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Police presence at Wakefield High School Thursday afternoon (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

An 18-year-old Arlington man is behind bars after police say he snuck into Wakefield High School yesterday to confront a student, triggering a lockdown.

Kenan Owens was arrested around 1 a.m. this morning in the Douglas Park neighborhood by an Arlington County Police Department tactical team. According to scanner traffic, a total of nine people were detained in the operation, which targeted a small house on the 4200 block of 16th Street S., near the intersection of Four Mile Run Drive and S. George Mason Drive.

The police department said Owens “was known to carry a firearm” and “had an ongoing dispute with” the targeted student.

“The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival and was later observed in the victim’s neighborhood,” said ACPD. Initial reports suggested that the dispute might be related to a recent shooting and that Owens was spotted wearing a ski mask while inside the school.

The trespassing incident triggered an hours-long lockdown of the school and a large police response. Classes were cancelled today at Wakefield, which is also mourning the death of a student from an apparent overdose.

More on the arrest from an ACPD press release, below.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is announcing the arrest of an individual following a trespassing investigation at Wakefield High School. Kenan Owens, 18, of Arlington was arrested and charged with Trespassing at School, Stalking, Remove/Alter Serial Number of Firearm, and Allowing Access to Firearm by Children (x3). He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. on February 2, police were dispatched to the 1300 block of S. Dinwiddie Street for the report of a trespasser. Initial information received by the Emergency Communications Center indicated the trespasser was known to carry a firearm, however, no weapon was observed during the incident. The school was placed on lockdown as police investigated the incident. The investigation ultimately determined the trespasser was not currently on school property and students were dismissed on time.

The preliminary investigation indicates the suspect allegedly entered the school and attempted to locate the juvenile victim whom he had an ongoing dispute with. Witnesses reported this information to school administration who then contacted police. The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival and was later observed in the victim’s neighborhood.

During the course of the investigation, detectives identified the suspect and obtained warrants for his arrest. In the early morning hours of February 3, the Emergency Response Team took the suspect into custody at a residence in the 4200 block of 16th Street S. During the execution of a search warrant, three firearms were recovered including one with a removed serial number.

This remains an active investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line 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).

Hat tip to Dave Statter

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(Updated at 11:55 p.m.) Wakefield High School was placed in lockdown Thursday afternoon after reports of a trespasser, possibly armed with a gun, and a threat against a student.

The cause for concern is related to a recent shooting in the Green Valley neighborhood, according to initial reports. So far, there are no reports of any acts of violence inside the school.

The initial dispatch went out around 12:30 p.m. A large police presence surrounded Wakefield and officers — some heavily armed — searched the building and classrooms, as well as nearby neighborhoods.

During the search, a student who was not considered a suspect was escorted out of the school by police, ARLnow hears.

The lockdown was lifted and student dismissal started shortly after 3 p.m. under the watchful eye of police.

“ACPD’s investigation determined the trespasser, possibly armed with a gun, is not currently on school property,” Arlington Public Schools said in a statement. “The investigation into the incident is ongoing, according to ACPD… All students and staff are safe.”

“After-school and evening activities are canceled,” the statement added. “The safety and security of your student is our top priority.”

During dismissal, a medic unit was dispatched to the school for what what described as a separate incident unrelated to the trespassing.

Groups of parents started gathering near the school after the lockdown started but were then directed to a reunification center at a nearby church, per scanner traffic. TV news crews also gathered outside of the school.

Wakefield students were dismissed early Tuesday after a student was hospitalized in critical condition after an apparent overdose in a bathroom. Friday classes were cancelled as of Thursday evening, according to APS.

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(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) There was a significant police presence at Wakefield High School today after a possible drug overdose.

One student was transported via ambulance from the school in critical condition after being found unresponsive. Four other students were treated on the scene for unspecified issues, according to the Arlington County Police Department.

Police and medics responded to the school’s medical clinic and an upper floor boys bathroom, where CPR was performed on the student who was then rushed to the hospital, according to initial reports.

A police press release issued this afternoon said the student who was taken to the hospital remains in critical condition.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division is investigating an apparent drug overdose at Wakefield High School.

At approximately 9:27 a.m. on January 31, police and fire were dispatched to the 1300 block of S. Dinwiddie Street for the report of an unresponsive juvenile male inside a bathroom. Medics administered emergency medical aid before transporting the juvenile to an area hospital. He remains hospitalized in critical condition. Four additional juveniles were evaluated on scene by medics.

Responding officers processed the scene, collected evidence and spoke with witnesses. Based on the preliminary information, this incident is being investigated as an apparent drug overdose. In accordance with Virginia Code, additional details are not releasable due to the patient’s age.

This remains an active investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line 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).

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, help is available and there are numerous treatment resources available in Arlington.

This morning, during the emergency response, Wakefield’s principal sent an email to families, noting that “students are being held in their second period classes at the request of the Arlington County Police Department.”

The school ultimately dismissed early, cancelled all evening activities and has postponed tonight’s athletic events.

“Due to the disruption caused by the ongoing ACPD investigation, we are dismissing students early,” Wakefield principal Chris Wilmore said in a subsequent email. Students will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. and all after-school and evening activities are canceled. Students will be provided with a grab-and-go lunch if needed as they leave.”

In recent months numerous parents and advocates have sounded the alarm to ARLnow about opioid use and overdoses in Arlington’s public schools, including middle schools and high schools.

Arlington police responded to APS buildings seven times for reported overdoses between January and October 2022, according to ACPD stats. APS has been trying to combat a twin epidemic of opioid use and mental health crises among students, leading to at least two student deaths since Christmas, ARLnow reported earlier this month.

This afternoon, Wilmore sent the following email to families, noting that “additional counseling services will be available for students on Wednesday.”

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The Arlington County Board on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023 (via Arlington County)

(Updated at 8:20 p.m.) The Arlington County Board has taken the next step toward potentially allowing Missing Middle housing.

This evening (Wednesday), during its third meeting on a request to advertise public hearings regarding the proposed zoning changes, the Board voted unanimously to kick off two months of public discussion on a proposed set of options and alternatives.

The Board will reconvene to consider adopting a final proposal in March.

Opponents and some proponents of Missing Middle housing expressed disappointment with the proposal, which does not include 7- or 8-unit buildings.

The advertised change would allow small-scale multifamily buildings, from duplexes to townhouses to 6-plexes, in areas that are currently only zoned for single-family detached homes. The Board’s vote took off the option to prohibit additional housing types on sites larger than one acre.

The Board must consider some type of parking minimum going forward, as the only option not to have any minimums was struck from the proposal.

Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said he is “deeply disappointed in the advertised ordinance.”

“I’m disappointed that the limited nature of what will be offered today doesn’t give us the ability over the next two months to do the best policy,” he said. “That’s a profound disappointment for me but not certainly not enough to vote against it.

“The most affordable units that could be made available are taken off the table for the biggest lots in Arlington that could accommodate them, limiting the opportunity to further provide attainability for people being able to achieve economies of scale and subsidize on a per-unit basis in a very cost efficient way,” Dorsey added.

Board member Matt de Ferranti was more supportive.

“My policy goals are the same as they were in December 2019 and in the scope that we wrote in September 2020: affordable homeownership, 3-unit type family dwellings and flexibility in housing types and residential uses in single-family neighborhoods,” he said. “The RTA moves us forward to that goal.”

“I think we need to move forward with what we’ve done,” de Ferranti continued. “We must move forward because my grandparents benefitted from single-family zoning in New Canaan, Connecticut and Pittsfield, Massachusetts and the grandparents and parents of many Arlingtonians of color did not. Move forward because there is never a wrong time to do the right thing. Move forward because if you can build a large home on a lot it is reasonable to build smaller dwellings in the same sized building unless there are outside costs or unreasonable burdens to doing so.”

Immediately following the vote, Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future, an organization opposed to the plan, denounced what the Board approved.

“If County Board members vote to finally adopt this Missing Middle mess, it will permanently stain their legacies,” said ASF leader Peter Rousselot, in a statement. “The County Board has disregarded the testimony and findings of prominent realtors, architects, economists, land use attorneys, engineers, and other experts who all have explained why the Board’s Missing Middle plan won’t work in Arlington.”

In its statement likewise criticizing the decision, Arlingtonians for Upzoning Transparency said the process so far has not been transparent and the result won’t be more modest-sized homes attainable to moderate-income residents.  .

“The [Missing Middle housing] will incentivize developers to tear down modest, single-family homes and build $1.5 million townhouses and duplexes or small one-and-two-bedroom rental units,” said Julie Lee, a founding member of AfUT. “The County should not promote the false promise that the free market will produce lower cost housing. Developers will build the most profitable — and most expensive — [Missing Middle housing] possible, using every bit of allowable lot coverage to do it.”

Leaders of YIMBYs of Northern Virginia, which supported a more robust version than what is now on the table, told ARLnow they commend the Board for unanimously approving the hearings but are disappointed with the limitations.

“All five members of the County Board very clearly stated that they wanted to create a new legacy for Arlington, so now, they have a responsibility to make good on that promise,” the group said. “Most Arlingtonians rent. Most Arlingtonians live in multi-family buildings and most of them say ‘Yes’ to new housing and new neighbors. Making sure that the majority’s voice and interests are represented in the final package is extremely important.”

“The big issue we can’t lose sight of is Arlington’s affordability crisis and housing shortage,” the group continued. “The ultimate litmus test will be, ‘Will Missing Middle actually produce new housing?’ There is a risk — if the final proposal narrows down the [request to advertise] even further, that it won’t.”

Mike Hemminger, NAACP Arlington branch president, said the decision to remove the densest buildings from the proposal amounts to “de facto segregation.”

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Former Arlington Education Association President Ingrid Gant delivered remarks during a press conference in September 2021 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) A former president of the Arlington teachers union, who was ousted last spring, has been charged with embezzling more than $400,000 from the organization.

Ingrid Gant, 54, of Woodbridge, was arrested yesterday (Monday) in Prince William County on four counts of embezzlement. She was taken to the county’s jail and later released on an unsecured bond, according to a press release from the Fairfax County Police Department today (Tuesday).

Fox 5 first reported the arrest.

Gant led the Arlington Education Association (AEA) for six years before being ousted last spring along with her executive board.

FCPD says it was notified of her potential theft last September after an internal audit determined she had “failed to provide financial reports and failed to file tax returns,” raising concerns from Arlington Education Association board members, per the release.

“Calibre CPA Group was hired to conduct an audit of the funds. After six months of reviewing the activity, it was determined Gant embezzled $410,782.10 throughout her tenure as president,” the release said. “Detectives were notified and began their investigation, while working closely with the accounting firm and AEA to review the documentation. Detectives determined Gant provided herself with multiple bonuses and used debit cards for unauthorized purchases.”

Gant was terminated on March 30, 2022, according to police. By April, the National Education Association, which represents educators and staff from public school through higher education, was temporarily leading the AEA under an emergency “protective trusteeship,” ARLnow first reported.

At the time, sources said they were frustrated that the organization had effectively stopped operating, just as the collective bargaining process was starting to ramp up. No one would answer the phone, the website was down for two months and the meeting when members were supposed to launch their executive board campaigns was canceled, raising doubts among members about the fairness of the election.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for the Virginia Education Association said in a memo that the union’s finances were in disarray and not communicated to members. Local leaders admitted the disorganization in a memo to members, saying AEA began the 2021-22 fiscal year without a budget and owed $732,000 in dues to the state and national unions.

AEA had also picked up some negative press that year for publishing a press release with a number of grammatical and stylistic errors.

Detectives are asking anyone with information about this case to please call the FCPD Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Fairfax County Crime Solvers by phone at 866-411-8477 and by web.

AEA headquarters is located in the Bailey’s Crossroads neighborhood of Fairfax County, just over the Arlington border.

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Ice / freezing rain on windshield (file photo)

Arlington Public Schools will open on a two-hour delay on Thursday due to expected freezing rain, the school system just announced.

APS follows Fairfax County Public Schools in announcing a two hour delay tonight. Other Northern Virginia districts have announced weather plans ranging from two hour delays to closures.

From APS:

CODE 2: All APS schools and offices will open two hours late Thursday, Dec. 15. The Extended Day program will also open two hours late and morning field trips are canceled. Custodial and maintenance staff and food service workers should report to work at their regularly scheduled time. All other employees should report to work two hours past their usual start time. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.

More on the storm timing from the National Weather Service:

Metro, meanwhile, said today that it’s tracking the weather and will respond to hazardous conditions as necessary.

Metro is keeping an eye on the sky and advising customers to be prepared for potential service impacts to Metrobus service tomorrow, December 15, if icy conditions materialize.

Metrobus plans to provide regular scheduled service tomorrow. However, if road conditions are observed to be hazardous, Metrobus customers may experience delays or detours as outlined in Metro’s light snow plan, which adjusts service on a route-by-route basis to keep buses off of steep hills, narrow roadways, and other challenging route segments during inclement weather.

Customers can review planned detours in advance to see how their service may be affected by clicking here. If conditions require that a route be detoured, customers will be notified via MetroAlerts email and text messages. Customers are also encouraged sign up for MetroAlerts and to follow @wmata, @metrobusinfo, and @metrorailinfo on Twitter for the latest service information.

Customers should allow additional travel time and use caution on platforms, escalators, parking lots and other areas that may be slippery.

Elsewhere across the system, Metrorail is expected to operate on a normal weekday schedule. MetroAccess will operate normally, with extra travel time possible based on road conditions.

VDOT is encouraging drivers to stay off the roads after the frozen precipitation starts falling overnight.

Motorists should avoid travel as frozen precipitation will create icy roadway conditions in portions of the Commonwealth tonight and tomorrow morning. Pavement temperatures will be at or near freezing levels. Temperatures will drop overnight and could cause treacherous conditions during the morning commute, primarily in the northern, northwestern and parts of central Virginia. As a reminder, bridges, overpasses and shaded areas tend to freeze first.

Freezing rain is forecasted to begin around 9 p.m. tonight in northwest Virginia and will continue through the morning.

Most Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews did not apply liquid pretreatment to roads in areas where the event is forecasted to start as rain, as the pretreatment application will wash away and be ineffective. VDOT crews are ready to treat roadways with salt, sand and abrasives once icy conditions begin to develop. Wreckers are pre-staged along certain routes and tree crews are available to handle downed trees.

Motorists should be vigilant, pay attention to weather forecasts in areas where they plan to drive, and delay travel in the impacted areas.

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(Updated at 11:25 p.m.) At least two people have been pulled from the water on an icy cold night after a car drove into the Potomac along the GW Parkway.

The crash was first reported around 9:30 p.m., near Columbia Island Marina and the Humpback Bridge. It was not immediately clear how the car ended up in the water.

Initial reports suggest that one person was quickly able to get out of the water, possibly with the assistance of U.S. Park Police. They were taken to a local hospital via ambulance.

Another person was reported to be trapped and was taken to a hospital in critical condition after a rescue operation and CPR being performed on shore. NBC 4 reported tonight that that person has died.

Arlington County firefighters and D.C. fireboats assisted with the rescue operation alongside Park Police. Rescuers also searched the water for a possible third victim, according to scanner traffic.

“The two occupants were located and removed from the vehicle in the water,” ACFD said via social media. “Both were transported to area hospitals, one with life-threatening injuries.”

The northbound lanes of the Parkway are expected to remain closed until after midnight, according to Arlington Alert, likely as a result of the crash investigation. As of publication fire department personnel were in the process of clearing from the scene.

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Firefighters extinguishing vehicle fire after serious crash (screenshot via @STATter911/Twitter)

(Updated at 11:15 p.m.) The intersection of Williamsburg Blvd and Old Dominion Drive was closed for nearly five hours overnight after a fiery crash that killed a teenager.

Two vehicles collided at the intersection, in the Rock Spring neighborhood, around 12:30 a.m. The engine compartment of one of the vehicles caught fire.

The flames were quickly extinguished after firefighters arrived on scene. The intersection was closed overnight while police investigated the crash.

Initial reports suggested that several people were injured and one person was found unresponsive.

Police confirmed early Friday afternoon that one person, a teen boy, was killed. The driver of the other car — an SUV, which caught fire after the crash — was also a teen. He has been charged with DUI/Involuntary Manslaughter, according to ACPD.

The press release is below.

The Arlington County Police Department has charged a juvenile male in his teens with DUI/Involuntary Manslaughter following a fatal vehicle crash in the Rock Spring neighborhood. He remains held in a juvenile detention facility.

At approximately 12:29 a.m. on November 11, police were dispatched to Old Dominion Drive at Williamsburg Boulevard for the report of a two-vehicle crash with injuries. Upon arrival, first responders located an unoccupied SUV on fire. The fire was quickly extinguished by the Arlington County Fire Department. The driver of the second involved vehicle, a sedan, was located unresponsive inside the vehicle and pronounced deceased on scene.

The preliminary investigation indicates the driver of the sedan was attempting to make a U-turn on Old Dominion Drive when he was struck at a high rate of speed by the SUV. The driver of the SUV was taken into custody on scene. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.

The deceased is a juvenile male in his teens. His identification is being withheld in accordance with Virginia Code § 19.2-11.2 which limits Virginia law enforcement agencies from directly or indirectly identifying deceased juvenile victims of a crime.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Detective S. Whalin at [email protected] or 703-228-4159. Information may also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

The victim has been publicly identified as Braylon Meade, a Washington-Liberty High School basketball player. The school’s principal says counselors will be available for students who need extra support next week.

Signs at tonight’s W-L football game mourned Meade, who wore #22 on the court.

Screenshot via @STATter911/Twitter

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A person receiving a vaccine from Arlington County’s clinic in early 2021 (Image via Arlington County/YouTube)

In another sign that we’ve reached the later stages of the pandemic, Arlington County is permanently closing its public vaccine clinic next month.

The announcement was made this morning.

“Demand has significantly decreased at the County’s clinic, with COVID-19 vaccines now widely available in the community through pharmacies, urgent care centers, and medical providers,” the county said in a press release. “As such, the final day of operations for the clinic at Sequoia Plaza (2100 Washington Blvd.) will be Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022.”

The clinic first opened nearly two years ago and saw long lines for the original vaccine after it was made available. In addition to its closing, the county announced that all but one of its Covid testing booths are closing.

“All County Curative COVID-19 testing kiosks will close on Nov. 30, 2022, except for the Arlington Mill Community Center location,” the press release said. “The closure of kiosks aligns with a significant decline in kiosk testing demand across the County (an 80% decline since Nov. 2021) and the widespread availability of at-home and pharmacy-based tests.”

Covid case rates in Arlington have held relatively steady over the past month and currently stand at a seven-day moving average of 30 cases per day, according to Virginia Dept. of Health data. That’s about the middle of the range for what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers a “low” Covid level.

Meanwhile, some of the public health attention has shifted to rising levels of flu and the childhood illness RSV.

“The emergency department is pretty much as busy as we have ever seen it,” Virginia Hospital Center emergency department chair Mike Silverman wrote Friday in his weekly public Facebook post. “Our volume this week (and actually last week) is 20+% higher than our typical volume. We are definitely seeing this with the flu and RSV numbers. We’re also seeing this in the increased number of pediatric patients coming to the ER.”

The full Arlington County press release about the clinic and testing booth closures is below.

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Damaged vehicle in the Clarendon area (screenshot via YouTube)

(Updated at 3 p.m.) Arlington County police have arrested a 37-year-old Maryland man after a week-long spree of vehicle vandalism.

Police announced this afternoon that the suspect was arrested last night and found with a BB gun in his car. The arrest, which appears to have taken place at the 7-Eleven parking lot at 201 S. Glebe Road, happened after police say they were able to identify a “possible suspect vehicle.”

Dozens of cars were damaged, with windows shot out, during the spree that started last Thursday and stretched across various neighborhoods throughout the county. Many of the incidents took place in the Clarendon and Ballston neighborhoods.

A possible motive for the vandalism was not given. The suspect does not appear to have any recent prior criminal charges in Arlington, according to court records.

Police also said Friday that ten additional damaged cars were reported yesterday, adding to the 81 previously reported in the vandalism series.

“On October 27, police took 10 additional reports in a destruction of property series in which a suspect damaged the windows of parked vehicles with a BB gun,” an ACPD crime report said.

The police press release about the arrest is below.

The Arlington County Police Department is announcing the arrest of a suspect in a destruction of property series in which numerous vehicles were damaged in neighborhoods across Arlington. Luis Tavares Sanchez Manuel, 37, of Capitol Heights, MD is charged with twelve counts of Destruction of Property and is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility. Additional charges are anticipated.

Late last week, police began investigating a destruction of property series in which a suspect discharged a BB gun at the windows of parked, unoccupied vehicles causing damage. During the days that followed, additional incidents occurred during overnight hours in various neighborhoods across the County.

During the course of the investigation, police spoke with witnesses and reviewed crime scene evidence which led to the identification of a possible suspect vehicle. On the evening of October 27, a patrol officer observed the suspect vehicle traveling on S. Walter Reed Drive. The driver proceeded to a business in the 200 block of S. Glebe Road where officers took him into custody as he was exiting his vehicle. During a search of the vehicle, a BB gun was recovered.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line 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).

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(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) It happened again.

More Arlington residents woke up this morning to find their car windows shattered by an unknown vandal or group of vandals who had previously damaged nearly three dozen vehicles in a week-long smashing spree.

ARLnow has received reports of freshly smashed car windows in the Westover and Yorktown neighborhoods and in Ballston, near Washington-Liberty High School. That follows reports of damaged cars yesterday in parts of Clarendon, Lyon Village, Virginia Square, Courthouse and Glencarlyn.

We are awaiting additional details from Arlington County police, but a crime report just posted online says 54 vehicles were damaged by a BB gun between Tuesday evening and Thursday morning.

From ACPD:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Series), Between the evening of October 25 and early morning of October 27, an unknown suspect damaged the windows of approximately 54 vehicles with a bb gun. Detectives are investigating this as a series with the previously reported destruction of property series. Community members in these areas are asked to review their home surveillance for any footage that may assist the investigation. Information can be reported to the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] The investigation is ongoing.

The vast majority of the damaged vehicles listed by police were parked in various parts of northern Arlington.

Yesterday police confirmed 10 damaged vehicles; the latest report adds 44 vehicles to the two-day total. Combined with the vandalism spree late last week, ACPD has received reports of more than 80 cars with shattered windows over the past seven days.

“Since October 21, there have been 81 vehicles reported to have damaged windows,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “It’s important to note that since some of these reports are filed online and the reporting party does not always note if the damage appears to be from a BB gun, some of these reports may ultimately be determined not to be part of the series.”

Update on 10/28/22 — A suspect has been arrested in the case.

https://twitter.com/Lucifersmith420/status/1585622657747255298

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