(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating a break-in and theft at Japanese Auto Service, a service station located between Clarendon and Virginia Square.
The service center, at 3413 Wilson Blvd, has been in business for 19 years, according to owner Ed Lahrime. It was broken into by an unknown suspect early Sunday morning.
From an ACPD crime report:
“At approximately 4:51 a.m. on March 27, an unknown male subject forced entry into a business and stole several items of value and an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect is described as a white male, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and dark shoes.”
A customer provided ARLnow.com with some additional details about what happened.
“The thief took their cash register and a significant amount of money in cash and checks,” the customer told us. “The store owner was able to provide the police with video of the suspect and they are currently reviewing the footage. Poor guy looked heart broken that his business had been violated like that.”
Lahrime said that his motion detection security system didn’t go off during the break-in, for some reason, and has since been replaced by the security company. He also had to replace a broken window and his cash register. All told, the theft is costing him more than $1,500, along with some sleep and peace of mind, he said.
“I couldn’t sleep that night,” he said. “I had to put my phone [with a connection to the surveillance system] next to me to make sure he didn’t come back to rob us again.”
Police told Lahrime of a number of other recent burglaries and burglary attempts in various parts of the county, from Shirlington to Clarendon, he said. This was the first burglary at Japanese Auto Service since it opened nearly two decades ago.
“Arlington is not safe,” said Lahrime.
Tuesday afternoon Arlington County Police released multiple surveillance images of the suspect, describing him as “a white male in his mid-20’s to early 30’s, wearing dark clothing and a gray hoodie.”
“If anyone has information on the identity and/or whereabouts of this individual, please contact Detective Echenique of the Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit at 703.228.4241 or at [email protected],” police said in a press release. “To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”
“This is an ongoing and active investigation,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
The video shows the thief returning to the scene of the crime a half hour after the initial break-in, apparently to steal some change from the floor, Lahrime added.
The incident happened around 3:45 a.m. at a home near East Falls Church. The suspect fled was was soon found by police and taken into custody.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
BURGLARY, 151207009, 2400 block of N. Potomac Street. At approximately 3:45 a.m. on December 7, a female victim awoke to an unknown male subject in her kitchen. The subject fled out the back door taking an undisclosed amount of cash. Shortly after, officers located a subject matching the suspect description and found items belonging to the victims on him. Michael Edward Thomas, 25, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with burglary, possession of a controlled substance, petit larceny, and possession of marijuana. He is being held without bond.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
Last week, at least four cars were broken into and one was reported stolen in Fairlington. All of the cars broken into were unlocked, and the car that was stolen was reportedly unlocked with the keys left in the ignition.
Also last week, items were stolen from a number of cars within a one block radius of the 2000 block of S. Eads Street, in the Crystal City area, according to a crime report.
This past weekend, at least 16 cars were broken into in the City of Falls Church, according to the Falls Church News-Press.
Arlington County Police are continuing to remind residents to lock their cars and to not leave any valuables in plain sight within the vehicle when it’s parked.
Police say the residents of the home on 16th Street N. confronted the man, which caused him to run off.
From the Arlington County Police crime report:
BREAKING & ENTERING, 151007069, 5800 block of N. 16th Street. At approximately 8:35 p.m. on October 7, an unknown subject was seen attempting to gain access to a shed in the backyard of a residence. The residents confronted the subject causing him to flee. The suspect is described as a white male in his twenties, approximately 5’6″ tall and weighing 150 lbs. He was wearing a black long sleeve shirt, black pants, and was carrying a big black bag.
Last week’s full Arlington crime report, after the jump.
Police say a homeowner on the 700 block of N. Lincoln Street awoke around 2:00 a.m. Saturday, went downstairs to let his dog outside and discovered a man he did not known passed out on his dining room floor, covered in vomit.
The homeowner attempted, unsuccessfully, to wake the man up. He then called police.
“The subject was highly intoxicated and confused,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “He was unable to stand on his own.”
The man was transported to Virginia Hospital Center, then arrested upon being released. Matthew Needles, 22, was charged with unlawful entry and felony destruction of property — for allegedly destroying a rug worth more than $1,000.
Police say Needles admitted that he had been drinking at Mister Days the night before. He didn’t know how he got into the house, Sternbeck said.
Police say they caught a man they suspect of breaking into dozens of cars in Rosslyn “red-handed” over the weekend.
The arrest happened around 1:40 a.m. Saturday, on the 1100 block of Wilson Blvd.
Arlington County police officers were conducting a plainclothes detail in Rosslyn, in response to the break-ins, when they spotted a man who looked like a “person of interest” seen in earlier security camera images.
The man, 54-year-old Antoine Kennedy, was “caught red-handed attempting to break into a vehicle with a screwdriver,” according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Kennedy, who is homeless and was known to stay in the Rosslyn area, is suspected of “at least 50 vehicle break-ins in the month of February,” Sternbeck said. Police are continuing to investigate whether Kennedy might have been responsible for even more break-ins.
Kennedy has been charged with habitual petit larceny, possession of burglarious tools and felony destruction of property. He was held without bond.
Police Investigating Apartment Break-In, Fire — A man has been arrested and accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and starting a small fire. The incident happened on the 1200 block of S. Scott Street, just off of Columbia Pike, Monday morning. [Washington Post]
Arlington Trying to Keep TSA — After losing the National Science Foundation and the Fish and Wildlife Service to Alexandria, Arlington County officials are stepping up their efforts to keep the Transportation Service Administration. The TSA currently has offices in Pentagon City, but at least one office owner is trying to lure the agency to Alexandria. [Washington Business Journal]
Name Chosen for New Park — The future, 8,000 square foot park next to the new Gables North Rolfe apartment complex, which is expected to be approved by the County Board this weekend, now has a name. Various community groups and county commissions have approved “Three Oaks Park” as the park’s name, in honor of the three large trees on the site. [InsideNova]
Building Over I-66 Would be Pricey — A new report has found that building office and apartment buildings over I-66 in Rosslyn would be expensive, but might eventually be worth considering. As much as 2.5 million square feet of new development could be possible by decking over open-air portions of the highway around Rosslyn. [Washington Business Journal]
‘How Arlington Are You?’ Quiz — A questionable, 10-question web quiz on the website of a Crystal City apartment building attempts to answer the question, “how Arlington are you?” Questions include “how many people do you know who work in the defense industry?” and “how often do you go to Starbucks?” [Crystal Square]
Photo courtesy @TheBeltWalk
Nearly 20 cars were broken into in the Rosslyn area over the weekend.
According to police, the front passenger side window was smashed and items were stolen from at least 14 cars in a parking garage on the 1600 block of Clarendon Blvd. The break-ins happened early Saturday morning.
These break-ins followed a series of 17 car break-ins in Rosslyn during the prior weekend, in which passenger side windows were also smashed.
Police told NBC 4 (above) that the break-ins may be related but so far they haven’t been able to catch the suspect or suspects on surveillance camera. The thieves are looking for small items of value that can be easily concealed, so one way to protect yourself is to remove any such items from your car when leaving it parked overnight.
La Cote D’Or Cafe in East Falls Church (6876 Lee Highway) reopened last night, after having been closed for a day and a half due to damage from a break-in.
Cris Flores tells ARLnow.com that he was the manager on duty on Monday night. He said sometime after he closed up at 10:00 p.m. and before the first person came in on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m., vandals broke into the restaurant.
Flores said wine, liquor, beer and money were stolen from the establishment. The vandals also overturned tables, broke wine glasses and plates, removed food from the refrigerator and scattered it around, and broke wine bottles.
The restaurant closed on Tuesday for the police investigation and for clean-up. They remained closed during breakfast and lunch Wednesday to finish shampooing the carpet, but reopened in time for dinner. Flores estimates that the lost business from being closed, plus all the damage and theft, probably adds up to about a $10,000 loss for the restaurant.
“They did do a lot of damage in the place, it’s not that they just took the money,” said Flores. “But nobody was hurt. That’s the good part.”
Upon reopening for dinner on Wednesday, the restaurant posted a message to customers on its website:
Some of you may have heard about the incident that occurred after we closed on Monday, October 27th. Unfortunately, someone broke into La Cote D’Or and vandalized the establishment. We are happy to say that no one was hurt, and we are reopening tonight for dinner… We thank you very much for your continued support and patronage. We look forward to seeing you all again at your convenience.
The restaurant is open for regular business hours, starting today.
“We’re still trying to get the inventory back to normal, but we are back in business,” said Flores.
Police are investigating the break-in and have not yet named any suspects.
Photo via Google Maps
The concierge at a Courthouse apartment building has been arrested and charged with stealing booze from residents’ apartments.
The alleged theft happened at the Meridian at Courthouse Commons apartment complex, at 1401 N. Taft Street. Police say the front desk concierge, 27-year-old Brooke Chrzan of Bethesda, admitted to breaking in to numerous apartments and drinking residents’ liquor.
Chrzan was arrested Monday morning after she was allegedly caught on a home security camera using a master key to enter an apartment and have a swig of alcohol inside. The residents of the apartment had purchased and set up the camera after they noticed “quite a bit” of liquor missing when coming home from work one day.
Residents of other apartments had also been complaining about a potential booze thief.
“There were numerous bottles that were mysteriously getting lower and lower in their level of alcohol,” said Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “[Chrzan] admitted to police to entering multiple residences over a period of time.”
Chrzan has been charged with burglary and released on bond.
It was about a year ago that the Meridian building was in the news for another series of break-ins. In September 2013, a man broke into at least three apartments and rubbed the arms of women at they slept.
A man who broke into a Courthouse apartment and rubbed a sleeping woman’s arm had struck twice before in the same apartment building, ARLnow.com has learned.
On Sunday, Sept. 15, six days before the arm-rubbing incident, police say the same suspect broke into two apartments and stared at women while they slept. Both break-ins took place between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m., and ended with the suspect — who was wearing a yellow polo shirt and khakis — fleeing the apartment after the women woke up, according to police.
In the first instance, the man said “oops, wrong room,” after the woman, who was sleeping in a bed with her boyfriend, awoke. In the second instance, the suspect fled after the victim woke up, saw the man staring and her and began screaming.
The second victim, who did not want her name used in this article, contacted ARLnow.com and shared her story.
“Around 4:45 a.m. [on] Sept 15, I woke up to find a man standing at the foot of my bed staring at me,” she wrote. “He did not say anything to me. I screamed from my bed (as where he was standing was blocking my bedroom door) for about 30-45 seconds… before he slowly backed out of my bedroom and ran out of my apartment.”
“I did not hear him open the door to my apartment, so I waited about about 45 seconds and ran out of my apartment, into the lobby and called 911,” the woman continued. “The police came right away and searched my apartment, but the intruder had left.”
Six days later, the man broke into another apartment and began rubbing a sleeping woman’s arm, before she woke up and he fled the scene. During that incident, the man was wearing a red polo shirt and blue jeans.
The break-ins all took place at the Meridian apartment complex at 1401 N. Taft Street.
The suspect is described as a 5’10” to 6′ white or Asian male, between the ages of 20 and 25. In each of the three cases, police say, the victims were white women in their 20s who live with roommates.
It’s unclear how the man is choosing his victims, or how he has managed to gain entry to the apartments. Apartment doors in the building lock automatically, though it’s possible that the victims’ doors were accidentally left partially open. Today, building management posted a flyer online encouraging residents to lock the dead bolt on their doors.
Police are working the case in hopes of finding the suspect before he possibly escalates his crime.
“We’re actively investigating and working with the victims,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “It’s a good reminder to make sure people are locking their doors at night, and if they are a victim of a crime, contact police immediately.”
Sternbeck noted that the suspect description fits that of many residents of the apartment complex, making the investigation more difficult.
Photo (bottom) via Facebook
The department created an infographic with statistics about two common types of theft — residential burglaries and larcenies from auto — for the first seven months of 2013.
Armed with knowledge like the most common day and time for break-ins, and the most commonly stolen items, police say residents can make smarter choices — for instance, making sure GPS units and laptops aren’t left in plain sight for thieves to find.
An average of 14 homes are burglarized in Arlington each month, with an average stolen item value of $854. An average of 68 vehicles are broken-into each month, with an average of $286 worth of items stolen.
“We’re informing the residents of Arlington County of some of the trends we’re seeing in the first half of 2013 calendar year,” ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said of the graphic. “We’re deploying resources based on this information.”
About 15 vehicles in the garage were broken in to Monday afternoon, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The cars each had their door lock “punched,” allowing a thief to gain access to the inside of the vehicle. Valuables like wallets, purses, credit cards, cash, phones and GPS units were taken.
Sternbeck said the suspect or suspects moved from car to car, sometimes leaving items stolen from one vehicle in another vehicle. The thefts all took place between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., Sternbeck said.
Thefts are fairly common in the Pentagon City mall parking garage, though a large series of thefts such as this doesn’t happen very often. In July, thieves struck at least 10 vehicles, including two police vehicles, in one afternoon.
“That’s one of the known hot spots for thieves due the the number of vehicles,” Sternbeck said of the parking garage. “[The mall is] typically a place where you leave valuables inside your vehicle. It’s easy pickins for these criminals.”
Police advise shoppers to keep valuables out of plain sight — perhaps locked in a trunk or a glove compartment — when parking one’s car in a public area.
Residents and business owners at the Market Common Clarendon shopping center/apartment complex were told in an email last week that management was increasing security patrols in response to a rash of break-ins.
“Over the past few weeks the parking garage experienced a number of vehicle break ins, and we want you to know that we share in your concern and frustration over these events,” property managers wrote. “Unfortunately, as the Arlington County Police have informed us, our garage is not the only area that has been affected — the entire County has seen an increase in vehicle break-ins.”
Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck could not confirm whether there has, in fact, been a noticeable increase in break-ins, but an email sent yesterday by management at the Residences at Station Square Condo (1201 N. Garfield Street) does point to the break-ins not being isolated to just one parking garage. The email, sent to building residents, confirms reports of thefts in the garage.
“We have had a rash of vehicle break ins in the garage,” the email says. “This has been happening throughout the Clarendon and Arlington area. The cars have been damaged during the break in, and small items have been stolen from the vehicle. To prevent this from happening in the future please remove all items from sight. Please remove any and all items in your parking space. Please use extra caution until the individual or individuals are apprehended.”
Last week police were dispatched to the garage for reports of incidents where a car window was busted in and loose change was taken, and where a convertible roof was cut open and a GPS navigation system taken.
Residents of both Clarendon buildings were sent an Arlington Police flyer (pictured) that advises them to always lock car doors, keep windows rolled up, and lock valuables in the trunk. Sternbeck reiterated that message in a discussion with ARLnow.com.
“It’s the responsibility of residents and visitors to lock their vehicle and not leave valuables in plain sight,” said Sternbeck, who also noted that “larceny from auto” is a common crime that occurs every day in Arlington County.
Management at the Residences at Station Square said they were “taking preventative measures from this happening in the future.” Among the actions being taken at Market Common Clarendon were expanded private security patrols, a private duty Arlington County police officer on patrol during overnight hours, and coordination with ACPD beat officers and crime prevention specialists.
Detectives are investigating 10 reports of car break-ins at the mall parking garage yesterday, including five reports of larcenies from auto (items stolen from inside the car) and five reports of attempted larcenies.
Police believe the incidents took place between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Two of the victim vehicles belonged to law enforcement agencies, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Sternbeck wasn’t able to confirm which agencies were involved, except to say that the vehicles did not belong to Arlington County. ARLnow.com hears that at least one of the vehicles was an undercover Fairfax County police car.
Sternbeck said that mall-goers can help protect themselves from theft by making sure to lock their vehicles and by keeping valuables like iPods, GPS units and cash hidden in a locked glove box or trunk. Shoppers are also asked to report suspicious activity in such parking garages to police or mall security.