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.
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).
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]
Blue Line Issues — A Blue Line train suffering mechanical problems offloaded passengers at the Pentagon station this morning, causing overcrowding on the platform. [Twitter]
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)
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 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]
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]
Two 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.
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
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
Richmond Named Acting AED Director — Cynthia Richmond has been named the acting director of Arlington Economic Development following the untimely death of Terry Holzheimer. Holzheimer died of a sudden heart attack over the weekend. Richmond was serving as the deputy director of AED. Arlington County plans to begin a recruitment process to find a permanent director for AED soon. [Arlington County]
FBI Cracking Down on Corruption in N. Va. — The FBI has created a task force to investigate public corruption in Northern Virginia. Public corruption is the FBI’s “number one criminal investigative priority” at the moment and the agency has “cases in all categories in Northern Virginia.” [Loudoun Times]
Man Sentenced in $30 Million Fraud Scheme — A Florida man has been sentenced in a $30 million scheme that defrauded NASA into awarding contracts on false pretenses. Michael Dunkel, 60, was awarded contracts by NASA intended for minority-owned businesses by claiming he was an employee of an Arlington company supposedly run by a woman of Portuguese descent. Dunkel in turn paid kickbacks to the company. [Associated Press, U.S. Justice Department]
APAH to Purchase Apartment Building — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is purchasing the Arna Valley View apartments near Glebe Road and I-395. The purchase will allow 101 apartments to remain as committed affordable housing for at least the next 60 years. [Sun Gazette]
Fundraising for Pike Documentary Book — Photographer Lloyd Wolf is raising money to print a book based on photos taken by the Columbia Pike Documentary Project. [GoFundMe]
Photo courtesy Kimberly Suiters/All News 99.1 WNEW
An FBI SWAT team observed while three men allegedly robbed the Wells Fargo at Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive at gunpoint on Tuesday, apprehending the suspects a block away after the robbery had been committed.
The men — two from Maryland and one from Washington, D.C. — had been under FBI surveillance after being suspected of committing several bank robberies around the D.C. area, according to federal prosecutors.
The men left the bank with $47,000, but were apprehended a block north on George Mason Drive. They have been charged with armed bank robbery.
Below is the full press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – James McNeal, 63, of Hyattsville, Md., James Link, 56, of Washington, D.C., and Alphonso Stoddard, 59, of Forest Heights, Md., were charged today by criminal complaint with armed bank robbery.
Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the initial appearance of defendants Link and Stoddard before United States Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson.
The defendants each face a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment if convicted.
According to court documents and court proceedings today, the FBI received information in December 2013 that McNeal, Link and Stoddard had been responsible for the armed robberies of multiple banks in the Washington metropolitan area. After identifying the subjects, the FBI kept the three men under close surveillance, which included observing the defendants as they cased banks in Arlington, Va. for potential robberies.
On December 31, 2013, FBI agents followed the three subjects as they drove from Maryland to a Wells Fargo bank branch in Arlington. An FBI SWAT team was prepositioned near the Wells Fargo bank before the defendants arrived. At approximately 1:15 p.m., Link and Stoddard entered the bank with their faces covered. Link brandished a gun and pointed it at individuals in the bank, while Stoddard jumped the teller counter and removed approximately $47,000 in cash from teller drawers. The two men exited the bank and returned to their vehicle, where McNeal was waiting.
As the three subjects attempted to flee the scene, FBI and Arlington County Police apprehended them approximately one block away. A handgun and cash were found in the vehicle. A search of McNeal’s house in Hyattsville, Md. led to the discovery of additional firearms, gloves and items of clothing that were linked to previous bank robberies.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office with the assistance of the FBI’s Baltimore Division and the Fairfax County and Arlington County police departments. The United States Attorney’s Offices for the District of Columbia and the District of Maryland also provided assistance in the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Adam B. Schwartz is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Criminal complaints are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.
A man has been arrested and charged in connection with the March 19 smash and grab robbery at Pentagon City mall.
As seen in the above surveillance video released by the Arlington County Police Department, four suspects entered the Torneau store and broke the jewelry case with Rolex watches. The FBI has since taken over the case, and said the suspects got away with 22 watches worth more than $500,000 before fleeing to a getaway car with a fifth suspect.
Last week, Walter A. Douglas was arrested in connection with the robbery, claiming he “did knowingly and unlawfully, conspire, confederate, and agree to delay and affect commerce and the movement of articles and commodities in such commerce, by robbery.” According to the FBI affidavit, Douglas has a history of robbery, grand theft and grand larceny in the D.C. metro area. The document connects him to seven other high profile robberies in the region between December 3, 2012, and April 30, 2013, for which he has also been charged.
The affidavit states that an informant contacted the ACPD on April 10 and claimed Douglas was responsible for the Pentagon City robbery, and possibly for others. The informant reported hearing Douglas speaking with another man, the recently arrested Floyd Davis, about high end watches and rings.
Davis was reportedly arrested early last month, but the list of alleged crimes in his affidavit did not directly name the Pentagon City incident. Davis was, however, mentioned in the Douglas affidavit for having been in the immediate area and in contact with Douglas around the time of the Torneau robbery.
Evidence against the men includes cell phone records showing Douglas and Davis in frequent contact with each other on or around the days of the robberies. Cell phone records also place one or both men near the locations of several of the robberies at the times they occurred.
Additionally, the FBI matched cars spotted at a couple of the robberies with those Douglas apparently rented around the time of each incident. Records show he rented a grey Dodge Charger — like the one investigators saw in the Pentagon City surveillance video — four days before the robbery. The vehicle was returned the day of the robbery.
An FBI spokesperson would not comment on the possibility of other arrests in the case because the investigation is still active.
Arlington County Police and the FBI have released surveillance video of Tuesday’s robbery of the Bank of America branch at 3600 S. Glebe Road.
The video shows a man wearing a black jacket, cap, sunglasses and gloves entering the bank and passing a note to the teller. The teller then hands the man a stack of cash, which the man inspects before quickly fleeing on foot.
ACPD and the FBI are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the man.
“He is described as black male, between 5’10 and 5’11” and weighing approximately 165 pounds,” police said in a press release. “He was wearing a black jacket, a knit hat and scarf. He also wore mirrored sunglasses, black gloves, dark pants and tennis shoes.”
“Anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of this individual is asked to contact the FBI’s Washington Field Office at 202-278-2000 or Detective Gary Skeens with the Arlington County Police Department at 703.228.4166 or [email protected],” police said. “To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”
An office at 1901 Ft. Myer Drive was raided, as was a townhouse just north of Rosslyn. So far, the FBI Washington Field Office is mum on the details.
“We are serving search warrants at multiple locations in Arlington this morning,” said spokesman Andrew Ames. “There is nothing public at the moment that we can share.”
A source tells ARLnow.com that the FBI was searching offices of the Rosslyn-based University of Management and Technology. The house that was searched is owned by the private university’s academic dean, according to property records.
UMT’s U.S. website was down, but is now working, and a Hong Kong-based website for UMT is still active. The school offers degrees in criminal justice, homeland security, information technology and business administration, among other areas of study. It advertises itself as “military friendly,” and accepts military personnel using the G.I. Bill. The school also accepts foreign students using F-1 visas and sponsored J-1 visa international exchange students.
According to a U.S. Department of Commerce web page, UMT has “deep roots in the Federal sector” and academic dean Dr. J. Davidson Frame is a “world-class leader in project and acquisition management.”