More on Seven Corners Death Investigation — “Detectives from our Major Crimes Bureau are investigating after a body was found… in the 6100 block of Arlington Boulevard in Falls Church. Officers found a 49-year-old Hispanic man lying unresponsive in an alley near the intersection of Arlington Boulevard and Patrick Henry Drive.” [Fairfax County Police]
D.C. Area Adds Fewer Jobs Than Expected — “The Washington region added 35,300 jobs in 2018 based on data released yesterday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 16,800 fewer jobs than indicated by the preliminary releases.” [George Mason University]
Home Sales Continue Trend — “Year-over-year home sales across the Washington region have now tumbled each of the first two months of 2019, but the median sales price rose for the 29th consecutive month, according to new data, while inventory levels tightened slightly as the winter market segued into spring.” [InsideNova]
Dudley’s Opening at Last — Nearly four years after it was first announced that a new sports bar called Dudley’s Sport and Ale was coming to the former Bungalow space in Shirlington, the long-delayed sports bar is finally planning to open to the public on Friday. [Facebook]
Seven Corners Suspicious Death — Updated at 10:25 a.m. — Fairfax County Police are investigating a “suspicious death” on the 6100 block of Arlington Blvd in Seven Corners, near the Arlington border. That block is home to the Willston Centre shopping center, a McDonald’s, a hotel and a number of commercial offices. [Twitter, Twitter]
What’s Up With the ‘Psychedelic Tower?’ — “You’ve probably seen the tower if you’ve ever driven across the 14th Street Bridge… It’s a hexagonal, granite structure that sits about a third of the way down the bridge, closer to the Virginia side. By day, it doesn’t look like much. But by night, its windows light up like a gigantic kaleidoscope.” [WAMU]
New Pike Library Remains a Goal — “Arlington government leaders haven’t given up their quest to add a new library branch on the western end of Columbia Pike. But unless an unbeatable opportunity presents itself, a new facility is not going to happen immediately.” [InsideNova]
Arts Cuts Highlighted in TV Report — Proposed budget cuts to the county’s scene shop, costume shop and technical services provided to local theater companies “would really destroy the arts community,” advocates told NBC 4 in a segment that aired last night. [NBC Washington]
Nearby: Seven Corners Office Buildings Purchased — “BoundTrain Real Estate has purchased the two commercial office towers located at 6400 and 6402 Arlington Boulevard in Falls Church for more than $38 million. The two 13-story buildings in the Seven Corners commercial district include more than 410,000 square feet of commercial space.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington officials are calling off plans to buy a two-acre site in Fairfax County for a new bus maintenance facility, a move they expect will save the county millions over the years.
The County Board voted unanimously Friday (Dec. 7) to cancel its contract to spend $4.65 million on a site along the 6700 block of Electronic Drive in Springfield, originally designated as the future home of a “heavy maintenance facility” for Arlington Transit buses.
The county agreed to the land deal in December 2016, over concerns that it wouldn’t have enough space to store and maintain its growing fleet of ART buses. ART currently leases a storage yard in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County for the purpose, but the county managed to open a new maintenance facility in Crystal City last year and buy another property in Nauck for more space this summer.
County board Chair Katie Cristol told ARLnow that the latter purchase is what convinced the Board to abandon its Springfield plans.
Initially, the county planned to use that property, located on the 2600 block of Shirlington Road, as both bus storage and the home of a new ART “operations center.” But Cristol says that, once county engineers got the chance to examine the site more closely, they felt the property would have enough room to accommodate the maintenance functions planned for the Springfield site as well.
“Locating our maintenance operations outside the county was always among the best of no good options as we looked for more space for our buses,” Cristol said. “But once we discovered that the Shirlington Road site was large enough for maintenance as well, colocating things just made so much more sense.”
In all, Cristol expects cancelling the Springfield contract will save the county $10.5 million right off the bat, counting the purchase price and site preparation costs. She also estimates that the change will do away with another $900,000 in annual upkeep costs for the new property, which certainly qualifies as “good news” during the county’s current budget crunch.
County officials had eyed the Shirlington Road site for years before finally buying it for $23.9 million in July. ART once leased a section of the site for bus storage, but made the move to buy the entire property once it earned some state grants and other regional transportation money to defray the cost.
Photo via Google Maps
WWI Commemoration Sunday — “At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I ended with the signing of the armistice. One hundred years later, we are gathering to commemorate the end of the Great War with a ceremony at the Clarendon War Memorial to mark the hour and day the armistice was signed.” [Arlington County, Arlington County]
County Board Election Map — In Tuesday Arlington County Board election, John Vihstadt captured most of the precincts in residential North Arlington, as well as few in South Arlington — including Aurora Hills and Fairlington — but Matt de Ferranti won by capturing the precincts along the Metro corridors and around Columbia Pike. [Blue Virginia]
De Ferranti Says Economic Development is Top Priority — “My top priority will be to work on bringing down the office-vacancy rate so that we can afford to invest in our schools and Arlington’s future,” de Ferranti told the Sun Gazette. “The other priorities – housing affordability, renewable energy and child hunger – will also be areas I will work on, but the majority of my time preparing to serve will be thinking about how we can grow and attract businesses to help us grow and afford the investments we need for our future.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Spots Make ’50 Best Restaurants’ List — Half a dozen Arlington establishments made Northern Virginia Magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants list for 2018. They are: Ambar, Green Pig Bistro, Nam-Viet, Peter Chang, Ray’s the Steaks and SER. None, however, cracked the top 10. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Arlington Ranks No. 2 on ‘Hardest Working’ List — Arlington is the No. 2 hardest-working “city” in America, second only to the San Francisco suburb of Walnut Creek, according to a new study. Arlington residents spend an average of 41.8 hours per week working and another 4.9 hours commuting, with 16.3 percent of the population leaving work before 7 a.m., the study found. [Haven Life]
ACPD Participates in Alzheimer’s Awareness — “Each year, the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) encounters memory-impaired individuals, including regular contact with those enrolled in the Project Lifesaver program… Recognizing the importance of education and awareness about this disease for both officers and the community, ACPD is joining the many landmarks, cities and agencies who are members of Project Lifesaver around the globe taking part in Light the World Teal Day by wearing teal ribbons on their uniforms on November 8.” [Arlington County]
HQ2 in Crystal City Would Benefit Tysons, Too — The Tysons area is expected to see increased demand for housing and commercial real estate should Amazon open a large new office complex in Crystal City. “I think Tysons will reap the benefits without having to suffer from the traffic issues that may come as a result,” said one university professor. [Tysons Reporter]
Vida Fitness Coming to Rosslyn Development — “Vida Fitness has signed a lease for 27,000 square feet at The Highlands in Rosslyn… The Highlands is a 1.2-million-square-foot mixed-use development from D.C.-based developer Penzance. The project’s groundbreaking [was Wednesday] and the first phase is slated for completion in the second quarter of 2021.” [Commercial Observer, Twitter]
Naked Man at Va. Square Metro Station — A naked man walked into the Virginia Square Metro station during yesterday evening’s rush hour. Police quickly responded, took the man into custody and requested medics to the scene to evaluate him for a possible drug overdose. [Twitter]
Survey: Road Improvements Wanted — “The public has an improving view of the Arlington government’s commitment to care of local roads, but there continues to be significant room for improvement, according to an updated customer-satisfaction survey. Only 55 percent of residents surveyed believe county roads are in satisfactory condition, while 23 percent are unsatisfied with the local government’s efforts and 23 percent are on the fence.” [InsideNova]
Stabbing on Patrick Henry Drive — A person was stabbed along the 3000 block of Patrick Henry Drive near the Arlington border last night. The victim’s injuries were reported to be life threatening, according to Fairfax County Police, which used its helicopter in an attempt to find the suspect. [WJLA, Twitter]
No Lottery Jackpot, But… — A $10,000 Mega Millions lottery ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven store in South Arlington. A single ticket in South Carolina matched all the numbers for the $1.6 billion jackpot in Tuesday’s drawing. [InsideNova]
Nearby: McLean Islamic Center Vs. Zoning Restrictions — The McLean Islamic Center is challenging county-imposed restrictions on worship and parking, which limit attendance “to mitigate the MIC’s impact on the surrounding neighborhood.” [Tysons Reporter]
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
Fairfax County Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying suspects in a credit card theft case with an Arlington connection.
FCPD says credit cards were stolen from a vehicle in the Kingstowne community south of the Beltway — home to the “Alexandria” Top Golf and the Kingstowne Towne Center shopping center — but were then used to buy prepaid gift cards at a Harris Teeter store in Arlington.
The suspects were caught on surveillance cameras at the grocery store. More from a police press release:
Several credit cards were stolen from a vehicle in the Kingstowne area. This happened last week on Tuesday, October 9. The suspects used the stolen credit cards to purchase prepaid gift cards at a Harris Teeter store in Arlington County. If you recognize the suspects, or have information about this crime, please contact Detective R. Burke at 703-922-0894.
Tips can be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by visiting http://www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org, or calling 1-866-411-TIPS. They can also be sent in via text by texting “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES (274637). Text STOP to 274637 to cancel, or HELP to 274637 for help. Message and data rates may apply. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1000 if their information leads to an arrest.
(Updated at 8:50 p.m.) A man wanted for a series of credit card and vehicle thefts has finally been taken into custody after a high-speed chase that zoomed through Arlington.
Alton Thodos, who escaped from a Fairfax County motel two weeks ago while surrounded by police, drove a reportedly stolen SUV northbound on the HOV lanes of I-395 this morning, pursued by Fairfax County police. Arlington County officers and the Fairfax County police helicopter assisted pursuing officers as the chase continued northbound toward the 14th Street Bridge.
Before the chase crossed the bridge, an Arlington officer attempted but to use a “spike strip” to flatten the tires of the SUV, but Thodos managed to maneuver around it, according to scanner traffic. (The image above shows the chase just before it crossed the river.)
Officers lost sight of the SUV after crossing into the District, but the search continued and the pursuit later continued in D.C. and Maryland. Thodos, 32, was later arrested after a crash in District Heights, Md.
More via Twitter:
Scanner: Police chase just zoomed up I-395 and crossed the 14th Street Bridge. Fairfax County PD chasing a stolen vehicle. Pursuit now happening in D.C. pic.twitter.com/ctGnRWuHwN
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) October 9, 2018
This is the vehicle that was being chased through Arlington on I-395 earlier today https://t.co/xTiGy6gWkW
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) October 9, 2018
MULTI-AGENCY CHASE HAS ENDED W/ARREST- 6214 Marlboro Pike in District Heights. Suspect is in custody. Seveal vehicles damaged in chase. Need EMS for minor injury.
— Alan Henney (@alanhenney) October 9, 2018
Witnesses say Thodo was being chased by police when he crashed and was surrounded. He jumped from his window and was tackled by police. The fugitive has been on the run after escaping a barricade situation in FFX pic.twitter.com/v8g9eLkuAd
— Brad Bell (@ABC7Brad) October 9, 2018
UPDATE: Alton Thodos has been arrested by the Prince George’s County Police Department in Maryland. Thanks to all the jurisdictions for assisting us with his arrest. @PGPDnews, @VSPPIO, @AlexandriaVAPD, @USParkpolicepio, and @DCpolicedept.
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) October 9, 2018
Pentagon Ricin Case Update — “Letters sent to the White House and the Pentagon did not contain a finished form of ricin, law enforcement officials said Wednesday, but did contain a primitive form or precursor… A man was arrested in Logan, Utah, on Wednesday in connection with [the] suspicious letters.” [NBC News, NBC News]
Candidates Call for Speedier Lee Highway Planning — “Indications are pointing to redevelopment of significant portions of the Lee Highway corridor through Arlington beginning to gather steam. But is the Arlington County government going to be left behind as the process grinds on? The two candidates for County Board say the local government needs to get moving on its efforts to lead a comprehensive effort in helping plan the corridor’s future.” [InsideNova]
GMU ‘No Scooter Zone’ Nixed — George Mason University “recognizes the popularity of the scooters, so it is softening the message, [spokesman Buzz] McClain said. ‘I think the ‘no scooter zone’ sign got the attention of a lot of people, a little exclamatory. So we’re gonna tone down the messaging and say, ‘park the scooters over by the bikes,’ and that’s it.'” [NBC Washington]
Tonight: Family Film Showing in Clarendon — “Join Market Common Clarendon each Thursday in October starting at 6:30 p.m. for a FREE family-friendly movie on The Loop! Pre-movie fun begins at 4:30 with face painting and balloon twisting and free popcorn and candy from 6-8 p.m.” [ARLnow Events]
Teachers Endorse Kanninen, de Ferranti — The Arlington Education Association PAC has endorsed Democratic candidate Matt de Ferranti for Arlington County Board and incumbent Barbara Kanninen for School Board. The PAC represents Arlington teachers. [Twitter, Twitter, Arlington Education Association]
Domestic Violence Awareness Month Kickoff — “Project PEACE is hosting Kate Ranta, a local domestic and gun violence survivor… for a community conversation about sex, violence and the Arlington community. The event takes place [on] Thursday, October 4 [at] 6:30 p.m., at the Walter Reed Community Center.” [Press Release]
Arlington’s Pros and Cons Compared to Tysons — “‘Arlington has old office spaces with bad floor plans,’ said [GMU Professor Stephen] Fuller. ‘That’s sending people out to Tysons, which has newer office space… [But] when Amazon was looking at Northern Virginia, they were looking at Crystal City, not Tysons. Tysons just doesn’t offer lifestyle that they’re looking for.'” [Tysons Reporter]
Arlington County Police say that the suspect, Robert Keith Rowe, lived in Arlington but was a teacher at Sandburg Middle School in Fairfax County. Online records suggest he was a chair of the school’s math department.
Rowe is being held without bond at the Arlington County jail in Courthouse.
More from an ACPD press release:
Detectives with the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit have charged 56-year-old Robert Keith Rowe of Arlington, VA with Possession of Child Pornography. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.
An Arlington County detective assigned to the regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force began an intensive investigation into the online activities of Mr. Rowe after receiving a tip about possible criminal behavior. Following the execution of a search warrant at his residence in the 1200 block of S. Forest Street on the morning of March 15, Mr. Rowe was taken into custody. Evidence collected at the scene resulted in the charge against him.
Mr. Rowe is currently a teacher at Sandburg Middle School in Fairfax County. At this time, detectives have not located evidence to suggest he has had inappropriate contact with children. This remains an ongoing and active criminal investigation and anyone with information about Mr. Rowe that may be pertinent to this case is asked to contact either Detective G. Sloan at 703-228-4198 or [email protected] or Detective H. Molina at 703-228-7037 or [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
Citizen tipsters were rewarded with $650 for helping the Arlington County Police Department track down two men suspected of armed robbery in 2016.
Police arrested Jorgito Cruz, 37, of Alexandria and Alexander Ruiz, 21, of Puerto Rico for trying to rob Sacramento Jewelers on the 2700 block of Washington Blvd in Lyon Park just before 5:45 pm. on December 7, 2016.
The pair were armed with guns, and tried to hold an employee hostage before fleeing the scene.
Police were led to the men after tipsters spotted a suspicious vehicle stopped on the Washington Blvd exit of I-395 shortly after the robbery. The tipsters reported seeing a man removing tape from the license plate and throwing something away.
Noting the large police presence in the area, the tipsters copied down the license plate number and contacted police. They were arrested in Fairfax County, south of Alexandria, just before midnight that night.
The tipsters were given the cash reward by Arlington County Crime Solvers, a community program that sponsors a 24-hour confidential tip line — 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) — for individuals to anonymously report potential leads or information. Callers who provide information leading to arrest, the recovery of drugs or stolen property, are eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.
“During the commission of their crimes, Jorgito Cruz and Alexander Serpa Ruiz endangered the lives of innocent and hardworking citizens,” said Police Chief Jay Farr said in a statement. “Thanks to the assistance of the witnesses and the diligent investigative work of detectives, two violent offenders have been removed from our streets and will no longer be in a position to cause harm in our community. This case highlights how police and the public can work together to maintain the safety and security of Arlington County.”
In June 2017, Cruz pled guilty to two counts of attempted armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, two counts of abduction and use of a firearm during the commission of a robbery. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison and 20 years of probation upon release.
Ruiz pled guilty to three counts of robbery and use of a firearm during the commission of a robbery. He was sentenced to six years in prison and 10 years of probation upon release.
Garbage Truck Crash — Among a number of other potentially weather-related crashes this morning, a garbage truck ran into a utility pole on the 4600 block of 27th Street N., near Marymount University. Dominion crews responded to the scene for a report of downed power lines. No injuries were reported.
Four Mile Run Valley Meeting Cancelled — A meeting of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group, scheduled for tonight, has been cancelled. The cancellation is due to county staff reviewing “key pieces of the 4MRV transportation analysis,” the county wrote. “Staff will provide an update on the process schedule and timeline at the next scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 6.” [Arlington County]
Lee Highway Planning Moving Forward — “Funded with two county grants, donations and sponsorships, the Lee Highway Alliance is now back on the front burner of Arlington’s planning agenda, said county board Chairman Katie Cristol, who promised forward movement in the next couple of months.” Meanwhile, businesses along Lee Highway are generally supportive of redevelopment, according to the alliance. [Falls Church News-Press]
ACFD Helps Battle Fairfax Fire — Arlington County firefighters assisted Fairfax County on an apartment fire near Tysons Corner early this morning. About 34 residents were displaced by the fire. [Twitter, Twitter]
Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick
A Mediterranean and pizza restaurant with locations in Alexandria, Springfield and Sterling will replace the former Tazza Kitchen in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center.
Signs at the storefront at 2931 S. Glebe Road, near the county’s border with Alexandria, show Delia’s Mediterranean Grill & Brick Oven Pizza will move in soon. Tazza Kitchen closed last year in the space next door to the sweetfrog frozen yogurt store.
And permitting applications filed with the county show it is looking to remove a half wall in the dining area and bring in new cooking equipment.
Delia’s serves Mediterranean-inspired food, and has a full bar with cocktails, wine and craft beer, as well as catering services based in Falls Church. It describes its Springfield and Sterling locations as family-style restaurants, which offer a “more casual experience.”
Hat-tip to Thomas N.
Disparities in New Middle School Boundaries — “Under a staff plan slated to go to the School Board Dec. 14, middle schools will have economically-disadvantaged populations ranging from 1 percent of the student body at Williamsburg Middle School to 52 percent of the student body at Kenmore Middle School, with the other schools falling in between.” [InsideNova]
Winner of Marine Corps Marathon Works at 7-Eleven — The winner of this year’s Marine Corps Marathon lives in Nauck and works at an Arlington 7-Eleven store. Desta Beriso Morkama, a 32-year-old Ethiopian immigrant, arrived in the U.S. in September 2016. He has been receiving training and assistance settling into his new Arlington life from a number of local people and groups, including local running coach Jay Jacob Wind. [Falls Church News-Press]
JBG Installing Giant Screens at Central Place — JBG Smith plans to exceed the county-imposed public art requirement at its new Central Place development, thanks to a project that will install giant screens in various places around the apartment and office building. The screens will display moving images, including artwork and nature scenes. [Washington Business Journal]
Hybla Valley = The Next Shirlington? — Fairfax County has big plans for a car-oriented neighborhood south of Alexandria: “The plans also include a 3.1-mile extension of the Yellow Line that would connect the Huntington station to the Hybla Valley section of Richmond Highway, in hopes of creating a pedestrian-friendly urban neighborhood akin to nearby Shirlington.” [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Joe Green
Police say a male victim was walking along the 700 block of S. Carlin Springs Road, near the Fairfax County line, when more than a dozen young males “chased him before dragging him into the woods, where he was threatened at gunpoint.”
The motive for the alleged attack is unclear.
More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report, below.
ASSAULT BY MOB, 2017-10220037, 700 block of S. Carlin Springs Road. At approximately 2:18 a.m. on October 22, police were dispatched to the report of a large group of males chasing an individual across the roadway. The call was transferred from Fairfax County dispatch and arriving officers made contact with Fairfax County Police officers who were also dispatched to the area to investigate. The victim advised that while walking in the area, a large group of male suspects with weapons chased him before dragging him into the woods, where he was threatened at gunpoint. The victim was able to fight back and flee the scene. Officers canvassed the area with negative results. The group of male suspects is described as being approximately 13 young, Hispanic, white males, wearing either black or blue hooded sweatshirts. All of the suspects were described as approximately 5’6-5’8 in height with dark features. The investigation is ongoing.
The Arlington County Board will vote Saturday on a seven-year lease for an ART Bus maintenance facility in Fairfax County.
Currently, British transportation company National Express leases the space and has a contract to maintain ART buses at 6100-A and 6104 Farrington Ave., in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County. The space has a 10,000-square-foot building and a 32,833-square-foot parking area.
National Express’ contract with the county and its lease on the property both expire on June 30, 2018.
Under this plan, the county would control the facility for bus maintenance to, staff said, “promote more competition for the ART operations and maintenance contract, leading to more advantageous pricing for the county.”
The County Board voted last December to buy a maintenance site in Springfield for $4.65 million. But staff said that it will take at least five years to acquire the site and build it out, so this lease helps fill in the “gap years” until it is ready.
This new lease would begin on July 1, 2018, and expire on June 30, 2025. The initial base rent would be just under $180,000 a year, with an annual increase of 3 percent, which staff says would ultimately save the county money.
“The County’s new lease agreement cost of $178,345.80 for Fiscal Year 2019 is $16,483.32, which is 8.6% less than the amount National Express Transit would have paid,” the staff report says. “In the new ART operations contract, the payment to the contractor will be reduced accordingly.”