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by ARLnow.com — May 24, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Volleyball in Fairlington (Flickr pool photo by James L.)

McAuliffe Under Investigation — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department for possible illegal campaign contributions. [CNN]

Board Accepting Feedback on Blue Ribbon Panel — The County Board’s so-called Blue Ribbon Panel was supposed to help the Board set county priorities without getting bogged down in bureaucracy and process. Instead, the panel’s implementation has been delayed and the county is now asking for public feedback on the panel and its charge. [Arlington County]

The Legacy of ACFD’s First Black Firefighters — The Halls Hill/High View Park community held an event this past weekend to honor the Arlington County Fire Department’s first black professional firefighters. Some members of the original group of 14 black firefighters to staff Arlington’s Fire Station No. 8 were on hand for the event. [InsideNova]

Don Rockwell Profiled — Don Rockwell, the mysterious proprietor of the influential Don Rockwell online restaurant forum, lives along Columbia Pike and dines out just about every day for lunch and dinner. At the end of the profile, Rockwell lists some of his favorite local restaurants and dishes. [Arlington Magazine]

Rosslyn Tops for Bike to Work Day — The Rosslyn Bike to Work Day pit stop was utilized by 972 cyclists this year, making it the busiest pit stop in the D.C. region. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by James L.

by ARLnow.com — April 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm 0

Arlington Public Schools administration building(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) More than two dozen Arlington Public Schools employees have had their social security numbers and tax information compromised in a data breach, according to a memo sent to APS employees Monday.

The breach exposed the W-2 tax forms of 28 APS employees, the school system said. APS issues around 7,000 W-2 forms to employees annually, according to Assistant Superintendent Linda Erdos.

The breach occurred on a third-party server and there is no evidence that APS’ own systems were compromised, the memo says. However, APS has notified the FBI about the incident.

More than 40 companies reported attacks that compromised employee W-2 data during the first quarter of this year, according to news reports.

The memo to employees is below.

Recently, the staff in our Information Services Department was notified that files of W-2 tax forms for 28 APS employees were discovered to have been stored by an unknown party on an out-of-state organization’s server that had been hacked.

After reviewing the circumstances and the contents of the 28 files, at this time we believe that the W-2s were generated individually through the “employee self-service” feature of our STARS ERP system. We have not found any indication or evidence at this time to indicate that this represents a breach of APS the data systems.  Currently, we believe that this is a limited incident.

Human Resources staff has contacted the 28 staff members directly to inform them of this discovery, and to provide them with some guidance to help them address the situation.

We have heard recent news reports that this has happened to other individuals in our region and throughout the country, particularly right now as we are at the conclusion of the federal tax filing period. Therefore, APS is taking several steps that are in line with our standard data practices. They will also assist us with our continued investigations, and will help to ensure that our data continues to be protected.

  • First, we have contacted the FBI and notified them about this incident.
  • We have also contacted the AT&T Cybersecurity Unit and they are performing a complete threat assessment for all of our APS systems.
  • Finally, while we will continue to collaborate with the FBI and all parties who are investigating this incident, we have also hired Dr. Naren Kodali, who is an information security expert, to consult on our APS data security systems.  Dr. Kodali is a highly-qualified and well-known professional in the field of cyber-security as well and is a professor of Information Security at George Mason University, and has also served as the Dean of Computer Information Systems at other universities.

In addition, as a precaution, we are providing all APS staff with recommendations of best practices that everyone should take to safeguard your personal information online, both at work and at home. Those tips have been posted online in the Staff Central section of the APS website.

by ARLnow.com — March 2, 2016 at 2:00 pm 0

Charity hockey game (Photo via @CanEmbUSA)The feds will face off against some local Canucks in a friendly international competition in Ballston this weekend.

The 12th annual charity hockey game between the FBI and the Embassy of Canada Hockey Team will take place on Saturday, from 7-9 p.m., at Kettler Capitals Iceplex (627 N. Glebe Road).

The event is open to the public. Tickets are $5 at the door and raffle tickets will also be sold at the game.

All proceeds will go to the Soldier On fund, which helps Canadian military members and veterans “overcome their physical or mental health illness or injury through physical activity and sport.”

Photo via @CanEmbUSA

by Jennifer Currier — December 8, 2015 at 3:30 pm 0

Serial gas station robber (photo via FBI)

The FBI is seeking information about a man wanted for a string of eight gas station robberies, including one in Arlington.

The robberies occurred in Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, Richmond and Washington, D.C. One of these includes the late morning armed robbery at a Shell station on Lee Highway on Nov. 19.

The suspect is described as a white male, 30-40 years old and approximately six feet tall with facial hair. In surveillance footage of each of the robberies, he is seen wearing a gray pullover, khaki shorts or jeans, a blue baseball hat.

More information from a press release:

Law enforcement authorities are seeking an armed unknown male subject who has committed eight robberies at gas station convenience stores in Virginia and Washington, DC, between mid November and December of 2015.

The armed robberies occurred as follows:

  • Nov. 15 at 11:48 am: Exxon Gas located at 8715 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA
  • Nov. 19 at 11:34 am: Shell Gas located at 5630 North Lee Highway, Arlington, VA
  • Nov. 23 at 12:05 pm: Valero Gas located at 5516 Mudd Tavern Road, Woodford, VA
  • Nov. 25 at 11:24 am: Mobil Gas located at 10800 Fairfax Boulevard, Fairfax, VA
  • Nov. 27 at 11:55 am: Exxon Gas located at 3535 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
  • Nov. 29 at 12:23 pm: Shell Gas located at 6519 Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church, VA
  • Dec. 01 at 01:34 pm: Shell Gas located at 805 E. Parham Road, Richmond VA
  • Dec. 04 at 08:59 pm: BP Gas located at 6701 Wilson Boulevard, Falls Church, VA

During each robbery, the subject purchased an item from the gas station attendant, produced a black handgun and reached over the counter to pull cash from the cash register.

REWARD
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of this unknown robber.

SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS
The FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Arlington County and Fairfax County, Virginia Police Departments are investigating these robberies and request that anyone with information call the FBI at 202-278-2000. You may also contact your local FBI office; or submit a tip on the FBI’s website by visiting tips.fbi.gov.

by ARLnow.com — November 7, 2015 at 1:00 am 0

"Forever Loyal Bandit" robbing the Capital One Bank on Columbia Pike (photo via ACPD)

Arlington County Police and the FBI are seeking a serial bank robber who robbed a bank on Columbia Pike Friday afternoon.

The suspect, dubbed the Forever Loyal Bandit by the FBI, passed a note to a teller at the Capital One Bank at 3532 Columbia Pike around 4 p.m. He received an undisclosed amount of cash and fled the scene.

This was the fifth bank robbery perpetrated by the Forever Loyal Bandit since June 2014, the FBI said. The “Forever Loyal” name is a reference to a t-shirt worn by the suspect in two of his first three robberies, all of which occurred in Falls Church last summer.

The suspect went dark after an Aug. 2014 robbery, then reappeared a week ago, on Oct. 30, when he robbed the Capital One Bank at Seven Corners Center, which he had also robbed last year.

The suspect is described as a black male, between 6’0″ and 6’3″. He’s said to be in his 30s, 40s or 50s. During the Pike robbery, the man was wearing a black baseball hat, a white and black long-sleeved Izod polo shirt and black pants.

The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of the Forever Loyal Bandit. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 202-278-2000, or Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

by ARLnow.com — July 24, 2015 at 1:45 pm 4,309 0

Flightrader24 track of possible surveillance plane over Arlington

A small prop plane was flying circles over Arlington, Alexandria and D.C. yesterday, and one tipster says it was probably an FBI surveillance plane.

The Cessna 182T Skylane plane was tracked by the website Flightradar24, flying around parts of Arlington. The Associated Press reported last month that the FBI uses that exact model of plane, equipped with high-resolution video cameras and cell phone trackers, to conduct surveillance flights over U.S. cities.

The AP also reported that such flights sometimes orbit Reagan National Airport.

“I stumbled on [the website] yesterday and much to my surprise there was one of those planes flying over Arlington,” said the tipster. “Just thought others in Arlington would be curious to know it is happening here as well as all over the country as the AP points out.”

The Washington Post reported in May that a Cessna 182T, registered to a company in Bristow, Va., was tracked flying over Baltimore during the Freddie Gray riots.

ARLnow.com has fielded occasional questions from readers over the past year or so about small aircraft seen circling overhead. The flights have struck readers as odd because with few exceptions FAA regulations limit aircraft flying over the immediate D.C. area to government aircraft and flights arriving and departing at Reagan National.

There are instances, however, when the FAA allows commercial general aviation flights over the restricted air space for aerial photography or research purposes.

by ARLnow.com — July 7, 2015 at 2:35 pm 3,537 0

Arlington County Police and the FBI have released photos of the man who robbed the Capital One Bank at 4700 Lee Highway Monday afternoon.

The photos (above) show the man dressed all in black, wielding a pair of scissors while robbing the bank. His face is covered by what police say is a black cloth.

The suspect remains at large. In an ACPD press release, investigators say they’re seeking tips in the case.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit, along with the FBI’s Washington Field Office, is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a bank robbery suspect captured in surveillance footage.

On Monday, July 6, 2015, at approximately 4:59 p.m., an unknown male subject entered the Capital One Bank branch in the 4700 block of N. Lee Highway and robbed the bank while brandishing a pair of scissors. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of money, the subject fled the bank.

The suspect is described as a male of unknown race and between 5’4″ – 5’7″ tall with a slim build. At the time of the incident, the suspect was wearing a black long sleeve shirt, black pants and no shoes with white socks. He had a black cloth covering his head.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of the bank robber.

The Arlington County Police Department and FBI’s Washington Field Office are investigating this bank robbery and request that anyone with information call the FBI at 202-278-2000 or Detective Munizza with the Arlington County Police Department at 703.228.4171 [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

by ARLnow.com — March 25, 2015 at 9:20 am 1,874 0

Man cleaning up trash on Four Mile Run Drive

Alleged Bank Robber Was Staying at Retirement Home — The FBI tracked down an accused bank robber in an Arlington on Friday thanks to his cell phone usage. The so-called Bicycle Bandit is accused of a dozen bank robberies, including a robbery in Alexandria just a few hours prior to his arrest. Investigators used phone records to figure out his identity. The suspect, Woosen Assaye, was staying at his father’s apartment at The Carlin retirement home at the time of his arrest. [NBC Washington – WARNING: Auto-play video]

Arlington Named Healthiest County in Va. — A new study has named Arlington County as the healthiest county in Virginia. Albemarle, Fairfax and Loudoun ranked second, third and fourth, respectively. [Associated Press]

Fehr Reads to Key Students — Washington Capitals player Eric Fehr read his new anti-bullying book to students at Key Elementary School yesterday. [NBC Washington – WARNING: Auto-play video]

Board Considers Affordable Housing Report — The Arlington County Board on Monday heard a comprehensive report about affordable housing in the county. [InsideNova]

Blue Line Issues — A Blue Line train suffering mechanical problems offloaded passengers at the Pentagon station this morning, causing overcrowding on the platform. [Twitter]

by ARLnow.com — March 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm 3,349 0

FBI training exercise (file photo courtesy of Lucy Brookover)(Updated at 5:35 p.m.) FBI agents raided an apartment — apparently connected to a bank robbery suspect — in Arlington’s Buckingham neighborhood Friday evening.

The agents were “executing search warrants as part of a bank robbery investigation,” according to FBI Washington Field Office spokeswoman Lindsay Godwin.

The agents arrested Wossen Assaye, Godwin said, suspected of robbing the Apple Federal Credit Union on Sir Viceroy Drive in Alexandria on Friday, March 20. He appeared in federal court in Alexandria today.

The raid happened at an apartment building near the intersection of Carlin Springs Road and N. Thomas Street around 4:00 p.m. Friday. The law enforcement show of force attracted considerable attention from neighbors, who emailed and tweeted ARLnow.com asking for additional information.

“About six suburbans of FBI with military fatigues just pulled into that area where the apartment building is on Carlin Springs and Thomas,” a resident, John Broehm, said in an email shortly after the raid. “There were lots of Arlington sheriffs there too. Although from their demeanor it seemed like it maybe was an exercise. No one seemed to be concerned about anything.”

“FBI turned from northbound Glebe onto Carlin Springs and pulled into the lot at that church between Glebe and Vermont/Park Drive,” Broehm said in a follow-up email, referring to the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington. “The guys in military gear got out and walked across the street to the apartment building where Arlington County Sheriff already was. But they were letting traffic and people go by on Carlin Springs.”

File photo (courtesy of Lucy Brookover)

by ARLnow.com — December 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm 1,456 0

Surveillance images of Ballston bank robber (photos via FBI )(Updated at 6:10 p.m.) The FBI is looking for a man accused of robbing banks in Arlington and the District over the past month.

The man robbed the Presidential Bank at 901 N. Stuart Street around 4:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 10, according to investigators.

“The subject entered the bank through a set of doors closest to the Ballston Metro station, approached a bank teller and passed a note that demanded money,” the FBI said. “The subject exited the bank with an undisclosed amount of money.”

Most recently, around 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4, the man is accused of robbing the Premier Bank at 1604 17th Street NW in D.C. He allegedly passed a note to a teller and fled after receiving cash.

Investigators say the suspect is about 30 years old, Middle Eastern and between 6’0″ and 6’5″.

“The suspect is described as having short black hair, unshaven, wearing a grey or brown suit, a white button-down shirt without a tie and sunglasses,” according to the FBI. “During the Dec. 4 robbery in Washington, D.C., the subject was wearing a scarf around his neck. During the Nov. 10 robbery in Arlington, the subject was described as carrying a black leather briefcase or laptop bag.”

The FBI is offering up to a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of the robber. Anyone with information on the crime is encouraged to call the FBI at 202-278-2000 or the Arlington County Crime Solvers tip line at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

The Presidential Bank in Ballston was last reported robbed on Nov. 29, 2011. The bank’s Rosslyn branch was robbed on Dec. 9, 2011.

by ARLnow.com — December 4, 2014 at 4:45 pm 1,272 0

Armed robbery suspect in the Pentagon City Rite Aid store (photo via FBI)

The FBI is asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who tried to rob the Pentagon City Rite Aid and numerous other Virginia pharmacies.

Investigators believe the man who tried to rob the Rite Aid at 1301 S. Joyce Street on Friday, Oct. 10 is the same man who tried to rob pharmacies in Newport News, Henrico County, Mechanicsville, Fredericksburg, Williamsburg, Woodbridge and Hampton between July and November.

The suspect typically displays a handgun and demands the powerful prescription pain reliever Oxycodone, before fleeing in a light-colored Dodge Nitro SUV. He’s also accused of taking Percocet pills and cash.

The man was unsuccessful in the Pentagon City robbery, thanks to the pharmacist shielding himself behind protective glass.

The suspect is described as a black male, between 5’6″-6’0″ and between 150-200 lbs. In each robbery he has hidden his face with a white cloth.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $15,000 for information that leads to the suspect’s arrest and conviction. Tipsters can contact the FBI at 804-261-1044 or [email protected]

by ARLnow.com — August 20, 2014 at 9:30 am 1,195 0

The aftermath of an accident in Rosslyn

FBI Looking for Serial Bank Robber — The FBI is seeking information on a serial bank robber who hit a Capital One Bank in District Heights, Md. in May and the Wells Fargo in Courthouse last September. “In both robberies, the unidentified man displayed a note to tellers demanding money and threatening a violent attack against everyone in the bank,” according to the FBI. [Federal Bureau of Investigation]

Tag Readers Brought Arlington $744,000 — The Arlington County Treasurer’s Office was able to bring in $744,000 in unpaid taxes thanks to use of automatic license plate readers. That’s up 54 percent from last year. [InsideNova]

Rape Prevention Certification for Jail — The Arlington County Detention Facility has been recognized as meeting new federal Prison Rape Elimination Act standards. The jail is the first in the D.C. area to receive the certification. “This certification is a significant recognition of what we focus on every day — operating a safe and secure jail for our inmates and staff,” Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur said, in a statement. [Arlington County]

by Ethan Rothstein — August 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm 1,545 0

Wells-Fargo-robbery4Two of the men who robbed the Wells Fargo Bank on Columbia Pike last New Year’s Eve were convicted of armed bank robbery today in federal court.

James McNeal, 63, of Hyattsville, Md., and Alphonso Stoddard, 59, of Forest Heights, Md., were each convicted of armed bank robbery, conspiracy to commit bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Stoddard was also convicted in connection with two other bank robberies around the D.C. area in 2013.

The men will be sentenced Nov. 7. Stoddard is facing a life sentence because of prior convictions, while McNeal is facing up to life in prison with a mandatory minimum of seven years.

McNeal, Stoddard and D.C. resident James Link were arrested after holding up the Wells Fargo at the corner of the Pike and S. George Mason Drive and making off with $47,000. A few blocks away, an FBI SWAT team, which had been conducting surveillance of the trio since before they arrived at the bank, apprehended them.

Link pleaded guilty to two counts of brandishing a firearm and admitted his involvement in four other bank robberies. He will be sentenced Sept. 12. Below is the press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia’s office:

James McNeal, 63, of Hyattsville, Maryland, and Alphonso Stoddard, 59, of Forest Heights, Maryland, were convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to commit bank robbery, armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Timothy A. Gallagher, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County Chief of Police, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted on Aug. 8, 2014 by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.

Stoddard was convicted of charges involving three separate bank robberies, and McNeal was convicted for his involvement in one bank robbery. Stoddard faces a mandatory life sentence because of prior convictions for armed bank robberies, and McNeal faces a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years and a maximum sentence of life in prison. The two defendants will be sentenced on November 7, 2014.

According to court records and evidence at trial, the FBI identified McNeal and Stoddard as possible suspects in a string of bank robberies in late 2013 and kept the men under close surveillance. On Dec. 27, 2013, McNeal and Stoddard were followed by law enforcement agents as they cased two banks in Arlington, Virginia. One of the banks the defendants were seen casing was a Wells Fargo branch on South George Mason Drive.

On Dec. 31, 2013, McNeal left his residence in Hyattsville and picked up Stoddard before returning to the Wells Fargo branch in Arlington. At approximately 1:15 p.m., Stoddard and a third man, James Link, 56, of Washington, D.C., entered the bank. Inside the bank, Link brandished a firearm while Stoddard removed approximately $47,000 in cash from teller drawers. The two men exited the bank and returned to the vehicle where McNeal was waiting. The FBI and Arlington officers arrested the defendants approximately one block away from the Wells Fargo branch. A handgun and cash were found in the vehicle.

A search of McNeal’s house led to the discovery of an additional firearm believed to be used in earlier bank robberies, cash and gloves. Stoddard admitted to his involvement in armed robberies at a Wells Fargo in Rockville, Maryland on Oct. 29, 2013 and the Bank of Georgetown in Vienna, Virginia on Oct. 30, 2013. Link admitted he was involved in the Bank of Georgetown robbery and an armed robbery at a Wells Fargo in Arlington on Nov. 25, 2013.

Link pleaded guilty to two counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence and admitted his involvement in four bank robberies. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 32 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 12, 2014.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, with assistance from FBI’s Baltimore Division and the Arlington County and Fairfax County police departments. The U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of Columbia and the District of Maryland also provided assistance in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam B. Schwartz and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer A. Clarke are prosecuting the case.

by ARLnow.com — June 13, 2014 at 4:20 pm 1,643 0

Arlington County Police and the FBI are looking for a man who robbed a bank on S. Glebe Road Friday morning.

The suspect entered a PNC Bank branch, located inside the Giant Food Store at 2901 S. Glebe Road, around 10:20 a.m. and demanded money from a teller, according to the FBI. The suspect fled after obtaining an undisclosed amount of cash.

“The subject was described as a black male with a full beard and mustache and shoulder length dread locks,” the FBI said on its website. “He was described as wearing a black and brown suit, black shoes, sunglasses and a black bag across his body.”

The FBI offers up to $5,000 for tips that least to the arrest and conviction of bank robbers.

Photos courtesy FBI

by ARLnow.com — May 1, 2014 at 9:05 am 1,096 0

The Flame (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Arlingtonian Walter Walsh Dies at 106 — Walter Walsh, a world-class Olympic marksman who had a knack for tracking down and shooting gangsters as an FBI agent in the 1930s, has died just a week shy of his 107th birthday. After battling gangsters in the U.S., Walsh entered combat in the Pacific during World War II, at one point killing an enemy sniper from 80 yards away with a single pistol shot. Walsh died at his home in Arlington. [New York Times]

Orange Line Delays This Weekend — This weekend, starting at 10:00 p.m. Friday, Orange Line trains will run every 24 minutes due in part to fence repairs and work on a communications cable between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. [WMATA]

Arlington Participates in National PrepareAthon Day — Personnel from Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management went around to local coffee shops yesterday morning, handing out flyers on National PrepareAthon Day. OEM employees urged Arlington residents to prepare themselves for strong summer storms and to sign up for Arlington Alert emails. [WUSA 9]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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