(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) The Arlington County Police Department does not have new leads for any of its 22 cold cases, some of which date back to 1970, but is an the lookout for new tips and evidence.
The oldest cold case in ACPD’s files is the murder of Maria Currier, 23, from 1970. Currier was found strangled in her bedroom on 100 block of N. Columbus Street on Jan. 8, 1970.
There are two other cold cases from 1970 — Rene Karam, who was strangled in March 1970, and Frank Shipley, who died under unusual circumstances in May 1970.
Shipley and his wife returned home to find a burglar in their house. Shipley suffered a heart attack while complying with the burglar’s demands.
The suspect was described as “a white male in his 20s, approximately 5″8′ tall with a slight build and dark-brown or black wavy hair,” according to the ACPD’s cold case website.
There were 10 deaths between 1970 and 1975 that remain unsolved — three in 1970, two in 1971, three in 1974 and two in 1975. The deaths of the 12 other cold case victims occurred between 1986 and 2006, with two deaths in 1988.
One of the 1988 unsolved cases is 38-year-old Constance Holtzman, who was shot and killed on Nov. 9, 1988. She was found in her bedroom on the 4400 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. Police still do not have a suspect description.
The most recent cold case is nearly 10 years old. Paul Matthew Zeller was killed while walking near the Pentagon Row shopping center in 2006, according to ACPD.
On the night of his murder, Zeller stopped at a grocery store before heading to his Aurora Highlands home, according to detectives. Police found the 24-year-old Iraq war veteran shot on the 1300 block of S. Joyce Street, after receiving 911 calls shortly after midnight. There is a reward of up to $10,000 for any information on that case.
The cold case squad is also working on the 2012 double homicide in Hall’s Hill, where two men were found in an apartment on N. Culpeper Street. The case is not technically considered a “cold case” because it is still actively being worked, said Det. Rosa Ortiz.
“I do have several leads that are good leads,” Ortiz said. She declined further comment.
Ortiz heads the cold case squad and has been the lead detective in some of the police department’s most high-profile solved cases, including the Carl Diener murder and a 25-year-old rape case that was solved last year.
Anyone with information on any cold case or recent crime can call the ACPD Tip Line at 703-228-4242 or the Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
“Any new information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, could help detectives solve this case and bring the victim’s family some closure,” the cold case website says.
Arlington County Police are looking into whether pair of sexual assaults over the weekend are linked to a sexual assault in Courthouse last month.
Over the weekend, two women, both in their late 20s to early 30s, were grabbed from behind and tossed to the ground. The crime and the suspect descriptions in both cases are similar to that of the assault in Courthouse on July 24, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
“We’re not saying it’s the same guy at this point, but there are some similarities in terms of the attack and the suspect description,” Sternbeck said.
The first attack happened at 8:45 p.m. on Friday. A woman was running alone on the W&OD trail when a man grabbed her from behind and threw her to the ground, according to a police report. The woman screamed causing the man to flee.
“The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his twenties, approximately 5’6″ tall and 140 lbs. He was wearing long gray shorts, a belt, and no shirt at the time of the incident,” according to a police report.
On Saturday, at 11:26 p.m., a 25 year-old woman was walking near the intersection of N. Thomas Street and N. Pershing Street in Buckingham when a man grabbed her from behind and threw her to the ground. The man allegedly touched the woman inappropriately, and she bit one of his fingers and he fled, the police report said.
“The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, between 5’0″-5’3″ tall, with black hair and a mustache. He was wearing a gray t-shirt and jeans at the time of the incident,” according to police.
The Arlington County Police Department is seeking a man suspected of sexually assaulting a 25-year-year old woman in Courthouse.
The suspect allegedly forced the woman into bushes near the corner of 15th Street N. and N. Scott Street early Saturday morning. The woman was able to kick the man in the groin and fight him off after he grabbed at her pants, police say.
A sketch artist worked with the victim to produce a sketch of the suspect. He is described as a Hispanic man weighing between 150 to 175 pounds and is between 5’6 and 5’8 feet tall. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and jeans and has an athletic build.
Anyone with information can call Detective Robert Icolari at 703-228-4240 or email him at [email protected] Anyone with information who wishes to remain anonymous can call 866-411-TIPS (8477) to leave a tip with Arlington County Crime Solvers.
Police say the couple was having an argument about finances in a rental car around 6:30 p.m. They parked the car at the corner of 15th Street S. and Eads Street and proceeded to fight in the street, police say. The male suspect then “attempted to force the female back into the vehicle but was unsuccessful.”
Police were called and officers spotted marijuana and drug paraphernalia “in plain view inside the vehicle.” A search of the vehicle revealed a host of other drugs, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.
The pair, both D.C. residents, were arrested. The woman charged with possession of marijuana. The man was charged with possession of marijuana, attempted abduction, domestic assault and battery, possession of MDMA with the intent to distribute and possession of methamphetamine.
On Saturday evening, police say a customer at the CVS in Buckingham went on a name-tag-ripping tirade when he found out the pharmacy was closed.
ROBBERY, 150711067, 200 block of N. Glebe Road. At 7:15 pm on July 11, a subject became irate when told the pharmacy of CVS had closed and assaulted an employee, ripping his nametag off of his shirt. The subject left the store and was seen fleeing in a vehicle. The suspect is described as a white male in his sixties, approximately 5’8″ tall and 145 lbs. He was wearing green shorts, white polo shirt and sandals at the time of the incident.
On Sunday afternoon, a man in Nauck allegedly threw bleach on several people and then threatened them with a pair of knives, following a verbal argument.
MALICIOUS WOUNDING WITH A CAUSTIC SUBSTANCE, 150712030, 2400 block of S. Shirlington Road. At 1:55 pm on July 12, a subject threw bleach on several victims following a verbal altercation. The subject then brandished two knives and made threatening remarks. Darrell Bailey, 24, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with attempted malicious wounding by a caustic substance.
The rest of the daily crime report, after the jump.
The prohibition on profanely cursing in public will not change, but the Board will consider changing “drunkenness” in the code to “intoxication,” to include those under the influence of narcotics. County staff is also recommending making the crime a Class 4 misdemeanor, the punishment for which is a fine not to exceed $250.
Currently, county code calls for a fine not to exceed $100 for the first two convictions in a year, and a fine not to exceed $500 for any additional convictions.
“These recommended changes to the penalty portion of the Code are meant to simplify and align the County Code with State Code” staff said of the proposed changes, adding that it will also “clear up any ambiguity or constitutional vagueness with the current language.”
Included in the staff report is the number of arrests for drunkenness and profane cursing last year — and there were quite a few.
“The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) made 664 arrests for individuals either appearing drunk or using profanity in public during calendar year 2014,” county staff reported. “There were instances where individuals were under the influence of other intoxicants; however, enforcement was not possible under this Code section.”
The incident happened at the Marshall’s at 1201 S. Hayes Street around 6 p.m. on Friday. The woman noticed someone taking pictures of her while she was in the store’s dressing room and reported the incident to the police.
The alleged peeping tom fled the scene before officers arrived and the victim was unable to provide a description of the suspect.
From the daily Arlington County Police crime report.
PEEPING TOM, 150605045, 1200 block of S. Hayes Street. At 6 pm on June 5, a female victim noticed a subject taking pictures of her while in the dressing room at Marshall’s. The suspect fled and victim was unable to provide a description.
The incident happened around 10:30 p.m. on the 5200 block of 8th Road S. Police say the man approached the victim and demanded money — but he apparently did not specify how much.
“The victim gave the suspect one dollar and the suspect asked for more,” according to the daily Arlington County crime report. “As the victim was opening his wallet to give the suspect more money, the suspect snatched the wallet and fled the scene.”
“The suspect was described as a white male, approximately 5’7″, slim build with blonde hair wearing a white shirt, grey shorts and a red backpack,” the crime report continued. “The investigation remains ongoing at this time.”
An Arlington resident on the county’s western section of Wilson Blvd had three modern life essentials — an iPhone, Macbook and eyeglasses — stolen from his or her home last week.
The theft occurred early Friday morning. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
BURGLARY, 150401011, 5900 block of Wilson Boulevard. Between 1:00 and 5:30 am on May 1, an unknown subject(s) entered a residence and stole an iPhone 6, MacBook Pro and eyeglasses. There is no suspect(s) description.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
A man was viciously punched in the hallway of a Columbia Pike-area apartment building early Wednesday morning, police say.
Two arrests were made in connection with the alleged crime. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 150415010, 1200 block of S. Courthouse Road. At 2:26 am on April 15, two subjects assaulted a victim in the hallway of an apartment building. The victim was repeatedly punched causing him to suffer a broken tooth that was embedded in his lip. Vannak Ki, 20, of Falls Church, VA and Joshua Hueston, 19, of Arlington, VA were arrested and charged with malicious wounding. They were held without bond.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
The man who killed a 24-year-old Alexandria resident last January in a drunk-driving collision in Rosslyn was sentenced to 12 years in prison this morning.
Aman Singh Lail was sentenced to 20 years, with nine suspended, for aggravated involuntary manslaughter, plus 12 months for driving under the influence. Lail pleaded guilty to the charges last summer.
The sentence was the maximum allowed upon the plea agreement, and Arlington Circuit Court Judge Louise DiMatteo apologized to the family of the victim, Chowdhury Saqlain, saying no sentence could replace the son they lost.
“I don’t even know what to say to the family seated over here,” she said from the dais. “It’s completely unfair what’s happened to you. It’s wrong.”
Lail had previously been arrested twice and convicted once of DUI in Virginia. He had also been charged with multiple reckless driving and speeding charges, totaling more than 30 citations and arrests.
On Jan. 24, 2014, Lail was driving on Lee Highway at between 53 and 64 mph — the Commonwealth’s Attorney and Lail’s attorneys dispute the speed and blood-alcohol content of the case — when his Jeep Wrangler slammed into Saqlain’s sedan at the intersection of Ft. Myer Drive. Lail could not complete a field sobriety test and initially lied to detectives, telling them a friend “Moe” had been driving his SUV.
“He drove like a maniac, was outrageously drunk and displayed callousness after the fact,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jay Burkholder said during the hearing. Witnesses said he drank between four and five vodka and orange juice drinks and two tequila shots at a hookah bar in Fairfax County. “Because of perverted fate, the defendant is alive and [Saqlain] is dead.”
Lail’s mother testified that her son had been an alcoholic and told her the evening after the crash he didn’t remember what happened. In the 15 months since the crash, Lail’s attorney claimed he had grown up, and asked for leniency in the sentencing.
After the hearing, Saqlain’s family and their attorney, David Haynes of The Cochran Firm, held a press conference outside the courthouse and announced they would be pursuing a civil suit against Lail, asking for $20 million in damages.
Haynes said the family hopes Saqlain’s legacy is fewer drunk-driving deaths. They are also calling on state legislators to make bars and restaurants liable in drunk-driving accidents that occurred after over-serving their patrons.
“Without this law on the books, we are unable to hold these establishments responsible,” Haynes said.
During the sentencing hearing, Saqlain’s stepfather read testimony written by his wife — the victim’s mother — who was quietly sobbing in the front row.
“There will be no more birthdays, he will always be 24,” he read. “My heart aches knowing he had no warning, no ability to prepare. He couldn’t say goodbye.”
A woman told police that an SUV pulled up to her around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, on the 1300 block of S. George Mason Drive. There were two women inside the SUV, who flashed a handgun and demanded that the victim get into the vehicle.
While inside, according a crime report, the suspects robbed the victim of a handbag containing cash, a cell phone and a passport. They drove a few blocks then let the victim out of the vehicle.
From the crime report:
Both suspects were described as Hispanic females, approximately 45 years old. One suspect wore a baseball cap and grey hoodie. The second suspect had bleached blonde hair. She was wearing a hoodie with floral print, ripped blue jeans and ankle-high snow boots. The suspect’s vehicle was described as a dark color SUV, unknown make, model or tags. The investigation remains on going at this time.
According to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, the lockers in the men’s locker room were all locked with digital locks, and it’s unclear how the suspect was able to open them.
“We’re not sure if the suspect watched people in the locker room put in their codes, or if there’s a way of getting around the digital locks,” Sternbeck said.
One of the larceny victims said the robbery happened over the course of just a few minutes.
“I was working out for about 15 minutes, went back to my locker to change into my swimsuit and it was gone,” Mark Slobodien told ARLnow.com this morning. His wallet, ID and some jewelry were also stolen. “It feels like [the gym] was responsible, at least partly. I was using their locks to secure my property.”
Sternbeck said the department doesn’t keep statistics for thefts from gym lockers — they’re usually reported as larcenies — so he couldn’t say how frequent locker room thefts are. He did say, however, that most of the thefts are from lockers that were not secured by a lock.
There is no suspect description. All of the items stolen, Sternbeck said, appeared to be wallets, cash and other valuables that can easily be concealed.
Slobodien said L.A. Fitness staff told him similar larcenies had happened “once or twice” in the last couple of years. L.A. Fitness management did not return a request for comment.
Police say a male suspect put the victim in a chokehold while a female suspect went through his pockets and stole a cell phone.
From the ACPD:
ROBBERY, 150325003, 5100 block of Columbia Pike. At 12:38 am on March 25, an unknown male suspect placed the victim into a choke hold while a female suspect went through his pockets and stole his T-mobile cell phone. The male suspect was described as a black male in his 20’s, approximately 6’0 and 230 lbs. He was wearing a dark color baseball cap, dark long sleeve shirt and dark color pants. The second suspect was described as a black female in her 20’s. The suspects fled the scene on foot prior to officers arrival.
Last weekend, police found a man who had been knocked out, lying on the ground in Clarendon. A 49-year-old Woodbridge man was arrested and charged with malicious wounding.
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 150322006, 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard. At 12:30 am on March 22, officers located a 26 year old male victim on the ground and unresponsive. The victim was transported to George Washington Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Investigation revealed that the suspect assaulted the victim. Ivan Deloria, 49, of Woodbridge, VA, was arrested and charged with malicious wounding. The suspect was held with not bond.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.
Arlington’s rate of Part I offenses (homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) dropped 8.22 percent from 2013 to 2014, and the total of 3,863 Part I offenses was the lowest in the county since 1961, ACPD said.
“The historically low crime rate is a true testament to the partnership among the community and Police Department,” Police Chief Doug Scott said in a press release, his last as ACPD chief before his retirement became official this week. “We will continue make these partnerships even stronger as it has made our community safer.”
Arlington had one homicide last year — a domestic murder-suicide in December — and rape incidents increased from 26 in 2013 to 27 in 2014. Other crime categories all fell year-over-year:
- Robberies decreased 12.7 percent
- Burglaries decreased 14.17 percent
- Larcenies decreased about 7 percent
- Motor vehicle thefts decreased about 7 percent
- Aggravated assaults decreased 19.4 percent
“Even with crime rates at historic lows, the Arlington County Police Department will continue to actively patrol and maintain safety, and will attempt to identify causes for crimes so that they may be addressed,” ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said in the release.