Arlington, VA

Southbound I-395 was blocked early Sunday morning after a serious crash involving a pedestrian.

Police and firefighters were dispatched to I-395 near Shirlington Circle just before 3:30 a.m. Sunday after a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle.

Initially a medevac helicopter was to be flown in to transport the patient, but they ended up being rushed to George Washington University Hospital via ambulance instead.

“The patient was transported to a local trauma center by ground ambulance,” the Arlington County Fire Department spokesperson Taylor Blunt tells ARLnow. “The medevac was called off.”

Blunt was unable to provide an update on the patient’s condition.

The highway was diverted at S. Glebe Road for several hours after the crash as police investigated the crash. Arlington County police assisted Virginia State Police with with traffic control during the closure.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Arlington County is asking those planning on partying or gathering in large crowds on Halloween to reconsider their plans.

“With Halloween¬†falling¬†on¬†a¬†Saturday¬†this year,¬†many partygoers¬†may be looking to celebrate in popular nightlife destinations¬†around Arlington,¬†but¬†events that involve large gatherings of individuals can increase the risk of¬†COVID-19¬†transmission and are not recommended,” the county said in a press release on Friday.

“Partygoers are encouraged to seek¬†alternatives¬†ways to celebrate a¬†physically distanced Halloween or sit this year out.”

Although there have been reports about a “sold out” Halloween bar crawl in Arlington, the county says it “has not approved any¬†pub crawls or large events for Halloween weekend.”

The refusal to approve permits for large Halloween events is “part of the County’s effort to mitigate the evening crowds for this traditionally busy holiday and to protect the health and well-being of our community,” the press release said.

There will, however, be extra police patrols in Clarendon and Crystal City on Saturday night.

“The¬†Arlington¬†Police Department¬†will have a dedicated¬†nightlife detail of officers assigned to Clarendon¬†and 23rd Street in Crystal City¬†on Halloween night to ensure the safety of businesses and patrons,” the county said.

Family-friendly activities may be curtailed this year, as well. Last month Arlington’s health director cautioned against in-person trick-or-treating, though the county does not plan to regulate any such activity. Nearly half of respondents to a recent ARLnow poll¬†said they do not plan to offer candy to trick-or-treaters this year.

The press release offered more coronavirus safety tips for Halloween revelers, as well as a reminder of safety requirements for restaurants:

To protect against COVID-19, everyone should avoid close contact with people who do not live in their household, wear a mask (cloth face covering), and practice social distancing and frequent and proper hand washing. We implore all Arlingtonians to continue to abide by this public health guidance. In general, the more closely people interact with each other and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.

The¬†Arlington¬†Public Health Division will continue to educate and¬†strictly¬†enforce Virginia’s Phase 3 Guidelines for restaurant and beverage services. Restaurants and dining establishments must comply with the Governor’s guidelines, including:

  • Post signage at the entrance and at points of sale stating that patrons must wear a cloth face covering, except while eating and drinking, in accordance with Executive Order 63.
  • Tables at which dining parties are seated must be positioned six feet apart from other tables.
  • Employees working in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.
  • Bar seats and congregating areas of restaurants must be closed to patrons except for through-traffic, per Executive Order 67.
  • If live musicians are performing at an establishment, they must remain at least ten feet from patrons and staff. Karaoke must remain closed.
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A man who robbed and tried to rob businesses in Clarendon and Rosslyn earlier this week also struck in Ballston last month, Arlington County police say.

ACPD just released surveillance images of the man, whose face is obscured by a mask in one photo and a hard hat in another.

In all three incidents, the man passed a note to a store employee demanding money. He was given cash in two of the incidents, but an employee declined his demands in one of the incidents this week.

“This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to the suspect’s identity or these incidents is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at¬†703-228-4180¬†or¬†[email protected] arlingtonva.us,” police said in a press release, below.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is seeking the public’s assistance identifying a suspect involved in a series of three robbery incidents in Arlington County. The series includes two cases from October 19, 2020 and one case from September 23, 2020. During each of the incidents, the suspect entered a business, approached an employee, and passed them a note requesting money. Based upon witness interviews, evidence collected, and case information, detectives are investigating these incidents as a series involving the same suspect.

  • At approximately 4:21 p.m. on September 23, police were dispatched to the 4200 block of Fairfax Drive for the report of a robbery just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business, approached the front counter, and passed the employee a note demanding money and threatening them if they didn’t comply. The victim complied, and the suspect stole an undisclosed amount of cash, then fled on foot prior to police arrival.
  • At approximately 4:17 p.m. on October 19, police were dispatched to the 1500 block of Wilson Boulevard for the report of an attempted robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business, approached the front counter, and passed a note to the cashier demanding money and threatening her. The victim declined and sought the assistance from another employee, at which point the suspect stepped in front of her and attempted to grab the note back unsuccessfully. The suspect then fled prior to police arrival.
  • At approximately 4:44 p.m. on October 19, police were dispatched to the 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard for the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 4:39 p.m., the suspect entered a business, approached the front counter and passed a note to the cashier demanding money and threatening her. The victim provided an undisclosed amount of cash to the suspect, who then fled prior to police arrival.

The suspect is described as a Black male, 25-35 years old, approximately 5’6″-5’9″, with a slim build, and black hair. During the September 23 incident he was wearing a construction vest and during the incidents on October 19, he was wearing a construction helmet.

This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to the suspect’s identity or these incidents is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at¬†703-228-4180¬†or¬†[email protected] arlingtonva.us. Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at¬†1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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This Saturday, local residents can drop off their expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs in Arlington for safe disposal.

The Arlington County Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration¬†is offering contactless, drive-thru disposal of pills and patches from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at police department headquarters (1425 N. Courthouse Road) and Fire Station No. 5 (1750 S. Hayes Street). It’s part of a nationwide effort¬†by the DEA.

“This disposal service is free and anonymous, no questions asked,” ACPD said in a¬†news release. “This is the DEA’s 19th¬†nationwide event since its inception 10 years ago.”

The program comes as the number of¬†police-investigated opioid incidents in 2020 has surpassed those in 2019, with 16 fatal overdoses so far this year — nearly equal to that of the past two years combined.

First responders have been working to counter the overdose trend. In the first seven months of 2020, officers using Narcan helped nine people recover from opioid overdoses.

“Based upon the preliminary investigations into these incidents, police suspect the deaths are linked to heroin and prescription painkillers mixed with fentanyl,” said ACPD spokeswoman Kirby Clark. “While the investigation into these incidents has revealed no direct evidence that the increase is fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely a factor given timing, the loss of income and jobs and the isolation of stay-at-home orders.”

The pandemic forced the police department to cancel the spring iteration of the drug take-back event, which is normally held twice annually. This Saturday, all participants are expected to practice physical distancing and wear a face covering while dropping off items for disposal.

Upon arrival, participants should stay in their vehicle until they reach the unloading areas, where officers will be on hand to take items for disposal. A separate area will be available for those arriving by bike or foot.

The event does not accept liquids, nor needles and syringes, collectively known as “sharps.”

“For those looking to dispose of sharps, Arlington County recommends placing the item in hard plastic container such as detergent bottle, cap securely and place in trash cart,” the news release said. “Do not put this container in your recycling.”

During the take-back event in October 2019, 211 pounds of medications were collected, Clark said.

Arlington County has four permanent drug take-back boxes available. To date, these boxes have collected 1,572 pounds of medications in 2020, and nearly 5,068 pounds of prescription drugs since they were installed in June 2018.

The public can safely dispose of prescription medications, ointments and patches, pet medications, vitamins and over-the-counter medications¬†24/7, “no questions asked,” at the following locations:

  • Fire Station #2 (4805 Wilson Blvd.)
  • Fire Station #5 (1750 S. Hayes Street)
  • Fire Station #9 (1900 S. Walter Reed Drive)
  • Arlington County Police Department (1425 N. Courthouse Road)
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A store was robbed in Clarendon on Monday by a man whose tools of the trade were a pen and paper.

Arlington County police say a business on the 3100 block of Wilson Blvd was robbed around 4:45 p.m., by a man who passed a note to a cashier. Initial reports at the time suggest that it was the CVS Pharmacy on the block which was robbed.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ROBBERY, 2020-10190119, 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 4:44 p.m. on October 19, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 4:39 p.m., the suspect entered a business, approached the front counter and passed a note to the cashier demanding money and threatening her. The victim provided an undisclosed amount of cash to the suspect, who then fled prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a  Black male wearing a baggy, gray long sleeve shirt, blue jeans, white helmet, blue medical mask, and carrying a black and gray backpack. The investigation is ongoing.

A half-hour before that robbery, a man fitting a similar description passed a threatening note to a cashier at a business in Rosslyn, demanding cash. The cashier “declined” the man’s demand and asked another employee for help, at which point the robber fled after¬†trying unsuccessfully to take back the note, according to police.

Form ACPD:

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY,¬†2020-10190116, 1500 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 4:17 p.m. on October 19, police were dispatched to the report of an attempted robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business, approached the front counter, and passed a note to the cashier demanding money and threatening her. The victim declined and sought the assistance from another employee, at which point the suspect stepped in front of her and attempted to grab the note back unsuccessfully. The suspect then fled prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a Black male, approximately 5’6″, with a slim build, black hair, wearing blue jeans, a gray long sleeve shirt, white construction helmet, a watch, blue gloves, a blue mask, and carrying a black and gray backpack. The investigation is ongoing.

The 1500 block of Wilson Blvd is home to Target and several other businesses.

File photo

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(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) A boy was shot in the hand Wednesday in the Arlington Mill neighborhood near Columbia Pike.

The shooting happened on the 800 block of S. Frederick Street around 4:15 p.m., the Arlington County Police Department said.

Police were not called until 25 minutes after the shooting. They were dispatched nearby, to the 900 block of S. Dinwiddie Street, where they found the victim.

“Arriving officers located the juvenile male victim suffering from a gunshot wound to the hand and rendered aid,” ACPD said in a press release Thursday afternoon. “He was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”

Three suspects reportedly fled prior to officers arriving on scene.

“Preliminarily, it is believed that the victim and three known suspects became engaged in a dispute, during which one suspect produced a firearm and discharged it, striking the victim,” police said. “The suspects then fled the scene and the victim left the area on foot and sought assistance nearby.”

“This is an active investigation,” ACPD said on social media. “Anyone with information is asked to call ACPD’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180.”

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A SWAT raid prompted a large police presence just north of Ballston this morning.

At least one lane of N. Glebe Road was blocked as Arlington County police executed a search warrant at a home near the corner of Glebe and 13th Street N., in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood. Numerous police vehicles and a fire department vehicle could be seen in the area.

The police activity has now largely cleared out.

ACPD spokeswoman Kirby Clark said the deployment was “part of an ongoing narcotics investigation.”

There were at least two other drug-related SWAT actions earlier this year in Arlington, although it’s unclear if either are related to today’s raid.

In February a man was arrested after a SWAT team swarmed a condo complex across from the Virginia Square Metro station. In March ACPD tactical teams took several people into custody after surrounding a vehicle in a parking lot near Columbia Pike, as part of a narcotics investigation.

Courtesy photo

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Arlington County police arrested a man over the weekend after he allegedly tried to force his way into the home of a woman who opened her door to see if he needed help.

The incident happened around 1:45 a.m. Sunday on the 3100 block of 9th Street N., near Clarendon.

Police say the 22-year-old man was drunk when he started to damage items outside the home and then pushed the victim in an attempt to enter the home.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

UNLAWFUL ENTRY,¬†2020-10180035, 3100 block of 9th¬†Street N. At approximately 1:45 a.m. on October 18, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was inside her residence when she heard noise at her door and observed the male suspect outside. As the victim opened the door to see if the suspect was in need of assistance, he requested to be let inside and kicked a shoe and his phone into the residence. As the victim attempted to retrieve the items, the suspect allegedly began to damage the victim’s property outside, then pushed the victim as he attempted to enter the residence. The victim fought back and yelled for assistance, at which point neighbor came to the aid of the victim and chased the suspect out of the building. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect had also entered another residence in the building. Kyle Lewis, 22, of Chantilly, Va., was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery, Unlawful Entry, and Drunk in Public.

Also in the most recent ACPD crime report, police are investigating Saturday morning robberies in Crystal City and Rosslyn.

ROBBERY,¬†2020-10170061, 1400 block of Crystal Drive. At approximately 3:17 a.m. on October 17, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that when the two victims came outside to meet the suspect, ¬†she exited her vehicle and demanded money from them. As Victim One pulled out an undisclosed amount of cash, the suspect struck him with a closed fist and grabbed the money. The suspect then turned to Victim Two, who initially declined to provide money, and became angered. Victim Two produced an undisclosed amount of cash, which the suspect grabbed, then fled in the vehicle prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a Black female, 6’2″ to 6’4″, and 300 lbs. The vehicle is described as a gray Mercedes hatchback. The investigation is ongoing.

ROBBERY,¬†2020-10170094, 1100 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 9:56 a.m. on October 17, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business and began selecting merchandise. The victim approached the suspect telling him to pay for the merchandise, at which point a physical altercation ensued. The suspect pushed the victim and grabbed his eyeglasses, causing them to break, then selected additional merchandise and fled the business prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a White male, approximately 6’0″, 220 lbs., wearing a dark gray hoodie, camouflage shorts, with black and yellow sneakers. The investigation is ongoing.

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(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A group of armed robbery suspects managed to flee into D.C., eluding a phalanx of Arlington police cruisers after being chased across the county.

The incident started around 7:30 this morning. Officers were dispatched to the 1200 block of S. Ross Street, near The Wellington apartments and Columbia Pike, for a report of a person robbed at gunpoint and assaulted by four people he knew.

The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries and was brought to a local hospital. The suspects fled before officers arrived, but were later spotted in the area, according to Arlington County Police.

While Arlington officers typically will not give chase if a suspect in a vehicle flees from a run-of-the-mill traffic stop or minor crime, per department policy, in this case a pursuit was apparently authorized.

The suspects — described as “two Black males and two Black females in their early 20s” — drove down Columbia Pike, S. Glebe Road, Route 50 and I-395, trailed by a growing line of police vehicles. Video shows one officer unsuccessfully trying to disable the vehicle with a Stop Stick, a device for deflating tires.

Undeterred, the suspects kept going and crossed over the 14th Street Bridge into Southeast D.C., where the chase was called off. The pursuit lasted 13 minutes, according to Dave Statter, who produced a video (below) showing the chase as it progressed through Arlington.

Police say the robbery was “not a random attack” and are asking anyone with tips to call¬†703-228-4180.

The full police press release is below.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating an armed robbery that led to a vehicle pursuit on the morning of October 16, 2020.

At approximately 7:31 a.m. on October 16, police were dispatched to the 1200 block of S. Ross Street for the report of a burglary just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was robbed at gunpoint and assaulted by four acquaintances inside of his residence. The suspects stole his property and fled the residence prior to police arrival. The victim sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to an area hospital.

Officers canvassing the area located the suspects in a vehicle and a pursuit was initiated, which was ultimately terminated in Southeast Washington, D.C. The suspects are described as two Black males and two Black females in their early 20’s.

The preliminary investigation indicates this is not a random attack. This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at¬†703-228-4180¬†or¬†[email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at¬†1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

File photo

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Along George Mason Drive near the hospital Thursday morning, bare metal frames were almost as ubiquitous as the undamaged political signs still standing in the median.

Reports of widespread political sign vandalism earlier this month have seemingly not deterred the vandal or vandals. Newly ripped, trampled or discarded signs can still be seen along Arlington’s main roads. Many, if not most, are those supporting the Democratic presidential ticket.

“We continue to have¬†widespread and sustained destruction and vandalism of campaign¬†signs¬†we’ve lawfully erected,” Arlington County Democratic Committee spokeswoman Rebecca Theim told ARLnow yesterday afternoon. “Our program chair, Carol Burnett, estimates that fewer than 25 of the 780 Biden-Harris¬†signs¬†Arlington Democrats volunteers placed¬†on Oct. 3 remain undamaged. Although we’ve replaced many, most of the original¬†signs¬†simply disappeared; those that remained have been shredded.”

“More than half of our Arlington Democrats Joint Campaign¬†signs¬†titled ‘Vote Democrats’ are also gone or vandalized, including 30 such¬†signs¬†just last night along Wilson Boulevard,”¬†Theim added. “The majority of¬†signs¬†supporting the re-election of Sen. Warner also have been removed or vandalized…¬†There’s been some vandalism of the other¬†signs, but for the most part,¬†signs¬†about the proposed state constitutional referendums and School Boards races have remained untouched.”

Arlington Democrats took the rare step of putting out a press release about the sign destruction on Oct. 4. Isolated incidents of signs being vandalized happen every election cycle, but 2020 seems to be different, local Democrats say.

“I have done median¬†signs¬†for a dozen elections in Arlington, and have never seen vandalism this rampant,” said Burnett, who heads ACDC’s sign program. “Usually, a few¬†signs¬†go missing, but I’ve never seen this kind of destruction, where¬†signs¬†are shredded or torn in half. And I’ve not seen entire streets with¬†signs¬†in a dozen medians vandalized, like has happened this year.”

“There are also many more reports of residents having their ‘Dump Trump’ and Biden-Harris¬†signs¬†stolen from their yards,” she continued. “One resident who lives on 23rd Street in Aurora Hills has had 6¬†signs¬†stolen. He now takes his¬†signs¬†inside at night.”

On Nextdoor this week, Arlington residents have also reported numerous missing or damaged signs supporting President Trump.

Arlington GOP Chair Andrew Loposser previously told ARLnow that sign vandalism is a common occurrence.

“Nearly every candidate’s signs — regardless of political party — ¬†get vandalized at some point during the campaign, usually by bored high school kids,” he said earlier this month. “Let me be clear: Vandalism of any kind is unacceptable.”

Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow that as of Thursday, the department has received more than a dozen reports of political sign theft and damage in recent months.

“Since July, ACPD has taken 13 reports for damaged, destroyed or stolen political signs,” Savage said. “These incidents have been reported in areas throughout the County.”

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A U.S. Postal Inspector was seen inspecting the drop-off mailboxes outside of the N. George Mason Drive Post Office Tuesday, as resident complaints about missing and stolen mail continue.

The mailboxes were reportedly taped off after the inspector’s visit Tuesday morning, which was witnessed by an ARLnow editor.¬†A sign said the mailboxes were “out of order.”

A Nextdoor post about it quickly garnered numerous replies.

“Too many problems with mail being stolen!” said one reply. “This has been going on for years, and I’m glad they’ve finally closed the boxes.”

“NEVER use the George Mason Post Office,” said another. “They’ve been riddled with problems for a long time.”

“As others have said, there has been mail theft there (particularly with the drop box) for nearly a year,” said yet another. “I am happy they finally closed off the box because I still see reports here about mail theft 9 months after our outgoing mail was stolen.”

Other complaints about the post office in the thread — and in dozens of replies to a similar Nextdoor post from July — include missing and undelivered mail.

ARLnow is aware of at least three reports of mail stolen from the boxes outside the post office at 2200 N. George Mason Drive, which serves the 22207 zip code, over the past year or so.

In one case, a tipster said he or she had a thief attempt to cash or deposit more than $35,000 in checks from a business account, though the fraud was caught by the bank before losses were incurred. The incident happened after business mail was dropped off at one of the mailboxes outside.

On Nextdoor, another resident said a thief “took $5,000 out of my IRA account” by altering a $100 check written to a charity, which was deposited “in one of the two drive-by mailboxes outside the post office on George Mason Drive.”

Yet another Nextdoor poster said he also had a check “diverted from this post office… that someone forged and attempted to cash.”

Other residents complained about a lack of information about what’s going on, despite numerous complaints filed with the U.S. Postal Service and Arlington County.

“As far as I know, there has been no communication to the public, which I personally find ethically negligent,” said one resident.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service did not respond to an inquiry from ARLnow in January. Contacted again this week for more information, a spokesman would only confirm that ARLnow’s photo depicted a postal inspection officer at work.

“I can confirm the individual in the photograph is a US¬†Postal¬†Inspector, working hard to ensure the safety of the US Mail,” Michael Martel, Public Information Officer for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, wrote. “Postal¬†Inspectors have access to USPS infrastructure for a variety of reasons including preventative security measures and during the course of an investigation.”

“If anyone suspects their mail has been stolen, or see suspicious activity near a¬†Post¬†Office or blue collection box, they can report it to¬†Postal¬†Inspectors at 1-877-876-2455,” Martel added.

A flyer with mail security tips, provided by Martel, advises postal customers to “use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier,” and to “pick up your mail promptly after delivery… don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight.”

Residents on Nextdoor said even employees of the post office appeared to be in the dark this week.

“When I went in to ask what’s going on, my favorite clerk… was very frustrated and said they were not getting answers themselves,” said one resident.

“Something’s rotten in Denmark at the George Mason Post Office,” said another.

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