Arlington, VA

A custodian at Long Branch Elementary School is facing a battery of charges after allegedly making fraudulent purchases with the credit cards of school employees.

Arlington County Police say 25-year-old Kevin Sykes stole personal and banking information by photographing items from a colleague’s purse. The woman, and two other school employees, reported the suspected credit card and identity theft to police.

More from an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department has charged a suspect following a fraud investigation targeting employees of Long Branch Elementary School. Kevin Sykes, 25, of Washington D.C. has been charged with three counts of credit card theft, two counts of credit card fraud, and two counts of identity theft. Mr. Sykes was arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department and is being held in Washington D.C.

At approximately 3:46 p.m. on May 11, police were dispatched to the report of a credit card fraud. Upon arrival, the victim reported her credit cards had approximately 16 fraudulent charges since April. The investigation determined that the suspect, a custodian at Long Branch Elementary School, had stolen the victim’s personal and banking information by photographing documents obtained from inside her purse. Detectives identified two additional victims who were working at the school at the time their personal information had been stolen.

Arlington County Police are reminding residents to regularly check your bank statements. If you notice fraudulent activity, notify the banking institution so they can begin an investigation and file a police report.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective G. Gammell of the Arlington County Police Department’s School Resource Officer Unit at [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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A robbery suspect is facing a host of new charges after police say he tried to pass himself off as his brother following his arrest.

Police say Mora Long, a 26-year-old Sterling resident, was the man captured by Arlington County’s SWAT team early Wednesday morning on Four Mile Run Drive. Police and news outlets initially reported that 29-year-old Rattana Long was arrested, but police now say that Mora was pretending to be his brother in order to have an alibi for the robbery.

The robbery took place Friday afternoon on the 5000 block of Columbia Pike, when a man matching Long’s description robbed a store at knifepoint.

In addition to a charge of assaulting a police officer while allegedly trying to evade arrest, Moran Long is now facing charges of “providing false identity to law enforcement, four counts of forging a public document and identity theft.”

From an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit has charged a suspect after he provided a false identity following a seven hour barricade situation that ended in the early morning hours of September 10, 2014. Mora Long, 26, of Sterling, VA has been charged with assault on a police officer, providing false identity to law enforcement, four counts of forging a public document and identity theft. At the time of his arrest, he was wanted out of Prince William and Fairfax Counties for additional crimes. He is currently being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility without bond.

Following an armed robbery of a retail store in the 5000 block of Columbia Pike on September 5, 2014, officers conducted extra patrols of the surrounding area. An individual matching the robbery suspect description was spotted by officers in the afternoon hours of September 9, 2014 in the Columbia Pike Plaza Shopping Center. That individual, Mora Long, was immediately approached and interviewed by officers. During the interview, Long assaulted an officer and then fled on foot to his girlfriend’s apartment in the 4500 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. Long barricaded himself in the apartment until Arlington County Police SWAT entered the residence at approximately 2:00 am and found the suspect in a bedroom closet.

Long initially provided officers with his brother’s identification as it would provide him with an alibi in connection to the September 5th armed robbery and because he knew he was wanted on multiple charges out of other jurisdictions.

Long has not been charged with the armed robbery as that incident remains under investigation by the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit. If anyone has information in regards to the September 5, 2014 robbery of the MetroPCS store in Columbia Pike Plaza, please contact Detective Everest at 703.228.4180 or ceve[email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

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Dominion Virginia Power is warning customers about a bill paying scam being used to gather victims’ personal information.

The scam involves offering customers the opportunity to set up an account to pay utility bills via a federal program. According to the Better Business Bureau, there is no such federal program in existence to pay household bills.

Victims have reportedly been contacted in person as well as by phone, text and social media. They were asked to register their Social Security numbers and banking information in order set up an account to make payments. The account numbers the victims were then given for bill paying turned out to be fake.

So far, Dominion has notified around 60 customers that their payments could not be processed because the account information they gave was invalid thanks to the scam.

Anyone who is contacted about a federal government bill paying program should not give any personal information due to the risk of identity theft. Potential scam victims are encouraged to contact the Better Business Bureau and local police. Customers should ask for an official Dominion ID from anyone who may come to their residence and claim to be from the company.

The Better Business Bureau provides the following tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Beware of giving personal information over the phone. Never provide your Social Security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident about the person with whom you are speaking.
  • Use your own personal information. Always pay your bills with your own personal information; never pay your bills with information that is not your own.
  • Do your research. If you receive a call claiming to be from your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.
  • Beware of the door-to-door sales approach. Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.
  • Be proactive. If you have already provided information to someone claiming to offer this service, contact your bank immediately. Also contact the three national credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – and have a notation made on your account so it doesn’t impact your credit rating.
  • Inform others. Share this information with friends and family so they do not become victims. Elderly victims are common in this type of scam, but anyone who pays a utility bill is a potential target.
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