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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Someone tried to steal a man’s dog Tuesday night in Shirlington.

The attempted robbery happened around 11:30 p.m. near the intersection of Campbell Avenue and S. Quincy Street, on the eastern end of Shirlington Village.

“The victim was walking his dog in the area when the suspect approached and demanded that he give him his dog,” Arlington County police said in a crime report. “When the victim refused, the suspect verbally threatened him and implied he had a gun.”

“The victim began running in the opposite direction, at which point the suspect began to follow after him,” the crime report continues. “The victim was then able to call [911]. No injuries were reported and no weapon was displayed.”

The suspect remains at large and ACPD says the investigation into the crime is ongoing.

Also on Tuesday night, around the same time, a woman tried to steal from a store on the 2400 block of N. Harrison Street. The name of the store was not given in the crime report, but that is the same block as the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center and a Safeway store.

“At approximately 11:20 p.m., the female suspect entered the business and attempted to steal merchandise,” said ACPD. “As the suspect attempted to leave without paying, a store employee confronted her and prevented her from leaving. The suspect became aggressive and verbally threatened to stab the employee before leaving the area on foot without the merchandise. No weapon was displayed.”

The second attempted robbery suspect also remains at large.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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A man grabbed an girl’s buttocks while she was walking near Arlington County government headquarters, a block from police headquarters.

The alleged sexual battery happened Monday afternoon on the 2100 block of Clarendon Blvd, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

“It approximately 2:45 p.m., the juvenile victim was walking in the area when the unknown male suspect walked past her and touched her buttocks,” ACPD said.

The suspect remains at large and the investigation is “ongoing,” said police. A vague suspect description notes that the man was dressed in all black and was carrying a black backpack.

Separately, a man was arrested Monday night after police say he exposed himself to a woman along N. Cameron Street in the Halls Hill neighborhood, near Lee Highway.

“At approximately 11:04 p.m. on June 28, police were dispatched to the report of an exposure,” said the crime report. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was walking in the area when she heard the male suspect behind her and turned around to see him with his genitals exposed and attempting to engage with her.”

“Officers canvassed the area and located a suspect matching the description provided by the victim and took him into custody without incident,” the crime report continued.

A 25-year-old man was arrested and charged with indecent exposure and public masturbation.

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Arlington’s top prosecutor said she is working with Arlington County Police Department to establish a multi-agency cooperative effort to tackle the carjackings and vehicle tamperings here and in the D.C. area.

“My philosophy has always been to focus on crimes that are a public safety risk,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti tells ARLnow. “Car tamperings and car thefts, I don’t look at those as simple ‘property crimes’ because those are things that make people feel vulnerable and set people up for dangerous situations.”

Dehghani-Tafti, who was elected in 2019 on a platform of criminal justice reform, said she has been following the theft and tampering trend and looking for patterns. She said she has also been encouraging early and constant communication between her office and ACPD, while the two are working with other Northern Virginia and Maryland jurisdictions and some federal agencies.

This coordination may turn into something like a task force. Talks about one began in February, and she said officials will soon be able to announce some kind of organized intra-jurisdiction response.

“ACPD has been working on the task force, and I’ve been promoting the task force,” the prosecutor said.

Property crimes from 2016 to 2020 (via ACPD)

Motor vehicle thefts have risen steadily since 2018, according to ACPD’s newly released 2020 crime report.

Dehghani-Tafti said that is playing out across the river in D.C., which saw five times more carjackings in the first quarter of 2021 than the same period in 2020. Similar sprees are occurring in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Howard County, she said.

“We’re seeing this across the country, whether or not a reformer is in office or the county government is progressive or not,” she said.

And Dehghani-Tafti said she has reason to believe the car thefts are organized. A few weeks ago, she drove around with ACPD detectives to see what they see and maintain the collaboration she said is needed to tackle more organized crime sprees.

“The carjackings started to look [organized] when a few people were arrested in February and March and the instances went down dramatically in all the jurisdictions in the D.C. area,” she said.

Her office has one person whose job is to provide early assistance to ACPD and other agencies as they build carjacking and tampering cases. The sooner law enforcement agencies reach out, the sooner her office can support officers as they ask for search warrants, gather evidence and build cases.

Such a collaboration “adds value and context of a case” to investigations “so that we don’t take things that are serious insufficiently seriously and we don’t overreact to cases that are not within the organized pattern we are seeing,” she said.

“The criminal-legal system is a blunt tool, and what we’re trying to do is make it more surgical,” she said.

That approach does not mean she is “soft on crime,” she argued, but that she is going after the right people.

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As COVID-19 cases surged in Arlington County last year, so did carjackings, assaults, trespassings and opioid overdoses, according to a new annual report from Arlington County Police Department.

Meanwhile, alcohol-related crimes and vehicle crashes saw significant decreases.

Overall, the report paints a mixed picture of a relatively flat crime rate for those against property and society, or “Group A Offenses,” compared to 2019. It also shows a drop in the number of arrests for less serious crimes such as trespassing, loitering and drunkenness, or “Group B Arrests.”

But the report highlights a few key crimes that rose or fell, partially due to the pandemic. It also addresses at length the rash of carjackings — which started ticking up in 2019 and have continued in 2021 — and ACPD’s response.

“Group A Offense Totals” and “Group B Arrests” rose to 7,990 and fell to 956, respectively, from 7,985 and 1,324 the year prior, according to the report.

Crime rates from 2016 to 2020 by “Group A” and “Group B” (via ACPD)

While the Group A total stayed largely flat, “2020 was marked particularly by increases in vehicle-related property crimes including carjacking offenses, motor vehicle thefts, larcenies from auto and tamperings,” newly-appointed Police Chief Andy Penn wrote in the report.

Penn said these car thefts and tamperings are playing out across the D.C. area and nationwide. ACPD investigated 16 carjacking reports in 2020: eight were solved with arrests or with the identified suspect being held in another jurisdiction.

“Arlington detectives worked collaboratively with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to investigate cases, identify suspects and apprehend those responsible,” Penn said.

Most of the carjackings were concentrated in Crystal City and Pentagon City. In response, ACPD poured more resources into these neighborhoods last year and earlier this year, which the department said in March appears to be working.

Crimes against property from 2016 to 2020 (via ACPD)

Thieves tend to target unlocked vehicles in neighborhoods, Toyotas and Hondas (for their parts) in open-air parking lots and those left running unattended or parked with keys inside, according to the report.

Assaults, meanwhile, reached a sustained three-month high from July through September before declining. They were concentrated in populated areas and in transit corridors, the report said.

“This temporal pattern was similar to other offense types this year, likely related to COVID-19 closures,” according to the report. “Domestic assault and battery offenses against a family or household member increased by 38 cases (14.6%) compared to 2019 and were a significant contributor to the increase in simple assaults.”

Although ACPD’s report does not specifically link domestic assault to the pandemic, at least one study does.

Crimes against persons from 2016 to 2020 (via ACPD)

While crimes against people have been increasing since 2018, Arlington’s violent crime rate continues to be less than half the statewide rate, the report said.

Lastly, ACPD investigated 20 fatal overdoses and 54 non-fatal overdoses in 2020 — more than any other year since it began actively tracking incidents involving opioids in 2014, the report said. The total, 74, matched the number reported at the peak of the opioid epidemic in 2017, and involved heroin and prescription painkillers mixed with fentanyl.

“While the investigation into these incidents revealed no direct evidence that the increases are fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely a factor given the timing, the loss of income and jobs and the isolation of stay-at-home orders,” the report said.

Opioid overdoses in Arlington County (via ACPD)

COVID-19 may partially explain the increases in assaults and thefts, but it may also have contributed to a sharp decline by 27% in “Group B” arrests. Leading that drop were drunkenness (42%), driving under the influence (13%) and liquor law violations (68%).

“These declines are likely indicative of COVID-19 business closures and reduced hours of operation, decreased public consumption of alcohol, success of increased enforcement, advocacy and better utilization of taxis, ridesharing and other transportation options in reducing DUI behavior,” the report said. “Alcohol-involved traffic collisions were reduced in 2020 to the lowest levels in recent years.”

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A man is facing charges after police say he fired an air gun at a bird yesterday morning in the Virginia Square area.

Police responded to the area of Wilson Blvd and N. Kenmore Street just before 8 a.m. Tuesday for reports of a man with a gun. Officers arrived and were told by a witness that the man fired an air gun “in the direction of a bird,” according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

The suspect, 69-year-old Ytiyti Ytity, was allegedly in possession of three air guns, which were taken by police. He was released on a court summons.

Ytity is no stranger to local police blotters, with arrest records stretching from California to Florida.

More from ACPD:

WEAPONS VIOLATION, 2021-06220034, Wilson Boulevard at N. Kenmore Street. At approximately 7:52 a.m. on June 22, police were dispatched to the report of a person with a gun. Upon arrival, it was determined that the witness observed the suspect allegedly pull an air gun out of his backpack and discharge it in the direction of a bird. Arriving officers located the suspect, he was positively identified and three air guns were recovered. Ytiyti Ytity, 69, of No Fixed Address, was charged with Discharging an Air Gun in Public and released on a summons.

Arlington’s top prosecutor is partnering with a national criminal justice organization to reduce racial disparities in prosecution.

Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner are the first two prosecutors to participate in a new partnership program from the Vera Institute for Justice, an organization working to reform the justice system, per its website.

“The Vera Institute for Justice has done an incredible amount of work on public safety, incarceration rates, and also whether incarceration is an effective tool for public safety,” Dehghani-Tafti tells ARLnow. “They were an organization that I was always hopeful to work with.”

As part of the new partnership, Dehghani-Tafti and Gardner will be working to reduce race-based differentials in prosecution rates by 20% in their jurisdictions. The work is part of Vera’s Motion for Justice initiative, in which prosecutors are given support and opportunities to bridge the gap between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, according to a press release.

Dehghani-Tafti and Gardner’s offices will receive policy recommendations and staff training, as well as resources to analyze data on the ways marginalized people are disproportionately impacted by prosecution practices, the release said.

This partnership, which will last 18 months, singles out Arlington as a leader in this work, Dehghani-Tafti said. The Arlington and St. Louis prosecutors’ offices are the first of up to 10 prosecutors’ offices in jurisdictions across the country that Vera plans to invite on as partners. (Dehghani-Tafti’s office also prosecutes cases for the City of Falls Church.)

“This is the conversation that I started when I started running,” she said. “We need to look at the results of our system and figure out how and why we’re there.”

This partnership is one way Dehghani-Tafti said she is keeping her promise to use data and evidence to drive lasting criminal justice reform.

“We’re going to need some help with our data, making our case management system be able to analyze data and run reports that are actually meaningful,” the prosecutor said.

The system Dehghani-Tafti said she inherited was designed to store information, not answer larger questions such as who is disproportionately represented in certain case outcomes.

“You can go case by case but you’re still operating in a system that we know cements racial and economic divides, continues cycles of traumas, affects families and communities and treats people who are incarcerated and their families — who haven’t done anything wrong — as expendable,” she said.

Here in Northern Virginia, Vera will also provide financial assistance to the Courthouse-based nonprofit Offender Aid and Restoration.

“OAR is an ideal partner for this,” Dehghani-Tafti said. “They’ve been looking at policies and practices, such as community service, through an anti-racism lens: Your economic means, your race, your zip code, your ability to speak English — that all can make it harder or easier to do community service.”

Dehghani-Tafti said she plans to get started with the Vera partnership “forthwith,” as soon as she can schedule 10 training sessions.

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More local business were broken into this week, in a similar manner to others over the past several months.

Two men broke into Olive Lebanese Eatery at 1100 N. Glebe Road in Ballston early Wednesday morning and stole hundreds of dollars in cash, restaurant owner Yvonne Risheq tells ARLnow.

An Arlington County police report says that two suspects smashed their way into the restaurant and fled with stolen cash registers in a Ford F-150 pickup truck.

Around the same time, a similar burglary happened on the 4700 block of Lee Highway. From the crime report:

BURGLARY, 2021-03170043, 4700 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 9:00 a.m. on March 17, police were dispatched to the late report of a commercial burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 6:00 p.m. on March 16 and 9:00 a.m. on March 17, an unknown suspect(s) forced entry into the business and stole a cash register and an undisclosed amount of cash.

These are just two in a rash of burglaries targeting cash-based local businesses that have the Arlington County Police Department concerned.

On February 22, ACPD released a statement that said the department had investigated 21 commercial burglaries so far in 2021. Since then, spokesperson Ashley Savage confirms that four more business burglaries, including the two this week, have occurred — for a total of 25. Savage also noted a recent attempted theft.

Many of the burglaries follow a similar pattern: suspects arriving in the middle of the night, forcing entry by smashing a glass door or window, removing registers or safes with cash, and fleeing in a waiting vehicle.

The entire crime takes mere minutes.

This is exactly what happened at Olive Lebanese Eatery, says Risheq.

At 2:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, security cameras captured two men throwing a boulder through a glass window, entering the building, and stealing the cash registers.

“They were in and out within one minute,” she says. “They knew what they were doing and exactly what to get.”

She says that two cash registers were stolen, each holding between $250 and $350.

Risheq believes it was pre-planned due to their precision and the fact that, when looking back at the surveillance video from earlier in the day, there was a man who had come into the restaurant and looked around for five minutes before exiting.

“He didn’t order anything, didn’t pick anything up. He was inside… just really looking at how things flowed,” she says. “To me, that’s very suspicious.”

In the end, the damages caused by the break-in will probably cost more than the $500 to $700 stolen, she says. They have to fix the glass window, the door, repair their sign, change all the keys and locks, and replace a few other items in the restaurant.

“No one was here and nobody got hurt,” says Risheq. “That’s the most important thing.”

The restaurant closed on Wednesday for repairs and re-opened on Thursday.

Olive Express Mediterranean Café opened in Ballston in October 2019, joining locations in Reston and Herndon. Later, the restaurant changed its name to Olive Lebanese Eatery.

Risheq says that they initially suffered a 90% drop in sales due to the pandemic, but catering has picked back up somewhat in recent weeks. The hope is that when people begin to return to the office — potentially this summer — business will slowly return to normal.

As for dishes she recommends to new customers, Risheq says the Lebanese kabobs or the falafel are the way to go.

“We make our falafel from scratch,” she says. “We’ve won awards for our falafel and humus.”

Due to their location in an office-heavy portion of Ballston, near a busy road, they’ve always felt safe. With the break-in, that illusion of safety is now shattered — but it won’t deter her from continuing to do business in Arlington.

“I was really surprised by the outpouring of support yesterday from residents and the community,” Risheq says. “I’m glad we made the move [to Arlington]. We do love it here.”

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

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

Medics arrived and started to treat the rider on scene.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Arlington County is the safest city in the country, according to national data compiled by the website MoneyGeek.

Arlington beat out 303 localities for the distinction by having the lowest societal cost of crime, estimated at $132 per person — or $31.3 million total — in 2019.

That means that the direct and indirect costs to Arlington and its 237,000 residents as a result of violent and property crimes is lower than any other U.S. jurisdiction with more than 100,000 people.

The second safest city in the U.S. is Thousand Oaks, California, with a crime cost per capita of $163, followed by Allen, Texas, at $176.

“Behind all these averages that people like to cite about the crime rates in different communities are individual people and their decisions about how they choose to engage in their community,” Brown University professor Jesse Bruhn told MoneyGeek.

According to the website:

The direct economic costs of crime to individuals and society include medical and mental health care needs of victims, damage to and loss of property and police and corrections costs. Aside from the imminent danger of crime, people living in higher crime areas see depressed home values and pay higher prices for crucial needs, including homerenters and auto insurance.

St Louis, Missouri, was named the most dangerous city, with $9,334 in crime per capita. It was followed by Baltimore, Maryland, at $8,179 and Detroit, Michigan, at $7,080.

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A felon driving a minivan with allegedly stolen plates was pulled over Saturday night along northbound I-395.

The traffic stop just before the 14th Street Bridge involved a small fleet of Arlington County Police and Virginia State Police cruisers and was caught on video. The highway was blocked while the incident played out.

In a crime report today, ACPD said the suspect had a concealed weapon in the vehicle and did not have a driver’s license. He is facing a number of charges.

WEAPONS VIOLATION, 2020-11280126, I-395 at Washington Boulevard. At approximately 8:45 p.m. on November 28, police received a License Plate Reader alert for a vehicle traveling with stolen license plates. Officers observed the vehicle and, with the assistance of Virginia State Police, conducted a traffic stop. During the course of the investigation, officers determined the driver was suspended and recovered a concealed weapon. Erich McDonald, 45, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Felon in Possession of a Concealed Weapon, Receiving Stolen Goods and No Operator’s License. He was held on no bond.

Also in today’s crime report, another armed carjacking was reported. The crime happened on Thanksgiving afternoon in the Crystal City area.

CARJACKING, 2020-11260081, 2000 block of S. Fern Street. At approximately 1:51 p.m. on November 26, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim parked and exited her vehicle, then observed the male suspect walk past her. The victim walked away from her vehicle, then returned to retrieve her belongings. As she re-approached the vehicle, the suspect turned around and ran towards her. The suspect displayed a firearm and demanded the victim’s keys. The suspect took the victim’s keys and fled in her vehicle prior to police arrival. The unoccupied vehicle was later recovered in Prince George’s County, MD. The suspect is described as a Black male in his 40’s, medium build, approximately 5’8″, wearing a black t-shirt, blue jeans, mirrored glasses, with short hair. The investigation is ongoing.

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