11:30 a.m. on July 16, an unknown suspect forced entry into an unoccupied residence. Personal belongings of the suspect were left behind but no items were reported stolen from the residence. The investigation is ongoing.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2018-07160266, Columbia Pike at S. George Mason Drive. At approximately 12:15 a.m. on July 17, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect was observed attempting to enter multiple vehicles and a business. A lookout was broadcast and arriving officers located a suspect matching the description provided by witnesses. Jonathan Diaz Cruz, 19, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with unlawful entry. He was held on a secured bond.

BURGLARY, 2018-07140131, 1800 block of Rhode Street. At approximately 2:22 p.m. on July 14, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that a witness observed two unknown males force entry into a residence. The suspects fled the scene with the victim’s personal belongings prior to police arrival. Arriving officers established a perimeter and the area was searched with negative results. Suspect One is described as a light skinned black male, in his 20’s, 5’10” tall, approximately 150 pounds with a slim build, with black dreadlocks. He was wearing a dark t-shirt and dark cargo pants. Suspect Two is described as a dark skinned black male, in his 20’s, 5’11” tall, approximately 160 pounds with a slim build, with black dreadlocks. He was wearing no shirt, green pants and carry a dark colored bag. The investigation is ongoing.

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Significant), 2018-07140101, 900 block of N. Pollard Street. At approximately 11:58 a.m. on July 14, police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim returned to their residence and found their window shattered by a bullet fired by an unknown suspect. No one was home at the time of the incident and no injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing.

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2018-07110262, 2200 block of Fairfax Drive. At approximately 9:32 p.m. on July 11, police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was walking in the area when she observed a male suspect masturbating. Police responded to the scene, established a perimeter and conducted a search of the area. The search was assisted by the Fairfax Police Department helicopter unit and returned with negative results. The suspect is described as a white male with dark curly hair, approximately 5’9″ with an average build. The investigation is ongoing.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-07070087/07070100/07070106, 1600 block of S. Joyce Street/1600 block of S. Eads Street/2000 block of S. Eads Street. Between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. on July 7, police responded to multiple reports of larcenies from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 8:00 p.m. on July 6 and 7:54 a.m. on July 7, the windows of approximately 35 vehicles were smashed and airbags stolen. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY (late), 2018-07110047, 4800 block of 1st Street N. At approximately 7:28 a.m. on July 11, police were dispatched to the report of a late commercial burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 5:00 p.m. on July 10 and 6:30 a.m. on July 11, an unknown suspect(s) forced entry to a business, causing damage, and stole cash and items of value. There is no suspect(s) description(s). The investigation is ongoing.

ROBBERY, 2018-07110214, 2200 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 5:30 p.m. on July 11, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that two male suspects entered a business, approached the cash register, and passed the employee a note demanding money. The employee initially questioned the suspects’ request, but was threatened by one of the suspects. The suspects then fled the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. Suspect One is described as a black male, with dreadlocks, wearing sunglasses, a black hat, grey jacket, light blue jeans, and white and black shoes, carrying a grocery bag. Suspect Two is described as a black male, wearing white sunglasses with a dark hood covering his face, a white shirt, sweatpants and black shoes. The investigation is ongoing.

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Morning Notes

New Renderings of Crystal City Development — Property owner JBG Smith “has unveiled never-before-seen concept images of its planned 50,000-square-foot Alamo Drafthouse Cinema fronting Crystal Drive, a yet-unnamed specialty grocer and the future look of an office building it plans to convert to multifamily. The images were presented to Arlington County’s Site Plan Review Committee earlier this month.” [Washington Business Journal]

Pentagon City Mall Holiday Hours — Arlington’s biggest shopping mall, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, will be open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Christmas Eve (Sunday) for last-minute shoppers. The mall will be closed on Christmas and open from 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. on Boxing Day (Tuesday).

Aurora Highlands Chimney Fire — Thankfully happening prior to Santa’s arrival, a smoky fire broke out in the chimney of a home in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood last night. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames before they could potentially spread. [Twitter]

Photo courtesy Peter Golkin

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Board Votes to Buy Aurora Highlands Property for Park Use

The Arlington County Board voted yesterday (Tuesday) to buy vacant property in Aurora Highlands to create space for new parkland in the neighborhood.

The Board voted 4-1 to buy a bungalow at 905 20th Street S. and the adjacent vacant lot for $1.23 million. Chair Jay Fisette voted against the proposal.

Under a plan put forward by county staff, the house would be demolished and the driveway removed to make room for a quarter-acre public park at the intersection of 20th Street S. and S. Ives Street.

Fisette raised concerns at some aspects of the process, and the precedent it might create. Members of the Aurora Highlands Civic Association told the county about the opportunity buy the lot, and Fisette said that might create an “out of hand” system where residents request the county buy land and create more parks.

“To me, the one universal reality that I’ve experienced, given the choice or an opportunity of a park, 95 percent of people will ask for, sign a petition and want a park. Everybody likes a park,” Fisette said. “In this case, it makes it harder for me, since I can’t really justify how to distinguish this very well from the next five or 10 or 20 or 30 requests that will come, that to me is where the focus should go: how you distinguish one opportunistic lot from another.”

Board vice chair Katie Cristol also had some misgivings given the popularity of parks and how other neighborhoods could start requesting the county buy land to accommodate them. She pushed staff to show that there is a need for this new park in Aurora Highlands.

“I think if we leave it to what we’re hearing from community members about the need in their neighborhood or about the relative use of the other parks, everyone will identify a need for more parks in their neighborhood,” she said. “It’s one of the more popular uses for land in the county.”

Someone currently rents the house, but earlier this month agreed with its owner to terminate the lease on February 1, 2018, with no rent due for January. The property’s assessed 2017 value is $1.068 million.

At this stage, county staff said they intend to turn the land into casual park space with no programming, and Board members were convinced that the acquisition is worth it.

“I do look at the strategic nature of the opportunity and the relative value with which it can be had, and that ultimately tips the balance in favor of thinking this is worthwhile,” Board member Christian Dorsey said.

Photo via Google Maps

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Board to Vote on Buying Aurora Highlands Property for Park Use

The Arlington County Board will consider a plan to buy vacant property in Aurora Highlands to create space for new parkland in the neighborhood.

The Board is set to spend $1.23 million to buy a bungalow at 905 20th Street S. and the adjacent lot, which is vacant. Someone rents the house, but earlier this month agreed with its owner to terminate the lease on February 1, 2018, with no rent due for January. The property’s assessed 2017 value is $1.068 million.

Under a plan put forward by county staff, the house would be demolished and the driveway removed to make room for a quarter-acre public park at the intersection of 20th Street S. and S. Ives Street.

“The acquisition of the property would create an opportunity to increase park land in the densely-populated Pentagon City area,” staff wrote in a report. “The approximately [quarter-acre] new park could be used to provide the kind of casual use space residents in the area have been asking for — a park that is open and available for a range of casual uses such as having a picnic, throwing a Frisbee, laying out on a blanket, reading or having small social gatherings.”

Members of the Aurora Highlands Civic Association told the county about the opportunity buy the lot.

Photo via Google Maps

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Letter: Complete Streets Is a Complete Failure For Aurora Hills Residents

The following letter was written by Aurora Hills resident Ashli Douglas about the county’s Complete Streets Program and traffic congestion in her neighborhood that she said was exacerbated by changes to S. Eads Steet.

To the Editor:

Arlington has embarked on a transportation vision of providing a safe environment for all travel modes, also known as the Complete Streets Program.  Today I’m sharing a story of how this transportation vision for complete streets has played out in one Arlington County neighborhood, Aurora Hills.

As I reread the Arlington transportation presentation for our project on S. Eads St. from 2014, it occurred to me how benign and utopian the project seemed. That should have been the first clue.  Arlington was going to move more people without more traffic and they were going to protect our single-family neighborhood.  All good, what’s not to like?

And then came the medians, protected bike lanes, bike rental rack and central to all of this, the complete removal of two lanes of a four-lane street – S. Eads Street.  What could possibly go wrong?

So now we have the same (but probably more) number of cars on the same road with less lanes.  This is where the fairytale turns to a nightmare…enter aggressive driving and cut-through traffic.

I live on what Arlington refers to as a Minor Neighborhood Street, in which the distinctive feature of these streets is the nearly exclusive orientation to providing access to residences.  It also happens to be a one lane yield street!

One block away is S. Eads Street, an Arterial Street, by definition, the street primarily provides through travel rather that solely for access to adjacent properties.  According to Arlington’s street elements policies that are part of the county wide master transportation plan, streets should “…improve the efficiency of vehicular operation on arterial streets to minimize diversion of traffic onto neighborhood streets.”

So you see where this is going.  Since our arterial street has reduced capacity, the cars all cut-through our neighborhood street.  And just to be clear, we are not talking about a few cars.  We are talking over 1,300 commuters a day.

How do we know?  Since the county refused to share data or provide any form of relief to our neighborhood, we hired a certified traffic data collection firm to conduct traffic counts on November 1 and 2, a Wednesday and Thursday.  The counts were 1,347 and 1,369 respectively.

Our one lane section of S. Fern St. simply cannot handle this traffic.  According to Arlington County historical traffic counts, last performed in 2011 on our street, they measured 500 cars on a daily average. What a difference a “Complete Street” makes.  We now have approximately 600 cars who rip down the same street in a three-hour period  our school bus is dropping off children.

It is no longer safe for our children to play even near the street due to the cut-through traffic. We have experienced over 160 percent increase in vehicles, the majority with DC and MD tags that simply cut through our neighborhood to avoid the congestion morass on S. Eads Street.

As frustrated parents, neighbors and Arlington county citizens, we, individually as neighbors in an eight-block area, and collectively through our civic association have been engaged with the county for over a year to no avail.  We have requested that the county protect our neighborhood, and specifically, mitigate the cut-through traffic that originates on S. Eads Street and cuts through our neighborhood on S. Fern Street between 26th Street S. and 23rd Street S.

Our eight-block area has become a virtual highway of dangerous cut through traffic with constant stop sign running, speeding and hit and run accidents, and fearful and angry parents at Arlington county elementary school bus stops.

The S. Eads Complete Street project has been a complete disaster for the residents in our neighborhood and despite our continual pleas for help for nearly a year to protect our single family neighborhood; we have had no relief.

We will not give up our neighborhood and we demand the county remedy the problem they created.  And for anyone else that may be facing a complete street project – consider yourself forewarned.

Ashli Douglas has lived in Aurora Hills for 16 years and is the mom to two elementary school-aged children.

ARLnow.com occasionally publishes letters about issues of local interest. To submit your thoughts for consideration, please email [email protected]. Letters may be edited for content and brevity.

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Knives Come Out Following Parking Space Dispute

A dispute over a parking space led to a man and woman brandishing knives and making threats, according to police.

The incident happened Saturday night in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood. Police say the victim was waiting for a parking space to open up when the suspects “pulled around him and parked in the space.”

“Following a verbal dispute, the two suspects left the area and returned, each brandishing a knife,” Arlington County Police said in a crime report. “The suspects made threats but no one was injured.”

The full crime report item is below.

ATTEMPTED MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2017-10210274, 2700 block of S. Fern Street. At approximately 10:08 p.m. on October 21, police were dispatched to the report of an Attempted Malicious Wounding. Upon arrival it was determined that the male victim was waiting for a parking space to become available when the suspects pulled around him and parked in the space. Following a verbal dispute, the two suspects left the area and returned, each brandishing a knife. The suspects made threats but no one was injured. The suspects then fled the scene on foot. Suspect 1 is described as a black female in her 20’s with curly hair. Suspect 2 is described as a black male in his 20’s wearing black sweatpants and a short-sleeved [t-shirt]. The investigation is ongoing.

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Crime Report: Woman Wakes Up to Find Intruder in Home

A woman woke up early Tuesday morning to the sound of a man breaking things inside of her home.

The incident happened around 2:15 a.m. yesterday, on the 600 block of 23rd Street S. in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood, just west of Crystal City.

Police were called and the man, an Alexandria resident, was arrested by officers.

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

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2017-10030017, 600 block of 23rd Street S. At approximately 2:16 a.m. on October 3, police were dispatched to the report of a breaking and entering in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that a female victim had awoken to noise coming from inside her residence. The victim confronted a male suspect in the hallway and called police. Items were reported damaged inside the residence, but nothing was reported missing. The victim was uninjured. Nelson Flores, 37, of Alexandria, VA, was arrested and charged with Unlawful Entry.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

BURGLARY (late), 2017-10020163, 600 block of N. Illinois Street. At approximately 2:18 p.m. on October 2, police responded to the report of a late burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between September 29 at approximately 5:00 p.m. and October 1 at approximately 3:00 p.m., an unknown suspect gained entry to a residence and stole items of value. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY, 2017-09290250, 6000 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 6:40 p.m. on September 29, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just discovered. Upon arrival it was determined that between 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., an unknown suspect gained entry to a residence and moved items around. Nothing of value was taken. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 2017-09300030, 200 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 2:13 a.m. on September 30, police were dispatched to the report of a disorderly subject. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male suspect approached a female victim outside a restaurant, brandished a knife and demanded she give him a cigarette. A security guard at the restaurant intervened and detained the suspect until police arrived. Yordli Cabrera Lopez, 24, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Attempted Robbery and Drunk in Public. He was held on no bond.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (SERIES), 2017-09280071, 0099, 0105, 0242, 1500-1600 blocks of N. Colonial Terrace and 1500 block of 19th Street N. Between 10:00 p.m. on September 27 and 8:00 a.m. on September 28, an unknown suspect(s) gained entry to at least eight mostly unlocked vehicles and stole items of value. There is no suspect(s) descriptions. The investigation is ongoing.

BOMB THREAT, 2017-09280223, 1100 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 6:02 p.m. on September 28, the Emergency Communications Center received a call from an unknown male subject reporting a bomb inside of a building. Responding police units searched the building with negative results. The investigation is ongoing.

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Pawn Shop to Replace Grill Kabob Restaurant Near Crystal City

A former Afghan restaurant in Crystal City is set to become a pawn shop.

A “Royal Pawn” store is coming to the former restaurant at 507 23rd Street S., according to signs and a permit application.

An existing store with the same name and logo is open at 6116-A Franconia Road in Alexandria, south of the Beltway in Fairfax County. It sells jewelry, electronics and instruments, tools and precious metals like gold, silver and platinum.

As of Tuesday, much of the restaurant’s furniture and decorations were still inside and a temporary Royal Pawn sign was covering the former “Grill Kabob” sign. Grill Kabob first opened in September 2015.

Previously, a restaurant and dance club called “Sin and Saint” was expected to replace Grill Kabob. The establishment was to have a dance floor and DJ on the second floor for Friday and Saturday nights, though those plans appear to have fallen through.

Royal Pawn will be at least the third pawn shop in Arlington. Two First Cash Pawn stores are already in the county, on Lee Highway and on N. Glebe Road in Buckingham.

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Crime Report: Man’s Face Slashed in Ballston

A man was slashed in the face by a knife-wielding suspect in Ballston this past Saturday night, police say.

The incident happened just before 6 p.m. on the 4000 block of 5th Road N. — a block that includes restaurants, a yoga studio, a towing lot and the rear of a Mercedes-Benz dealership.

Police say the victim suffered a non-life-threatening cut to the face and the suspect was taken into custody. The motive for the alleged crime is unclear.

“The suspect was consuming alcohol prior to the incident,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “What preceded the incident remains under investigation.”

More from this week’s ACPD crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2017-08260207, 4000 block of 5th Road N. At approximately 5:58 p.m. on August 26, officers responded to a report of a stabbing. Upon arrival it was determined that a known suspect struck the victim in the face, causing a laceration. The victim was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with non-life threatening injuries. Jeffery Warren, 55, of Stafford, VA was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding and held with no bond.

Also in the crime report, a man has been charged with aggravated sexual battery after allegedly “playing with children in an inappropriate way” in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood.

AGGRAVATED SEXUAL BATTERY, 2017-08230184, 2700 block of S. Fern Street. At approximately 3:20 p.m. on August 23, police responded to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, police met with a female victim who observed the male suspect playing with children in an inappropriate way. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect touched two minor females in a sexual manner. Marlon Cardona-Orellana, 38, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated sexual battery.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

SEXUAL BATTERY, 2017-08290005, 14th Street N. at N. Rolfe Street. At approximately 12:15 a.m. on August 29, police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that a female victim was walking in the area when an unknown suspect approached her from behind, exposed his genitals and brushed against her. The suspect then fled the area on foot. The suspect is described as a darker skinned male, approximately 5’5″ with a thin to medium build and a mustache. He wear wearing dark jeans and a black sweatshirt at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series), 2017-08290046, 4500 block of 28th Road S. Between 6:00 p.m. on August 28 and 7:20 a.m. and August 29, an unknown suspect(s) forced entry into approximately four vehicles and stole the airbags. There is no suspect(s) descriptions. The investigation is ongoing.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2017-08280023, 5800 block of Washington Boulevard, At 2:16 a.m. on August 28, officers responded to an audible burglar alarm. Upon arrival it was determined that the suspect forced entry into a business, but nothing appeared to be stolen or damaged. A witness described the suspect as a light-skinned male, wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans. The suspect fled the scene in a white 4-door sedan before police arrival. The investigation is ongoing.

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED VEHICLE, 2017-08280025, 800 block of S. Dinwiddie Street, At 2:33 a.m. on August 28, officers responded to a dispute in progress. Upon arrival it was determined that two female victims inside a parked vehicle were approached by two male suspects. When the victims asked to be left alone, the suspects initially walked away, but returned shortly after. One suspect repeatedly threw an object at the vehicle before fleeing the scene on foot. The victims were not injured. Lorenzo Rivas-Martinez, 21, of Arlington, VA was located in the area by officers and arrested and charged with Missile into Occupied Vehicle and Destruction of Property. He was held on no bond.

BURGLARY, 2018-08288881, 1100 block of Arlington Boulevard, Between 7:00 p.m. on July 29 and 7:00 p.m. on August 28, an unknown suspect attempted to force entry into a residence. Nothing was reported stolen. There is no suspect description.

RECOVERED STOLEN AUTO, 2017-08270102, 12th Street S. at S. Fern Street, At approximately 9:53 a.m. on August 27, an officer on routine patrol received a License Plate Reader hit on a vehicle reported stolen out of Maryland. A traffic stop was conducted and the suspect was taken into custody without incident. Ruhammed Glasco, 47, of Halethorpe, MD was charged with Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle. He was held on a secure bond.

ROBBERY, 2017-08240031, 1700 block of Arlington Boulevard. At approximately 3:04 a.m. on August 24, officers responded to a report of a robbery by force. Upon arriving, it was determined that an unknown male subject assaulted a male victim and stole his personal belongings. The suspect fled on foot to a waiting light-colored SUV. The suspect is described as a tall, black male, wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt partially covering his face. The area was canvased with negative results. The investigation is ongoing.

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2017-08240068, Lee Highway at Spout Run Parkway. At approximately 9:20 a.m. on August 24, officers responded to a report of an indecent exposure. Upon arriving it was determined that a female victim inside a ride sharing pool observed a male passenger expose his genitals and allegedly masturbate. After the female passenger requested the driver to stop the vehicle, the male passenger fled the area on foot. He is described as being in his mid-20’s, with a partially grown out buzz cut, wearing a black t-shirt, dark blue shorts, with a black backpack. The area was canvased with negative results. The investigation is ongoing.

AGGRAVATED SEXUAL BATTERY, 2017-08230184, 2700 block of S. Fern Street. At approximately 3:20 p.m. on August 23, police responded to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, police met with a female victim who observed the male suspect playing with children in an inappropriate way. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect touched two minor females in a sexual manner. Marlon Cardona-Orellana, 38, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated sexual battery.

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2017-08230211, 3800 block of Fairfax Drive. At approximately 5:00 p.m. police responded to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that a female victim inside a vehicle observed an unknown male suspect exposing himself and masturbating. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’7-5’9, bald, wearing a purple polo shirt and jeans. A canvas of the area by police returned with negative results. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY, 2017-08230003, 100 block of S. Park Drive. At approximately 12:15 a.m. on August 23, police responded to the report of a possible burglary in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male and female victim were awoken by an unknown noise. When the male victim went to investigate, he observed an unknown suspect knocking on the window. The suspect fled the area on foot without making entry into the residence. He is described as a dark-skinned, black male in his 20’s, well over 6 feet tall, with hair that was short on the sides and longer on top, wearing a black t-shirt. A perimeter was established and the area was canvased with negative results. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY, 2017-08230007, 3600 block of N. Harrison Street. At approximately 12:44 a.m. on August 23, police responded to the report of a possible burglary in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that two unknown suspects gained entry to a building through unsecured doors. A perimeter was established and the area was canvased with negative results. Nothing appeared to be missing from or damaged in the building. The suspects are described as 2 young black males wearing dark clothing. The investigation is ongoing.

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Police: Intruder Found in Attic After Resident Hears Footsteps

A 60-year-old man was arrested after he was found in the attic of a home in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood near Pentagon City.

Police say the resident of a home heard footsteps coming from above early Friday morning and called police. A suspect was located and charged with unlawful entry.

More from an Arlington County Police crime report:

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2017-07210024, 800 block of 22nd Street S. At approximately 1:24 a.m. on July 21, police responded to the report of a possible unlawful entry. Upon arrival, it was determined that police were contacted after a tenant reported hearing footsteps in the attic. Police searched the residence and located the suspect. Anthony Jones, 60, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Unlawful Entry. He was held without bail.

Photo via Google Maps

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Civic Association Proposes Removing Softball Fields at Va. Highlands Park

(Updated at 9:35 a.m.) Neighbors of Virginia Highlands Park are accusing Arlington County of ignoring a proposal they put together for the park’s future.

Last year the Aurora Highlands Civic Association submitted a plan for the permit-only softball fields on the west side of the park at 1600 S. Hayes Street to be converted into open space, without any set programming.

“The fields are significantly underused relative to other facilities and especially to open space,” the proposal says, noting that use of the fields is seasonal. “Each field is used for approximately 600 hours per year out of a potential of 4,380 hours (12 hours a day), a total of less than 14% of the time.”

The county is at the beginning of what it says is a “community-wide conversation” about the park’s future and developing a comprehensive plan.

But some residents are critical of staff at the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation, saying that staff has not adequately considered their proposal nor communicated with them, despite an “extraordinary effort” on the part of community leaders “to ensure that there was little to no miscommunication in this process.”

“Attempting to develop a long-term plan for the park that fails to openly and honestly consider the needs of all park goers over existing facilities and their usage, as well intentioned as it may be, will just reshuffle that poor planning with some prettying around the edges,” the group Friends of Aurora Highlands Parks said in its latest newsletter.

ARLnow columnist Peter Rousselot wrote in a recent opinion piece that a member of DPR staff said the softball fields “are needed” and would not be removed.

A county spokeswoman, however, said that while there is no set timeline for planning for the park’s revamp, the civic association’s proposal is still on the table.

“The Aurora Highland Civic Association did provide a plan for the neighborhood’s vision for the park,” the spokeswoman said. “When the county begins the framework plan for the park, the civic association’s plan as well as other community-wide inputs will be considered. County staff is now working with the County Board to determine next steps.”

The softball fields at Virginia Highlands Park are used by a variety of leagues across age groups, from youth to adult.

The D.C. Fray adult league — formerly known as United Social Sports — begins a new eight-week season on July 7 at the fields. Founder and CEO Robert Kinsler said the league “strongly supports maintaining and expanding the fields available for organized sports in Arlington and specifically at Virginia Highlands.”

“We permit and use the parks as much as availability and DPR allows and often have to turn away players due to lack of field space in the area,” Kinsler said. “Any loss of the softball fields would be a huge lost for the activity community that lives in the area.”

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Aurora Hills Community Center To Reopen Monday Following Renovations

After a four-month project to refresh its inside, the Aurora Hills Community and Senior Center is set to reopen Monday.

The center at 735 18th Street S. near Pentagon City will be open once again on May 15 for senior activities and community events, including meetings of the Aurora Highlands Civic Association.

At an open house Thursday, community members could take a look around the revamped space. The main meeting room has had a new floor and ceiling installed and new audio-visual equipment added as well as some extra storage.

A breakout room to host fitness classes and other smaller activities has had similar treatment, while the center’s kitchen has new appliances and the front desk has been moved.

During the temporary closure, senior programs relocated to the Gunston Community Center.

The project is part of a $555,000 rehab of the community center and adjoining library, approved last year by the County Board.

The library’s renovations have already been completed. A report by county staff, presented to the County Board as it was considering the upgrades, hinted that the entire building eventually may be torn down to make way for a new elementary school.

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Restaurant in Crystal City Applying to Rename, Add Live Entertainment

An Afghan restaurant in Crystal City is applying for a major revamp, including a name-change and the ability to host live entertainment.

Planning documents filed with the county indicate that Grill Kabob at 507 23rd Street S. hopes to be renamed Sin & Saint. It also would like to add a dance floor on the second level for use on Friday and Saturday nights, in addition to live entertainment from a DJ.

In the application, the owners said the DJ will use speakers and subwoofers, most likely the Electro-Voice brand. The live entertainment would be provided from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The restaurant is located among other bars and eateries along the 23rd Street corridor.

The applicant and county staff discussed the project last night at the Aurora Highlands Civic Association’s monthly meeting.

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One Dead, One Critical After Aurora Highlands House Fire

House fire in Aurora Highlands (photo via ACFD)

One person is dead and another is in critical condition after a fire in an Arlington home that had “hoarding conditions” inside, according to firefighters.

The fire was reported at a home on the 2600 block of S. Grant Street, in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood near Crystal City, around 9 p.m. Sunday.

“Units are dealing with hoarding conditions,” an Arlington County Fire Department spokesperson said as firefighting operations were still underway.

One person was brought out of the home, treated by medics and transported to Virginia Hospital Center. A second person was located in the home and later pronounced dead.

Update at 2:30 p.m. — Arlington County has released the following press release about the investigation into the house fire.

One person is dead and another critically injured after a house fire last night at 2623 S. Grant St.

Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) crews arrived on the scene shortly before 9 p.m. to find dark smoke coming from all levels of the single-family home and flames on the first floor.

After neighbors reported that the two residents of the home were unaccounted for, crews had difficulty entering through the front door because of hazardous hoarding conditions inside.

Widespread clutter in the home not only delayed search, rescue and suppression efforts but was also found later to be a factor in spreading the flames.

Both victims were ultimately located on the first floor and removed from the home. The fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes.

An adult male was pronounced dead at the scene and an adult female was transported to the Virginia Hospital Center in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.

Some 60 firefighters responded to the blaze, including personnel from Alexandria Fire Department, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Fire Emergency Services and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire and Rescue.

ACFD fire marshals are investigating the origin and cause of the blaze and have been unable to confirm the presence of any working smoke alarms in the home.

Smoke alarms provide vital early warnings, increasing time for escape and the chances of surviving a fire.

ACFD urges you to:

  • Install smoke alarms on every floor and in every bedroom of a home
  • Test alarms every month by pushing the test button
  • Change the batteries in alarms twice a year, at the beginning and end of daylight savings time
  • Replace all alarms every 10 years or according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Contact ACFD for assistance testing your smoke alarms or to request a free smoke alarm installation
  • Ensure every person in your home knows and practices a home escape plan: pay special attention to those needing help evacuating; have two ways out of every room; get low; close doors behind you; go to a family meeting place; and once outside, stay outside
  • Get help for hoarding situations: Arlington County has a Hoarding Task Force to assist in eliminating the hazards that stem from hoarding and to protect the community at large

The time to take steps to make a home safer is right now.

Photo via ACFD

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Arlington Man Sentenced for Wife’s Murder

David Black (photo courtesy ACPD)David Black, who was convicted in November of murdering his estranged wife in her home near Pentagon City, will serve two consecutive life sentences in prison.

The sentence, which was recommended by the jury, was confirmed by an Arlington Circuit Court judge Wednesday afternoon.

Black lived just blocks away from his wife, Bonnie Delgado Black, in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood. Prosecutors say he broke into her home on April 17, 2015 and stabbed her to death.

The murder scene was discovered after neighbors found Black’s two young children wandering around outside the home that morning.

More from an Arlington County Police Department press release:

David Black, 45, of Arlington, VA was sentenced on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in the Arlington County Circuit Court to two consecutive life terms in prison for the 2015 murder of Bonnie Black.

Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Jay Farr, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement following the court appearance.

On April 17, 2015, officers were dispatched to the 1100 block of 18th Street S. after two concerned citizens located the Black children alone outside their residence and called police for assistance. Arriving officers located Bonnie Black deceased from an apparent stabbing inside the residence. Detectives began an intensive investigation revealing that Bonnie Black was the victim of domestic violence.

David Black, the estranged husband of Bonnie Black, was taken into custody in October 2015 pursuant to an indictment issued by a special investigative grand jury. The indictment and subsequent bench warrant charged him with one count of first degree murder and one count of burglary while armed with the intent to commit a felony. On November 8, 2016, a jury returned a unanimous verdict finding David Black guilty on both counts.

Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theophani K. Stamos said, “The imposition of two life sentences for the murder of Bonnie Black speaks volumes about our community’s views when it comes to domestic violence.  We’re grateful to Judge Newman and the jury for their hard work, deep consideration and attention throughout a very difficult trial.”

Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division said, “This horrific murder personalized the investigation for the entire Criminal Investigations Section, many of whom had children themselves. They worked relentlessly for the cause of justice. The complex investigation, prosecution and ultimate conviction were possible because of a strong partnership between the Homicide/Robbery Unit and the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. Unfortunately nothing can bring Bonnie Black back to her loving family colleagues and friends but it is our fervent hope that we have been able to provide them with some closure.”

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