Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Hundreds Protest Along George Mason Drive — Hundreds of people lined George Mason Drive Monday evening to protest racism and support Black Lives Matter. The protest was organized by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington. [Twitter, Twitter]

Break-in at Claremont Elementary — “At approximately 12:30 a.m. on May 31, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary alarm. Arriving officers observed four suspects inside of a building and established a perimeter. While clearing the building, the four suspects were located on the roof and taken into custody without incident.” [Arlington County]

Local GOP Amps Up Social Media Presence — “The Arlington County Republican Committee often has a hard time competing with its Democratic counterpart at the ballot box. But the local GOP is working to win the battle of social media. Local Republicans recently announced that Taylor Jack, a rising senior at James Madison University, has joined the party’s public-relations team.” [InsideNova]

Beyer’s GOP Challenger Selected — “The candidate who positioned himself as the more conservative in the field emerged the victor and will become the Republican challenger in a decidedly uphill battle to unseat U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th). Jeff Jordan defeated Mark Ellmore in the 8th District Republican Committee convention.” [InsideNova]

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Arlington County Police have nabbed four suspects in connection with another series of car break-ins.

The vehicle tamperings occurred around the 6000 and 6100 blocks of Wilson Blvd, in the Dominion Hills and Boulevard Manor neighborhoods, early Tuesday morning. Police say eight mostly unlocked vehicles were entered, and a number of items were stolen.

Four teens, including three young adults from Falls Church, were subsequently taken into custody and are facing a variety of charges, from identity theft to petty larceny to contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

This is the latest in a string of vehicle break-ins over the past year, which have prompted Arlington police to post daily social media reminders for residents to lock their cars at night.

More from today’s ACPD crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2020-05260015/05260016/05260020/05260021/05260023, 6000 block of Wilson Boulevard/6000 block of 6th Street N./6100 block of Wilson Boulevard/6000 block of 8th Place N. At approximately 3:06 a.m. on May 26, police were dispatched to the report of multiple vehicle tampering incidents. Arriving officers canvased the area and located two suspects in the area of the 500 block of N. Livingston Street and two suspects in the area of 4th Street N. and N. Lombardy Street. All four suspects were taken into custody without incident. The investigation determined that the four suspects allegedly entered approximately 8, mostly unlocked, vehicles, tampered with items and stole items of value. Abel Perez Santiago, 19, of Falls Church, Va., was arrested and charged with Identity Theft, Forgery, Entering or Setting a Vehicle in Motion, Petit Larceny: Theft from Motor Vehicle and Contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Alex Navidad-Ostorga, 19, of Falls Church, Va., and Kevin Aguilar-Lara, 18, of Falls Church, Va., were arrested and charged with Entering or Setting a Vehicle in Motion. Petitions were sought for Entering or Setting a Vehicle in Motion and Petit Larceny: Theft from Motor Vehicle for the fourth juvenile suspect.

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Another series of vehicle break-ins was reported last week, as thieves continue to take advantage of unlocked car doors in Arlington neighborhoods.

The latest break-in series was discovered in the Barcroft neighborhood Thursday morning. Nine cars were tampered with and stolen from, police said in a crime report.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2020-05070018, 4400 block of block of 1st Street S. At approximately 6:08 a.m. on May 7, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that approximately nine unlocked vehicles were entered and items of value stolen. There are no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

Other car break-ins have been reported by Arlington County Police but without further description, including the following from the Thursday crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO, 2020-05060004, 3600 block of N. Harrison Street

LARCENY FROM AUTO, 2020-05060151, 1000 block of 18th Street S.

A resident provided additional information about the N. Harrison Street incident, near Williamsburg Middle School, on a neighborhood listserv.

“Last night at about 12:15 AM, I caught a guy actively going through my truck interior,” the victim wrote. “The truck was parked on the street and he took off on a bicycle when I started yelling and approaching him from across the yard. I called the non-emergency police line to report it thinking it would just be another sheet in a file but they jumped all over it. Multiple units responded including a crime scene officer to dust for fingerprints and the police were canvassing the neighborhood within 10-15 minutes.”

Despite the response, no arrests were made.

Arlington County Police have, however, made several arrests in such cases over the past few months, amid a rash of hundreds of car break-ins since last summer. The prevalence of such crimes has prompted ACPD to launch a public information campaign urging residents to lock their doors at night and leave valuables out of plain sight.

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Arlington County Police are looking for a suspect that allegedly fled from a traffic stop in a stolen car early this morning.

Police say they responded to the 1500 block of S. Quincy Street around 2 a.m., for a report of someone tampering with cars. While checking around, an officer spotted a suspect in a stolen car near the intersection of N. George Mason Drive and Carlin Springs Road, southwest of Ballston.

Despite efforts to pull the vehicle over, the driver sped off and made a successful getaway. (Arlington police are generally not authorized to conduct vehicle chases, particularly for nonviolent crimes.)

The incident a months-long wave of vehicles being broken into. In February it was revealed that nearly 900 vehicle break-ins had been reported in Arlington since July 2019.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ELUDING (Significant), 2020-04270011, N. George Mason Drive at N. Carlin Springs Road. At approximately 2:00 a.m. on April 27, police were dispatched to the report of a possible tampering with auto in the 1500 block of S. Quincy Street. While checking the area, officers observed a dark colored sedan which was determined to have been reported stolen out of Manassas, Virginia. Officers attempted a traffic stop and the driver fled the scene at a high rate of speed. The investigation is ongoing.

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The owner of a local store went on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight last night to discuss the arrest of a store employee for shooting a would-be robber.

Jowan Zuber, owner of Arlington Smoke Shop in the Green Valley neighborhood, said 33-year-old Hamzeh Abushariah was sleeping in the store’s back office when he was awoken by loud noises. He encountered three masked suspects breaking in and fired three shots to scare them off, Zuber claimed.

One of the suspects, a boy under 18 years of age, was struck and suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

To Zuber’s surprise, police and the Commonwealth’s Attorney decided to level felony charges against Abushariah that could land him in prison for upwards of two decades, if convicted. Abushariah was denied bond, Zuber said, leading to concerns for his health while confined during the coronavirus epidemic.

“We thought we’re in the right. Three masked men at 4:30 on a Sunday morning,” Zuber told Carlson. “This is very sad for America today, as American citizens practicing the Second Amendment to protect the store and the lives.”

Zuber claimed that police asked Abushariah, “why didn’t you run out the back door?”

“This [tells] the criminals out there, hey we can rob stuff, kill people, hurt people, and guess what — people have to run out the back door,” Zuber said. “This is mind boggling.”

The Commonwealth’s Attorney Office, led by reform-minded prosecutor Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, defended the decision to charge Abushariah earlier this week.

“There’s evidence we are not at liberty to share that support the charges, the decision was not made lightly,” the office said on Twitter.

Update at noon — The Arlington County Republican Committee has weighed in on the controversy via Twitter, calling for charges against Abushariah to be dropped.

Update on 4/24/20 — Two of the break-in suspects are now facing charges.

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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.

 

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A D.C. man has been arrested and charged in another series of vehicle break-ins in Arlington.

The arrested happened early Saturday morning, near the Wellington Apartments at the corner of S. Scott Street and Columbia Pike.

Officers were called to the area for a report of a vehicle tampering, according to Arlington County Police, and while investigating a man jumped out of the vehicle and started running. He was taken into custody after a brief foot chase, police said, and is now accused of three break-ins in the area.

More from an ACPD crime report:

VEHICLE TAMPERING (significant), 2020-02150063, S. Scott Street at Columbia Pike. At approximately 4:25 a.m. on February 15, police were dispatched to the late report of a tampering with auto. Upon arrival, officers were directed to a vehicle, which the reporting party had previously observed the suspect allegedly enter. While investigating, the officer heard noise from inside the vehicle and, while determining if the vehicle was occupied, the suspect exited and attempted to flee on foot. A brief foot pursuit ensued and the suspect was taken into custody without incident. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect had also gained entry to two other vehicles in the area. Rudolph Renfrow, 68, of Washington, D.C., was arrested and charged with Tampering with Vehicle (x3), Entering or Setting in Motion a Vehicle, Possession of Burglarous Tools and Obstruction of Justice. He was held on no bond.

The arrest comes amid a continued rash of vehicle break-ins and thefts.

Two D.C. men were arrested last week and charged with three break-ins in the Rosslyn area. Arlington police say at least 882 cars were broken into between July 2019 and January 2020.

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Two men from the District have been arrested and charged with with breaking into at least three cars and stealing items.

The break-ins and thefts occurred earlier this month on the 1400 block of Key Blvd in Rosslyn. Arlington County Police say they obtained warrants for the suspects after “utilizing various investigative resources, including witness accounts and surveillance video.”

Last week ACPD revealed that 882 cars in Arlington had been broken into since July. Amid the ongoing crime spree, police are continuing to urge members of the public to lock their car doors and remove valuables from plain sight.

More from a police press release:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Property Crimes Unit is announcing 18 felony warrants have been obtained for two suspects responsible for a series of larceny from auto cases in the North Rosslyn neighborhood. Deondray Osborne, 30, of Washington D.C. and Raphael Osborne, 28, of Washington D.C. have each been charged with Grand Larceny (x3), Conspiracy to Commit Grand Larceny (x3) and Destruction of Property (x3). Both are being held in Washington D.C. pending extradition to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The investigation determined that on February 2, 3, and 10, the suspects forced entry into three vehicles parked in the 1400 block of Key Boulevard by smashing the cars’ windows. The suspects then allegedly stole personal property, to include a purse, wallet and electronics, before fleeing the scene in a red hatchback sedan. Utilizing various investigative resources, including witness accounts and surveillance video captured in the area, detectives developed information on possible suspects. The suspects were identified and taken into custody by the Metropolitan Police Department on the evening on February 12, 2020.

The identification, apprehension and subsequent charging of these suspects is the direct result of strong partnerships and collaboration between the Arlington County Police Department, Metropolitan Police Department and Arlington’s Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management.

Safety Tips and Crime Prevention Measures

Larcenies from auto are often crimes of opportunity with thieves targeting items left unattended or out in plain view. Members of the public are reminded to close and lock all windows and doors when you park. Pull on the door handle to verify it’s locked. Take all valuables out of your vehicle. If you must leave items in your car, place them out of sight – preferably in your trunk.

Report Information and Incidents to Police for Investigation

In two of these cases, alert members of the public reported suspicious activity to law enforcement or security personnel in the area after observing vehicles with broken windows. Community members are encouraged to remain alert for suspicious activity such as individuals who appear to be looking into parked vehicles or trying door handles. Report information for law enforcement investigation by calling the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.

If you are the victim of a larceny from auto or auto tampering, file an online police report or call the Emergency Communications Center.

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Arlington County Police say they’ve identified three suspects in a string of car break-ins and thefts around the county.

Two juvenile suspects have been arrested, and police are working to apprehend a 18-year-old D.C. man who’s facing 11 warrants on various charges, ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow.

Since July, according to a new ACPD press release, 882 cars have been broken into — and that’s only counting those that have been reported to police. A map of the break-ins show reports from all parts of the county, and a ramp-up in reports since the beginning of December.

Savage says the thefts — which include both larcenies of items from inside cars and thefts of the cars themselves — are crimes of opportunity, most often involving thieves breaking into vehicles by testing door handles and finding those that are unlocked.

Rumors on Nextdoor and local listservs of thieves using sophisticated electronic means to break into cars have not been proven by ACPD or other nearby police departments, she said.

“We don’t have any evidence to support that,” said Savage. To reach that conclusion, police have reviewed surveillance footage and conducted interviews with suspects, she noted.

Police are continuing to conduct public outreach to encourage residents to lock their doors at night, remove keys and valuables from their parked cars, and report suspicious activity. The outreach includes nightly reminders on social media and electronic signboards, currently posted on Lee Highway near I-66 and on Glebe Road near Route 50.

While not in response to any current pattern of calls to police, according to Savage, ACPD is also reminding residents to only report suspicious activity, without regard to a person’s race or ethnicity.

“Factors such as race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious affiliation alone are not suspicious,” the police press release says. “The public should report only suspicious behavior and situations rather than beliefs, thoughts, ideas or expressions.”

The full ACPD press release is below.

The Arlington County Police Department is announcing numerous charges have been sought against suspects responsible for multiple auto theft and larceny cases throughout the County. This week, 11 warrants were obtained for Michael A. Brunner III, 18, of Washington, D.C. His charges include felony Stolen Auto, Grand Larceny and Credit Card Larceny, as well as misdemeanor Vehicle Trespassing and Petit Larceny. The Department also recently sought petitions for two juvenile suspects for Grand Larceny Auto.

The identification and apprehension of these suspects is just one step in reducing crimes of opportunity in Arlington County. Thieves are looking for easy, low effort opportunities to steal from hardworking members of the public. Reported incidents indicate that thieves often target multiple unlocked vehicles parked on streets, in driveways and in garages to rummage through personal property and steal items of value as well as vehicles with keys left inside. To help residents keep their vehicles and property safe, the Arlington County Police Department is sharing ways we can work together to reduce and prevent property crimes in our community.

Method of Theft

Larcenies from auto are often crimes of opportunity with thieves taking advantage of unsecured doors and windows to steal items left unattended or out in plain view. Based on surveillance video, witness accounts, interviews with victims and interviews with suspects apprehended in past cases, the evidence suggests that the suspect(s) are trying door handles and entering those vehicles that are found to be unlocked. Arlington County Police, as well as our regional law enforcement partners, do not have any confirmed cases in which thieves have entered vehicles using sophisticated electronic technology.

When and Where Thefts Occur

Larcenies from auto have been reported in nearly all neighborhoods across Arlington County, typically during the overnight hours and can occur on any day of the week. Suspects will often commit a series of larcenies from auto by targeting numerous vehicles at a time.

Public Education

The Department is deploying electronic signboards in various locations throughout the County as a high-visibility community reminder to lock vehicles and safeguard personal property. The signboards are part of a public awareness campaign and will be periodically moved to different neighborhoods to help spread important crime prevention messaging. A signboard deployed in your neighborhood doesn’t necessarily mean that larcenies from auto have been reported in the area.

Take Action with these Crime Prevention Tips

No matter where you live, follow these crime prevention tips to help reduce the likelihood for criminal activity. Never assume your home or neighborhood is immune from criminal activity as criminals will purposely seek out homes or neighborhoods that they believe present easy targets.

Read More

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Arlington County Police are investigating another series of vehicle break-ins.

In the latest incident, about 10 cars had windows smashed and airbags stolen in parts of south Arlington. The thefts were reported in the Columbia Forest and Shirlington areas early Saturday morning.

Police say they don’t have a suspect description and are continuing to investigate.

Vehicle break-ins have seemingly become a regular occurance in Arlington. Last week, the police department’s crime reports detailed more than 17 vehicles being broken into and at least one stolen, mostly in overnight crime sprees. On local listservs and in an email sent by a victim to ARLnow, some reported their vehicles being broken into via electronic means.

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.

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Someone broke into about 19 vehicles in the county-owned parking garage next to Ballston Quarter mall early Friday morning.

The break-ins were reported around 1 a.m. Police say windows were smashed and items of value were stolen.

Police did not provide additional details about the investigation.

More from an Arlington County Police crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2020-01030014, 4200 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 1:01 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect(s) smashed the windows to approximately 19 vehicles and stole items of value. The investigation is ongoing.

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