Support

A man who was arrested for attempting to rob a store in Arlington two days ago had just posted bond for another arrest in Fairfax County on Monday.

Karim Clayton, a 44-year-old D.C. resident, attempted to steal electronics from a pharmacy in the Buckingham neighborhood on Tuesday, according to Arlington County police. On Sunday, a Fairfax County Police Department official said he was arrested for assault and battery and held on a $2,000 secure bond.

He posted bail on Monday at 3:10 p.m., the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. The office said it does not have information on how he settled his bond nor is it public information.

After his was released, Clayton tried to rob the CVS on the 200 block of N. Glebe Road at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

“[The] male suspect entered the business and allegedly began placing electronics into a cart,” said the report. “The suspect then attempted to exit the store without paying for the items and was confronted by an employee. The suspect pushed passed the employee, grabbed a few items out of the cart and fled the scene on foot prior to the arrival of police.”

An officer pulled Clayton over a couple of blocks away while trying to drive off and arrested him “without incident,” the report said. He was held on no bond.

The charge listed for this incident is accessory to robbery using force, per Arlington court records.

Meanwhile, yesterday (Wednesday), Clayton was set to appear in Alexandria General District Court for a grand larceny charge he is facing there. It appears he could not be located, however, as the courts marked Clayton on “fugitive file.”

A tipster described Clayton as being “a one-man petty crime wave in Northern Virginia over the last year.”

He was found guilty of petit larceny on June 8, 2020, according to the Fairfax County Police Department, just three days before he robbed a CVS in the Fair Oaks section of Fairfax County and led Virginia State Police on a high-speed chase through part of Arlington.

On June 11, Clayton attempted to elude police and during his flight from police, he hit a parked car and kept driving, FCPD said. State troopers pursued on I-66 him until he crashed near N. Ohio Street in Arlington.

Clayton was charged with grand larceny, larceny with intent to sell or distribute, speeding to elude law enforcement, a hit and run and driving without a license.

He was only prosecuted in Arlington on the charges of eluding police, and sentenced to 180 days in prison with 171 days suspended, according to court records. His license was suspended for 30 days and he was fined $572. The fine is now past due, along with three others levied in Arlington General District Court over the past year or so, records show.

Between then and his alleged attempted robbery on Tuesday, he’s been charged with five counts of grand and petit larceny.

He has been found guilty three times so far, with one case pending. In those cases, he was sentenced to two 180-day stretches in prison, each with 135 days suspended, and one 90-day sentence fully suspended.

He is next due in court on the latest robbery charge on Nov. 15.

A man who worked as an assistant at Carlin Springs Elementary School is facing sex assault charges.

Police say Jonathan Zapata, a 30-year-old Arlington resident, sexually assaulted a female family member under the age of 18 over the course of two years from 2016-2018. He was arrested this morning in the Buckingham neighborhood and is facing two felony sex offense charges.

Arlington Public Schools has placed Zapata on administrative leave from his instructional assistant position, police said in a press release.

“The preliminary investigation has not uncovered evidence of inappropriate contact with children at the school,” the Arlington County Police Department said. “Anyone with information about Mr. Almanza Zapata that may be pertinent to this case and/or who has had past inappropriate encounters with him is asked to contact Detective S. Gomez at 703-228-4173 or [email protected]

More from ACPD:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is investigating a suspect charged with sex offenses and is seeking additional information and possible victims. Jonathan Almanza Zapata, 30, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with Forcible Sodomy and Aggravated Sexual Battery. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 10:36 p.m. on September 26, police were dispatched to a residence in the Douglas Park neighborhood for the late report of a sexual assault. Upon arrival, officers met with the female juvenile victim who reported that the suspect allegedly inappropriately touched and sexually assaulted her during incidents believed to have occurred between September 2016 and June 2018. Following an investigation by the Special Victims Unit, warrants were obtained for the suspect and he was taken into custody without incident this morning in the 4300 block of N. Pershing Drive. The suspect is known to the victim and this is considered a domestic-related incident.

Arlington Public Schools has placed Mr. Almanza Zapata on administrative leave from his position as an instructional assistant at Carlin Springs Elementary School. The preliminary investigation has not uncovered evidence of inappropriate contact with children at the school. This remains an ongoing and active criminal investigation. Anyone with information about Mr. Almanza Zapata that may be pertinent to this case and/or who has had past inappropriate encounters with him is asked to contact Detective S. Gomez at 703-228-4173 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Police are looking for a pair of suspects after a man was stabbed in the Buckingham neighborhood Sunday night.

The stabbing happened around 9:30 p.m. at the intersection of N. Pershing Drive and N. Thomas Street, several blocks south of Ballston.

A witness told investigators that two men pushed the victim up against a parked vehicle and stabbed him with a knife. The stabbing followed an argument that turned physical, the witness said.

Officers rendered aid to the victim, who is expected to be okay, according to the Arlington County Police Department. The suspects fled and, as of Monday afternoon’s ACPD crime report, remain at large.

More from the crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2021-09190174, N. Pershing Drive at N. Thomas Street. At approximately 9:37 p.m. on September 19, police were dispatched to the report of an assault with a weapon just occurred. Upon arrival, officers located the victim who had sustained stab wounds and began rendering aid until the arrival of medics. The victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries and, refused to provide information to police pertaining to the incident. During the course of the investigation, officers made contact with a witness who stated that he was driving in the area when he noticed three individuals arguing and pushing each other. The witness called out to the group and observed Suspect One and Suspect Two push the victim up against a parked vehicle. Suspect Two then brandished a knife and stabbed the victim. The two suspects then fled the scene prior to the arrival of police. A search of the area for the suspects concluded with negative results. Suspect One is described as a short Hispanic male with a buzz cut, wearing a light colored tank top and blue pants. Suspect Two is described as a short Hispanic male, approximately 5’3″, wearing a dark colored hat with a goatee, baggy pants and carrying a backpack. The investigation is ongoing.

Airbags were stolen from a number of vehicles in several Arlington neighborhoods overnight Friday.

The thefts were reported in the Buckingham, Bluemont and Westover neighborhoods. In all, seven vehicles were “forcibly entered into and had their air bags stolen,” according to the Arlington County Police Department.

Airbags are a lucrative target for thieves, who can reportedly sell them on the black market for a couple hundred dollars. Arlington has been no stranger to even larger airbag theft sprees over the years.

More on last week’s series of thefts, from and ACPD crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2021-08130066/08130067/08130078/08130083, 4400 block of N. Pershing Drive/5700 block of 11th Street N./700 block of N. Kensington Street/5600 block of 5th Street N. At approximately 6:54 a.m. on August 13, police were dispatched to the late report of a larceny from auto. The investigation revealed that in total, seven victim vehicles were found to have been forcibly entered into and had their air bags stolen. Additionally, tools were stolen from one of the vehicles. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

0 Comments

(Updated at 9:15 a.m.) A theft suspect in Pentagon City ran onto the tracks Sunday afternoon, causing major delays for riders.

The theft was reported around 2 p.m., from a store on the 1200 block of S. Hayes Street, a block that includes the Pentagon City mall and the Pentagon Centre shopping center.

The man was spotted by officers at the Pentagon City Metro station and fled onto the tracks. Officers were unable to locate him during their initial search, but he was seen again at the Metro station around 4:45 p.m. Arlington County police along with Metro Transit Police and Pentagon police were then able to establish a perimeter and take him into custody.

Trains were halted in the area and a shuttle service established before the suspect, a 27-year-old Maryland man, was finally taken into custody.

More from ACPD and social media:

LARCENY (Significant), 2021-07180152, 1200 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 2:08 p.m. on July 18, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business, allegedly selected merchandise and left without paying. The suspect fled from responding officers into the Pentagon City Metro and entered the tracks. The tracks were searched with negative results. At approximately 4:42 p.m., the suspect was observed inside the Pentagon City Metro. A perimeter was established, and with the assistance of Metro Transit Police and Pentagon Force Protection Agency, the suspect was taken into custody and transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. While in custody, he provided false information to officers regarding his identity. Deallen Price, 27, of District Heights, MD was arrested and charged with Grand Larceny, False ID to Avoid Arrest, Obstruction of Justice and Trespassing.

Monday’s Arlington crime report included a number of other notable incidents, including:

  • A woman was arrested Friday afternoon after robbing a store at the Pentagon City mall and handing the stolen items to a teen boy while fleeing into the Pentagon City Metro station.
  • A man drove onto the sidewalk and struck a man he had recently argued with at a Buckingham area restaurant early Sunday morning.
  • A man in his 50s or 60s exposed himself to a man along Wilson Blvd in Ballston Friday afternoon, then started masturbating and following the victim while continuing to masturbate.
  • A man grabbed a woman inappropriately and pulled her towards him, while she was sitting outside a business in the Clarendon area early Saturday morning.

More from the Arlington County Police Department, below.

Read More

Mariflor Ventura made headlines earlier this year for helping her Buckingham neighbors during the pandemic.

Dubbed an “Arlington superwoman” by ABC 7, Ventura has been finding and distributing donations and handing out food and basic supplies for a year — an experience that has changed her life.

But now, she is drowning in donations and buckling under the weight of unyielding need. Still, Ventura is determined to give a leg up to people who have fallen on hard times and is looking for ways to structure and sustain her work.

“I love Arlington,” she said. “Whatever I can do, I’m here.”

Ventura, who is a bus attendant with Arlington Public Schools, began helping her neighbors last year during the lockdowns when school was virtual. Through a local Facebook group, she found items for free and distributed them to her neighbors.

The network expanded quickly, especially after giving an interview in Spanish, which reached immigrant communities as far as Woodbridge.

“This year has been busier than when I started,” she said. “I’m going to have to take a vacation from the donations to spend time with my kids.”

Eventually, Ventura migrated her operation from the “Arlington Neighbors” Facebook group to her own Buckingham Mutual Aid Organization Arlington group. She recently started an Amazon wishlist to facilitate in-kind donations.

“I stopped fundraising because I don’t want to manage money,” which could open her up to criticisms about how it is spent, she said.

The Amazon wishlist goes beyond the basics. There are decorations so families could have proper graduation parties for their older kids and bubble wands, water guns and coloring books to occupy kids this summer.

All these ideas have come from Facebook group members, she said.

“They have good ideas and they like to help,” she said.

But Ventura has a wishlist of her own: A separate space for the donations, a nonprofit designation, and a regular assistant to keep track of appointments and help distribute items.

She has been considering the now-vacant apartment downstairs from her. Even the nearest storage facility is far away and the move might confuse people who are used to coming to her house. There was talk about finding a church basement, but that fell through, she said.

As it stand right now, her home is filled with donated items waiting to be given away.

“There’s no space to clean — there’s a tiny little space where we watch TV in the dining room area,” she said. “Some days, I give up and say, ‘I’m not going to do anything. I’ll just try to relax.'”

She laughs. “Normally, I’m a very organized lady. My mom taught me to have my clothes picked out for the next day.”

Ventura said some connections are working on turning the organization into a nonprofit, but that will take some time. In the interim, she imagines creating some kind of free thrift store.

The Arlingtonian knows what it’s like to have nothing. At one point, Ventura lost her job, her apartment and her car. But someone opened a door for her to start working at the county, and she worked her way up.

“From my experience, I can help more people,” she said.

She said it is hard for many immigrants to adjust to life in the U.S. — to find jobs, seek out assistance or just feel comfortable visiting a park.

“I hear from them that it’s their dream to come here, but when they come, they [realize] it’s not easy to live here,” she said. “It’s hard to find a job and if you don’t have family here, it’s harder. It’s just like they are stuck. Somebody has to help them up.”

Ventura said her neighbors are also returning the favor.

“It’s not like I’m the hero,” she said. “They see how I help and they’re helping in return.”

0 Comments

A dazzling array of daffodils are now on display at Culpepper Garden.

The affordable senior living facility at 4435 N. Pershing Drive planted the flowers as part of the first phase of an ongoing restoration of its gardens. The garden now contains 28,000 daffodils of over seven varieties.

The daffodils’ official debut will be at a planned Spring Garden Walk on Saturday, April 10, from noon to 3 p.m. The Spring Garden Walk is the first in a series of events in the garden planned throughout this year, according to a press release.

The celebration also comes after a recent renovation to Culpepper Garden’s independent living building. The press release noted that apartments are available to people over the age of 62 living at less than 60% of area median income ($52,920).

“The Spring Garden Walk is the first in a series of interactive garden events planned throughout 2021,” the senior care organization said in a press release. “Sponsorships and funds generated through these events will be used to complete the full restoration of the historic gardens planted by Dr. Charles W. Culpepper, a scientist and botanist who worked for the Department of Agriculture.”

The daffodils commemorate the work of Culpepper, who sold the five-acre tract of land to non-profit Arlington Retirement Housing Corporation in 1973.

The gardens can be accessed via private, self-guided tours. There is no charge for the tours, but donations to Culpepper Garden are encouraged. A limited number of guided tours are also available, with advanced reservations available by contacting Jasmin Witcher at 703-528-0162 or emailing [email protected].

0 Comments

A thief stole a man’s motorcycle while the rider was suffering a medical emergency, according to Arlington County police.

The incident happened just after noon this past Friday, on the 200 block of N. Glebe Road in Buckingham. Police say a man rode his motorcycle to a pharmacy, then suffered “a minor medical emergency” while inside.

Medics arrived and started to treat the rider on scene.

“After being checked by medics, he realized his motorcycle was missing and reported the theft,” according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

A witness also “reported observing the suspect allegedly approach the motorcycle and begin to tamper with it,” police said. The suspect’s description was broadcast on police radio, and the stolen motorcycle — which had a distinctive color pattern — was soon spotted.

“A Virginia State Trooper located the suspect in the area of I-66 at exit 73 pushing the motorcycle,” per ACPD. A 21-year-old man from Falls Church “was arrested and charged with Grand Larceny: Motor Vehicle. He was held on a secured bond.”

Separately, two other auto crimes of note were included in the most recent ACPD crime report.

First, nine Hondas were broken into and stripped of airbags overnight Friday into Saturday, near the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series), 2021-03130069, 4700 block of 20th Road N. At approximately 7:14 a.m. on March 13, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined an unknown suspect(s) forced entry into nine Honda vehicles and stole the airbags. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

Second, a suspect broke into five vehicles “with a metal object” at an apartment complex near the I-395 and S. Glebe Road interchange. The suspect, a 24-year-old Baltimore man, was arrested on scene.

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Significant), 2021-03140038, 2300 block of S. 24th Road. At approximately 4:20 a.m. on March 14, police were dispatched to multiple reports of a male suspect breaking into vehicles with a metal object. Upon arrival, officers located a suspect matching the description provided by the reporting parties and took him into custody without incident. The investigation determined the suspect allegedly damaged five vehicles and destroyed the entry door and window to a residential building. [The suspect] was arrested and charged with misdemeanor Destruction of Property (x5), felony Destruction of Property, and Tampering with a Vehicle.

0 Comments

A new tenant could be taking over a vacant church on Arlington Boulevard in Buckingham.

The church sits on a .37 acre-parcel at 4347 Arlington Boulevard that housed Bethel United Christian Church until the congregation moved in September 2018 to the Boulevard Manor neighborhood.

“Due to uncontrollable circumstances related to parking availability, we made the decision to sell our building and move into a shared property relationship with Arlington Church of the Brethren,” according to the church’s website. The church has only tiny lots for drop-off, and there are few available street parking spots within easy walking distance.

The church building has been on the market since then, according to Saul Corral, of Fairfax Realty of Tysons, who represents the church.

“It’s such a beautiful building, inside and out,” he said, adding that there are impressive old beams that are hard to come by in modern architecture.

Contracts have been drafted with potential buyers three times already, “but unfortunately, they’ve fallen through,” Corral said.

The fourth time could be the charm for the church. A potential buyer is studying whether or not the investment is feasible, and this study period expires at the end of April, he said.

Previous buyers have had their contracts cancelled based on what they intend to do with the building, he said.

“That’s where the contracts fall through,” Corral said. “Buyers that have other intentions put a contract on it and they’re not approved” by the Arlington County Zoning Department.

The church lot is zoned for single- and multi-family dwellings, according to a county zoning map.

Although the church is vacant, the founding location of a full-time preschool, Children’s International School, continues to operate on the site.

The preschool school has been housed in the church since it was founded in 1985, and has since expanded to three more locations in Arlington and Alexandria. It expects to be able to continue operating from the building, managers have told parents.

0 Comments

A widespread power outage is currently affecting parts of Arlington.

More than 3,500 Dominion customers were without power in the county as of 9:30 p.m. Affected neighborhoods include Ballston, Bluemont, Buckingham, Ashton Heights and Lyon Park, according to the power company’s outage map.

Residents near those neighborhoods might have seen their power flicker around 9 p.m.

The outage happened after a driver in a Toyota Prius slammed into a utility pole in the Buckingham area. On social media, the Arlington County Fire Department said it is “unknown” when power will be restored.

Update at 10:15 p.m. — Power has been restored to most customers, but about 500 in the Buckingham area, near the crash, remain in the dark.

0 Comments

A woman was intentionally struck by a vehicle and pinned against a dumpster over the weekend, according to an Arlington County Police crime report.

The incident happened shortly before 5:30 p.m. Saturday, on the 200 block of N. Glebe Road in the Buckingham area, and followed an argument between the suspect and the victim.

Police say the suspect, a 36-year-old Arlington woman, struck the victim with a car in a business parking lot, pinning her against a dumpster. The victim, who knew the suspect, was hospitalized with serious but non-life threatening injuries, according to police.

The suspect was arrested “without incident” the next morning and faces a number of charges.

More from ACPD:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2020-11210144, 200 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 5:24 p.m. on November 21, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim and known suspect were engaged in a verbal dispute and physical altercation earlier in the day, during which the suspect assaulted the victim, causing minor injury. At the time, the victim declined prosecution and medical attention. The verbal dispute continued while they were travelling in a vehicle together. The suspect, and driver of the vehicle, stopped in the parking lot of a business and the victim exited the vehicle. The suspect then allegedly struck the victim with the vehicle, pinning her against a dumpster. The suspect then fled the scene in the vehicle prior to police arrival. The victim sustained serious, but non-life threatening injuries and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. During the course of the investigation, the suspect was identified and a vehicle description was developed. At approximately 8:51 a.m. on November 22, police located the parked vehicle occupied by the suspect and a second subject in the area of 2nd Street S. and S. Fillmore Street. Officers made contact with the suspect as she attempted to walk away from the vehicle and detained her without incident. Toccara Puller, 36, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding, Felony Hit and Run, and Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance. She was held on no bond. The second subject provided officers with a false name, but was subsequently identified and determined not to be involved in the Hit and Run incident. However, he was determined to be wanted out of the City of Alexandria, and in possession of a concealed weapon and controlled substance. Joshua Fletcher, 41, of Washington D.C., was arrested and charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Identity Theft, and Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance. He was held on no bond.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list