Crime Report: Bullet Found in Shirlington Home

Police are investigating how a bullet wound up in a home near Shirlington.

A man found the bullet while cleaning his home on the 4500 block of 28th Road S. last week and called police, believing the bullet had been fired from outside the home. The man also told police that the bullet damaged a hanging picture frame.

No one was injured and the investigation is ongoing, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING (late), 2019-03150177, 4500 block of 28th Road S. At approximately 3:10 p.m. on March 15, police were dispatched to the report of suspicious circumstances. Upon arrival, it was determined that on March 14 at approximately 7:00 p.m., the victim was cleaning his residence when he located a bullet on the floor of the living room which is believed to have caused damage to a hanging picture frame. No injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing.

Below are the rest of the highlights from this week’s crime report, including some we’ve already reported.

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2019-03190004, 1500 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 12:17 a.m. on March 19, police were dispatched to the report of disorderly conduct. Upon arrival, it was determined that police were summoned for a female subject who was allegedly disregarding the rules of a program center and refusing to leave. The subject refused to comply with the lawful commands of officers to leave the premises and became combative. While attempting to place the subject under arrest for trespassing, she kicked one officer in the chest and struck another in the face. Patricia Davis, 62, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on Police (x2) and Trespassing. She was held without bond.

ROBBERY (late), 2019-03170184, 1700 block of N. Moore Street. At approximately 2:45 p.m. on March 17, police were dispatched to the late report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 1:35 p.m., a store employee attempted to prevent two alleged shoplifting suspects from leaving the business. The suspects pushed the employee and struck him in the face before fleeing the scene on foot. The victim refused medical attention. Suspect One is described as a tall black male, in his 20s – 30s, wearing a dark blue jacket, dark colored jeans, dark shoes and a backpack. Suspect Two is described as a shorter black male, wearing a blue and red jacket, blue jeans and a backpack. The investigation is ongoing.

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-03150030, 2900 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 2:09 a.m. on March 15, officers on routine patrol were approached by a victim suffering from a superficial laceration to the neck. The victim did not require medical attention. Upon investigation, it was determined that the victim’s friends were speaking with two unknown males when the victim approached them and told them it was time to go. The unknown male suspects began following the group and following a verbal altercation, one suspect produced a blade and struck the victim in the neck. The suspects fled the scene prior to police notification. Suspect 1 is described as a white male, bald with tattoos, between 5’8″ – 5’9″ tall and approximately 140lbs. Suspect 2 is described as a white male, approximately 5’8″ with an athletic build. He was wearing a short sleeve black shirt and light colored jeans at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2019-03160029, 4100 block of 3rd Road N. At approximately 2:30 a.m. police were dispatched to the report of a possible unlawful entry into a vacant apartment. Upon arrival, officers located a suspect inside the residence who allegedly entered through an unsecured window. Alberto Bollera, 34, of Hyattsville, MD was arrested and charged with Unlawful Entry and Drunk in Public.

ATTEMPTED BURGLARY, 2019-03160302, 4100 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 11:39 p.m. on March 16, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was inside her residence when she observed the door handle to her residence moving. The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a black male, 40 – 60 years old, wearing a camouflage jacket, light colored sweatshirt and light colored pants. The investigation is ongoing.

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 2019-03130240, 1700 block of Crystal Drive. At approximately 10:55 p.m. on March 13, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was walking in the area when he was approached by an unknown suspect who attempted to steal his wallet. The victim shouted at the suspect and he fled the scene on foot. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’7″-5’8″ with a beard, wearing a dark zippered jacket, khaki pants, and a striped beanie hat. The investigation is ongoing.

RECOVERED STOLEN AUTO, 2019-03140086, 3400 block of N. Inglewood Street. At approximately 10:49 a.m. on March 14, police were dispatched to the report of a Grand Larceny Auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered the victim’s garage and stole a vehicle with the key left inside. The vehicle was located unoccupied in Washington D.C. Warrants for Grand Larceny Auto and Grand Larceny were obtained.

BURGLARY (late), 2019-03120045, 4100 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 8:15 a.m. on March 12, police responded to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 2:10 a.m. on March 12, an unknown suspect entered a residence through an unlocked door and stole numerous items of value. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY, 2019-03130242, 4100 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 11:07 p.m. on March 13, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim heard noise originating from outside his patio door. Upon investigation, the victim observed an unknown male suspect outside the door. The suspect fled the scene on foot prior to police arrival and a canvas of the area returned with negative results. The suspect is described as a black male with dark complexion, in his late 30’s to early 40’s, approximately 5’9″ tall and weighing 200 lbs. He has short hair, a mustache and a beard. He was wearing a dark colored jacket, red hoodie, and navy pants at the time of the incident.

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Police: Man Knifes Victim’s Neck After Confrontation in Clarendon

(Updated on 3/19/2019) Arlington police are searching for two men they say were involved in a knife attack early Friday morning.

Police say someone approached officers patrolling on the 2900 block of Clarendon Boulevard — the same block as the Cheesecake Factory — with a knife wound on their neck.

ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow that as of Monday at 4:45 p.m. the investigation is still ongoing and the suspects had not been arrested.

The attack happened just after 2 a.m. Friday after the victim asked their friends to stop talking to two men as he or she wanted to leave, Savage said. The two men then began following the group and “following a verbal altercation, one suspect produced a blade and struck the victim in the neck,” according to police.

The victim reportedly suffered a superficial laceration to the neck which did not require medical aid.

Police described the suspects as two 5’8″ white men — one balding, tattooed, and weighing 140 lbs, and the other with “an athletic build” who wore a black T-shirt and jeans during the incident.

If apprehended, the suspect who wielded the knife could be charged with malicious wounding, which under Virginia code carries a penalty of between 5 and 20 years behind bars and a fine of up to $100,000.

Full details from the county crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-03150030, 2900 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 2:09 a.m. on March 15, officers on routine patrol were approached by a victim suffering from a superficial laceration to the neck. The victim did not require medical attention. Upon investigation, it was determined that the victim’s friends were speaking with two unknown males when the victim approached them and told them it was time to go. The unknown male suspects began following the group and following a verbal altercation, one suspect produced a blade and struck the victim in the neck. The suspects fled the scene prior to police notification. Suspect 1 is described as a white male, bald with tattoos, between 5’8″ – 5’9″ tall and approximately 140 lbs. Suspect 2 is described as a white male, approximately 5’8″ with an athletic build. He was wearing a short sleeve black shirt and light colored jeans at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Police: After Man Skipped Out on Clarendon Restaurant Tab, Bystanders Stopped Him

A dine-and-dash in Clarendon turned violent this week after police say a man tried to run out on his bill and assaulted an employee who confronted him.

Police say they were responded to a call along the 3100 block of Clarendon Blvd at 8:52 p.m Tuesday, after a patron allegedly left the establishment without paying. The block is home to popular bars including Mister Day’s, Bar Bao and Pamplona.

Police believe the customer struck a restaurant employee in the face before attempting to flee the scene. But when he tried to take off, bystanders stopped him, and held him, until officers arrived.

Police identified the man as 28-year-old Arlington resident John Strittmatter.

Strittmatter was charged with malicious wounding, a crime punishable by five to 20 years in prison and a fine of to $100,000, according to the Virginia criminal code.

Police also charged him with “defrauding an innkeeper,” which is Virginia legalese for leaving unpaid bills and is a non-jailable offense, but may carry a fine depending on the size of the unpaid bill.

Full details from the county crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-03050244, 3100 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 8:52 p.m. on March 5, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect left a restaurant without paying his bill. When confronted, the suspect allegedly struck an employee in the face before fleeing the scene on foot. Additional citizens detained the suspect until police arrived. John Strittmatter, 28, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding and Defrauding an Innkeeper.

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Police: Man Broke into Apartment, Kissed Sleeping Woman on the Cheek

An Arlington man is facing a misdemeanor charge after police report he broke into a woman’s home this weekend and sexually assaulted her while she slept.

Officers were dispatched to the scene at 3:26 a.m. on Saturday morning on the 3400 block of Columbia Pike after the woman allegedly woke up to find the man kissing her on the cheek.

She then “confronted” the intruder, police say, but he fled the area on foot. Police say they apprehended a suspect who matched the description of him and who they identified as Dominus Dayton, 37, of Arlington.

Police charged Dayton with two Class 1 misdemeanors, unlawful entry and assault and battery, for allegedly breaking into a woman’s home and kissing her while she slept. He was denied bond.

Dayton is currently out on bail and is scheduled to appear before an Arlington General District Court judge tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday) for arraignment on the assault charge.

In Virginia, assault and battery carries a $2,500 fine, and a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail, with a possible sentence up to a year.

Below are the details from the full crime report:

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2019-03020058, 3400 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 3:26 a.m. on March 2, police were dispatched to the report of a possible burglary in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was asleep inside a residence when she was awoken to an unknown male suspect allegedly kissing her on the cheek. Once confronted by the victim, the suspect left the residence on foot. Responding officers located a suspect matching the victim’s description and he was later positively identified. Dominus Dayton, 37, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Unlawful Entry and Assault & Battery. He was held on no bond.

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Crime Report: Man Exposed Himself, then Robbed Woman

Arlington County Police are looking for the suspect in a robbery in the Bluemont neighborhood over the weekend.

The crime happened Saturday afternoon on the 800 block of N. Lexington Street, near Wilson Blvd and the W&OD Trail.

Police say a woman was sitting on a bench when a man approached her from behind, asked for directions, then exposed himself. The man then grabbed the woman’s personal belongings and ran off, according to police.

More from ACPD:

ROBBERY, 2019-02160157, 800 block of N. Lexington Street. At approximately 1:15 p.m. on February 16, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny and exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was sitting on a bench when the unknown suspect approached her from behind and asked for directions. As she turned, she observed the suspect exposing himself before he grabbed her personal belongings and fled the scene on foot. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 18 – 20 years of age, 5’2″ – 5’4″, 130 – 150 lbs with black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a black hoodie, green shirt and burgundy shorts at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this week’s Arlington County Police crime report is below.

BURGLARY, 2019-02140221, 2200 block of N. Nottingham Street. At approximately 5:35 p.m. on February 14, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just discovered. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 11:00 a.m. on February 11 and 12:45 p.m. on February 13, an unknown subject forced entry into a residence and moved items around but nothing was reported stolen. The subject also entered the victim’s vehicle but no items were reported stolen. There is no suspect description and the investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY (late), 2019-02140282, 1200 block of N. Garfield Street. At approximately 10:29 p.m. on February 14, police were dispatched to the report of a late burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that a subject entered a residence and damaged property. The investigation is ongoing.

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2019-02130108, 4100 block of Campbell Ave. At approximately 12:00 p.m. on February 13, police were dispatched to the report of a disorderly female subject refusing to leave a business. While being detained pending the completion of a banning notice, the suspect struck one of the responding officers with a closed fist. Senait Taye, 38, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Assault and Batter on Law Enforcement and Failure to ID. She was held without bond.

Map via Google Maps

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Crime Report: Man Throws Rock Through Window of Clarendon Bar

(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) A man who was upset about being kicked out of a bar came back and threw a rock through a window, police say.

The incident happened Sunday night in Clarendon.

Around 8:15 p.m., a man was asked to leave a restaurant on the 2900 block of Wilson Blvd, which is home to Ambar, Wilson Hardware, Mexicali Blues and other businesses.  After an “altercation” with the bouncer the man walked away, but came back shortly thereafter and threw a rock, shattering the business’ window, according to police.

No injuries were reported and the man then fled before police arrived on scene.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING, 2019-02100215, 2900 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 8:23 p.m. on February 10, police were dispatched to the report of destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that after the male suspect was asked to leave a business, he became disgruntled and became engaged in an altercation with the bouncer. The altercation was resolved and the suspect started to walk away, but re-approached the business and threw a rock at the window, causing it to shatter. The suspect fled prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as an Asian or Hispanic male, approximately 5’7″-5’9″, with black hair that was longer in the back and a receding hairline, with a skinny build. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this week’s crime report, including Monday’s attempted bank robbery on Columbia Pike, is below.

ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY, 2019-02100225, 400 block of 23rd Street S. At approximately 8:51 p.m. on February 10, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male suspect entered a business and approached an employee behind the counter and brandished a knife. The suspect demanded cash, however, another customer entered the business, prompting the suspect to flee on foot prior to police arrival. Nothing was reported stolen from the business and no injuries were reported. The suspect is described as a tall, slender, black male, wearing light washed blue jeans, black shoes, a black jacket with a black hoodie underneath, and carrying a backpack. The investigation is ongoing.

ATTEMPTED BANK ROBBERY, 2019-02110123, 3500 block of  Columbia Pike. At approximately 2:15 p.m. on February 11, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered the bank, passed the teller a note demanding money and displayed a firearm, before fleeing the scene without any money. Arriving officers established a perimeter and canvased the area with negative results. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’9″-6’0″, 20-30 years old, wearing dark clothing, a construction mask, and covering his face. The investigation is ongoing.

Police released surveillance images of the bank robbery suspect Thursday afternoon.

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Man Shot by Arlington Police Now Set for Trial on Claims He Tried to Strike Officers With His Van

An Arlington man shot by police last year after allegedly trying to hit officers with his van is now set to face a trial next month, though it initially appeared he was moving closer to a plea deal.

Steve Best, 52, is scheduled for a four-day trial in Arlington County Circuit Court starting March 25, facing a charge of the attempted malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer.

County police shot Best several times during a confrontation on May 3 on a street just off Columbia Pike, alleging that he tried to flee a traffic stop. In the process, police say Best nearly struck an officer and rammed into some police vehicles.

Yet Best has steadfastly maintained his innocence in the months since, as has his family. His lawyers argue that he tried to surrender when police opened fire, and that he only tried to drive away from the scene in a fit of confusion.

Last fall, it appeared as if Best would be accepting plea deal to put the matter to rest, though county prosecutors did not reveal many details about their plans for the case.

However, court records show that a proposed plea hearing was ultimately postponed, and Best hired a new lawyer shortly afterward. By late November, prosecutors began subpoenaing witnesses in the case, and set a trial date soon afterward — a rarity in the legal system, where the vast majority of cases are resolved by plea agreements.

Best’s family did not immediately respond to a request for comment on what, if anything, has changed about the legal proceedings.

Court documents show that prosecutors issued subpoenas in late January to eight potential witnesses, as the case moves closer to trial.

Best’s attorneys have sought to gain access to evidence of their own, claiming that surveillance video from businesses nearby will corroborate Best’s version of events.

Police say they initially tried to pull Best over as he drove near the intersection of 12th Street S. and S. Edgewood Street, claiming he drove down 12th Street S. before abandoning the van at the intersection of 13th Street S. and S. Irving Street. Accordingly, Best’s attorneys have been focused on gaining access to video from businesses along those side streets, including the Day’s Inn hotel parking lots, located near the intersection of 11th Street S. and S. Highland Street.

However, court records don’t contain any details about what the videos showed.

In all, Best claims he was shot half a dozen times, losing one of his fingers as a result of the incident.

Photo via GoFundMe

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D.C. Man Sentenced to 28 Years Behind Bars After Sexually Assaulting Woman in Rosslyn

A D.C. man will now spend nearly 30 years behind bars after he posed as a maintenance worker and then sexually assaulted a woman in Rosslyn.

Arlington County Circuit Court Judge Louise DiMatteo sentenced 25-year-old Richard Allen Lowe to 28 years in prison on Friday (Feb. 8). Lowe previously pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful wounding, abduction, burglary and sexual penetration back in August.

“The defendant preyed upon his victim’s sense of safety by posing as someone she should trust in her own home,” Police Chief Jay Farr wrote in a statement. “While nothing can completely restore her sense of security, our community is safer today because of the significant sentences imposed by the court on a violent offender.”

Prosecutors say Lowe entered an apartment building on the 1500 block of Key Boulevard around 9:45 a.m. on May 7, 2017, where he began knocking doors and claiming to be a maintenance worker.

When one woman opened her door, Lowe pushed past her into the apartment and sexually assaulted her before fleeing the scene. Detectives then relied on a “review of crime scene evidence, witness interviews and laboratory results” to identify Lowe as a subject, according to a news release.

Police then arrested Lowe in D.C. last February, and he pleaded guilty soon afterward.

“The sentence handed down by Judge Louise DiMatteo takes a dangerous predator off the streets and puts public safety front and center,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos wrote in a statement. “The defendant was brought to justice by the dogged work of Arlington County detectives who worked painstakingly to identity Lowe and link him to his crimes.”

Photo courtesy of Arlington Police

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Falls Church Man Arrested After Allegedly Stealing from Business, Spitting on Police Officer

A Falls Church man is now facing a series of charges after he allegedly stole merchandise from a business along Columbia Pike, then scuffled with police as he was arrested.

County police say the incident happened around 10 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 30), when people called police to report a man stealing from a business along the 4900 block of Columbia Pike, then fleeing the scene.

The block is home to a 7-Eleven, a car repair shop and the Arlington Mill Community Center.

Officers were able to track the man down shortly afterward, subsequently identifying him as 26-year-old Omar Elbasir.

“While the arresting officer attempted to search the suspect prior to transporting him to booking, the suspect was non-compliant and spit on the officer,” police wrote in a crime report.

Elbasir is now facing charges of assault and battery on police, obstruction of justice and petit larceny.

He’s now set for a hearing on those charges in Arlington General District Court on Monday (Feb. 4).

Full details from a county crime report:

ASSAULT ON LAW ENFORCEMENT, 2019-01300076, 4900 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 10:18 a.m. on January 30, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male suspect entered a business, allegedly stole merchandise and fled on foot. A lookout was broadcast and the male suspect was located in the area in possession of the stolen merchandise and taken into custody. While the arresting officer attempted to search the suspect prior to transporting him to booking, the suspect was non-compliant and spit on the officer. Omar Elbasir, 26, of Falls Church, Va., was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on Police, Obstruction of Justice and Petit Larceny: 3+ Offense.

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Crime Report: Armed Robbery Goes Wrong When Gun Goes Off

Two would-be robbers were foiled when they accidentally fired a gunshot during their robbery attempt, according to Arlington County Police.

The alleged incident happened around 11 p.m. last Thursday, on the 1900 block of N. Culpeper Street in the Halls Hill neighborhood.

Police say two men dressed in all black tried to rob a man who was standing outside of his residence. When the man refused to give them money, one of the suspects pistol whipped him, but accidentally fired a shot in the process. That prompted the suspects to flee the scene empty-handed.

No one was hurt and nothing was damaged by the shot, but the victim suffered a laceration on his head from being struck with the gun, according to police. The suspects remain at large.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY, 2019-01240225, 1900 block of N. Culpepper Street. At approximately 10:58 p.m. on January 24, police were dispatched to the report of shots fired. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was outside of his residence when he was approached by two male suspects. One suspect brandished a firearm and demanded money. When the victim declined, he was struck in the head with the firearm, causing a laceration that required medical treatment. Simultaneously, this action resulted in the discharge of the firearm. The suspects fled on foot prior to police arrival. No additional damage or injuries were reported as a result of the discharge of the firearm. Arriving officers canvased the area and a K9 track was initiated with negative results. The suspects are described as two black males, approximately 6’0″-6’1″, approximately 30-40 years old, wearing black pants, black hooded sweatshirts, black hats and black sneakers. The investigation is ongoing.

This week, police responded to a store on the 4700 block of Columbia Pike for a report of a man filming women in a dressing room. The only clothing store on that block is the Goodwill retail store.

More from ACPD:

PEEPING, 2019-01280189, 4700 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 7:19 p.m. on January 28, police were dispatched to the report of a peeper. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victims were inside the dressing room at a business when they observed a male suspect holding a cell phone over the dressing room wall and allegedly taking photos. The victims confronted the suspect and informed him they were calling police, which prompted him to flee the business prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a tall, thin black male, approximately 5’11”-6’0″, with dreadlocks, a black beard, chipped teeth with a gap in the center, wearing a long black jacket, light khaki pants, white headphones, and black and white sneakers. The investigation is ongoing.

Other notable items from this week’s crime report, including some we’ve already reported, are below.

BURGLARY, 2019-01290196, 1600 block of S. Eads Street. At approximately 3:27 p.m. on January 29, police were dispatched to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on January 28, an unknown suspect gained entry to a residence and stole items of value. There are no suspect(s) descriptions. The investigation is ongoing.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY (late), 2019-01280248, 1900 block of S. Arlington Ridge Road. At approximately 11:46 p.m. on January 28, police were dispatched to the report of an attempted breaking and entering. Upon arrival, it was determined that at some point during the day prior to 8:00 p.m., an unknown suspect(s) gained entry to a residence. Nothing was reported missing. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

ROBBERY, 2019-01250003, 200 block of N. Thomas Street. At approximately 12:19 a.m. on January 25, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival it was determined that the victim was looking at his cell phone when he was approached by two unknown suspects. One suspect asked the victim for change and when he advised he did not have any, he was assaulted by the suspects. Following the assault, one suspect brandished a knife, demanded the victim’s cell phone and destroyed it before fleeing the scene on foot. The victim was transported to an area hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. The suspects are described as two black males in their 20’s, ranging in height from 5’10” to 6′. They were wearing dark clothing at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2019-01250027/2019-01250029, 1200 block of S. Scott Street/1200 block of S. Courthouse Road. Between 10:30 p.m. on January 24 and 4:11 a.m. on January 25, the tires and rims were stolen off of two vehicles in the area. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES, 2019-01260261, 500 block of 12th Street S. At approximately 9:13 p.m. on January 26, police were dispatched to the report of a possible dispute inside a residence. Arriving officers restricted access to the floor and additional police units were requested to assist with the investigation. Attempts to contact the occupants were unsuccessful and the incident was cleared without arrest.

MALICIOUS WOUNDING BY CAUSTIC AGENT, 2019-01240124, 1800 block of Crystal Drive. At approximately 1:45 p.m. on January 24, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that a building employee drank from her water bottle, which resulted in her feeling a burning sensation in her chest. She smelled the contents of the water bottle, believed it to have been filled with bleach while it was left unattended and subsequently dumped the remaining liquid prior to police arrival. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

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Police Arrest Man in Connection with String of Robberies Targeting Pizza Delivery Drivers

County police have arrested an Arlington man in connection with a series of robberies targeting pizza delivery drivers.

Arlington police say they arrested 20-year-old William Engelking-Scott on Friday (Jan. 25).

He’s now facing charges of robbery and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Police said in a news release that there were at least two incidents involving delivery driver robberies over the course of the last few weeks, both happening along the 300 block of S. Taylor Street in Barcroft.

In both incidents, one on Dec. 21 and one on Jan. 6, pizza delivery drivers were accosted outside their vehicles by a man brandishing a gun, demanding cash. On the second occasion, the man with a gun assaulted the driver, who suffered minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

The man fled on foot with undisclosed sums of cash after both robberies.

Police say the investigation into the incidents is still ongoing. Engelking-Scott faces a hearing on Feb. 28 in Arlington General District Court for his charges, and is currently being held in the county detention center without bond.

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Crime Report: Woman Arrested for Bleach Attack

An Arlington woman is facing charges after allegedly spraying someone with bleach during an early morning argument.

Arlington County Police were called to an address in the Nauck neighborhood around 4:30 a.m. Sunday for a dispute. A verbal argument between two people who knew each other “escalated into physical violence,” police said.

A 33-year-old woman was arrested, accused of spraying bleach — a “caustic agent” — and injuring another woman, then subsequently striking her with an object.

“It remains under investigation what object caused the victim’s injuries,” county police spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow.

More from ACPD:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-01200046, 2100 block of S. Kenmore Street. At approximately 4:36 a.m. on January 20, police were dispatched to the report of a dispute. Upon arrival, it was determined that a verbal altercation between known individuals escalated into physical violence. During the altercation, the suspect allegedly sprayed the victim with bleach before striking the victim with an object. The victim was transported to an area hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. Darcell Harris, 33, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding and Malicious Injury by Caustic Agent. She was held on no bond.

Earlier last week, police investigated a series of thefts from vehicles along Columbia Pike and S. Courthouse Road. Police say thieves stole tires and rims from at least five vehicles.

GRAND LARCENY (series), 2019-01170042/01170062/01170099/01170116, 1200 block of S. Courthouse Road/2200 block of Columbia Pike/700 block of S. Courthouse Road. On January 17, police were dispatched to multiple late reports of larcenies from auto. The investigation determined that between approximately 6:00 p.m. on January 16 and 4:00 a.m. on January 17, the tires and rims of approximately 5 vehicles in the area were stolen from vehicles. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

 

Below are the rest of the highlights from this week’s crime report, including some we’ve already reported.

ROBBERY, 2019-01210216, 5300 block of 8th Road S. At approximately 9:43 p.m. on January 21, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 9:30 p.m. and 9:35 p.m., while the victim was operating as a delivery driver, he entered a building to make a delivery when he was approached by an unknown male suspect, who claimed to know the recipient of the delivery. The suspect led him down a hallway, where he was met by several other suspects, who pushed the victim to the ground and assaulted him before stealing his personal belongings, an undisclosed amount of cash and the contents of the delivery. The suspects fled the scene prior to police arrival. The victim was not injured. Suspect One is described as a Hispanic or Indian male, approximately 5’8″, 180 lbs., wearing a blue jacket. Suspect Two is described as a black male wearing a black and white long sleeve shirt. The other three suspects are described as black males.

BURGLARY, 2019-01190203, 2400 block of N. Underwood Street. At approximately 7:08 p.m. on January 19, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just discovered. Upon arrival, it was determined that between approximately 6:00 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., an unknown suspect forced entry to a residence, causing damage, and stole items of value. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY (late), 2019-01170136, 2600 block of N. Florida Street. At approximately 12:40 p.m. on January 17, police were dispatched to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 9:30 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. on January 16, an unknown suspect gained entry to a residence and stole an undisclosed amount of cash. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

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Arlington’s ‘Habitual Drunkards:’ Prosecutors Enforce a Controversial Law Impacting the Homeless

Over the last few years, Arlington police and prosecutors have embraced a controversial tactic to deal with people who are frequently drunk in public — but most county residents don’t even know it exists.

The unusual process, known as “interdiction,” allows county prosecutors to ask a judge to declare someone a “habitual drunkard” if they’ve committed several alcohol-related offenses. That designation means these “drunkards” can be charged with a misdemeanor and jailed for up to a year if they’re found so much as buying or drinking alcohol again.

Virginia and Utah are the only states in the entire country with this sort of law on the books; the commonwealth’s statute passed just before the turn of the 20th century.

Accordingly, interdictions are far from commonplace in the county — prosecutors estimate that they’ve only interdicted 12 people dating back to September 2015, and that just 50 people around Arlington are currently deemed “drunkards.”

But the latter figure is the third highest for any locality across the entire state, according to statistics compiled by the Charlottesville-based Legal Aid Justice Center. Only Virginia Beach and Roanoke have more interdicted people, with 616 and 140 respectively.

And Arlington’s place on that list disturbs attorneys and advocates alike, given the brewing controversy over interdictions.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, the county’s top prosecutor, dubs interdiction a “tool of last resort,” helping officers force people who are constantly drunk to finally get help. Yet critics believe it has a massively disproportionate impact on the homeless, and that police use it as a cudgel against people living on the streets who are struggling with substance abuse issues.

Others still argue that it robs interdicted people of due process — prosecutors request the “drunkard” designation in a civil hearing rather than a criminal one, meaning that even indigent defendants aren’t entitled to have an attorney present for the proceedings.

A legal challenge to the law on those grounds is currently working its way through federal court, while an Arlington public defender-turned-state lawmaker is working to repeal the statute in this year’s General Assembly session.

Yet, as those efforts proceed, some legal observers can’t understand why county police and prosecutors still pursue interdictions at all, given their stated commitment to other kinds of criminal justice reform.

“It’s inappropriate, unfair, and it doesn’t work,” Brad Haywood, Arlington’s chief public defender, told ARLnow. “In over 15 years as an attorney, I’ve served as a public defender in two of the few jurisdictions that still actively enforce this law. While I can think of many who owe their sobriety to residential alcohol treatment, intensive outpatient services and the expertise and compassion of mental health professionals, I can’t think of anyone who owes their sobriety to interdiction. Not a single person.”

Criminalizing the homeless, or a ‘last resort’ for addicts?

To Haywood, who has strongly criticized Stamos in the past, interdiction effectively criminalizes homelessness. After all, he points out that the law “only targets people who possess or drink alcohol while visible to others,” which essentially leaves just the homeless, many of whom turn to alcohol to make it through the day or are gripped by addiction.

“They live their entire lives in public,” Haywood said. “If they have alcohol, drink it, or are drunk, they will be seen, and under this statute, they will be arrested.”

Of course, he believes there are other “problem drinkers” around the county. As he puts it: “I read ARLnow, I know what happens on the Wilson Boulevard corridor on weekends.”

But he argues police have embraced a completely different strategy for those cases, choosing to work with popular bars to encourage stronger partnerships and prevent arrests, even though the circumstances are similar.

“If the goal of interdiction is to curb problem drinking generally, and to be equitable about it, then I’d think the Arlington bar scene would receive some attention,” Haywood said. “It hasn’t, obviously, and I’m not suggesting it should, but if it had, you’d have certainly have heard about it by now. “

However, law enforcement officials note that they’re not using interdictions indiscriminately, or targeting all homeless people. County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage says officers ask for interdictions “only in the most significant cases, where public safety resources are utilized for the same individual on a [recurring] basis.”

She adds that police take into consideration whether people are committing “criminal violations while intoxicated” as well as “concerns for the safety of the individual or those around them” in making such a decision.

“The goal is not to wantonly incarcerate people,” Stamos said. “A lot of these people are not mindful of their surroundings and can be victimized… and it’s a safety concern. We see pedestrian accidents every single day, and in some cases it’s because people are wandering into the street.”

Stamos says that, in many cases, her office only interdicts people after family and friends urge some sort of drastic step to force them to get help.

For instance, Stamos says prosecutors have interdicted four people since July 2017 — and those people had an average of 19 prosecutions each for alcohol-related offenses before being declared a “drunkard.” Prosecutors pursued a high of 37 cases against one person; the person with the smallest total had been prosecuted four times, and even then they’d been drunk during 35 different encounters with county medics over a two-year period.

“This is absolutely a last resort to hook them up with services,” Stamos said. “It’s a deprivation of liberty, but it’s done with the purpose of getting these people in jail, and getting them sober.”

It may not be a perfect solution, but county officials say they work hard to find people with substance abuse issues once they’re in jail, then get them help.

Kelly Nieman, who works on the county’s forensic jail diversion team, says Arlington has been a leader across the state in finding ways to treat inmates’ mental health issues or substance abuse problems, which are often interconnected. She hopes that helps stop people from “revolving in and out of the system.”

“We have a model to intercept individuals at junctions when they butt up against the legal system,” Nieman said. “We screen people for services and develop a release plan to get them back into the community.”

Stamos says she’d love to have another way to “induce compliance” with a treatment program for homeless addicts, but she just doesn’t see one available to her prosecutors.

“Give us another tool, and we’ll use it,” Stamos said. “If you do away with this statute, give us more money for treatment services.”

While he acknowledges that the county does good work in this area, Haywood pushes back against the notion that workers at the county jail should be “front-line caretakers for the chronically mentally ill, which is what most interdicted people actually are.” He’d rather police connect the homeless to dedicated treatment services, rather than simply sending them to jail.

“That’s a job for mental health professionals, in settings appropriate to the treatment of addiction and serious mental illness,” Haywood said. “If what we want is to help the most destitute, vulnerable people in our community, we should ensure they have access to intensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services, and stop pretending we’re making the situation better by locking sick people away so the public can’t see them.”

Challenging the process

Elaine Poon, the managing attorney for the Legal Aid Justice Center, also believes that the very manner in which the statute is written makes the process punitive, not rehabilitative. Her group is leading a legal challenge to the law, arguing that interdictions create a vicious cycle for people declared “drunkards.”

Poon notes that police can — and do — pursue all manner of charges against people who are drunk in public. What sets interdictions apart is that people designated as “drunkards” can be prosecuted for simply drinking alcohol or having it in their possession, which she believes help police wrack up charge after charge against the same people.

According to Stamos’ own statistics, the 12 people her office have interdicted since 2015 have subsequently been prosecuted an average of three times each for possessing alcohol or appearing drunk in public. Poon believes this shows how interdicting someone can simply compound the time they spend in jail, criminalizing people “just for being who they are: a homeless person on the street.”

Poon feels this is all the more disturbing because many people who are declared “drunkards” don’t understand the process, and don’t have legal representation at the hearing deciding whether they’ll be interdicted in the first place. Most homeless people rely on the service of court-appointed public defenders, as they can’t afford their own lawyers, but the civil nature of the interdiction proceedings means that a judge is not required to assign them counsel.

Stamos says her prosecutors go to great lengths to find people set for an interdiction hearing, and get them to a sign paperwork acknowledging they’re aware of when they can come to court.

But Poon points out that many of her clients easily lose any forms they’ve been given by police — they don’t have homes, after all — and don’t attend the hearings, or are too mentally ill to understand a complex legal matter.

Jennifer Carroll Foy, a public defender in Arlington, says she’s often come to court and made such arguments to a judge about her interdicted clients. But her protests are commonly dismissed as a “collateral attack” on a civil case — even though that case has a direct impact on the charges her clients are facing.

“It may be a civil process, but there are criminal ramifications,” Foy said. “If there’s a possibility you’ll go to jail, I absolutely believe an attorney should be there.”

Stamos says her hands are tied by the statute in this case, arguing that public defenders “have no role” under the law in these interdiction cases.

“Their frustration shouldn’t be with my office, it should be with the system,” Stamos said.

Changing the law

Foy is in a unique position to address such displeasure with the law; she doubles as a state delegate representing parts of Prince William and Stafford counties, and has introduced legislation to repeal the “habitual drunkard” statute this year for a second time in a row.

Her bill died quickly in a subcommittee last year, but she’s more optimistic this time around, now that she’s worked to raise awareness about the issue.

“The most difficult part is educating people about it, because they don’t even know this law exists,” said Foy, a Democrat representing the House of Delegates’ 2nd District. “I hope it picks up a lot more traction this time.”

Though Democrats have a bit more clout in Richmond after a wave election in 2017, the party is still in the minority in both chambers of the General Assembly. That means Foy will face an uphill battle in getting anything passed, at least for now.

Poon is hopeful that the courts could provide some relief instead. A three-judge panel on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the case last August, but Poon’s organization is appealing the ruling to the full court, which could have the final say on the law’s constitutionality.

However, she says it’s “a mystery” when, or if, the court will agree to take the case.

In the meantime, interdictions in Arlington continue. County police referred two more people to Stamos’ prosecutors to be designated as “drunkards” just last fall.

“We have to do better when it comes to how we help the most vulnerable class of citizen in this state,” Foy said. “We’re not doing a very good job right now.”

File photo

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Noisy Arrest in Rosslyn Apartment Complex Startles Neighbors

Residents of the River Place apartment complex in Rosslyn were startled by a noisy arrest by Arlington Police last night (Thursday).

County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage says officers served a warrant for a suspect in the 1011 block of Arlington Boulevard around 6 p.m. and took the person “into custody without incident.”

“The criminal investigation is ongoing and there is no ongoing threat to the community related to this incident,” Savage told ARLnow.

However, ARLnow readers reported hearing loud bangs at the time of arrest, and saw at least a dozen police in tactical gear on the property, which sits near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and Route 50.

One reader even mentioned seeing a car “pinned in by some old junker cars and police vehicles in the parking lot” of the apartment complex.

Savage did not offer other details on the arrest.

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Carabelli

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Police Arrest Alexandria Man in Connection with S. Glebe Road Shooting

Police have arrested an Alexandria man in connection with a shooting on S. Glebe Road last weekend.

Arlington Police say they worked with their counterparts in Alexandria to arrest 24-year-old Juan Francisco Rivera Pineda in the city yesterday (Jan. 3).

Police believe Rivera Pineda shot a man near the intersection of S. Glebe Road and S. Arlington Ridge Road, near the county line, around 7 p.m. last Sunday (Dec. 30).

The victim was rushed to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, but he’s expected to survive his wounds.

Rivera Pineda is now facing charges of aggravated malicious wounding and use of firearm in the commission of a felony.

He’ll face a hearing on those charges in Arlington General District Court on April 2 and is currently being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Center.

Photo courtesy of Arlington Police

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