Arlington, VA

A teen is facing a number of charges after some early morning vehicular mayhem in Arlington on Saturday.

Arlington County police say the teen was prowling the Hall’s Hill neighborhood in a stolen Chevrolet Camaro, looking for unlocked cars. He was accompanied by at least three other suspects and two other vehicles.

“At approximately 5:07 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle tampering in the 2000 block of N. Cameron Street,” police said in a press release Monday. “The reporting party advised they had observed four suspects associated with a Chevrolet Camaro trying door handles of parked vehicles in the area. A responding officer located the suspect vehicle, with two other vehicles following closely behind and attempted a traffic stop.”

The three vehicles fled at high speed, but were located nearby.

“Additional officers attempted to stop the vehicles on N. Culpeper Street where the driver of a sedan with Maryland temporary tags accelerated towards them, attempted to strike an officer who was on foot, and crashed into a police cruiser,” police say. “No officers were injured.”

The suspects then fled onto Lee Highway, where officers again spotted them and initiated a chase. The Camaro later crashed into a median near the Washington Blvd and Route 50 interchange, and the teen was taken into custody after “a brief foot pursuit.”

He is now facing charges of Conspiracy to Commit a Felony, Burglary, Eluding, and Motor Vehicle Theft.

Another of the suspect vehicles — a black Mercedes — was found abandoned on the 100 block of N. Edgewood Street, a few blocks from where the Camaro crashed. Officers, assisted by the U.S. Park Police helicopter, searched the area but did not find the driver.

The Camaro was stolen from Arlington’s Dominion Hills neighborhood, police said, while the Mercedes was stolen from Hall’s Hill after a home break-in.

“The suspects had entered a separate unlocked vehicle, located a garage door opener and made entry into their residence from the garage,” said ACPD. “Once inside, the suspects stole a purse containing keys to the Mercedes and fled the scene in the vehicle before being located by officers.”

The thefts and chases are the latest in a year-and-a-half long spate of vehicle break-ins and thefts, many involving suspects who search for unlocked cars and other crimes of opportunity.

The police press release noted that another recent crime — a car stolen from a home with an open garage door on Friday — may be related.

This incident is being investigated as related to a similar residential burglary reported on February 19. At approximately 9:59 a.m., police were dispatched to the 2300 block of N. Quebec Street for the report of a burglary just discovered. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 5:00 a.m., the suspects gained entry to the residence from an open garage door. Once inside, the suspects stole wallets, cash and vehicle keys. The suspects then used the vehicle keys to flee the scene in the victim’s 2021 white Mercedes.

ARLnow hears that the home from which the white Mercedes was stolen is owned by former Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat. Real estate listings suggest that the property in the Cherrydale neighborhood is being rented.

The Arlington County Police Department, meanwhile, is asking for the public’s help in identifying the car theft suspects.

The investigation into these incidents and the identities of the involved parties is ongoing. Anyone with information or video surveillance that may assist with the investigation is asked to contact Detective D. Johnson at 703-228-4193 or [email protected] or Detective S. Whalin at 703-228-4159 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

The department also offered the following burglary prevention and safety tips.

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The Mount Salvation Baptist Church cemetery — which served as the final resting place Black Arlingtonians denied access to white graveyards — could be granted a historic district designation by the Arlington County Board.

As part of the consent agenda at its Jan. 23 meeting, the County Board approved advertisement of public hearings to review the designation of the cemetery at 1961 N. Culpeper Street at the Monday, Feb. 8 Planning Commission meeting and at the Saturday, Feb. 20 County Board meeting.

“There are many community members in this church and I’ve been there to listen and pay respects,” said County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti. “This is historic preservation done well to help us remember our African-American community and history. The final resting places in this burial ground, it’s important for us to recognize this for historic preservation.”

The Mount Salvation Baptist Church congregation has gathered in the Halls Hill/High View Park neighborhood since the first church was constructed on the property in 1892. That church was later demolished with a replacement church build in 1975. The earliest marked burial at the cemetery was a woman named Helen Thompson in 1916, but a staff report on the cemetery said there are likely older, unmarked graves on the plot dating back to the church’s founding. There are a total of 89 confirmed burials at the site.

“There are two other historic African American cemeteries in Arlington County that are designated as local historic districts: most of Lomax African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Cemetery in Green Valley and Calloway United Methodist Cemetery in Hall’s Hill,” a staff report said.

The report noted that Mount Salvation Baptist Church was as much of a social gathering place for Black Arlingtonians in the late 19th century and early 20th century as it was a religious institution.

Both the trustees of the church and Arlington’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board support the designation.

Part of the designation could also open the way to a barrier around the cemetery to limit pedestrian through-traffic.

“Church trustees have expressed a desire to discourage casual pedestrian traffic through the cemetery,” the report said. “The installation of a permanent fence around the cemetery would deter such activity; recommendations for appropriate fencing types are included in the accompanying proposed Mount Salvation Baptist Cemetery Local Historic District Design Guidelines.”

Image via Arlington County

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A 23-year-old Arlington woman is behind bars after a double stabbing early this morning, a block from Virginia Hospital Center.

The stabbing happened around 3:15 a.m. on the 1900 block of N. Edison Street, in the High View Park neighborhood. According to police, a woman approached two victims outside their house, took out a knife, and stabbed both.

The suspect fled on foot, but was later spotted and arrested in the Ballston area.

Both victims suffered non-life threatening injuries. The suspect has been charged with two felony counts of Malicious Wounding and is being held without bond.

Police say the victims knew the suspect, but there’s no word on a motive.

More from the Arlington County Police Department:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2020-07160019, 1900 block of N. Edison Street. At approximately 3:14 a.m. on July 16, police were dispatched to the report of a stabbing just occurred. Arriving officers located two victims outside of a residence and immediately began to render aid. Both victims were transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The investigation determined that the victims were returning to their residence when the known suspect approached them from behind and began pulling on one victim’s backpack. As they turned around, the suspect allegedly produced a knife and stabbed both victims before fleeing on foot with the backpack prior to police arrival. Officers canvased the area and located the suspect in the area of Washington Boulevard and N. Stafford Street, where she was taken into custody without incident. Zulma Franco Lopez, 23, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding (x2) and held on no bond.

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Morning Notes

Dorsey on Death of George Floyd — Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey posted the following on Facebook Sunday afternoon: “Why is it when we are bird watching, retrieving mail, swimming in a pool, walking down the street, or living in our own homes that you view us as a threat? Why do these routine activities see us being reported to police and losing our lives? It is a question my daughters ask, as do the children of every black person in America. Yet that question needs to be seriously be pondered non-Blacks. We then need you to transform episodic outrage into all-the-time anti-racism.” [Facebook, Blue Virginia]

Apple Store Boarded Up in Clarendon — Workers placed plywood over the entrance to the Apple Store in Clarendon Sunday, as a precaution, after the weekend’s clashes in D.C. [Twitter]

House Fire in Hall’s Hill — “1800 block of N. Cameron St — crews encountered fire in attic. Fire was quickly controlled, 6 occupants escaped without injury and one dog was rescued in good condition. @RedCross called in to assist occupants.” [Twitter]

County Creates Badges for Mask-Requiring Businesses — “In response to Gov. Ralph Northam’s Executive Order that face coverings must be worn inside public places, the County created the ‘We Are Covered’ program. This gives Arlington businesses, multi-family residences, and houses of worship a way to show they have pledged to protect the people who come through their doors.” [Arlington County]

Tables, Tents in CC Sports Pub Parking Lot — “With outdoor seating now permitted as part of Phase One, Finlay and his staff worked to turn the restaurant’s parking lot into a patio. Outdoor tables are all set up six feet apart. ‘We’re lucky and blessed to have a parking lot that’s big enough to accommodate that type of spacing and still have the social distancing and be able to abide by all the rules and regulations we have to go by,’ he said.” [WJLA]

ACPD Releases Photo of Car That Struck Girl, Dog — On Sunday, Arlington County Police released photos of the dark-colored sedan that struck a girl and killed her dog Friday in the Donaldson Run neighborhood. ARLnow also obtained video of the car. [ARLnow]

Bayou Bakery Donates Thousands of Meals — “Back in 2005, [Bayou Bakery owner David] Guas saw first hand how Hurricane Katrina impacted his hometown and the importance of rapid response in rebuilding the community. In March 2020, when COVID-19 closed school doors, he knew he needed to provide the same fast-acting relief to area children and families left underserved.” [Washington Life]

Discussion with AED’s Telly Tucker — “We talked with Telly Tucker, the new head of Arlington Economic Development, about Friday’s reopening, what’s going on with the local economy, the plight of small businesses during the pandemic, and the growth of tech companies in Northern Virginia.” [Facebook, Apple Podcasts]

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Over a dozen Arlington firefighters descended on U.S. Air Force veteran Frank Price’s house in Hall’s Hill on Saturday afternoon.

They weren’t there to fight a fire — but to decorate. The firefighters hung lights and ornaments and trimmings with the help of Decorate A Vet, a non-profit that helps area veterans with decorations and light yard maintenance for the holidays.

The group has decorated veteran’s homes for the holidays for 10 years, according to event organizer and board member Moe Jafari.

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The Arlington County Board may soon move forward on the plan to redevelop the Fire Station 8.

The County Board is scheduled to vote on awarding several contracts for the project to replace the Hall’s Hill fire station with a new, 15,000-square-foot facility during their meeting next Tuesday, October 22.

The station, located at 4845 Lee Highway, has been slated for a facelift for years, with the Board approving a $1.1 million contract to begin the design and planning process this past winter.

Next week, members will consider awarding a contract for the design of the temporary station used while Station 8 is under construction to Reston architecture firm LeMay Erickson Wilcox — the same firm tapped for designing the permanent Fire Station 8.

On Tuesday, Board members will also vote on awarding another contract to D.C.-based construction MCN Build, Inc. to build the new station. The exact amount of the contract has not yet been posted on the county website.

Plans for building the temporary station called for knocking down two homes at 2211 and 2215 N. Culpeper Street — demolition work that began last fall. The homes have been earmarked for use as a staging station area for the first responders since the county purchased the land for $1.6 million three years ago.

This year, the station celebrated its 100th anniversary, marking the legacy of the station which was the firehouse in segregated Arlington serving the historically African-American Hall’s Hill neighborhood — which itself was walled off from a neighboring, white neighborhood until the 1960s.

Originally, the fire department asked to relocate the new station further north to keep response times low in residential portions of far northern Arlington. However, the Board voted to keep the new station on the same site in 2016 in anticipation of more development along Lee Highway, pleasing the retired first responders who had worked at Station 8.

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The wall once divided the white Waycroft-Woodlawn subdivision from the black Hall’s Hill neighborhood was partially destroyed by this morning’s storm and flooding.

A section of brick wall, which was first constructed in the 1930s to close off the segregated neighborhood, collapsed amid fast-moving floodwaters.

Video showed the floodwaters rushing past the wall and into a garden below.

A nearby marker tells the history of the wall. Much of the wall was destroyed in 1966 when Arlington County purchased nearby properties and dismantled sections of it.

Nearby residents had mixed feelings on the wall’s destruction.

“It should have been knocked down years ago,” said Herb Ramos, who lived across the street from the wall. “They put up the marker, they should have gotten rid of the wall and removed the eyesore.”

But others said they were happy to see school children brought over in recent years to see the first-hand evidence of segregation in the county and were sorry to see that history get washed away.

“We need to remember the past so as not to repeat it,” said Cait, another neighbor. “It was a historic site for a reason. We need to preserve the memory of things the African-American neighborhood went through. It’s not the most beautiful wall, but we need to face that ugliness.”

Hat tip to @tedbloss

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Morning Notes

Amazon Driving Commercial Property Sales — “An office building and an apartment building near the future Amazon HQ2 campus in Northern Virginia have recently hit the market, the latest in a wave of property owners looking to cash in on rising values from the tech giant’s arrival.” [Bisnow]

Continued Amazon Boost for Residential Real Estate — “The Amazon HQ2 effect continues to drive the Arlington County market. The median price of the 289 sales in Arlington in May was $615,000, up 9.8 percent from a year ago.” [WTOP]

Activists to Continue Resistance to Amazon — “Amazon is apparently here to stay. But so are the local activists who fought incentives for the tech giant in the first place. Monday evening, organizers from the coalition For Us Not Amazon held a forum at Clarendon Presbyterian Church in which they laid out next steps in their resistance efforts against Amazon.” [WAMU]

Community to Celebrate Resident’s 100th Birthday — “Four generations of family and a host of admirers descended on Calloway United Methodist Church the afternoon oj June 8 for a 100th-birthday salute to Birdie Alston, an icon of the Halls Hill-High View Park community.” [InsideNova]

Closures for 5K Race in Pentagon City — “The Zero Prostate Cancer 5K Race will take place on Saturday, June 15th, 2019. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures from approximately 7:00 A.M. until 11:00 A.M. to accommodate the event: South Joyce Street, between South 15th Street and Army Navy Drive [and] Army Navy Drive, between South Joyce Street and South 25th Street.” [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy Mashalette/Instagram

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Two would-be robbers were foiled when they accidentally fired a gunshot during their robbery attempt, according to Arlington County Police.

The alleged incident happened around 11 p.m. last Thursday, on the 1900 block of N. Culpeper Street in the Halls Hill neighborhood.

Police say two men dressed in all black tried to rob a man who was standing outside of his residence. When the man refused to give them money, one of the suspects pistol whipped him, but accidentally fired a shot in the process. That prompted the suspects to flee the scene empty-handed.

No one was hurt and nothing was damaged by the shot, but the victim suffered a laceration on his head from being struck with the gun, according to police. The suspects remain at large.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY, 2019-01240225, 1900 block of N. Culpepper Street. At approximately 10:58 p.m. on January 24, police were dispatched to the report of shots fired. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was outside of his residence when he was approached by two male suspects. One suspect brandished a firearm and demanded money. When the victim declined, he was struck in the head with the firearm, causing a laceration that required medical treatment. Simultaneously, this action resulted in the discharge of the firearm. The suspects fled on foot prior to police arrival. No additional damage or injuries were reported as a result of the discharge of the firearm. Arriving officers canvased the area and a K9 track was initiated with negative results. The suspects are described as two black males, approximately 6’0″-6’1″, approximately 30-40 years old, wearing black pants, black hooded sweatshirts, black hats and black sneakers. The investigation is ongoing.

This week, police responded to a store on the 4700 block of Columbia Pike for a report of a man filming women in a dressing room. The only clothing store on that block is the Goodwill retail store.

More from ACPD:

PEEPING, 2019-01280189, 4700 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 7:19 p.m. on January 28, police were dispatched to the report of a peeper. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victims were inside the dressing room at a business when they observed a male suspect holding a cell phone over the dressing room wall and allegedly taking photos. The victims confronted the suspect and informed him they were calling police, which prompted him to flee the business prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a tall, thin black male, approximately 5’11”-6’0″, with dreadlocks, a black beard, chipped teeth with a gap in the center, wearing a long black jacket, light khaki pants, white headphones, and black and white sneakers. The investigation is ongoing.

Other notable items from this week’s crime report, including some we’ve already reported, are below.

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Morning Notes

Board Approves Water Main, Fire Station Projects — “The Arlington County Board today approved contracts for two capital improvement projects, one to bring Fire Station 8 into the 21st century, and the other to replace a 90-year old water main with a larger pipe that will better serve the Cherrydale and Waverly Hills neighborhoods.” [Arlington County]

‘Say Yes to the Dress’ Star in Arlington — “TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta’s Monte Durham will be on campus next Tuesday, January 29th from 7:30-8:30 at Ballston Center. Durham will announce the Portfolio In Motion fashion show Designer of the Year.” [Twitter]

Snow, Cold on the Way — “A powerful arctic cold front is set to blast through the Washington region Tuesday evening. It could have disruptive effects, with rain quickly changing to snow during the evening commute and then rapidly freezing over roads.” [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]

New Publishing Schedule this Week — Readers may notice some regular ARLnow features publishing at different times and/or days this week. For instance, this Morning Notes post is publishing at 7:30 a.m., while an opinion column that usually publishes on Thursdays is scheduled for this afternoon. We are trying out a new schedule this week — let us know what you think.

Photo courtesy Jim Harvard

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