A trio of catalytic converter theft suspects, all from Chicago, were arrested early this morning.
Arlington police say they were able to track down all three suspects after they tried to speed off in a car, which they then crashed in the Penrose neighborhood. They were later arrested in the northern portion of the neighborhood, near Sequoia Plaza and Butler Holmes Park.
The arrests, which come amid a rash of thefts of the valuable car part across Arlington, ultimately happened thanks to an alert resident who reported a vehicle break-in along 13th Road S., near the Arlington Village condos, around 2 a.m.
More from an Arlington County police crime report:
VEHICLE TAMPERING, 2022-08310022, 2700 block of 13th Road S. At approximately 1:55 a.m. on August 31, police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle tapering in progress. Responding officers located a parked vehicle on Walter Reed Drive at S. Randolph Street matching the description provided by the reporting party and observed three male suspects enter the vehicle. Officers activated their emergency equipment and attempted a traffic stop but the driver fled from the scene at a high rate of speed. Additional officers responded to the scene and located the unoccupied suspect vehicle crashed in the 2600 block of 2nd Street S. Officers established a perimeter and located one suspect at 1st Place S. and S. Barton and the other two suspects were located in the 100 block of S. Wise Street and taken into custody. A search of the suspect vehicle resulted in the recovery of two catalytic converters and power tools.
The three suspects, who range in age from 29 to 34, are facing a number of charges, including Eluding, Tampering with Auto, Larceny with Intent to Sell, Possession of Burglarious Tools and, in the case of one suspect, Hit and Run.
Asked by ARLnow about whether the suspects were previously known to ACPD or suspected in other catalytic converter thefts, police spokeswoman Ashley Savage said the investigation is still underway.
“Detectives will continue to investigate to determine if the suspects are linked to any other reported thefts,” she said, adding that “Virginia law prohibits the disclosure of someone’s prior criminal history.”
A 54-year-old Alexandria man is in jail after police say he broke into and stole items from two cars and tampered with five others.
The arrest happened last night around midnight, in a pair of neighborhoods along Columbia Pike.
The man was caught, police say, after an alert off-duty officer spotted him trying to break in to several parked cars, then detained him until on-duty units arrived.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
VEHICLE TAMPERING (Series), 2022-08250293/08260015, 2500 block of 9th Road S./1100 block of S. Walter Reed Drive. At approximately 11:56 p.m. on August 25, police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle tampering. The investigation determined that an off-duty police officer observed the suspect attempting to enter into parked vehicles in the area before making contact with him and detaining him until the arrival of additional units. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect allegedly entered into and tampered with seven victim vehicles and stole personal items from two of the vehicles. During a search of his person incident to arrest, drug paraphernalia was recovered. [The suspect], 54, of Alexandria, Va., was arrested and charged with Vehicle Tampering (x4), Petit Larceny from a Vehicle (x2), Grand Larceny from a Vehicle, Credit Card Theft, and Possession of Controlled Paraphernalia. He was held without bail.
Arlington has four spraygrounds and two interactive water features that are typically open Memorial Day until Labor Day. Among them:
- Drew Park at 3514 22nd Street S. in Green Valley
- Hayes Park at 1516 N. Lincoln Street in Virginia Square
- Lyon Village Park at 1800 N. Highland Street in Lyon Village
- Virginia Highlands Park at 1600 S. Hayes Street in Pentagon City
Interactive Water Features
As of this past weekend, they are all open with varying hours — save for the water feature at Mosaic Park. It’s currently closed for repairs, Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish says, but it should be open in about a month.
“We are still waiting for essential components to repair the Mosaic water feature,” Kalish writes, “It will be open before July 4th.”
Spraygrounds and water features are actually two different things, with spraygrounds specifically designed to be a play area for kids.
“A sprayground is a playground for children to get wet. An interactive water feature was designed for people of all ages to have fun viewing and getting wet,” Kalish notes. “Interactive water features do not meet Playground Safety Guidelines.”
The water features at Penrose Square and Mosaic Park are, despite the the all-ages designation, popular with children and families.
Of course, there are rules to follow while using the county’s spraygrounds and water features: No running, horseplay, or climbing on features is allowed. Pets are also prohibited and, please, avoid drinking the water, the parks department says. Enjoyment, though, is allowed.
“Having fun is permissible and highly encouraged,” reads the county’s website.
Just last month, Arlington’s park system was ranked number three in the nation by the non-profit Trust for Public Land. The availability of spraygrounds was cited as one of the reasons for the high ranking.
A new program seeks to increase equity in Arlington by planting more trees in certain neighborhoods.
The local non-profit EcoAction Arlington announced that it’s starting the “Tree Canopy Equity Program” with the goal of raising $1.5 million to fund planting at least 2,500 trees over the next five years in local neighborhoods that have too few.
Insufficient tree canopy is closely tied to heat and temperature increases. The reason certain areas of Arlington are hotter than others, like the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, is due in part to lack of trees, recent data shows.
“The neighborhoods most impacted by insufficient tree cover are communities with higher-than-average minority populations and communities with people living in poverty,” EcoAction Arlington said a press release. “The lack of trees has a real-world impact that can lead to poor physical and mental health outcomes, higher utility costs, and a lower quality of life.”
The ten civic associations and neighborhoods that the program will work with are below.
- Arlington View
- Aurora Highlands
- Columbia Heights
- Green Valley
- John M. Langston Citizens Association (Halls Hill/High View Park)
- Long Branch Creek
- Radnor/Fort Myer Heights
The current levels of tree cover in those neighborhoods is between 17% and 33%, according to EcoAction Arlington.
“The goal is to radically increase tree planting in the neighborhoods with the lowest tree cover to align with the average for other Arlington communities of approximately 40 percent,” the press release says.
EcoAction Arlington executive director Elenor Hodges tells ARLnow that that the group has already begun to plant more trees. That includes American hornbeams, pin oaks, river birch, sugarberry, American sycamore, swamp white oak, and American linden.
The program needs about $150,000 a year to cover operations, marketing, staffing, and the actual planting of trees, Hodges says, with each tree costing about $500 to plant.
Amazon, an inaugural sponsor, has already contributed $50,000. The goal is to raise $1.5 million from other corporate and individual donors, while also obtaining funding from Arlington’s existing Tree Canopy Fund Program. This initiative allows neighborhood groups, owners of private property and developments, and places of worship to apply to have native plants or trees planted on their property.
Residents in neighborhoods lacking sufficient tree canopy note that the the problem is often tied to the construction of large, new homes and not prioritizing trees while building.
“As we lose trees due to infill development of large homes on lots in our neighborhood, they need to be replaced and even expanded,” John M. Langston Citizens Association president Wilma Jones tells ARLnow. “We all know that trees give off oxygen and they reduce stormwater runoff.
Natasha Atkins has been a resident of Aurora Highlands for nearly four decades and has “watched with alarm” the number of trees lost to homebuilding projects.
“With the County’s zoning code, requiring only very small setbacks for residential housing, it is questionable whether there will be much of a tree canopy in the future in the single-family neighborhoods that are being redeveloped,” she says. “Trees are an afterthought in planning and zoning. They should really be a driver.”
Hodges concedes that planting 2,500 more trees over the next five years will only “make a dent” and it will take tens of thousands of trees for all these neighborhoods to reach the 40% tree canopy threshold.
But the Tree Canopy Equity Program is just as much about what one can do today as what one can do tomorrow, says Hodges.
“It’s about behavioral change and teaching people about the importance of having a sufficient tree canopy in Arlington,” she said.
A new series of county-sponsored walking tours will distill the history of Arlington’s bootleggers, rum runners, and whiskey raids during Prohibition.
The “Bootlegger’s Guide to the Parks” trains its focus on the era of Prohibition, a 13-year period when the manufacturing and sale of alcohol was illegal in the U.S. The walking tours begin at a county park before ending at a local brewery, bar, or distillery.
The first tour, which will meet up at Penrose Park, is scheduled for Friday, March 25. Another is scheduled in April, at Rocky Run Park, while a tour in May will meet at Benjamin Banneker Park. Registration opens on Wednesday (March 16) for all three.
In the public’s mind, Prohibition has always conjured images of gangsters and criminal activity, making it a historical period ripe for movies and other popular entertainment. John McNair, a county park historian who is leading the tours, says that while we may associate the exploits that came with Prohibition with large metropolitan cities, Arlington had its fair share of dealings with illegal alcohol activity.
“We might consider these images of, say, Chicago or New York, but Prohibition was very real and very much on the table for people in Arlington County as well,” he says.
Even prior to Prohibition, several Arlington neighborhoods, like near the Key Bridge in Rosslyn, had earned reputations for attracting District residents who wanted to engage in vice. The reputation was well-earned, says McNair, with Arlington becoming a favorite place to grab a drink and play cards for many in the region.
While he doesn’t want to spoil too much about what the tours will cover, McNair says the March 25 event will focus upon the famed Thanksgiving whiskey raid of 1921.
On that day, federal agents joined up with police from across Virginia to raid four illegal distilling sites in Arlington.
“It took the eternity of the day. And at the end of which, they set state records for highest yield of [confiscated] whiskey products in Virginia,” says McNair. “While it made massive headlines at the time, the record would not stand for very long.”
Beyond the scandalous stories, McNair says the hope is that the programs bring in new audiences who want to learn about local history, parks, and public places. Telling stories about Prohibition in Arlington also opens up a window into what life was like here a century ago, during a very important time in America’s development.
“There were issues of suffrage, civil rights, the growing industry of war production that all became factors in how Prohibition plays out in Arlington,” McNair says.
Spots are limited on the walking tours and are open only to those 21 and over, due to a planned visit to a local bar. After all, how would be a Prohibition walking tour be complete without its own “raid” of a serving establishment?
‘Kindness Yard Sale’ in Penrose — “Susan Thompson-Gaines wants to spread kindness. This weekend, she’s doing it through a big yard sale at her house. She says it’s hard to miss the home she shares with her husband, David — it’s the yellow house with purple trim at the corner of South Second and South Fillmore streets in Arlington… what makes this yard sale different is that the proceeds are all spent on acts of kindness.” [WTOP]
Flood Cleanup for Pike Businesses — From WUSA 9’s Matthew Torres: “A dental hygienist sent me this other video of the flash flooding in Columbia Pike in Arlington. Their business had to close today as they clean up the water that seeped through. Other businesses are having to do the same thing.” [Twitter]
More Vaccinations Added to State Stats — “Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has incorporated vaccination data from jurisdictions in Maryland. Virginians who received vaccinations in Maryland that were not reported through the Virginia Immunization Information System are now included in the locality and statewide dashboards. The updated data reflects an increase in COVID-19 vaccine first dose rates of 0.33% Alexandria, 0.46% Arlington, and 0.39% Eastern Shore.” [Virginia Dept. of Health]
AFAC Gets Donation from Library Program –“Representatives of the Friends of the Arlington Public Library (FOAL), together with the Arlington Public Library and Arlington County Department of Technology Services, presented a check for $4,525 to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). The donation represents the number of Library readers who successfully completed the 2021 Summer Reading Challenge. The Library’s popular Summer Reading program helps children avoid the ‘summer slide.'” [Arlington County]
Fmr. County Board Member Dies — “Jay Edwin Ricks, 88, passed away at home in Arlington, Virginia on July 18, 2021 due to complications of Parkinson’s Disease… In 1967, Jay was elected to the Arlington County Board where he served until 1971. During this time, he was active in transportation issues and Vice Chairman of Metro during the critical phase of planning the Metro system.” [Legacy]
Local Church Adapts to Pandemic — ‘As another wave of the pandemic comes at us, we are different as a congregation,’ said the Rev. Amanda Poppei, senior minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Virginia… Poppei’s congregation began hosting outdoor events in spring 2021, including a handbell parade to ring in Pride Month in June and a Flower Communion in May, which they intentionally designed as a multiplatform event.” [UUWorld]
The Penrose community helped save a wounded snapping turtle from being stuck in a window well last week.
On Wednesday (June 23), The Animal Welfare League of Arlington received a call from a concerned citizen about a rather large turtle inside of a window well of a Penrose house on the 800 block of S. Wayne Street.
AWLA dispatched an officer, who removed the turtle and contacted the licensed Virginia rehabber Olivia Lobalbo of Animal Education and Rescue Organization. It was thought that the turtle was female and potentially a mother-to-be since they often only come on to land to lay eggs.
“The rehabber assessed the situation and stated that the turtle was likely laying eggs in the area and to place it nearby in a safe space,” Jen Toussaint, Chief of Animal Control for the AWLA, tells ARLnow.
They decided to allow the turtle to make its way back home. So, AWLA asked folks in the neighborhood to monitor the turtle and stay in touch with the organization.
Over the next few days, the likely mama turtle was seen (slowly) moving through multiple Penrose yards. Eventually, it made its way to the corner of 9th Street S. and S. Wayne Street, according to a post on Nextdoor. At that point, it became clear that action needed to be taken.
“She had gone through multiple yards but was heading in the direction of attempting to cross Columbia Pike and one person noted seeing some flies,” wrote Toussaint. “Flies can be a sign that something is wrong or there is an injury.”
An AWLA officer again came back out on Saturday (June 26), as did Lobalbo from AERO, who took the turtle into their care.
Later, upon inspecting, Lobalbo found the turtle had a hole in its shell and an infected wound.
“I realized that there is a little bit of tissue that grew over the hole in the shell, but underneath was very much infected, and not healing well at all,” Lobaldo writes to ARLnow. “I have done my best to debride it… which seems to been a huge benefit as she is feeling better already. I’ve even gotten her to eat!”
Lobaldo confirms that she expects the turtle to recover and be released back into the wild soon.
Snapping turtles are not uncommon in the area, Toussaint notes. However, this was the first time she can remember finding one stuck in a window well.
“Window wells can be very dangerous for small wildlife this time of year,” writes Toussaint. “We strongly encourage residents to have window well covers that prevent debris and small animals like bunnies and chipmunks and now turtles from falling in and being trapped.”
It was due to the Penrose community’s diligent monitoring of the wounded mother turtle, says Toussaint, that AWLA was able to get her the help she needed.
“Extend my thank you to the Penrose community and AERO for looking out for this little girl and helping us ensure her safety,” Toussaint writes. “Arlington is such an amazingly animal friendly community and it’s a pleasure to work here in service to our community’s wild neighbors!”
Armed suspects robbed the 7-Eleven store in Penrose early Sunday morning.
The robbery happened around 3:30 a.m., at the convenience store on the 2300 block of 2nd Street S.
Police say one man brandished a handgun and demanded the employee open the cash registers, before he and another suspect fled with cash in a Honda Odyssey minivan.
More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report, below.
ROBBERY, 2021-06200048, 2300 block of 2nd Street S. At approximately 3:39 a.m. on June 20, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect vehicle, a gold Honda Odyssey, pulled up to the business and two male suspects exited and entered the business. Suspect One grabbed merchandise and approached the counter, with Suspect Two following behind. Suspect One then brandished a handgun and demanded the employee open the registers. The suspects then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. Suspect One is described as a Black male with a slim build, approximately 5’6″ tall, wearing a black hat, black mask, blue gloves, black pants, a gray vest and a gray hoodie. Suspect Two is described as a Black male, approximately 5’6″ tall, wearing a black hat, black mask, blue gloves, and a dark blue hoodie. The investigation is ongoing.
Also in the latest Arlington crime report, a Reston man was arrested and charged with assaulting police after an incident early Thursday morning on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City.
ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2021-06170010, 400 block of 23rd Street S. At approximately 12:50 a.m. on June 17, police were dispatched to the report of a disorderly male inside a restaurant. Upon arrival, the responding officer made contact with the intoxicated suspect who was yelling at patrons and employees. The officer directed the suspect to leave and attempted to issue him a banning notice at the request of the property manager but the suspect refused to comply and continued to act disorderly. As the officer attempted to place the suspect under arrest for public intoxication, he resisted and shoved and hit the officer before fleeing the scene on foot. A foot pursuit was initiated, however, the suspect was not immediately located. Officers located the suspect inside his vehicle nearby and directed him to stop and exit the vehicle. The suspect then reversed out of his parking spot and attempted to drive away. Officers were able to stop him from exiting and he was taken into custody. Seth Hauter, 28, of Reston, VA, was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on Law Enforcement, Drunk in Public, Obstruction of Justice and Driving Under the Influence.
A large fire department response is on scene of a house fire in Arlington’s Penrose neighborhood.
The blaze broke out shortly after 9 a.m. on the 400 block of S. Barton Street, not far from one of the entrances to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
Initial reports suggest that firefighters arriving on scene found a relatively small but smoky fire in the basement of a home. Firefighters are now working to ensure that the fire has been completely extinguished and everyone made it out of the house okay.
So far no injuries have been reported.
#Update The fire is now out and was contained to a small area of the residence. No injuries to civilians or firefighters. Units will be checking for additional fire spread before cleaning up.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 5, 2021
A man accused of burglarizing homes in the Penrose neighborhood, and in one instance touching a woman inappropriately during a break-in, has been arrested.
The arrest happened around 1 a.m. this morning in the Penrose neighborhood. Police say they were staking out the area around Friday’s sexual battery incident, on the 2500 block of Arlington Blvd, when officers “observed the suspect acting suspiciously as he entered the backyard of residences.”
“While additional units responded to assist with the investigation, the suspect entered his vehicle and attempted to flee the scene,” Arlington County Police said in a press release Tuesday afternoon. “A traffic stop was initiated, and the suspect was taken into custody without incident. During a canvas of the scene, officers located several window screens which had been cut and removed from the frames to include at the address of the original incident.”
“Alijah Hall, 26, of Waldorf, MD, was arrested and charged with Burglary: Break and Enter at Night with Intent to Commit a Felony or Larceny and Possession of Burglarious Tools,” police said. “He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.”
The press release added that “anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective J. McGrath at 703-228-4244 or [email protected].”
“Information may also be provided to the Arlington County Police Tip Line at [email protected] or anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477),” said ACPD.
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) December 15, 2020
Photo courtesy Arlington County Police Department
A man climbed into a woman’s home via a window, walked into her bedroom and touched her inappropriately last night, police say.
The incident happened around 12:30 a.m. on the 2500 block of Arlington Blvd, in Arlington’s Penrose neighborhood.
The Fairfax County Police helicopter was brought in to search for the suspect, who fled after the woman screamed. An Arlington Alert was sent to residents regarding the police activity.
The suspect remains at large. More below, from an Arlington County Police Department press release.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is investigating a sexual battery which occurred during a residential burglary in the Penrose Neighborhood.
At approximately 12:33 a.m. on December 11, police were dispatched to the 2500 block of Arlington Boulevard for the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined an unknown suspect entered the victim’s residence through a window. The victim was awoken to the suspect entering her bedroom where he proceeded to touch her inappropriately. The victim screamed, prompting the suspect to flee from the residence. Responding officers established a perimeter, canvased the area and an aerial search was conducted by the Fairfax County Police Helicopter Unit. The search returned with negative results.
The suspect is described as a male, approximately 6’0″ tall with an average build. He was wearing all dark clothing, a ski mask and gloves at the time of the incident.
This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective J. McGrath at 703-228-4244 or [email protected] Information may also be provided to the Arlington County Police Tip Line at [email protected] or anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).