A Falls Church man has been arrested after police say he was seen pulling on car door handles in the Bluemont area early Tuesday morning.
The incident happened around 3:30 a.m. on the 5700 block of 8th Road N.
Arlington County Police say Kevin Gomez, 24, “was found to be in possession of alleged stolen items” and is now facing a theft charge. He also had outstanding warrants for his arrest from Fairfax County.
More from an ACPD crime report:
LARCENY (Significant), 2020-03240023, 5700 block of 8th Road N. At approximately 3:36 a.m. on March 24, police were dispatched to the report of suspicious persons pulling on door handles of parked vehicles. Upon arrival, officers canvassed the area and observed a subject matching the description provided by the witness. When stopped by police, the subject provided false information related to his identification. During the course of the investigation, the subject was found to be in possession of alleged stolen items. Kevin Hernandez Gomez, 24, of Falls Church, VA was arrested and charged with Petit Larceny and Providing False Identity to Law Enforcement. He was also served with outstanding warrants out of Fairfax County.
Arlington experienced a string of car break-ins since mid-2019, though police have announced a number of arrests over the past month or so. Many of the break-ins have been crimes of opportunity, involving unlocked car doors or valuables in plain sight.
The police department is continuing to remind residents to take precautions, even as officers step up patrols.
From an ARLnow article on a break-in spree in January:
Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage said police are taking a number of steps in response, but still need the public’s help.
“ACPD officers proactively patrol Arlington’s neighborhoods to identify and prevent criminal activity,” Savage told ARLnow. “The department’s efforts are enhanced by the active involvement of residents. Residents are encouraged to report suspicious activity to police for investigation by calling 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.”
“We also encourage residents to reduce the opportunity for crime by participating in the 9 P.M. Routine,” Savage added, referring to the department’s campaign to remind residents to lock their doors and remove valuables from their cars.
Lane Closures Near Ballston — Sewer relining work is closing the right-hand lane of portions of Fairfax Drive and Wilson Blvd in the Bluemont neighborhood, near Ballston. [Twitter]
Arlington’s Young Population Drives Trends — “One of the reasons Virginia’s Arlington County is consistently rated highest for health and fitness is because of its young demographic. Take Ballston, for example, where 47.7% of the adult population is between 25 and 44 years old.” [WTOP]
Courthouse Metro Rescue Makes National News — “We would like to thank @ABCWorldNews for broadcasting our rescue of a @wmata rider last Friday. The patient is in stable condition. If you find yourself on the tracks and are unable to exit, roll towards the platform side to the area of refuge.” [Twitter, ABC News]
Fort Myer Gate Temporarily Closed — “Attention DoD ID card holders: @JBMHH’s Old Post Chapel Gate that provides entry onto the base from Arlington National Cemetery will be temporarily closed beginning today through the end of April for construction.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Nearby: Proposed Arlandria Redevelopment — A “D.C. developer filed preliminary plans with Alexandria earlier this month for the project, looking to completely overhaul a Mount Vernon Avenue shopping center near Four Mile Run Park, now called Del Ray North. It’s currently home to a MOM’s Organic Market, but has seen a variety of retail vacancies recently.” [Washington Business Journal]
Beyer on Impeachment Vote — “Voting for these articles of impeachment is the only moral course of action, the only way to honor our oath of office. I have no doubt that the votes I cast today will stand the test of time.” [Press Release]
Car2go Bye Bye — “Share Now, the German company that manages the car rental company until recently known as Car2Go, has announced it will exit the North American market effective February 29, 2020… There are currently 150,694 users in D.C., according to a company official who isn’t authorized to speak on the record.” [DCist, Share Now]
Volunteers Read to Babies in NICU — “Studies show private neonatal intensive care unit rooms can be too quiet, with premature babies not getting enough sound and stimulation, so Virginia Hospital Center uses trained volunteers to read popular children’s books to its tiniest patients when their parents can’t be there.” [NBC 4]
Free Lyft Rides Starting Tomorrow — Updated at 9 a.m. — “A regional nonprofit is again planning to offer free rides through Lyft to help keep drunk drivers off Alexandria streets during the holidays. Starting on Dec. 20, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) will offer its annual Holiday SoberRide program nightly from 10 p.m.-4 a.m., until Jan. 1.” [ALXnow]
Water Main Break in Bluemont — Updated at 9 a.m. — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews working on a leaking 6-inch valve at 5650 4th St N. Some 100 water customers could be affected. Traffic is diverted around the work site. Estimated time of completion: no later than 7pm.” [Twitter]
Update at 2:45 p.m. — The outage no longer appears on Dominion’s map.
Earlier: More than 1,000 Dominion Energy customers are without power in the Ballston and Bluemont neighborhoods due to emergency utility work.
As of 1:15 p.m. Dominion’s outage map reported 1,258 outages and an estimated restoration time of 4-7 p.m. Generators could be heard running in Ballston and power was flickering off and on — or out altogether — at local stores, restaurants and offices, including the headquarters of ARLnow.
A number of Dominion trucks could be seen parked at the corner of N. Stuart Street and 9th Street N., near the Ballston Metro station. Local offices have been told that crews are working on a transformer and more power interruptions are possible this afternoon.
Arlington County is looking for more feedback on altering a section of Four Mile Run Trail and replacing the tennis courts at Bluemont Park, among other proposed changes.
“The goal of this Parks Maintenance Capital project is to replace the tennis court complex, lighting, restroom/storage, shelter, parking lot, site circulation, section of Four Mile Run Trail, site furnishing, drainage and landscaping in the Upper Bluemont area,” noted the county on its webpage for the project.
People are invited to attend a public meeting to share their thoughts and hear about the county’s goals on Tuesday, October 29 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Ashlawn Elementary School (601 N. Manchester Street.)
In addition to overhauling the tennis courts, shelter area, and the trail, Arlington is also aiming to make the new designs compliant with newer disability accessibility standards.
County staff began soliciting feedback online for the project back in June. The results from survey indicate that almost 40% of respondents frequently visit the park and that the tennis courts (which 45% of survey respondents reported using) and the trails (used by 75% of respondents) are among the most popular amenities.
The survey drew around 350 responses when it asked for suggestions on what should be changed in the park. The majority of responses asked the county to:
- Preserve and plant more trees
- Resurface the tennis courts to fix cracks and improve drainage
- Improve lighting, and add more light poles near the baseball diamond
- Install more benches at the tennis courts and elsewhere
- Better maintain the restrooms and water fountains by the picnic shelter.
“Drainage has been a major problem this past year, with all the rain,” one resident wrote in a survey response. “The open space has had times when it was an impassable marsh.”
Several respondents asked the county to address stormwater runoff concerns with trees, more pervious surfaces, and underground drainage features.
Part of the park and the area around it lie within the floodplain around Four Mile Run. It was one of the areas hit by this summer’s flash flood, prompting the county to close the park’s picnic shelter at the time.
Help us rethink the tennis courts and amenities at Bluemont Park! Before we do any kind of renovation, we need your inputTell us how you use the park and how it can better serve our community. Share your thoughts by July 9. https://t.co/6cQdrFsRbb pic.twitter.com/qko7BYkgws
— ArlingtonVA (@ArlingtonVA) June 25, 2019
Other suggestions from residents included adding a pickleball court and a Capital Bikeshare station, plus replacing grassy areas with native pollinator plants and adding bee hives to the park — à la the county’s growing urban agriculture moment.
Other respondents opposed the proposed changes, however, with one resident asking the county to make no changes.
“The area in question is perfectly serviceable and Arlington can spend the money better in other areas,” the person said.
The renovation discussion comes two years after the county finished a contested retrofit of the park’s baseball field with new sod, equipment, and fencing, with several residents saying they had concerns about the fencing part of the project and the lack of public input as a whole in the process.
Funding for the new renovations is slated to be included in an upcoming Capital Improvement Plan budget.
Draft designs are expected to be presented at two additional public meetings scheduled this fall before renovations move forward next year, per the county’s website.
Images 1, 4 via Arlington County
A man fell and was injured in a house that was reported to be undergoing renovations in the Bluemont neighborhood.
The incident happened around 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, on the 5700 block of 5th Street N. Initial reports suggested a man fell through a hole in the floor and landed in the basement below, suffering both upper- and lower-body injuries in the process.
A large technical rescue response was dispatched to the home, though the situation did not ultimately require an extensive rescue operation. Medics transported the man via ambulance to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, the Arlington County Fire Department said in a subsequent tweet.
“Male victim fell approximately 10 ft to a hard surface suffering non-life threatening injuries,” ACFD said. “Fire/EMS carried him to a waiting ambulance and transported to the trauma center.”
1:37pm @ArlingtonVaFD were called to 5700 blk of 5th St North for a report of a Technical Rescue. Male victim fell approximately 10ft to a hard surface suffering non-life threatening injuries. Fire/EMS carried him to a waiting ambulance and transported to the trauma center pic.twitter.com/W91jsWMoBs
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) October 3, 2019
A string of vehicle break-ins in north Arlington is continuing, but this time a suspect might have been caught on camera.
Someone stole a cell phone from an unlocked car in a garage on the 4700 block of N. Carlin Springs Road late Thursday night or early Friday morning, according to Arlington County Police.
“Between 11:00 p.m. on September 12 and 3:10 a.m. on September 13, an unknown suspect entered an unlocked vehicle inside a garage and stole a cell phone,” ACPD said of the theft. “The investigation is ongoing and detectives will work to determine if this case is linked to any others reported in Arlington County.”
An anonymous resident in the same area as the break-in, a few blocks from Ballston, contacted ARLnow with video footage (above) of a man looking into a vehicle behind a house, taken that same night. Nothing appears to have been taken in the video, however, and police declined to confirm whether the person seen is a suspect in the theft.
ACPD was notified about the video, the resident said.
The video was taken with an Ring video camera. Arlington County Police are considering a public safety partnership with the Amazon-owned company, the Washington Business Journal reported last week, despite concerns nationally about the privacy implications of such partnerships.
On Ring’s Neighbors app, at least a half dozen car break-ins have been reported in and around Arlington over the past week — mostly involving unlocked vehicles. ACPD has been reminding residents to lock their cars and homes at night as part of a public safety initiative dubbed the “9 P.M. Routine.”
Bird lovers of all feathers can head to Bluemont this weekend for a morning of avian education and exploration.
“World Migratory Bird Day Festival” will feature bird walks, games, activities, and free coffee from 9-11 a.m. Saturday at Lacey Woods Park, organizers say. Attendees to the free event are asked to meet at the park’s basketball court near the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive.
The Wildlife Rescue League will also showcase some of its live feathered friends, including a blue jay named “Snafu.”
Arlington County naturalists Jennifer Soles and Ken Rosenthal are organizing the weekend event. Rosenthal told ARLnow on Monday that festival attendees have a chance to spot interesting birds because several species often flock to Lacey Woods Park, which he described as a “green oasis that will get the birds in.”
Last year, Rosenthal said attendees spotted a blackpoll warbler. These songbirds typically weigh less than an ounce but migrate over 1,800 miles across North America, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and 88% of blackpoll populations have died out in the last half century.
Many other birds that can be spotted in Arlington migrate between North to Central America — such as hummingbirds and osprey.
Soles and Rosenthal say all the printed materials for the event are in English and Spanish, but they are seeking one to two volunteers who can help translate some of the discussions on Saturday into Spanish.
Soles said these migratory birds “live half their lives in Spanish-speaking countries” and hopes that Arlingtonians with roots in Central American countries like El Salvador and Guatemala will attend the event and get a chance to recognize some familiar species.
“We sort of share these birds between us,” said Soles.
Arlington County Police are looking for the suspect in a robbery in the Bluemont neighborhood over the weekend.
The crime happened Saturday afternoon on the 800 block of N. Lexington Street, near Wilson Blvd and the W&OD Trail.
Police say a woman was sitting on a bench when a man approached her from behind, asked for directions, then exposed himself. The man then grabbed the woman’s personal belongings and ran off, according to police.
More from ACPD:
ROBBERY, 2019-02160157, 800 block of N. Lexington Street. At approximately 1:15 p.m. on February 16, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny and exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was sitting on a bench when the unknown suspect approached her from behind and asked for directions. As she turned, she observed the suspect exposing himself before he grabbed her personal belongings and fled the scene on foot. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 18 – 20 years of age, 5’2″ – 5’4″, 130 – 150 lbs with black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a black hoodie, green shirt and burgundy shorts at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.
The rest of this week’s Arlington County Police crime report is below.
BURGLARY, 2019-02140221, 2200 block of N. Nottingham Street. At approximately 5:35 p.m. on February 14, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just discovered. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 11:00 a.m. on February 11 and 12:45 p.m. on February 13, an unknown subject forced entry into a residence and moved items around but nothing was reported stolen. The subject also entered the victim’s vehicle but no items were reported stolen. There is no suspect description and the investigation is ongoing.
BURGLARY (late), 2019-02140282, 1200 block of N. Garfield Street. At approximately 10:29 p.m. on February 14, police were dispatched to the report of a late burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that a subject entered a residence and damaged property. The investigation is ongoing.
ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2019-02130108, 4100 block of Campbell Ave. At approximately 12:00 p.m. on February 13, police were dispatched to the report of a disorderly female subject refusing to leave a business. While being detained pending the completion of a banning notice, the suspect struck one of the responding officers with a closed fist. Senait Taye, 38, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Assault and Batter on Law Enforcement and Failure to ID. She was held without bond.
Map via Google Maps
Reminder: Yellow Line Shutdown Starts Today — There will be no Yellow Line service today through Sunday, Dec. 9 as Metro works to repair the Yellow Line bridge over the Potomac. Yellow Line riders can instead take the Blue Line and/or free shuttle service. [ARLnow, Twitter]
New ‘Clarendon Circle’ Traffic Restriction — Work on improvements to the busy “Clarendon Circle” intersection are underway and have resulted in at least one traffic pattern change. During construction, drivers will not be allowed to make the “tricky” left from eastbound Washington Blvd to Clarendon Blvd, and will instead have to follow a detour via N. Kirkwood Road. [Twitter, Arlington County]
Civ Fed Prepares Tree Canopy Resolution — “The Arlington County Civic Federation in December will weigh in on the development plan of Upton Hill Regional Park and, more broadly, on Arlington government policies on retaining or removing trees during redevelopment on public land. A resolution demanding a temporary halt to current development plans at Upton Hill was introduced at the Civic Federation’s Nov. 13 meeting and will be debated and voted on Dec. 4.” [InsideNova]
Minor Bluemont House Fire — Firefighters extinguished an out-of-control fire in the fireplace of a Bluemont house Saturday night. No injuries were reported but the home, on the 900 block of N. Frederick Street, suffered some smoke damage. [Twitter, Twitter]
Another Traffic Nightmare at DCA — As if the gridlock caused by the Veterans Day shutdown of the National Airport Metro station wasn’t bad enough, the traffic nightmare repeated itself Sunday evening, during one of the busiest travel days of the year. Some drivers reported spending hours trying to get to and from the airport. [NBC Washington, Twitter]
CBS Looks at Clarendon’s Vpoint Apartments — On Saturday morning, CBS News took a close look at the vPoint affordable housing project in Clarendon. The project, which converted a stand-alone church to a combination worship space and apartment building, is potentially a model for other communities struggling with affordable housing. At the time, however, the redevelopment faced lawsuits and other community opposition. [YouTube]
Amazon News Roundup — Arlington saw only modest successes in its quest to pitch itself as a tech hub over the past few years, but Amazon’s arrival changes that narrative in a big way. That said, half of the jobs Amazon brings to Arlington will be non-technical. Meanwhile, Amazon may benefit lower-income residents in New York City more than in Arlington, as subcontractors in New York will be subject to the state’s $15 per hour minimum wage; Virginia’s minimum wage is currently the federal $7.25 per hour minimum. And Nashville, some say, will be the biggest winner in terms of Amazon’s new presence boosting the local commercial real estate market.
County police say officers pulled over 20-year-old Charles Contreras along the 900 block of N. Burlington Street in Bluemont around 2 p.m. Friday (Oct. 12).
They say they noticed him driving with a cracked windshield, then he committed a “traffic offense” of some kind.
Once police pulled him over, Contreras and other occupant of the car, 19-year-old Lamar Contreras, “quickly exited the vehicle and allegedly advanced toward the officer, while yelling expletives,” police said. The officer ordered both men to return to the car, and they eventually agreed.
When more police arrived at the scene of the incident, officers noticed a child in the back seat of the car “in an improperly secured car seat,” and both men “continued to yell and exhibit disorderly behavior inside the vehicle” as police evaluated what happened.
Officers eventually asked Charles Contreras to leave the car, and he “became physically combative and pushed an officer.” Police were eventually able to arrest him after the brief scuffle.
He’s now facing charges of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, traffic lane violation, defective equipment, and child restraint violation. Contreras is set for a Wednesday (Oct. 17) hearing on those charges in Arlington General District.
Full details from a county crime report:
ASSAULT AND BATTERY ON POLICE, 2018-10120161, 900 block of N. Burlington Street. At approximately 1:55 p.m. on October 12, an officer on routine patrol observed a vehicle with a cracked windshield commit a traffic offense. The officer initiated a traffic stop, and upon the vehicle stopping, two occupants quickly exited the vehicle and allegedly advanced toward the officer, while yelling expletives. The officer issued lawful commands for the occupants to return to the vehicle, which they obeyed. The officer then observed a child in the backseat of the vehicle in an improperly secured car seat. The suspects continued to yell and exhibit disorderly behavior inside the vehicle. After additional officers arrived on scene, the driver was asked to exit the vehicle, however, upon exiting, became physically combative and pushed an officer. With the assistance of additional officers on scene, the driver was taken into custody. The child was not harmed during the incident. Charles Contreras, 20, of Arlington Va., was arrested and charged with Assault & Battery on Law Enforcement, Traffic Lane Violation, Defective Equipment, and Child Restraint Violation. The passenger, Lamar Contreras, 19, of Arlington, Va., was issued a summons for Obstruction of Justice.