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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(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) A reported wrong-way crash prompted the closure of Wilson Blvd at N. Rhodes Street, between Rosslyn and Courthouse.

A witness told ARLnow the driver of a blue SUV was driving in reverse down the street and struck several parked vehicles. A Metrobus was also struck.

Northbound N. Rhodes Street was also closed at Clarendon Blvd shortly after the crash. Rhodes and one lane of Wilson have since reopened as of 2:30 p.m.

Police placed the driver of the SUV in handcuffs after conducting a breathalyzer test. Open cans of beer could be seen inside the vehicle following the crash.

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Update at 2 p.m. — Police have released additional details about the stabbing and the suspect. Per a press release:

The Arlington County Police Department has arrested and charged a suspect following a malicious wounding investigation at Gateway Park. Wondwossen Kassu, 40, of No Fixed Address was charged with three counts of Malicious Wounding and three counts of Unlawful Wounding in the Commission of a Felony. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 9:27 p.m. on May 21, police responded to the report of multiple stabbings in Gateway Park located at 1300 Lee Highway. Upon arrival, officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident. During the course of the investigation, officers located three male victims suffering from lacerations. The victims were transported to area hospitals and all are reported in stable condition.

Based on the preliminary investigation, it appears two of the victims were sitting at a table inside Gateway Park when the suspect approached them and initiated a conversation before producing a knife and stabbing the victims. The third victim was walking in the area when he came upon the initial assault. The suspect then turned his attention towards the third victim and stabbed him as well. Two victims were able to leave the scene to seek assistance. They were located by responding officers in the 1900 block of Fort Myer Drive and the 1800 block of N. Nash Street.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective S. King of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4243 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Earlier: Arlington County Police are investigating a reported stabbing spree in Rosslyn.

Initial reports suggest three people were stabbed in or near Rosslyn’s Gateway Park. Two people were seriously injured but expected to survive, while the other victim suffered minor injuries.

A police presence has been reported at Gateway Park, the Continental lounge, and Turnberry Tower. One of the victims ran to the bar and another to the condo building after being stabbed, leaving a trail of blood along the sidewalk, we’re told.

Eastbound Lee Highway and at least one lane of both N. Lynn Street and N. Nash Street were closed near the crime scene as a result of the investigation.

One suspect was in custody as of about 10:20 p.m., police said. An ACPD spokeswoman says the suspect in custody appears to have known at least one of the victims. There’s no word yet on a motive.

Police were still searching for other suspects with the assistance of the Fairfax County Police helicopter after the first suspect was detained, according to scanner traffic.

“One suspect is in custody and the investigation is ongoing to determine if any other individuals are involved,” said police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Separately, during the stabbing investigation, firefighters battled a reported townhouse fire on the 1400 block of N. Nash Street in Rosslyn, near the Iwo Jima memorial. The fire, on the roof of the townhomes, was quickly extinguished and did not extend to the interior of the building.

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A man was cut by a drunk, knife-wielding acquaintance during an physical altercation that spanned two different locations early Sunday morning, according to Arlington County Police.

Police say two men who knew each other got into an argument that turned violent in a Ballston apartment around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. The intoxicated suspect then drove the victim to Penrose neighborhood, near the 2nd Street S. entrance to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, where the altercation continued, said ACPD spokeswoman Kirby Clark.

The victim reportedly escaped after the suspect fell asleep in his car.

“The victim was able to exit the vehicle safely after the suspect stopped the vehicle and fell asleep in the area of 2nd Road N. and Washington Boulevard, where officers ultimately made contact with the suspect and took him into custody,” Clark said via email. “This is an ongoing investigation and the reason(s) why the dispute initiated, as well as the circumstances surrounding why the suspect transported the victim in his vehicle, will be determined as part of the investigation.”

The suspect was identified as a 20-year-old resident of Ft. Myer.

More from an ACPD crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-05190107, 900 block of N. Pollard Street. At approximately 7:05 a.m. on May 19, police were dispatched to the Office of the Magistrate for the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 1:30 a.m., the victim and known suspect were inside a residence when they allegedly became involved in a physical altercation in which the intoxicated suspect struck the victim multiple times and tackled the victim. The suspect then produced a knife and threatened the victim, and strangled him. The suspect and victim exited the residence and the suspect drove the victim to another location, where he again threatened the victim and cut the victim with the knife. The victim was able to escape after suspect fell asleep in the vehicle. Investigating officers located the suspect in his vehicle and he was taken into custody without incident. Robert Reyna, 20, of Fort Myer, Va., was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding, Strangulation, Abduction, Assault and Battery and Underage Possession of Alcohol. He was held on no bond.

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A store in the Virginia Square area was robbed by a man with a gun early Wednesday morning.

Police say a masked man walked into a business on the 3500 block of Wilson Blvd, brandished a firearm and demanded cash from the register, before fleeing “with an undisclosed amount of cash.” The only business on that block that would have been open at the time was a 7-Eleven store.

Responding officers were unable to locate the suspect. More from Arlington County Police:

ROBBERY, 2019-05150009, 3500 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 1:05 a.m. on May 15, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 12:56 a.m., an unknown suspect entered a business, approached an employee at the counter and brandished a firearm. He then went behind the counter and demanded the employee provide cash from the cash register. The suspect fled the business prior to police arrival with an undisclosed amount of cash. Arriving officers canvased the area with negative results. The suspect is described as a black male, wearing a blue hoodie, black pants, wearing gray and white shoes and a black mask. The investigation is ongoing.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

It’s Bike to Work DayUpdated at 9 a.m. — Today is Bike to Work Day and in Arlington eight neighborhoods are hosting pit stops for the annual event. [Twitter, Twitter]

W-L Crew Team Wins State Championship — “The Washington-Lee High School girls varsity eight won its first state championship in 30 years at the recent regatta at Sandy Run Regional Park in Occoquan.” [InsideNova]

RIP I.M. Pei — Famed architect I.M. Pei, who designed Potomac Tower in Rosslyn, has died at the age of 102. [Associated Press]

‘Click It or Ticket’ Returning — “As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, Arlington County Police are reminding all drivers of the importance of seat belt use. This annual campaign is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement effort that runs from May 20 to June 2, 2019.” [Arlington County]

Millionth MAGA Hat Stored in Arlington — “The one-millionth official Make America Great Again hat ever made is currently locked away at President Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.” [Breitbart]

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An Arlington man has been arrested and charged with three counts of Attempted Malicious Wounding after police say he tried to hit several people with a hammer.

Police say they were dispatched to an apartment on the 3800 block of Washington Blvd, in the Virginia Square neighborhood, around 3:45 p.m. this past Saturday after a man became irate over a missing item. The encounter then escalated to attempted physical violence, according to police.

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

ATTEMPTED MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-05110181, 3800 block of Washington Boulevard. At approximately 3:45 p.m. on May 11, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 3:30 p.m., the known suspect approached the victims inside of a residence and became verbally irate over a missing item. The encounter escalated and the suspect and one of the victims became involved in a physical altercation. The suspect then produced a hammer and began swinging it at the victims. The suspect fled prior to police arrival. None of the victims were injured during the incident. Arriving officers located the suspect walking in the area. Kemoh Sesay, 27, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Attempted Malicious Wounding (x3). He was held on no bond.

Below are the rest of the highlights from this week’s crime report, including some we’ve already reported.

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(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating a major vandalism spree in the area of Columbia Pike.

Police say nearly two dozen parked cars had their tires slashed over the weekend. It happened on the 4500 and 4600 blocks of S. Four Mile Run Drive and the 1100 block of S. Thomas Street, just south of the Pike in the Douglas Park neighborhood.

So far, police have no suspect description, only saying that the “investigation is ongoing.”

“Officers canvased the area for surveillance and witnesses with negative results,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the area on Friday evening into Saturday morning or has any information related to the investigation is asked to contact police.”

More from a crime report:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY – VEHICLE (series), 2019-05110081/05110088/05110096, 4600 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive/4500 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive/1100 block of S. Thomas Street. At approximately 7:28 a.m. on May 11, police were dispatched to the report of destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 8:30 p.m. on May 10 and 6:30 a.m. on May 11, the tires of approximately 22 vehicles parked in the area were slashed. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

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Morning Notes

Crystal City Apartment Building Sold — “A Crystal City residential property within blocks of Amazon’s planned HQ2 campus has sold for $228 million, more than double what it last sold for a decade prior, according to Arlington County property records.” [Washington Business Journal]

It’s National Police Week — Law enforcement officers from around the country and the world are in the D.C. area for National Police Week. The annual series of events is held to honor officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. As in years past, Arlington County Police motorcycle officers are assisting with the numerous motorcades associated with Police Week. [Twitter]

Free Cone Day Today — Häagen-Dazs is holding its annual Free Cone Day today (Tuesday) from 4-8 p.m. Among other nearby locations, a locally-owned Häagen-Dazs franchise store is located in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [Häagen-Dazs]

Crashes During Monday’s Rain — A number of crashes were reported Monday morning, amid persistant rain. Among them were a crash with entrapment at Military Road and Lorcom Lane, and a reported car vs. tree collision at Route 50 and S. Columbus Street. [Twitter]

School Board Member Donating Kidney — “Arlington School Board Vice Chairman Tannia Talento will be out of commission for several weeks, as she is donating a kidney to a sister. Speaking at the May 9 School Board meeting, Talento said preparing for, undergoing and recuperating from surgery will cause her to miss some end-of-school-year events, but ‘I hope it is amazing and wonderful,’ she said of the last weeks of the 2018-19 year.” [InsideNova]

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Arlington County Police have arrested a 25-year-old man for an alleged sex assault in a Clarendon restaurant over the weekend.

Police say the crime happened around 11:45 p.m. Saturday at a restaurant on the 3000 block of Clarendon Blvd, a block from the Metro station.

A woman “was cornered by the known male suspect inside a walk-in freezer, preventing her from leaving the area,” ACPD said in a press release. “The suspect then allegedly inappropriately touched and sexually assaulted the victim before fleeing the scene.”

The press release implies that the victim and the suspect both worked at the restaurant, which was not named.

Arlington resident Duglas Santos is now facing charges of Abduction, Object Sexual Penetration and Sexual Battery. Police believe Santos worked at other restaurants in Arlington and are asking other potential victims to step forward.

The full ACPD press release is below.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is investigating a suspect charged with sex offenses and is seeking additional information and possible victims. Duglas Santos, 25, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Abduction, Object Sexual Penetration and Sexual Battery. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 11:46 p.m. on May 4, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault inside a restaurant in the 3000 block of Clarendon Boulevard. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was cornered by the known male suspect inside a walk-in freezer, preventing her from leaving the area. The suspect then allegedly inappropriately touched and sexually assaulted the victim before fleeing the scene. Officers conducted surveillance in the area and took the suspect into custody the following day when he returned to work at the restaurant.

Based on the preliminary investigation, it is believed the suspect has held positions in restaurants throughout Arlington County and there may be additional similar incidents. Anyone with past inappropriate encounters with this suspect or who has additional information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective H. Molina of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit at 703-228-4208 or [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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(Updated on 05/13/19) The debate in the Commonwealth’s Attorney race over police brutality has grown into a larger discussion over police accountability.

“My opponent’s reckless use of language seeks to sow distrust in a community that registers some of the highest levels of confidence in law enforcement,” said Theo Stamos, the incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington and Falls Church in statement today (Friday.)

Stamos kicked off an election debate this week by requesting Democratic challenger Parisa Dehghani-Tafti explain her recent description of a case as an example of “police brutality” that Stamos declined to prosecute.

“Is your criticism that I failed to prosecute the officer or that I failed to have an another agency review this incident?” Stamos asked her challenger during Wednesday’s debate. “Which was was it?”

The conversation was sparked after several Arlington public safety groups criticized Tafti over a campaign mailer stating Stamos had “refused to prosecute police officers in cases of police brutality.” The mailer cited an instance in which a suspect was shot to death after striking an officer in the face with a metal pipe during a domestic violence call, a shooting that was determined to be justified by an investigation conducted by Stamos’ office.

Tafti said voters want “accountability, transparency, and impartiality” from law enforcement, and questioned Stamos’ investigation of the incident. During Wednesday’s night’s debate, hosted by the Arlington Committee of 100, Tafti responded to Stamos’ question by broadening the discourse.

“This is about impartiality, not about any particular case,” Tafti said. “You don’t want anyone investigating themselves and… the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, which is dependent on police to gather evidence, should not be making unchecked decisions about investigations.”

The challenger said that if elected, she would craft an independent review policy to allow a community review board, Virginia State Police, or a special prosecutor to examine cases of police violence — a policy she says other neighboring jurisdictions have.

“It’s remarkable that my opponent is now disavowing her incendiary mailer and suggesting that this is about bringing in an independent agency to review an officer-involved shooting,” Stamos told ARLnow today (Friday) in a statement.

The prosecutor defended the independence of her office, saying she is “not beholden” to law enforcement but that “Shifting responsibility to some other entity that is not accountable to the voters of this community is the opposite of accountability.”

Earlier today Tafti said in a statement that:

I’m for impartiality. Even though rare in our community, use-of-force incidents require impartial review. I’m also a reformer and any time you run as a reformer you get pushback but pushback means we get to talk about the issues. My opponent has fought reform at every turn. Now she has decided to go negative because it distracts from her record of failing to adequately support victims, including survivors of sexual violence — a record of opposing cash bail reform, opposing voting rights for returning citizens, opposing using diversion instead of incarceration for individuals with mental illness, opposing expungement of minor infractions, opposing civil asset forfeiture reform, and opposing transparency and impartiality. I will continue to focus on these issues in the campaign and once elected because that’s what makes everyone safe.

“A key reason you don’t hear about police shootings or excessive use of force in Arlington is because of our crisis prevention training,” Stamos said during the debate. She noted that 78% of county police have received that training.

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