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Crime Report: Man Throws Rock Through Window of Clarendon Bar

(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) A man who was upset about being kicked out of a bar came back and threw a rock through a window, police say.

The incident happened Sunday night in Clarendon.

Around 8:15 p.m., a man was asked to leave a restaurant on the 2900 block of Wilson Blvd, which is home to Ambar, Wilson Hardware, Mexicali Blues and other businesses.  After an “altercation” with the bouncer the man walked away, but came back shortly thereafter and threw a rock, shattering the business’ window, according to police.

No injuries were reported and the man then fled before police arrived on scene.

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

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING, 2019-02100215, 2900 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 8:23 p.m. on February 10, police were dispatched to the report of destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that after the male suspect was asked to leave a business, he became disgruntled and became engaged in an altercation with the bouncer. The altercation was resolved and the suspect started to walk away, but re-approached the business and threw a rock at the window, causing it to shatter. The suspect fled prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as an Asian or Hispanic male, approximately 5’7″-5’9″, with black hair that was longer in the back and a receding hairline, with a skinny build. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this week’s crime report, including Monday’s attempted bank robbery on Columbia Pike, is below.

ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY, 2019-02100225, 400 block of 23rd Street S. At approximately 8:51 p.m. on February 10, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male suspect entered a business and approached an employee behind the counter and brandished a knife. The suspect demanded cash, however, another customer entered the business, prompting the suspect to flee on foot prior to police arrival. Nothing was reported stolen from the business and no injuries were reported. The suspect is described as a tall, slender, black male, wearing light washed blue jeans, black shoes, a black jacket with a black hoodie underneath, and carrying a backpack. The investigation is ongoing.

ATTEMPTED BANK ROBBERY, 2019-02110123, 3500 block of  Columbia Pike. At approximately 2:15 p.m. on February 11, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered the bank, passed the teller a note demanding money and displayed a firearm, before fleeing the scene without any money. Arriving officers established a perimeter and canvased the area with negative results. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’9″-6’0″, 20-30 years old, wearing dark clothing, a construction mask, and covering his face. The investigation is ongoing.

Police released surveillance images of the bank robbery suspect Thursday afternoon.

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Morning Notes

Arlington Diocese Releases List of Accused Priests — “Virginia’s two Catholic dioceses on Wednesday released lists of clergy who officials say were deemed ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing youth… The Diocese of Arlington, which covers the northeastern corner of Virginia, released a list of 16 names.” [Washington Post, Diocese of Arlington]

ACPD Restaurant Initiative Deemed a Success — “Arlington County, Virginia, is trying to fight drunken driving, and its method may prove to be a model for the nation.” [WTOP]

Cristol Quoted in the New Yorker — “‘We have an agenda that is about equity and anti-racist goals, and I don’t think he can effectively lead on it,’ [Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol] said, referring to the governor. As for Fairfax, she said, she had thought, after the first allegation, that ‘there might be a way forward for him to recognize harm done’ and stay in office. After the second, it seemed clear to her that there was an indefensible pattern of behavior.” [The New Yorker]

Arlington Man Arrested for 2016 Rape — “Alexandria Police have arrested a man who they say abducted and raped a lifeguard in broad daylight from a pool on South Pickett Street in 2016.” [Fox 5]

Hope’s Assisted-Living Bill Passes — “The derecho that came through Arlington several years ago inspired me to bring this bill and work to make sure, at a minimum, prospective residents knew whether their assisted living facility had a generator in case of loss of power.” [InsideNova, Twitter]

Sheriff’s Office Helping With Scholarships — “The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office is helping the Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute raise college scholarship funds for Virginia residents majoring in criminal justice.” [Arlington County]

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Man Shot by Arlington Police Now Set for Trial on Claims He Tried to Strike Officers With His Van

An Arlington man shot by police last year after allegedly trying to hit officers with his van is now set to face a trial next month, though it initially appeared he was moving closer to a plea deal.

Steve Best, 52, is scheduled for a four-day trial in Arlington County Circuit Court starting March 25, facing a charge of the attempted malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer.

County police shot Best several times during a confrontation on May 3 on a street just off Columbia Pike, alleging that he tried to flee a traffic stop. In the process, police say Best nearly struck an officer and rammed into some police vehicles.

Yet Best has steadfastly maintained his innocence in the months since, as has his family. His lawyers argue that he tried to surrender when police opened fire, and that he only tried to drive away from the scene in a fit of confusion.

Last fall, it appeared as if Best would be accepting plea deal to put the matter to rest, though county prosecutors did not reveal many details about their plans for the case.

However, court records show that a proposed plea hearing was ultimately postponed, and Best hired a new lawyer shortly afterward. By late November, prosecutors began subpoenaing witnesses in the case, and set a trial date soon afterward — a rarity in the legal system, where the vast majority of cases are resolved by plea agreements.

Best’s family did not immediately respond to a request for comment on what, if anything, has changed about the legal proceedings.

Court documents show that prosecutors issued subpoenas in late January to eight potential witnesses, as the case moves closer to trial.

Best’s attorneys have sought to gain access to evidence of their own, claiming that surveillance video from businesses nearby will corroborate Best’s version of events.

Police say they initially tried to pull Best over as he drove near the intersection of 12th Street S. and S. Edgewood Street, claiming he drove down 12th Street S. before abandoning the van at the intersection of 13th Street S. and S. Irving Street. Accordingly, Best’s attorneys have been focused on gaining access to video from businesses along those side streets, including the Day’s Inn hotel parking lots, located near the intersection of 11th Street S. and S. Highland Street.

However, court records don’t contain any details about what the videos showed.

In all, Best claims he was shot half a dozen times, losing one of his fingers as a result of the incident.

Photo via GoFundMe

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BREAKING: Police Responding to Bank Robbery on Columbia Pike

Arlington County Police are on scene of a reported bank robbery on Columbia Pike.

The robbery happened around 2:15 p.m. Initial reports suggest that a masked man armed with a gun passed a note to a teller inside the Capital One Bank branch at 3532 Columbia Pike. Afterward he fled on foot.

The suspect is described as a black male between 5’9″ and 5’10” in height. He was reportedly wearing a yellow construction helmet and vest, a blue surgical mask, black sunglasses, a black hoodie and black pants.

No injuries were reported.

The bank branch is set to close this spring.

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D.C. Man Sentenced to 28 Years Behind Bars After Sexually Assaulting Woman in Rosslyn

A D.C. man will now spend nearly 30 years behind bars after he posed as a maintenance worker and then sexually assaulted a woman in Rosslyn.

Arlington County Circuit Court Judge Louise DiMatteo sentenced 25-year-old Richard Allen Lowe to 28 years in prison on Friday (Feb. 8). Lowe previously pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful wounding, abduction, burglary and sexual penetration back in August.

“The defendant preyed upon his victim’s sense of safety by posing as someone she should trust in her own home,” Police Chief Jay Farr wrote in a statement. “While nothing can completely restore her sense of security, our community is safer today because of the significant sentences imposed by the court on a violent offender.”

Prosecutors say Lowe entered an apartment building on the 1500 block of Key Boulevard around 9:45 a.m. on May 7, 2017, where he began knocking doors and claiming to be a maintenance worker.

When one woman opened her door, Lowe pushed past her into the apartment and sexually assaulted her before fleeing the scene. Detectives then relied on a “review of crime scene evidence, witness interviews and laboratory results” to identify Lowe as a subject, according to a news release.

Police then arrested Lowe in D.C. last February, and he pleaded guilty soon afterward.

“The sentence handed down by Judge Louise DiMatteo takes a dangerous predator off the streets and puts public safety front and center,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos wrote in a statement. “The defendant was brought to justice by the dogged work of Arlington County detectives who worked painstakingly to identity Lowe and link him to his crimes.”

Photo courtesy of Arlington Police

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A War in the Streets: In Arlington, Cars and Bikes Battle for Space, Safety and Respect

The following feature article was funded by our new Patreon community. Want to see more articles like this, exploring important local topics that don’t make our usual news coverage? Join and help fund additional local journalism in Arlington. 

There’s an ongoing war being fought on the streets of Arlington.

The skirmishes are fought amongst us daily, for turf, for respect, for safety — and, some would say, for outright survival. The combatants are cars and bicycles, jockeying to safely share a common infrastructure.

Arlington has long prided itself as a “bike friendly” locale. Every bicycle on an Arlington street is potentially one less car on the road, thus reducing traffic congestion and pollution.  Cycling also meshes nicely with Arlington’s reputation as one of the fittest communities in the nation.

Consequently, the county has taken numerous steps toward encouraging bike ridership. Recent years have seen the addition of many miles of dedicated bike lanes, including protected lanes, a move supported by a majority of Arlingtonians. Further, Arlington’s enviable network of interconnected bike paths provides a safe and efficient venue for pedal-powered transportation.

But it’s not always possible to physically separate bikes and automobiles. The problem arises from the fact that two modes of transportation, consisting of vehicles of differing size and weight, traveling at different speeds, with different degrees of visibility, often must share the same physical space.

Far too often, the two sides view each other as adversaries. One Arlington cyclist cited his top complaints against motorists as “parking/standing totally or partially in the bike lanes, and not allowing the Virginia state three-foot minimum of clearance when passing a cyclist.”

Drivers find their share of faults in cyclists, as well. “They act as if traffic laws don’t apply to them,” said one motorist. “So many times I’ve waited to safely pass a bicyclist on the road, only to have them zoom by me when I stop at a red light. They then blow through the light, and I have to wait to pass them all over again.”

Undoubtedly, there is bad behavior on both sides. And while these actors may represent only a small portion of each group, they are the ones that tend to stick out, not the majority of thoughtful, law abiding Arlingtonians.

Arlington County law enforcement officials monitor all modes of transportation for potential safety infractions, not merely automobiles.

“The police department’s overall vision for transportation safety in Arlington County focuses on the safety of all travelers. We encourage all who use our roadways to comply with the law and proceed with care and caution to ensure their safety and the safety of others who may be sharing the roads,” said county police spokeswoman Kirby Clark. “Officers observing traffic violations issue citations, based upon their discretion, to travelers, regardless of their mode of transportation.”

The stakes for cyclists are high — according to ACPD’s 2017 Annual Report, there were 80 bicycle-related crashes in Arlington County in 2017, ending a multi-year downward trend. There were 32 such crashes reported in 2016 and 46 in 2015.

It doesn’t require a degree in physics to understand that in a direct encounter between the two, bicyclists are at a far greater safety risk than are drivers. As one cyclist put it, “Any generally bad driving behavior and/or willful ignorance of traffic laws is exacerbated when you are cycling since one doesn’t have the protection of sheet metal and the bulk of a car.”

Arlington County has taken a number of steps in working toward a negotiated truce between the two sides.

The Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) advises the County Manager on issues that affect cycling in Arlington, including safety, education, community involvement, awareness and promotion, and the development, operation and maintenance of on- and off-street bicycle transportation and recreation facilities. Elsewhere, county staff and members of a citizens working group are in the final stages of developing a draft update to the Bicycle Element of Arlington County’s Master Transportation Plan.

Education is a critical element of the solution, as well. The county’s PAL program — encouraging drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to be Polite, Alert and Predictable — seeks to educate all Arlingtonians about ways that they can remain safe regardless of their selected mode of transportation.

The Safe Bicycling Initiative (SBI), a cooperative venture between ACPD and BikeArlington, utilizes education and enforcement to make Arlington’s roads safer for bicycles. SBI’s targeted enforcement throughout the county resulted in numerous citations of both bicyclists and motorists, all of which served as an opportunity for police to increase awareness of the SBI and related traffic laws.

In the end, however, the solution lies out on the roads. The “us versus them” mentality adds to the problem, not the solution. It is critical to respect all users of shared spaces, and to look out for their safety needs. Both sides need to be well educated, and need to be willing and able to put that knowledge into practice.

And when somebody, somewhere, does something wrong — as they inevitably will — it’s important to realize that they are merely an individual behaving badly, and not representative of an entire group.

While such efforts will not be easy, they will make Arlington’s roads safer, and less stressful, for all.

Photo courtesy Sal Ferro

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BREAKING: Disturbing Video Prompts Arrest of Falls Church Teen

A video showing a masked figure pulling a gun out of the trunk of a car in front of Wakefield High School has led to an arrest and charges against a Falls Church teenager.

The menacing video was posted on Instagram on Jan. 25, but the weapon was eventually determined to be an airsoft gun, not an actual firearm, and the teen “did not have the means to carry out a threat,” according to Arlington County Police.

The U.S. Secret Service brought the video to the attention of ACPD on the day it was posted. The subject of the video was identified and now faces a felony charge.

More from a police press release:

Police have arrested and charged a City of Falls Church teen following an investigation into a video recorded on the property of Wakefield High School and posted to Instagram.

At approximately 7:24 p.m. on January 25, an officer with the United States Secret Service responded to the Arlington County Police Department to report a video posted to Instagram involving a weapon. In the video posted at approximately 12:00 p.m. on the same day, a teen is shown sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle in the parking lot of Wakefield High School. The teen exits the vehicle, opens the trunk, places a black mask over his face and removes an airsoft rifle before the video ends.

After reviewing social media posts and working with school administrators, detectives quickly identified the teen in the video. During the course of the investigation, detectives determined that there was no immediate threat to the safety of the school or its activities, that the video contained a replica firearm and that the teen in the video did not have the means to carry out a threat.

Following consultation with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney and a review of the evidence, the teen has been charged with Virginia Code § 18.2-422 Prohibition of Wearing a Mask, a Class 6 Felony. The teen is not an Arlington Public Schools student and his identity is not releasable due to age.

The Arlington County Police Department is committed to maintaining the safety of our community. Our School Resource Officers work closely with Arlington Public Schools administrators in our shared mission to provide a safe learning environment for students, teachers and staff. Parents and guardians are encouraged to talk to their children about the serious nature of school-based violence and the content they post to social media. All reports of threats and violence made at our schools and in our community are thoroughly investigated by law enforcement and where appropriate, charges will be sought against those responsible.

The public is reminded that you play an important role in keeping our community safe. If you see something, say something® by reporting suspicious behavior and activities to law enforcement.

This case was investigated by detectives from the Arlington County and Fairfax County School Resource Officers Unit, Arlington County’s Homeland Security Section and assisted by administrators in Arlington Public Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools.

File photo

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Falls Church Man Arrested After Allegedly Stealing from Business, Spitting on Police Officer

A Falls Church man is now facing a series of charges after he allegedly stole merchandise from a business along Columbia Pike, then scuffled with police as he was arrested.

County police say the incident happened around 10 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 30), when people called police to report a man stealing from a business along the 4900 block of Columbia Pike, then fleeing the scene.

The block is home to a 7-Eleven, a car repair shop and the Arlington Mill Community Center.

Officers were able to track the man down shortly afterward, subsequently identifying him as 26-year-old Omar Elbasir.

“While the arresting officer attempted to search the suspect prior to transporting him to booking, the suspect was non-compliant and spit on the officer,” police wrote in a crime report.

Elbasir is now facing charges of assault and battery on police, obstruction of justice and petit larceny.

He’s now set for a hearing on those charges in Arlington General District Court on Monday (Feb. 4).

Full details from a county crime report:

ASSAULT ON LAW ENFORCEMENT, 2019-01300076, 4900 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 10:18 a.m. on January 30, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male suspect entered a business, allegedly stole merchandise and fled on foot. A lookout was broadcast and the male suspect was located in the area in possession of the stolen merchandise and taken into custody. While the arresting officer attempted to search the suspect prior to transporting him to booking, the suspect was non-compliant and spit on the officer. Omar Elbasir, 26, of Falls Church, Va., was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on Police, Obstruction of Justice and Petit Larceny: 3+ Offense.

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Morning Notes

APS on Two Hour Delay — Arlington Public Schools is a two hour delays this morning amid a light coating of snow. Fairfax County Public Schools, meanwhile, is closed after initially announcing a two hour delay last night. [Twitter]

County Still Seeking Aquatics Center Sponsor — “Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz has not given up on his goal of finding sponsors to help offset the cost of the Long Bridge Park aquatics center. ‘I remain optimistic that we will be successful” in finding partners,’ Schwartz told County Board members Jan. 29, though he offered no specifics.” [InsideNova]

ACPD: Get a Designated Driver for the Big Game — “Super Bowl LIII is slated for kick-off this Sunday, February 3, and, for many, this celebratory evening includes alcohol. Enjoy the game and festivities, but don’t drop the ball on safety. Make it your game plan to take a sober ride home – whether it’s by using a ride sharing service, taxi, public transportation, or designated sober driver.” [Arlington County]

Ballston BID to Launch ‘Club’ — “The Ballston Business Improvement District is launching a club for area residents… which appears to be a first-of-its-kind program in the region. When the club kicks off by the end of summer, members will enjoy exclusive benefits like discounts for restaurants and retail, in addition to events like yoga in the park and outdoor movies.” [Washington Business Journal]

Wardian Does It Again — “Michael Wardian, 44, of Arlington, Va. has won the first of seven marathons in the World Marathon Challenge in Antarctica.” [Canadian Running, Twitter]

Arlington Firm Makes Big Acquisition — “CACI International Inc. has reached an agreement to acquire LGS Innovations LLC for $750 million in a deal that extends Arlington-based CACI’s reach into the signals intelligence and cybersecurity markets.” [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Starbuck77

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Crime Report: Armed Robbery Goes Wrong When Gun Goes Off

Two would-be robbers were foiled when they accidentally fired a gunshot during their robbery attempt, according to Arlington County Police.

The alleged incident happened around 11 p.m. last Thursday, on the 1900 block of N. Culpeper Street in the Halls Hill neighborhood.

Police say two men dressed in all black tried to rob a man who was standing outside of his residence. When the man refused to give them money, one of the suspects pistol whipped him, but accidentally fired a shot in the process. That prompted the suspects to flee the scene empty-handed.

No one was hurt and nothing was damaged by the shot, but the victim suffered a laceration on his head from being struck with the gun, according to police. The suspects remain at large.

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

ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY, 2019-01240225, 1900 block of N. Culpepper Street. At approximately 10:58 p.m. on January 24, police were dispatched to the report of shots fired. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was outside of his residence when he was approached by two male suspects. One suspect brandished a firearm and demanded money. When the victim declined, he was struck in the head with the firearm, causing a laceration that required medical treatment. Simultaneously, this action resulted in the discharge of the firearm. The suspects fled on foot prior to police arrival. No additional damage or injuries were reported as a result of the discharge of the firearm. Arriving officers canvased the area and a K9 track was initiated with negative results. The suspects are described as two black males, approximately 6’0″-6’1″, approximately 30-40 years old, wearing black pants, black hooded sweatshirts, black hats and black sneakers. The investigation is ongoing.

This week, police responded to a store on the 4700 block of Columbia Pike for a report of a man filming women in a dressing room. The only clothing store on that block is the Goodwill retail store.

More from ACPD:

PEEPING, 2019-01280189, 4700 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 7:19 p.m. on January 28, police were dispatched to the report of a peeper. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victims were inside the dressing room at a business when they observed a male suspect holding a cell phone over the dressing room wall and allegedly taking photos. The victims confronted the suspect and informed him they were calling police, which prompted him to flee the business prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a tall, thin black male, approximately 5’11”-6’0″, with dreadlocks, a black beard, chipped teeth with a gap in the center, wearing a long black jacket, light khaki pants, white headphones, and black and white sneakers. The investigation is ongoing.

Other notable items from this week’s crime report, including some we’ve already reported, are below.

BURGLARY, 2019-01290196, 1600 block of S. Eads Street. At approximately 3:27 p.m. on January 29, police were dispatched to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on January 28, an unknown suspect gained entry to a residence and stole items of value. There are no suspect(s) descriptions. The investigation is ongoing.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY (late), 2019-01280248, 1900 block of S. Arlington Ridge Road. At approximately 11:46 p.m. on January 28, police were dispatched to the report of an attempted breaking and entering. Upon arrival, it was determined that at some point during the day prior to 8:00 p.m., an unknown suspect(s) gained entry to a residence. Nothing was reported missing. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

ROBBERY, 2019-01250003, 200 block of N. Thomas Street. At approximately 12:19 a.m. on January 25, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival it was determined that the victim was looking at his cell phone when he was approached by two unknown suspects. One suspect asked the victim for change and when he advised he did not have any, he was assaulted by the suspects. Following the assault, one suspect brandished a knife, demanded the victim’s cell phone and destroyed it before fleeing the scene on foot. The victim was transported to an area hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. The suspects are described as two black males in their 20’s, ranging in height from 5’10” to 6′. They were wearing dark clothing at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2019-01250027/2019-01250029, 1200 block of S. Scott Street/1200 block of S. Courthouse Road. Between 10:30 p.m. on January 24 and 4:11 a.m. on January 25, the tires and rims were stolen off of two vehicles in the area. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES, 2019-01260261, 500 block of 12th Street S. At approximately 9:13 p.m. on January 26, police were dispatched to the report of a possible dispute inside a residence. Arriving officers restricted access to the floor and additional police units were requested to assist with the investigation. Attempts to contact the occupants were unsuccessful and the incident was cleared without arrest.

MALICIOUS WOUNDING BY CAUSTIC AGENT, 2019-01240124, 1800 block of Crystal Drive. At approximately 1:45 p.m. on January 24, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that a building employee drank from her water bottle, which resulted in her feeling a burning sensation in her chest. She smelled the contents of the water bottle, believed it to have been filled with bleach while it was left unattended and subsequently dumped the remaining liquid prior to police arrival. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

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DEVELOPING: ACPD Investigating Shooting in Nauck

(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating a shooting in the Nauck neighborhood.

The shooting happened around 9 p.m. on the 2200 block of S. Oxford Street and involved a suspect and a victim that knew each other, according to police. One person suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a local hospital via ambulance.

A neighbor told ARLnow that there was a “heavy police presence and crime scene tape” near where the shooting happened.

ACPD released additional information about the shooting Wednesday afternoon, saying three people were involved in a physical altercation and one was shot, though so far no arrests have been made.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating a shooting that took place in the Nauck neighborhood on the evening of January 29, 2019.

At approximately 9:05 p.m. on January 29, police were dispatched to the 2200 block of S. Oxford Street for the report of shots heard. Upon arrival, officers located three male subjects involved in a physical altercation. The subjects were separated by police and it was determined that one was suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The other two subjects did not require medical treatment.

This incident remains an active criminal investigation and police continue to work to determine what preceded the altercation. All parties involved have been identified and no charges have been sought at this time. Based on the preliminary investigation, there appears to be no ongoing threat to the community.

Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective R. Ortiz of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-7402 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Student Population Predicted to Keep Rising — “Arlington school officials say they now anticipate the total student population to rise an additional 24 percent by 2028, and the latest round of projections has raised fears the school system could fall further behind in its efforts to keep up with elementary-school enrollment.” [InsideNova]

Amazon to First Come to Rosslyn? — “Amazon.com Inc. is said to be in talks to take some or all of the planned WeWork co-working space set to open in Rosslyn later this year as it plots its longer term growth at National Landing,” reports the Washington Business Journal. ARLnow has also heard from a commercial real estate source that Amazon will station its initial Arlington “HQ2” employees at the Rosslyn WeWork, while its temporary space in Crystal City is built out, but we have been able to confirm the rumor. [Washington Business Journal]

Local Elm Tree Honored — An American elm tree on S. Randolph Street “has become the first elm tree to be named a specimen tree in Arlington County.” [Arlington County]

Police Outreach Meeting Postponed — “Due to projected inclement weather, the North Outreach Team Quarterly Meeting scheduled for… January 29, has been postponed. Event details on the rescheduled meeting will be provided at a later time.” [Twitter]

Patient Stops By Fire Station to Thank Rescuers — “Andrew stopped by Fire Station 10 to show his gratitude after being extricated from his overturned Jeep last week on Route 110. Andrew was released from the hospital one day after the accident with no life threatening injuries.” [Twitter]

Nearby: Landmark Mall Development Update — “There are several years until any major construction activity occurs at Landmark Mall, but Alexandria and the mall’s owner are homing in now on the parameters that will guide the nearly 6 million-square-foot redevelopment… Buildings could rise as high as 250 feet, per one recommendation.” [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Police Arrest Man in Connection with String of Robberies Targeting Pizza Delivery Drivers

County police have arrested an Arlington man in connection with a series of robberies targeting pizza delivery drivers.

Arlington police say they arrested 20-year-old William Engelking-Scott on Friday (Jan. 25).

He’s now facing charges of robbery and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Police said in a news release that there were at least two incidents involving delivery driver robberies over the course of the last few weeks, both happening along the 300 block of S. Taylor Street in Barcroft.

In both incidents, one on Dec. 21 and one on Jan. 6, pizza delivery drivers were accosted outside their vehicles by a man brandishing a gun, demanding cash. On the second occasion, the man with a gun assaulted the driver, who suffered minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

The man fled on foot with undisclosed sums of cash after both robberies.

Police say the investigation into the incidents is still ongoing. Engelking-Scott faces a hearing on Feb. 28 in Arlington General District Court for his charges, and is currently being held in the county detention center without bond.

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Crime Report: Woman Arrested for Bleach Attack

An Arlington woman is facing charges after allegedly spraying someone with bleach during an early morning argument.

Arlington County Police were called to an address in the Nauck neighborhood around 4:30 a.m. Sunday for a dispute. A verbal argument between two people who knew each other “escalated into physical violence,” police said.

A 33-year-old woman was arrested, accused of spraying bleach — a “caustic agent” — and injuring another woman, then subsequently striking her with an object.

“It remains under investigation what object caused the victim’s injuries,” county police spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow.

More from ACPD:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-01200046, 2100 block of S. Kenmore Street. At approximately 4:36 a.m. on January 20, police were dispatched to the report of a dispute. Upon arrival, it was determined that a verbal altercation between known individuals escalated into physical violence. During the altercation, the suspect allegedly sprayed the victim with bleach before striking the victim with an object. The victim was transported to an area hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. Darcell Harris, 33, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding and Malicious Injury by Caustic Agent. She was held on no bond.

Earlier last week, police investigated a series of thefts from vehicles along Columbia Pike and S. Courthouse Road. Police say thieves stole tires and rims from at least five vehicles.

GRAND LARCENY (series), 2019-01170042/01170062/01170099/01170116, 1200 block of S. Courthouse Road/2200 block of Columbia Pike/700 block of S. Courthouse Road. On January 17, police were dispatched to multiple late reports of larcenies from auto. The investigation determined that between approximately 6:00 p.m. on January 16 and 4:00 a.m. on January 17, the tires and rims of approximately 5 vehicles in the area were stolen from vehicles. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

 

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

ROBBERY, 2019-01210216, 5300 block of 8th Road S. At approximately 9:43 p.m. on January 21, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 9:30 p.m. and 9:35 p.m., while the victim was operating as a delivery driver, he entered a building to make a delivery when he was approached by an unknown male suspect, who claimed to know the recipient of the delivery. The suspect led him down a hallway, where he was met by several other suspects, who pushed the victim to the ground and assaulted him before stealing his personal belongings, an undisclosed amount of cash and the contents of the delivery. The suspects fled the scene prior to police arrival. The victim was not injured. Suspect One is described as a Hispanic or Indian male, approximately 5’8″, 180 lbs., wearing a blue jacket. Suspect Two is described as a black male wearing a black and white long sleeve shirt. The other three suspects are described as black males.

BURGLARY, 2019-01190203, 2400 block of N. Underwood Street. At approximately 7:08 p.m. on January 19, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just discovered. Upon arrival, it was determined that between approximately 6:00 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., an unknown suspect forced entry to a residence, causing damage, and stole items of value. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY (late), 2019-01170136, 2600 block of N. Florida Street. At approximately 12:40 p.m. on January 17, police were dispatched to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 9:30 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. on January 16, an unknown suspect gained entry to a residence and stole an undisclosed amount of cash. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

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New Bill Could Change Arlington’s Powers to Ticket Parked Cars, But Backers See Other Purpose

(Updated Friday at 12:45 p.m.) New legislation working its way through the General Assembly could soon let Arlington, and other large Northern Virginia localities, start hiring private contractors to ticket parked cars for minor violations like expired license plates — but the lawmakers backing the bill say they introduced it for a slightly different purpose.

Currently, only county police can hand out such violations. But identical bills just introduced down in Richmond by state Sen. Dick Black (R-13th District) and Del. Karrie Delaney (D-67th District) could allow private parking enforcement staffers in large counties like Arlington to hand out those tickets too — if the localities opt in for the change.

At least, that’s how Arlington County Attorney Steve MacIsaac reads the bill, according to a county spokeswoman. Specifically, he believes that the legislation “would allow Arlington to enforce expired plates and other such violations on parked vehicles, and to hire non-law-enforcement uniformed personnel to carry out such enforcement.”

“It would be up to the County Board, should this bill become state law, to decide whether it wants to take advantage of this broadening of the county’s authority,” Board spokeswoman Mary Curtius told ARLnow.

But the bill’s backers say they introduced the legislation for to make a difference far outside of Arlington. Black and Delaney both represent portions of Loudoun County, where they’re targeting the change.

The legislation specifies that any locality with more than 40,000 residents has the power to hire contracted workers to enforce parking violations, rather than relying on police officers for that purpose. Current law only gives cities with more than 40,000 people that authority, leaving Loudoun and other large counties a bit stuck.

“This bars counties from contracting out enforcement services, forcing members of their already overworked police offices and other uniformed personnel to use their working hours checking parking hours and enforcing parking meters,” Delaney said during a House of Delegates subcommittee meeting last Thursday (Jan. 10).

As Loudoun prepares to welcome its first Metro stations in the coming years, with the Silver Line gradually expanding out to Dulles International Airport, county officials want to hire some extra help to enforce parking around the new stations. Jeffrey Gore, a lobbyist hired to represent Loudoun in the legislature this year, assured the Senate’s transportation committee yesterday (Wednesday) that plenty of other cities have made such a change, without incident.

“It’s not traffic violations, it’s just parking ordinances,” Gore told lawmakers. “Richmond does this, Virginia Beach does this. But Loudoun can’t do this, Fairfax can’t do this.”

But one outspoken political observer in Northern Virginia, political strategist Ben Tribbett, is blasting the bills as a “huge revenue grab” and compares them to another program in Fairfax County meant to step up the enforcement of car registration fee evasion.

An aide for Delaney did not respond to a request for an interview to discuss her bill, or Tribbett’s criticisms. However, county police spokeswoman Ashley Savage stresses that it wouldn’t have such an impact in Arlington, where police can already enforce such violations on parked cars.

Regardless of those claims, both bills are steadily advancing.

Black’s bill passed the Senate’s transportation committee on an 8-3 vote, and could soon head for a floor vote. Meanwhile, a House transportation subcommittee unanimously voted to advance Delaney’s bill, sending it to the full committee for review.

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