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Response to robbery at Preston’s Pharmacy (photo courtesy anonymous)

Two people were hurt in an armed robbery of Preston’s Pharmacy on Route 29 this morning.

The robbery happened around 9:15 a.m. at the neighborhood pharmacy, located at 5101 Lee Highway.

“Two suspects entered the business, brandished firearms and directed employees in the pharmacy to get on the ground,” Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “The suspects then assaulted two victims and deployed pepper spray before stealing medication and an undisclosed of cash. As the suspects were fleeing the scene, they stole a wallet dropped by a witness.”

“Medics transported one victim to an area hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries,” Savage continued. “Additional victims were treated on scene for exposure to pepper spray.”

On a local Facebook group, an employee of the pharmacy briefly described what happened.

“We were robbed at gunpoint this morning,” the employee wrote. “They pepper sprayed the employees and pistol whipped an employee. Thankfully everyone is not hurt badly but everybody’s shaken up.”

Savage said the suspects were both wearing dark clothing and masks. They fled the scene in an SVU and remain at large.

“Suspect One is described as a Black male wearing a black hoodie, black pants, black hat, blue facemask and white sneakers,” she said. “Suspect Two is described as a Black male, wearing a gray hoodie, black sweatpants, black hat, blue facemask, black sneakers and brown sunglasses. The suspect vehicle is described as a white SUV. The investigation is ongoing.”

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Morning Notes

Book: Bezos Helped Steer HQ2 to Arlington — “According to “Amazon Unbound,” a new book by Brad Stone that looks at the last decade of growth at the company, employees overseeing the HQ2 search winnowed the choices to a top three list that included Chicago, Philadelphia and Raleigh, North Carolina. When it came time to make a final choice, Bezos dismissed months of research by going with his gut and selecting Arlington and Long Island City in Queens.” [Washington Business Journal]

Democratic School Board Caucus Underway — “Voting in the Arlington County Democratic Committee School Board Endorsement Caucus opened at midnight today through a nationally recognized electronic voting platform that will allow Arlingtonians to conveniently, anonymously and securely cast their ballots from mobile devices or computers 24/7 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday (March 23)… Arlington Democrats will also offer 32 hours of in-person voting on May 18, 19 and 22, at four locations across the county.” [Arlington Democrats]

CivFed Studying Arlington’s Form of Gov’t — “The Arlington County Civic Federation’s study of the community’s form of governance will include nearly three months of online meetings to look at issues ranging from how to conduct elections to whether County Board and School Board members should be elected in districts… The effort, agreed to by Civic Federation delegates late last year, is dubbed ‘TiGER’ (Task Force in Governance and Election Reform). It has been assigned to study and possibly proffer changes to the county’s 90-year-old governance structure.” [Sun Gazette]

Layoffs Hit Rosslyn-Based Rosetta Stone — “None of the employees interviewed knew exactly how many people were laid off at the Harrisonburg office. IXL also laid off workers at Rosetta Stone’s Arlington and Seattle offices, as well. Employees told The Citizen that while a few were spared, ‘almost everyone’ in Harrisonburg was let go… Eric Bates, an IXL spokesperson, issued a statement to The Citizen saying, ‘while Rosetta Stone is moving in a new direction, the changes we are making at the company will ultimately help it grow.'” [The Citizen, Geekwire]

Two Hurt in North Arlington Crash — “Police and firefighters on scene of a T-bone type crash at the intersection of Lorcom Lane and Old Dominion Drive, near the Lee Heights Shops. Initial reports suggest two people suffered minor injuries, including a pregnant passenger.” [Twitter]

Secret Service Flying Drones Around Area — “The U.S. Secret Service will be conducting drone flights ‘in the greater Washington, D.C. area’ over the next two weeks, the agency announced Monday. The Secret Service said it will conduct the drone flights in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration. The drone flights will take place from Monday, May 17 through Monday, May 31.” [Patch]

YouTube Star Responds to DCA Petition — “JoJo Siwa says she’s a big fan of the movement to remove Ronald Reagan’s name from an airport in favor of her … telling us it would be the SICKEST THING EVER!!! We got the YouTube star at Craig’s in WeHo Wednesday night and asked about the petition to change Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to the JoJo Siwa Washington National Airport. JoJo says she’s on board with the change, telling us it’s the best idea she’s ever heard in her life. The petition’s already got 33,000 signatures and counting.” [TMZ]

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(Updated at 10 a.m.) An injured worker was rescued from the Amazon construction site in Pentagon City this morning.

The initial call for a worker injured at the bottom of the construction site was made at 8:08 a.m.

Emergency vehicles blocked roads around the site along S. Eads Street as firefighters used a construction crane and a stokes basket to hoist the worker to safety.

“We sent paramedics as well as our technical rescue team to the scene in order to set up a crane operation to remove the worker,” said Arlington County Fire Department spokesperson Taylor Blunt. “After the patient was hoisted from the trench, we transported him to a hospital in stable condition. The operation took about 15 minutes. “

It was not immediately clear how the worker was hurt.

The construction site will eventually be home to the 2.1-million-square-foot first phase of Amazon’s permanent HQ2, which set to open in 2023.

More via social media:

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Arlington County police are investigating a case of razor blades taped to the bottom of a political sign.

A victim was cut after she removed a sign from along George Mason Drive on Wednesday afternoon, suffering minor injuries, police said today. A photo released by police show several razor blades attached to the bottom of the sign.

“The Arlington County Police Department is investigating… and is urging the public to take caution when removing these items,” police said in a press release. The department is also asking for members of the public to come forward with tips.

Police did not speculate about a motive for the razor-laden sign, but this year’s fall election cycle in Arlington was marred by widespread removal and destruction of political signs. So far, no other incidents of this nature have been reported, police said.

The full ACPD press release is below.

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating the report of razor blades located on the bottom of a political sign and is urging the public to take caution when removing these items.

Between noon and 3 p.m. on November 4, the victim was removing political signage located in the median of George Mason Drive between Yorktown Boulevard and Four Mile Run Drive. Upon bringing these items back to a family member’s home, the victim was separating the signage from the metal base when she was cut by razor blades taped to the bottom of the sign. The victim suffered minor injuries which did not require medical treatment. At this time, no other reports of similar incidents have been reported in Arlington County.

This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or ACPDTipline @arlingtonva.us. Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

The Arlington County Police Department encourages community members to inspect signage before and after they are removed from the public right-of-way and private property. If you observe signs of tampering, report for investigation by calling the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.

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Arlington County Police are investigating a robbery and an attempted robbery that happened along the Columbia Pike corridor over the weekend.

In both incidents, the victims were pushed to the ground while walking, by a man who then tried to steal their belongings.

The first incident happened just before 8 p.m. on Saturday, north of the Pike in the Arlington Mill neighborhood. The suspect was armed with a gun and ran off with the victim’s phone.

From an ACPD crime report:

ROBBERY, 2020-10100188, 800 block of S. Frederick Street. At approximately 7:50 p.m. on October 10, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was walking in the area when he was approached by the male suspect from behind. The suspect grabbed the victim, pulling him down, and demanded money. When the victim declined, the suspect produced a firearm, assaulted the victim and stole his phone, then fled on foot. The victim sustained minor injuries. The suspect is described as a Black male, 5’10”, thin build, wearing black clothing and a black mask. The investigation is ongoing.

The second incident was an attempted robbery in Barcroft Park, south of the Pike. It happened at almost exactly the same time as the first incident, but a day later.

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 2020-10110170, 4200 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 7:51 p.m. on October 11, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was walking on a path through the park when the suspect approached her from behind, pushed her to the ground, and attempted to steal her backpack unsuccessfully. The suspect fled prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a male, approximately 5’8″, wearing a black hoodie with the hood up and dark jeans. The investigation is ongoing.

Also over the weekend, two police officers were injured in two separate incidents involving unruly suspects Saturday morning.

From ACPD:

VEHICLE TAMPERING/RECOVERED STOLEN VEHICLE (significant), 2020-10100028, 2400 block of S. Oakland Street. At approximately 1:22 a.m. on October 10, police were dispatched to the report of a tampering with auto. Arriving officers observed three suspects inside of a vehicle matching the description previously provided in a lookout. The suspects allegedly exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot when police approached them. Suspect One was stopped as they exited the vehicle. Suspect Two was located in the area by additional arriving officers, and, while attempting to place her in handcuffs, she actively resisted and a brief struggle ensued, during which she bit an officer. The officer sustained minor injury. While taking Suspect Two into custody, Suspect Three was observed by officers in the area and taken into custody without incident. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the vehicle the suspects fled from was previously reported stolen out of Fairfax County. A petition for Assault and Battery on Police was obtained for juvenile Suspect Two. Additional petitions will be sought for all three juvenile suspects.

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2020-10100104, 4700 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 9:34 a.m. on October 10, police were dispatched to the report of an assault just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that a verbal dispute between the suspect and victim escalated, at which point the suspect allegedly pushed the victim and threw an object at the victim’s vehicle. As the victim attempted to move his vehicle away from the scene while calling police, the suspect chased after the car and threw a cup at it. Arriving officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident. The victim was not injured. While officers were attempting to place the suspect into a transport vehicle, he actively resisted and became aggressive, then kicked the door of the vehicle, causing it to strike an officer in the head. The officer sustained minor injury. John Hemphill, 52, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on Police, Assault and Battery, Obstruction of Justice and Destruction of Property. He was held on no bond.

One person was injured after a moped and an SUV collided near the Lee Heights Shops this afternoon.

The crash happened shortly after noon at the intersection of Old Dominion Drive and N. Wakefield Street. The moped’s driver appears to have slammed into the front driver’s side corner of the SUV, though the exact circumstances leading to the crash are unclear.

A video posted to social media shows the aftermath of the crash as firefighters arrive on scene; the moped driver can be seen lying in the middle of the roadway, attended to by passersby.

The moped driver was injured and transported to a local hospital, according to an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman, who described the injuries as “minor” and “non-life threatening.”

The same intersection was the scene of a two-car crash on Friday, Aug. 28.

Hat tips to @RealtorKyleC and @STATter911

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Morning Notes

Rent Protest Today — Starting at the shopping center parking lot at 5001 Columbia Pike, a caravan of cars adorned with signs will travel to local apartment complexes to support “rent cancellation during this pandemic plus two months following the ability for community members to work and pay rent,” among other aims. The protest is being organized by La ColectiVA and other groups. [Facebook]

Animal Control Rescues Turtle from I-395 — “A few days ago, we got a call about a turtle very close to traffic on I-395. When Sgt Ballena arrived, he found a young snapping turtle who’s beak was fractured and bleeding. He took the turtle to Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, who will care for him until he can be released.” [Twitter]

Arlington Officers Injured During D.C. Protests — Despite an earlier comment by the police chief that no officers were injured, “a spokesperson for Arlington County Police told us, ‘one Arlington officer suffered a concussion and several others suffered bruises and abrasions.'” [WUSA 9]

Home Sales Downs, Prices Up — “May is usually one of the best months for housing sales, but the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of listings sidelined many potential buyers. The D.C. area had its slowest May for sales in a decade. But more sellers stepped up from April and prices continue to rise year-over-year… The median price of what sold in Arlington County was $622,500, up 1.2% from last May.” [WTOP]

Could HQ2 Be Downsized? — Amazon prizes in-person interactions among employees, but there are still questions as to whether the company will proceed with the second phase of its 4+ million square foot permanent second headquarters in Pentagon City. [Washington Business Journal]

Orange Line Platform Work Moving Along — “Two weeks into the summer shutdown, construction activity is well underway at Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church and East Falls Church stations. So far, construction crews have focused on demolition work, including the removal of all tiles from the platforms, mezzanines and pedestrian bridges.” [WMATA]

Two Recent Drownings Near Chain Bridge — While D.C. Fire and EMS warns of dangerous waters near the Chain Bridge, the department said another grim discovery was made Thursday. “There have been 2 drownings in the past 3 weeks near Chain Bridge and a body was recovered today,” DCFEMS said. [Twitter]

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(Updated at 8:25 a.m.) The driver of a car with Uber branding is in police custody after an incident at the Advanced Towing lot in Ballston.

Witnesses tell ARLnow that around 3 p.m. a man was trying to prevent the Uber vehicle from leaving the tow lot at 4000 5th Road N. when the driver gunned it, striking the man, another vehicle and a utility pole.

When a reporter arrived on scene, the alleged driver was being taken into custody by police a short distance away from the lot. The striking vehicle — a silver Kia with a cross on the hood — could be seen parked on 5th Road N. with a damaged front bumper and the passenger side of its front windshield shattered.

According to scanner traffic, the victim was bleeding from the face after being struck and was being transported to Virginia Hospital Center via ambulance. His injuries were described as non-life-threatening.

A towing company employee told ARLnow that the victim was Advanced Towing owner John O’Neill.

“All this over 135 bucks,” the employee said.

Police said Monday evening that a Fairfax man had been arrested and is facing multiple charges.

“At approximately 3:11 p.m. on January 13, police were dispatched to the report of a crash with injuries in the 4000 block of 5th Road N.,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect attempted to exit a tow lot as the employee was closing the gate. The suspect allegedly accelerated, struck the employee, a dumpster and light pole before fleeing the scene.”

“An officer located the suspect and took him into custody without incident,” Savage continued. “The employee was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Gigssa Bekele Bengessa, 27, of Fairfax, VA was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding, Destruction of Property and Defrauding a Garage Keeper. He was held on no bond. “

Advanced Towing gained national notoriety in 2015 after video emerged of an ESPN reporter, whose car was towed, berating an Advanced employee. The company, which tows cars that are considered to be trespassing on private lots and then charges the vehicle’s owner a fee, faces frequent accusations of “predatory” towing.

Photos and reporting by Vernon Miles

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A woman has been injured after striking a deer along Spout Run Parkway tonight.

The crash happened between the GW Parkway and Lorcom Lane, during a foggy evening commute.

Initial reports suggest the woman was bleeding profusely from the face after the force of the impact shattered the car’s windshield. The deer was found dead nearby.

Traffic maps show increasingly heavy westbound traffic on Spout Run, starting shortly after the exit from the GW Parkway.

Map via Google Maps

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A man fell and was injured in a house that was reported to be undergoing renovations in the Bluemont neighborhood.

The incident happened around 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, on the 5700 block of 5th Street N. Initial reports suggested a man fell through a hole in the floor and landed in the basement below, suffering both upper- and lower-body injuries in the process.

A large technical rescue response was dispatched to the home, though the situation did not ultimately require an extensive rescue operation. Medics transported the man via ambulance to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, the Arlington County Fire Department said in a subsequent tweet.

“Male victim fell approximately 10 ft to a hard surface suffering non-life threatening injuries,” ACFD said. “Fire/EMS carried him to a waiting ambulance and transported to the trauma center.”

File photo

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Morning Notes

Climate Change Protests in D.C.Updated at 8:45 a.m. — As expected, demonstrator are blocking a number of key intersections in D.C. this morning to protest against government inaction in tackling climate change. The roadblocks have caused major backups on northbound I-395. [WTOP, Twitter]

APS Implements New Verification System — “Arlington school officials say a new, higher-tech effort to gather requisite start-of-school information from parents is moving forward as expected. The new online-verification process has been completed by 54 percent of families as of Sept. 19, Superintendent Cintia Johnson told School Board members.” [InsideNova]

County Board Approves Pike Redevelopment — “A new six-story apartment building and ground floor retail will replace an aging shopping center and surface parking lot at the northeast corner of South Glebe Road and Columbia Pike, under a plan approved today by the Arlington County Board.” [Arlington County]

Worker Hurt Friday in Madison Manor — “Scanner: ACFD on scene of a worker who fell out of a tree on the 900 block of N. Potomac Street in Madison Manor. Being transported by ambulance to a local trauma center with potentially serious but non-life threatening injuries.” [Twitter]

Post Praises Swell Sausages at Ballston’s Bronson — “The five kinds of housemade sausages emerged from the kitchen tinkerings of Barley Mac chef Chris Harman and co-owner Mike Cordero, Koh says. Both the bratwurst and the wiener, reminiscent of a hot dog that spent a semester abroad, have a pleasantly snappy casing and a peppery pungency. The Bronson is rightly proud of its sausages, which are available to-go from a case at the front.” [Washington Post]

Ballston Harris Teeter Design Event — “Come share your thoughts on the consolidated design for the public space at Harris Teeter on N. Glebe Rd at an open house Mon., Sept. 23 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the Arlington Room at the Medstar Capitals Iceplex (accessible from the 8th floor). This design is based on prior community feedback. Don’t forget your sweater! The Arlington Room is next to the rink and you might get a little chilly.” [Arlington County]

APS Trying to Fix Bus Issues — “Arlington school officials continue to work out start-of-school transportation kinks, with a goal of having everything running as expected by the end of the month… ‘We have heard from families who are still experiencing challenges,’ Superintendent Cintia Johnson told School Board members on Sept. 19. ‘We’re working to resolve all the concerns.'” [InsideNova]

New LEED Certification in Ballston — “4201 Wilson Boulevard, a 595,000-square-foot office building at Ballston Exchange in Arlington, VA, has earned LEED Silver certification, making it the first office building in the state of Virginia to certify using the LEED v4 Building Design + Construction green building rating system from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The building constitutes one half of the 776,000-square-foot Ballston Exchange development.” [Press Release]

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