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Banks on the 2500 block of Wilson Blvd (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) A middle-aged man robbed a bank in the Courthouse area Friday afternoon.

The robbery happened on the 2500 block of Wilson Blvd, near the border of the Courthouse and Clarendon neighborhoods, around 3:15 p.m.

From an Arlington County police crime report:

BANK ROBBERY, 2022-09160150, 2500 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 3:20 p.m. on September 16, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the unknown male suspect entered the bank, approached a teller, implied he had a weapon and demanded money. The suspect then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. No weapon was seen or displayed and no injuries were reported. The suspect is described as a light-skin Black male, approximately 40-60 years old, 5’04”, 180 pounds, wearing a black and white hat, black glasses, black face mask, light-gray long sleeve button-up shirt, black pants, and dark shoes, carrying a grocery bag. The investigation is ongoing.

ACPD typically does not reveal the name of a business that has been the victim of a crime. There are two banks on the 2500 block of Wilson Blvd: FVCbank and National Capital Bank.

The last reported bank robbery in Arlington was back in May, when three banks in the Ballston area were robbed in the span of about a week. The suspect in two of those robberies was also described as a short, middle-aged Black man who ran off while carrying a plastic bag.

“This is an ongoing investigation and detectives will work to determine if it is linked to the incidents reported in May,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage, in response to an inquiry from ARLnow.

Image via Google Maps

(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) Expect significant police activity in the Ballston area following a pair of bank robberies.

The Citizens Bank at 4075 Wilson Blvd was the scene of an attempted robbery shortly after 2 p.m. The suspect ran off without cash after hopping the counter, per initial reports.

About 10-15 minutes later, a suspect matching the same description as the first successfully robbed the Bank of America directly in front of the Ballston Metro station.

The suspect remains at large and police are actively searching for him. Metro train traffic may also be disrupted as a result of the investigation.

So far no injuries have been reported. The man reportedly implied a weapon but none was seen.

The suspect is described as a short, middle aged Black male wearing a gray sweatsuit and carrying a plastic bag. The description differs from that of the taller, still-at-large suspect accused of robbing the Truist bank in Ballston last week.

Officers reportedly detained at least one or two people in the area matching the description of today’s robbery suspect, though it’s unclear whether either was determined to be the suspect.

Prior to last week, the last reported bank robbery in Arlington was in 2019.

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Arlington County police have released photos of the man they say robbed a bank in Ballston last week.

The photos show a man wearing a surgical mask and a hoodie, inside the Truist bank at 920 N. Taylor Street. Police say he passed a note to a teller implying that he had a weapon, then made off with cash.

No one was hurt.

Police are now hoping that the public can help them identify and find the suspect, who successfully fled the scene after the robbery.

More from an ACPD press release, below.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is seeking the public’s assistance identifying a bank robbery suspect captured on surveillance footage.

At approximately 1:58 p.m. on May 2, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force in the 900 block of N. Taylor Street. Upon arrival, it was determined the suspect entered a bank and passed a note to the teller demanding money and implying he had a weapon. He then fled the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. No weapon was seen or displayed and no injuries were reported.

The suspect is described as a Black male, approximately 6’02” tall with a heavy set. He was wearing a black hoodie, dark pants, black hat and sunglasses at the time of the incident.

Anyone with information that may assist with the investigation or who can identify the suspect is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Police are investigating a bank robbery in Ballston.

Initial reports suggest that a man robbed the Truist bank at 920 N. Taylor Street, a block from the Metro station, after implying that he had a gun. Police swarmed the area after the call came in around 2 p.m.

It was not immediately clear how much money the man stole. So far there are no reports of any injuries — nor any arrests — following the robbery.

The last bank robbery in Arlington, at least as reported by ARLnow, happened before the pandemic, on Dec. 30, 2019.

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A man who terrorized businesses in Arlington, Alexandria and elsewhere from 2018 to 2019 is going to prison.

Freddy Lee McRae, 35, pled guilty to a series of bank and retail robberies last year. On Tuesday McRae, dubbed the “Beltway Bank Bandit,” was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison.

“This case involved a chilling armed robbery spree during which innocent community members were threatened with serious injury or death if they did not comply with repeated demands for money,” Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement. “We are thankful to our law enforcement partners for their thorough investigation across multiple jurisdictions to bring the defendant to justice.”

As detailed in a press release, McRae’s crime spree included the attempted robbery of a Capital One branch on Columbia Pike, the armed robbery of Legend Kicks & Apparel on the Pike, and a subsequent police chase on the GW Parkway that ended with McRae crashing his car into the river and trying to swim to freedom.

On December 10, 2018, McRae robbed a Burke & Herbert bank branch located in Alexandria. McRae approached a teller, who asked if he wanted to make a deposit. McRae responded, “gimmie your money,” before lifting up his shirt and pulling a pistol from his waistband, which he pointed at the teller. As the teller gathered money, McRae racked the slide on the pistol and demanded all large bills. McRae fled with approximately $1,366 in cash.

On April 21, 2019, McRae robbed the Legend Kicks & Apparel store located in Arlington. McRae brandished a pistol and demanded that two store employees empty their pockets, which they did. McRae then ordered the employees to lie on the floor before taking approximately $2,160 in cash that belonged to the store. McRae fled the store on foot and the area by vehicle. When a law enforcement officer tried to pull over the vehicle, McRae stopped only briefly before leading law enforcement officers on a vehicle pursuit on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. McRae ultimately jumped out of his moving vehicle prior to it crashing and sinking into the Potomac River. McRae tried to flee law enforcement by jumping into the river, but officers pulled him out and placed him under arrest.

As part of his guilty plea, McRae also admitted to robbing a Bank of America branch in Springfield on October 27, 2018; a BB&T branch located in Alexandria on December 20, 2018; and a Capital One branch located in Bowie, Maryland, on January 2, 2019. McRae further admitted to attempting to rob a Capital One branch located in Arlington on February 11, 2019, and to obstructing justice following his apprehension.

“This case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Northern Virginia Violent Crime Safe Streets Task Force, which is composed of FBI Special Agents and Task Force Officers from northern Virginia law enforcement agencies,” the press release noted. “Significant investigative assistance in this case was provided by the Arlington County Police and the Fairfax County Police.”

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A 34-year-old D.C. man dubbed the “Beltway Bank Bandit” has pleaded guilty to charges connected to his use of a gun in three robberies, including one in Arlington.

Federal prosecutors say Freddie Lee McRae brandished a firearm when robbing a Wells Fargo branch and a Burke & Herbert branch, both in Alexandria, in late 2018. He also brandished a pistol on April 21, 2019, when he robbed the Legend Kicks and Apparel store on Columbia Pike in Arlington, prosecutors say.

McRae’s getaway vehicle was spotted by police after that robbery, leading to a chase on the GW Parkway that ended up with the car in the Potomac River and McRae unsuccessfully trying to swim to freedom.

“McRae pleaded guilty to three counts of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence,” the U.S. Attorney’ Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a press release Tuesday evening. “He faces up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 21 years in prison when sentenced on Feb. 23, 2021.”

In addition to the three robberies for which he pleaded guilty on Tuesday, McRae also admitted to several other bank robberies, as well as the attempted robbery of a Capital One Bank branch in February 2019, prosecutors say.

The full press release is below.

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Morning Notes

Bill Would Allow Open Containers in More Places — “A bill introduced in the Virginia General Assembly would let more shopping center developments offer open-container access under the state’s liquor laws. Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, introduced the measure… The change could theoretically benefit at least a couple of developments in Favola’s backyard,” including the Village at Shirlington and Market Common Clarendon. [Washington Business Journal]

County Board Organizational Meeting Tonight — “The Arlington County Board will elect its 2020 County Board chair and vice-chair at its Organizational Meeting on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, at 6 p.m. in the County Board Room, Room 307 in the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center. The Board also will adopt procedures for 2020 and name Board members to represent Arlington on regional bodies.” [Arlington County]

Bank Robbery Suspect Also Faces Charges in Bethesda — “One of three suspects who stole $60,000 worth of jewelry from a Bethesda, Maryland, shop in mid December was arrested Monday after robbing a bank in Arlington, Virginia, police say. Derrick Lamont Graham, 42, walked into the BB&T bank at 2200 Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon on Friday and gave a note to an employee that implied he had a weapon, Arlington County police said.” [NBC 4, WTOP]

New Year’s Eve Problems — From a local Nextdoor user: “Hi everyone I lost the keys to my apartment last night somewhere in Clarendon. If anyone has found a key chain with 1 single key, a fob, and a white “tile,” please contact me!” [Twitter]

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(Updated at 11:25 p.m.) Arlington County Police responded to a bank robbery in the Courthouse neighborhood, just blocks from police headquarters, Monday morning.

The robbery was reported around 11:15 a.m. at the BB&T Bank at 2200 Clarendon Blvd.

The suspect reportedly fled the bank with cash and ran west on Clarendon Blvd. Soon after arriving on scene, officers took suspect in custody at the Courthouse Metro station, according to scanner traffic.

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An Arlington man previously convicted of a pair of bank robberies in Alexandria is facing more jail time.

Budder Khan, now 29, pleaded guilty today to robbing two pawn shops in Falls Church, federal prosecutors announced. Khan could face decades in prison for the pawn shop robberies, which took place in 2014 and 2015.

Khan was dubbed the “Ball Cap Bandit” due to the hats he wore during a series of local bank robberies in 2016.

More from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia:

An Arlington man pleaded guilty today to robbing two Falls Church pawn shops of nearly $800,000 in jewelry and watches.

According to court documents, in July 2014, Budder Khan, 29, entered Route 50 Gold and Jewelry Exchange, forced the store’s employees to the ground using what appeared to be a real firearm, smashed the business’s glass display cases and took jewelry and watches worth over $650,000. Later, in April 2015, Khan entered Top Pawn, again used what appeared to be a real firearm to frighten the store’s employees, smashed the business’s glass display cases and stole jewelry and watches worth over $143,000.

Khan pleaded guilty to two counts of interference with commerce by robbery and faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison when sentenced on December 6. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This investigation was conducted by the FBI WFO’s Violent Crime Safe Streets Task Force which is composed of Special Agents of the FBI, along with Detectives from the Fairfax County Police, the Prince William County Police, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office, the Arlington County Police, the Alexandria City Police, the Leesburg Police, Vienna Police Department, Herndon Police Department, Fairfax City Police, Falls Church Police Department, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department and in partnership with the ATF, USMS, HSI, and other federal agencies. This task force focuses on investigating the most egregious and violent criminal enterprises and actors operating in the Capital Region.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, and Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander E. Blanchard is prosecuting the case.

Flickr photo by Joe Gratz

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Arlington County Police arrested a suspect who allegedly tried to rob a bank in Crystal City this morning.

Around 11:30 a.m., the suspect walked into the BB&T branch at the corner of 23rd Street S. and S. Eads Street and “passed a note to the teller demanding money,” according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

“The suspect fled the scene without any money and was located by responding officers and taken into police custody,” Savage said.

Additional details, including the suspect’s name, were not immediately available.

Map via Google Maps

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Federal investigators now believe a serial bank robber dubbed the “Beltway Bank Bandit” was responsible for the attempted robbery of the Columbia Pike Capital One branch Monday.

The FBI’s Washington office is now offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the man’s capture, up from $5,000, and investigators believe he’s now been involved in 20 robberies across Virginia, Maryland and D.C. over the last year or so.

County police believe a man walked into the Capital One bank at 3532 Columbia Pike around 2:15 p.m. Monday, brandishing a gun and passing a teller a note demanding money. However, he fled the scene before he could get any cash.

Police released surveillance photos yesterday (Thursday) of the man wearing a mask and hard hat, which the FBI believes is consistent with the “Bank Bandit’s” previous robberies. Investigators say he’s passed a threatening note to tellers in each of his robberies, and has “worn different disguises such as a baseball cap, wig, gloves, hijab or hoodie to alter his appearance,” according to a news release.

The FBI believes the man has previously robbed banks in Alexandria, Falls Church and Centreville, but this is the first incident he’s been involved in Arlington.

Investigators describe him as a black man in 20s or 30s, standing between 5’7″ and 6’2″, weighing between 160 and 170 pounds.

The FBI is asking anyone with more information to call 202-278-2000 or submit a tip at tips.fbi.gov.

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