A driver was nearly carjacked in a parking garage about a block from the Crystal City Metro station.
The incident happened around 10:20 p.m. last night (Wednesday) on the 200 block of 18th Street S.
“A patrol officer was flagged down by the victim who reported an attempted carjacking,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was in his parked vehicle when the suspect approached his passenger side door. The suspect demanded the victim unlock the car door and had what appeared to be a possible firearm in his pocket.”
Despite the would-be carjacker potentially having a gun, the driver drove off it — and was able to successfully flee. He then saw two additional suspects.
“The victim drove away at which time he observed two other possible suspects flee the scene on foot with the first suspect,” said ACPD.
No one was hurt. Police say they are still investigating.
The last reported carjacking in Arlington happened last month along S. Fern Street, also in the Crystal City area.
Police are looking for a group of men who carjacked a man as he was getting out of his car around midnight last night.
The incident happened on the 2700 block of S. Fern Street, a dead-end residential street near a park in the Crystal City area.
Police are now searching for four suspects, including two who allegedly assaulted the man and forcibly took his keys, wallet and cell phone after he refused to turn them over when approached, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.
More from ACPD:
CARJACKING, 2022-07170241, 2700 block of S. Fern Street. At approximately 12:07 a.m. on July 18, police were dispatched to the report of a carjacking. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male victim was exiting his parked vehicle when he was approached by the two unknown suspects. The suspects pushed the victim against the vehicle and demanded his belongings. When the victim refused, Suspect One assaulted him and Suspect Two reached into his pockets and stole his car keys, wallet and cell phone. The suspects then pushed the victim out of the way and entered his vehicle, accompanied by two additional suspects, and fled the area at a high rate of speed. Officers canvassed the area for the suspect vehicle yielding negative results.
The last reported carjacking in Arlington happened on July 5.
Thieves did not take the Independence Day holiday off, keeping Arlington police busy this past weekend.
It was a long weekend of vehicular mayhem across the county. In one of the earlier incidents, nearly three dozen vehicles — all Hondas and Acuras — had their airbags stolen overnight Saturday into Sunday in various neighborhoods, including the Rosslyn and Pentagon City areas.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series), 2022-07030018, 1300 block of Fort Myer Drive/1300 block of N. Ode Street/1200 block of S. Nash Street/1100-1300 block of S. Arlington Ridge Road/1600 block of 28th Street S./1100 block of Arlington Boulevard/1500 block of Arlington Boulevard/1600 block of S. Joyce Street/900 block of 15th Street S./Army Navy Drive at S. Lang Street/1300 block of Arlington Ridge Road. At approximately 1:15 a.m. on July 3, police were dispatched to the 1300 block of Fort Myer Drive for the report of a suspicious vehicle. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim heard her vehicle’s alarm sounding and upon looking outside, observed a white van or SUV stopped next to her vehicle. The suspect vehicle then fled the scene. Upon investigating, the victim observed her vehicle’s window smashed but nothing was reported stolen. Officers canvassed the area and located three additional vehicles with broken windows and airbags stolen. During the course of the day, police received additional reports of larcenies from auto in the County. The investigation determined an additional 34 vehicles had their windows smashed and airbags stolen overnight. All vehicles were Honda and Acura models. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.
On 5 p.m. on the Fourth of July, police chased a car driven by a suspect wanted for felonies in Maryland.
The pursuit started in the Pentagon City mall parking garage when the car allegedly ran into two police cruisers and through the parking gate. It was halted when the driver continued onto an I-395 ramp going the wrong way, but the vehicle was later found and the suspect — who remains at large — was identified and charged.
Just saw a guy in a black vehicle break through the @FashionCtrPC parking garage gate w/ several @ArlingtonVaPD units in pursuit. I was about 10 feet away from the scene! Crazy! @ARLnowDOTcom @STATter911
— CartChaos22202 (@CartChaos22202) July 4, 2022
ELUDING (Significant), 2022-07040145, 800 block of Army Navy Drive. At approximately 5:00 p.m. on July 4, officers conducting extra checks in a parking garage observed a parked, unoccupied vehicle registered to a suspect wanted for felony offenses out of Anne Arundel County, MD. Officers attempted to take the suspect into custody when he returned to the vehicle but he was non-compliant and refused to follow the commands of officers. The suspect then fled the scene at a high rate of speed, striking two cruisers and causing minor damage and breaking the arm of the gate to the garage. Officers initiated a vehicle pursuit and the suspect continued to driver erratically before exiting I-395 on a one-way ramp going the wrong direction at which time the vehicle pursuit was terminated. A perimeter was established and the area was searched by ACPD and Virginia State Police with the assistance of U.S. Park Police and Metropolitan Police Department helicopters. Alexandria Police Department subsequently located the unoccupied suspect vehicle near the intersection of Route 1 and Franklin Street. Warrants for Felony Eluding, Assault on Law Enforcement (x2), Felony Destruction of Property and Misdemeanor Destruction of Property were obtained for the suspect. The investigation is ongoing.
Then, early Tuesday morning, a pizza delivery driver was carjacked in the Arlington Mill neighborhood, just north of Columbia Pike, by two people with guns and ski masks. They were not found despite a helicopter search of the area.
CARJACKING, 2022-07050020, 800 block of S. Greenbrier Street. At approximately 3:12 a.m. on July 5, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was delivering pizza when the two unknown suspects, who were wearing black ski masks, approached him. The suspects displayed firearms, threatened him and demanded he give them his personal belongings including the keys to his vehicle. The suspects then fled the scene in the victim’s vehicle. A police helicopter searched the area for the suspect and stolen vehicle yielding negative results. The vehicle is described as a 2013 Black Hyundai Elantra with Virginia tags UFD1506. There are no descriptions of the suspects. The investigation is ongoing.
(Updated at 9:40 p.m.) The man who was arrested on Sunday for robbery and carjacking after an inter-jurisdiction car chase on I-395 was awaiting trial in Fairfax County for stealing a car, court records show.
Laysohn Jones, 21, of Suitland, Maryland, had a hearing date set for May 2 for the auto theft charge, as well as a preliminary hearing for a failure to appear and charges for driving without a license and eluding police. He had been “released on recognizance,” according to court records, or released without bail when he allegedly committed the crime.
And two weeks ago, a man who has committed a slew of petty thefts over the last five years — from the Springfield Mall, Tysons Corner Center, and a CVS pharmacy and Macy’s in Pentagon City — was arrested on nearly a half-dozen charges.
Ronald D. Thomas, 24, is now being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility for his most recent alleged crimes — spitting on an officer, grand larceny, petit larceny, trespassing and identify theft — as well as an outstanding warrant from Fairfax County for grand larceny. Court records indicate he also had a felony second-degree assault charge from Maryland and a misdemeanor assault charge in D.C.
These cases have some blaming recent bail reforms, championed by many prosecutors who were elected on pledges to reform the criminal justice system.
“Repeat criminals are crossing jurisdictional lines and facing no consequences in first, second and third jurisdictions due to progressive policies like abolishing bail,” said Sean Kennedy, a spokesman for Virginians for Safe Communities, an organization that launched efforts last year to unseat the Commonwealth’s Attorneys for Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington counties.
“They go on to commit more crime elsewhere and those jurisdictions don’t understand their full criminal history because the same prosecutors have downgraded serious charges to light misdemeanors,” he continued. “More and more people are suffering because of that.”
Those who champion reforms to the criminal justice system, however, say repeat offense cases like these have long existed and systems like jail and bail did not deter people from offending over and over again. They add that these policies did nothing to solve underlying problems driving the criminal behavior, such as drug addiction and unstable housing.
“The inclination is, ‘We need to send him to jail for longer.’ We tried that before — that doesn’t work either,” said Arlington’s Chief Public Defender Brad Haywood.
He refuted the idea that there is a “progressive prosecution angle” at work, referencing the ongoing political tug-of-war between reform-minded prosecutors like Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, whose changes have prompted some backlash, and those who advocate for more stringent prosecution and punishment.
“This is a problem that has been an issue for decades in the U.S.,” Haywood said. “This is an issue, very broadly, with the criminal justice system.”
In the case of the carjacking, Randall Mason, the president of the Arlington Coalition of Police, said Fairfax County’s release of the alleged carjacker put officers, the driver and the public at risk of injury.
“He went out and did the same thing again, and it put Arlington officers at risk because pursuits are inherently dangerous,” Mason said. “Luckily everyone was safe, and no citizens injured.”
Police are concerned about and frustrated by the pattern of people who are arrested for serious offenses and released without bond, Mason said.
Dehghani-Tafti countered that her office does seek to hold people deemed to be dangerous or a flight risk.
“It’s the danger you pose, not whether or not you have cash, that should control whether you are released pre-trial or not,” she said.
(Updated on 4/12/22) A man and two juveniles were taken into custody today after a robbery and a carjacking in Arlington, and a car chase on I-395.
The crime spree started around 1 a.m. Sunday, for a reported robbery and attempted carjacking near the Westin hotel in Ballston.
“At approximately 1:00 a.m. on April 10, police were dispatched to the 800 block of N. Glebe Road for the report of a robbery by force,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “The victim was inside his parked vehicle when the three unknown suspects approached. The suspects opened the vehicle’s doors, struck the [victim] and stole his wallet and credit cards. When the victim exited the vehicle, the suspects entered and attempted to steal the vehicle, however, it had become immobilized.”
“The suspects then fled the scene on foot,” Savage added. “The victim declined medical attention.”
Just a few minutes later, a block or so away from the original crime scene, the same three suspects carjacked two people inside a parked car.
“At approximately 1:03 a.m. on April 10, police were dispatched to N. Vermont Street at N. Tazewell Street for the report of a stolen vehicle,” Savage said. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the two victims were inside their parked vehicle when the three suspects approached, opened the driver’s door and demanded the victims exit. The suspects then fled the scene in the stolen vehicle.”
CARJACKING AND ROBBERY— Arlington police received a call for a robbery by three males at the Westin at 801 North Glebe Rd. Then a carjacking was reported across the street at North Vermont and North Tazewell Sts. Taken was a white 2017 Kia Forte. Happened ~ 1 a.m. @ARLnowDOTcom pic.twitter.com/LnuL8cxLP5
— Alan Henney (@alanhenney) April 10, 2022
Three hours after that, Virginia State Police spotted the stolen vehicle on I-395 in Fairfax County and started to chase it.
“At approximately 4:00 a.m., officers were notified that Virginia State Police had initiated a pursuit of the vehicle on I-395 in Fairfax County,” said Savage. “Arlington officers joined the pursuit once it entered Arlington County. The driver disregarded all commands to stop and fled into Washington D.C.”
The chase was caught on camera by public safety watchdog Dave Statter, from his perch in Pentagon City.
WATCH: 4am chase on I-395N of a Kia reported carjacked 3 hrs earlier in #Arlington. @VSPPIO & @ArlingtonVaPD went into DC for this until losing it nr Wheeler & Mississippi SE. @ARLnowDOTcom @wtop @CordellTraffic @RealTimeNews10 @HCBright10 @RSprouseNews #police #carjacking #crime pic.twitter.com/QJR7RpGPBQ
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) April 10, 2022
The suspects were eventually able to elude police, but the carjacked vehicle was spotted again by D.C. police later Sunday morning.
According to multiple reports, three suspects were taken into custody after the vehicle crashed, following a chase through parts of D.C. and Prince George’s County. The reports also suggest that two other people were in the car at the time of the crash.
Savage confirmed that one adult suspect is facing multiple charges, while “petitions… are pending” for two juvenile suspects.
“The Metropolitan Police Department later located the stolen vehicle and detained the vehicle’s occupants,” Savage said. “As a result of the investigation, detectives obtained warrants for the adult suspect for Conspiracy to commit carjacking (x2), Carjacking (x2) and Robbery.”
The man was later identified by police as 21-year-old Laysohn Jones of Suitland, Maryland.
The carjacking that happened this past Wednesday morning involved three suspects and took place near N. Glebe Road, just south of Ballston, in the Buckingham neighborhood.
— killmoenews (@Killmoenews1) April 10, 2022
UPDATE: Confirmed in custody is 3 males and 2 females unknown ages for occupying a carjacked vehicle.
— DC REALTIME NEWS (@RealTimeNews10) April 10, 2022
PG / DC Armed Carjacking pursuit ends in crash at Pennsylvania Ave & Southern Ave SE. Car taken in Arlington. DC Falcon helicopter found and followed suspects which ended up in a chase in PG. two transported with minor injuries. Multiple suspects likely juveniles. #wusa9 #PG #DC pic.twitter.com/fVHxYjwmKH
— Kurt Brooks (@KurtBrooksWUSA) April 10, 2022
A day after a carjacking was reported in the Buckingham neighborhood near Ballston, another was reported this morning in the Lyon Village area, north of Clarendon.
This time two — rather than three — suspects took a man’s car along Langston Blvd after he checked to see if the suspects, who were in an idling vehicle nearby, needed assistance. The carjacking happened around 5 a.m., around the same time of day as Wednesday’s carjacking.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
CARJACKING, 2022-04080027, 2600 block of Langston Boulevard. At approximately 5:15 a.m. on April 8, police were dispatched to the report of a grand larceny auto just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 5:00 a.m., the victim was inside his parked vehicle when he observed the suspect vehicle idling in the area. The victim exited his vehicle to see if the driver needed assistance, when the two unknown male suspects exited their vehicle, grabbed the victim and demanded money. The victim refused, during which the suspects rummaged through his pockets, stealing his keys. Suspect One returned to the suspect vehicle, while Suspect Two entered into the victim’s vehicle and both drove away from the area. No injuries were reported.
This is the third reported carjacking in Arlington so far this year. Eight carjackings were reported in 2021, after 16 the year before.
Map via Google Maps
A driver was carjacked Wednesday morning in the Buckingham neighborhood, just south of Ballston.
The incident happened just before 6 a.m. on the 4100 block of 4th Street N. and involved three male suspects believed to be between the ages of 20 and 30.
“At approximately 5:50 a.m. on April 6, police were dispatched to the report of a carjacking,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was outside his vehicle when the three unknown suspects approached and pushed him aside before entering the vehicle and fleeing the scene.”
It’s the second reported carjacking in Arlington of the year, after the following incident in late February.
CARJACKING, 2022-02270120, Unit block of N. Columbus Street. At approximately 12:35 p.m. on February 27, police were dispatched to the report of a carjacking. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect and victim met for the prearranged sale of a vehicle. During a test drive of the vehicle, the suspect brandished a firearm, threatened the victim and demanded his property. The victim was able to exit the vehicle before the suspect fled the scene in the stolen vehicle with the victim’s cell phone and wallet. The victim was not injured.
Also in late February, a vehicle that was carjacked in Maryland was spotted in Pentagon City, leading to a brief pursuit and PIT maneuver by Virginia State Police on I-395.
Arlington is now roughly on the same pace for carjackings as last year. There were eight carjackings in Arlington in 2021, compared to 16 in 2020. The drop was attributed to an increased law enforcement and prosecutorial focus on carjackings, as well as the formation of a regional task force to combat a region-wide increase.
Map via Google Maps
A young man in a carjacked Honda is facing charges after police stopped him from fleeing just before crossing a bridge into D.C.
Video of the Saturday morning incident shows police performing a PIT maneuver on the Honda as it’s being pursued in the I-395 Express Lanes, causing the car to spin and crash. It’s relatively rare for police to employ the technique in the immediate D.C. area due to safety concerns.
The video, courtesy of Dave Statter, is below.
#caughtoncamera: ICYMI, @ArlingtonVaPD & @VSPPIO run into car from MD carjacking to end brief chase about 3500 feet from the DC line. It's called a PIT, pursuit intervention technique. Other than a #police dash-cam view, it's somewhat rare to see video of a PIT in the DC area. pic.twitter.com/WmHDm2c254
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) February 28, 2022
Though Arlington County police could be seen in pursuit, it appears that a Virginia State Police trooper was the one who made contact with the fleeing car before it entered the District’s jurisdiction, which typically requires pursuing Arlington or VSP officers to call off the chase.
The Arlington County Police Department said that the pursuit started on Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City, about a block from Amazon’s under-construction HQ2.
“At approximately 10:49 a.m. on February 26, officers observed two subjects enter a parked vehicle that had been reported stolen during a carjacking in Maryland,” ACPD said in a crime report today. “Stop sticks were deployed and officers activated their emergency equipment and attempted to stop the vehicle but the driver continued to flee onto the NB I-395 Express Lanes.”
“A vehicle pursuit was initiated and, with assistance by Virginia State Police, the suspect vehicle was stopped and both occupants were detained,” the crime report continues. “During a search of the driver, a firearm was recovered.”
The 18-year-old driver from Capitol Heights, Maryland “was transported to an area hospital and once medically cleared, arrested and charged with Receiving Stolen Goods, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Eluding and No Driver’s License,” according to police. “He was held on no bond.”
Separately, a person selling a car in the Arlington Forest neighborhood was carjacked during a test drive Sunday afternoon. Police say the person taking the test drive pulled out a gun and stole the victim’s car, phone and wallet.
From the ACPD crime report:
CARJACKING, 2022-02270120, Unit block of N. Columbus Street. At approximately 12:35 p.m. on February 27, police were dispatched to the report of a carjacking. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect and victim met for the prearranged sale of a vehicle. During a test drive of the vehicle, the suspect brandished a firearm, threatened the victim and demanded his property. The victim was able to exit the vehicle before the suspect fled the scene in the stolen vehicle with the victim’s cell phone and wallet. The victim was not injured. The suspect is described as a Black male, approximate 25 – 35 years old, 5’8″ – 5’10” tall with black hair and brown eyes. The stolen vehicle is described as a gray 2012 Nissan Maxima. The investigation is ongoing.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti is welcoming a drop in car-related crimes, which have trended upwards during the pandemic years.
Preliminary data from the Arlington County Police Department indicates carjackings dropped from 16 in 2020 to eight in 2021, while car thefts dropped from 323 in 2020 to 306 in 2021. Finalized numbers will be published later this year in ACPD’s annual crime report.
“After a temporary rise in car thefts in the first half of the year, our office helped to spearhead the formation of a regional task force, resulting in a marked decrease in car-related crimes in the second half of the year,” Dehghani-Tafti, the top prosecutor for Arlington and the City of Falls Church, said in her most recent newsletter. “Most of the recent car thefts are a result of cars left unlocked, unoccupied and idling.”
In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, carjackings soared in Arlington — from one case in 2019 to 16 in 2020 — and the rest of the D.C. area. This uptick prompted more police patrols in the first half of 2021 and, by the summer, a coordinated regional response.
From January through June, ACPD recorded 160 motor vehicle thefts and from July to December, ACPD recorded 146 similar crimes, which is “a good percentage drop,” Dehghani-Tafti tells ARLnow.
Per the 2020 annual report, motor vehicle thefts have a ways to go if they’re to fall back to levels last seen in 2018 and 2019, when there were 171 and 227, respectively.
Dehghani-Tafti said she called attention to the drops in car-related crimes — as well as the zero recorded homicides last year and the lower rates of gun violence compared to other U.S. cities — in her newsletter to provide a counterpoint those who are saying crime is up under her tenure.
Dehghani-Tafti was elected in 2019 on a pledge to reform the criminal justice system by reducing racial disparities in prosecution as well as recidivism and incarceration, and investigating wrongful convictions. Last year, there was an effort to recall her that accused her of offering criminals lenient plea deals.
“[T]he more general point I was making in the digest is twofold: the first is that, contrary to some of the overheated rhetoric in certain quarters, crime remained low and we’ve kept our word in devoting resources to serious crimes, hence our record in the last year, including tackling a number of cold homicide and rape cases; second, I wanted to be intellectually honest that a lot of people deserve credit for crime being low, and to give them thanks for it,” she tells ARLnow.
Specifically, she thanked the Department of Human Services and the county government for funding social services, the Arlington School Board for diverting kids from the criminal justice system — it removed police officers from schools in 2021 — as well as ACPD for its deescalation work and community policing and the Sheriff’s Office for helping to reduce the jail population.
She says the jail population “consistently remains at its lowest levels in Arlington history,” although it has increased from a record low of 209 in June 2020 to 265 in December 2021.
As additional evidence of crime remaining low, she pointed to the zero homicides recorded in 2021 and relatively low rates of gun violence compared to other jurisdictions.
ACPD confirmed that no 2021 deaths have been ruled a homicide, which would be down from three in 2020 and two in 2019. There is, however, an open investigation into the deaths of two people in a Ballston apartment in December.
Two reported deaths in Arlington in 2021 fall outside ACPD’s jurisdiction and reporting: the man who stabbed, shot and killed a police officer outside the Pentagon this summer and the death of a security contractor at the U.S. State Department’s National Foreign Affairs Training Center.
Arlington County police are on scene of an attempted carjacking in Pentagon City.
The incident happened around 1 p.m., near the intersection of Army Navy Drive and S. Fern Street.
“Preliminary investigation indicates female suspect approached victim and attempted to take her keys,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “A struggle ensued, during which the victim sustained non-life threatening injuries. The suspect fled the scene on foot. Police remain in the area investigating and searching for the suspect.”
There were also initial reports of the suspect grabbing or attempting to abduct a child. Asked about that, Savage said police are still investigating what exactly happened.
The crime scene is near the DEA headquarters and within two blocks of the Pentagon, Pentagon City mall, and Amazon’s under-construction HQ2.
From January 2020 to February 2021, police responded to 13 carjackings in the Crystal City and Pentagon City areas. There have been far fewer carjackings since ACPD deployed more crime prevention resources the area last year — and since D.C. area police departments and prosecutors started coordinating to crack down on such crimes.
Update on 11/22/21: Police have released more information about the incident in a crime report:
ROBBERY, 2021-11190099, 500 block of 12th Road S. At approximately 1:22 p.m. on November 19, police were dispatched to the report of an assault just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim and her child were inside a parked vehicle in a parking garage when the female suspect approached and attempted to take her car keys. A struggle ensued, during which the suspect allegedly tried to remove the baby carrier from the vehicle in an effort to steal the vehicle. The suspect fled the scene on foot without any of the victim’s property. Arriving officers established a perimeter and the area was searched with negative results. The child was not injured. The suspect is described as a Black female, approximately 25 to 30 years old, wearing a black jacket and blue jeans. The investigation is ongoing.
(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) A person trying to sell their car online — reportedly via Craigslist — instead became the victim of a carjacking.
Police say they were called to the 2400 block of S. Glebe Road, near the I-395 ramps, just before 4 p.m. yesterday.
“Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim and suspect connected online regarding the sale of a vehicle,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “They agreed to meet to conduct a test drive, during which the suspect pulled into a parking lot. When the victim asked the suspect what he was doing, the suspect allegedly reached into his bag and brandished a firearm. The victim was able to exit before the suspect fled the scene in the vehicle.”
Officers checked I-395 immediately after the carjacking but were unable to locate the vehicle, which was described as a black 2015 Lexus RC with an Arizona license plate.
ACPD continues to investigate the crime, Savage said.
Arlington and the region saw a spate of carjackings last year and early this year, though authorities have been cracking down and fewer have been reported since police started conducting stepped-up patrols.