Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Va. May Lift Most Restrictions Next Month — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Thursday the state could lift most of its COVID-19 pandemic restrictions by mid-June, about 14 months after the state initially put those measures in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Northam said the state is planning to do away with social distancing requirements and restrictions on gathering sizes on June 15, provided coronavirus cases continue to drop and the pace of vaccinations does not let up.” [DCist, InsideNova]

Allegations of Hazing at ACFD Academy — “Over a year ago, firefighter EMT recruit Brett Ahern alleged extreme bullying and hazing at the hands of one firefighter who was an instructor with the Arlington County Fire Department’s Training Academy… there were other victims. Witnesses are speaking out on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.” [WDVM]

Mask Mandate for APS Athletes Questioned — From Sun Gazette Editor Scott McCaffrey’s blog: “Based on feedback we’ve been getting from our sources in the high-school-sports world, Arlington Public Schools has become something of a punching-bag of ridicule for its ongoing policy of requiring student-athletes to wear masks even in situations where it not only serves no good.” [Sun Gazette]

Woman Flees Knife-Wielding Robbers — “The female victim was outside her parked vehicle when she was approached by two male suspects. Suspect One brandished a knife and demanded her cell phone and money. The victim then ran to and entered her vehicle without providing any of her belongings. The suspects fled the scene when a witness approached the vehicle.” [ACPD]

Internal Pick for County Planning Director — “Arlington County has selected Anthony Fusarelli, Jr. to be the County’s new Planning Director after a nationwide search…. Fusarelli has worked in the County’s Department of Community Planning, Housing, and Development for 15 years and most recently served as Assistant Director. In this role he was responsible for development agreements and land deals, strategic initiatives, and demographic and development data research and analysis.” [Arlington County]

Warning About Rabid Cat in Falls Church — “The City of Falls Church Police and the Fairfax County Health Department are urging anyone who may have been bitten or scratched by a cat in the last fourteen days that matches the below description to please contact either agency immediately.” [City of Falls Church]

Bob & Edith’s Opening in Alexandria — “Bob & Edith’s Diner will open on King Street later this year, the company confirmed on Wednesday. The diner will take the place of Ernie’s Original Crab House, which closed in April, at 1743 King St. just a few hundred feet from the King Street Metro station.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

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Morning Notes

Early Morning Fracas in Va. Square — “At approximately 1:09 a.m. on February 24, police were dispatched to the report of a fight in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business and allegedly began selecting merchandise. The victim refused the suspect service citing restrictions on the sales of alcohol during the overnight hours. The suspect and victim became engaged in a verbal dispute that escalated to a physical altercation, during which the victim was able to recover the merchandise. The suspect re-entered the business… at which point a witness intervened.” [ACPD]

Developers Selected for GMU Expansion — “George Mason University has picked a team of developers to manage the construction of the Amazon-induced expansion of its Arlington campus… The university hopes to finalize a development agreement with Edgemoor and Harrison Street by December and start construction by spring 2022. It plans to open the building by summer 2025. The Arlington campus, is located on Fairfax Drive just west of Clarendon.” [Washington Business Journal]

YHS Swimmer Breaks Two Nat’l Records — “US National Teamer Torri Huske made her mark on the final day of the 2021 VHSL Class 6 State meet, breaking two National High School records. Huske, a senior at Yorktown High School, began her meet by swimming a time of 1:53.73 in the 200 IM, chopping a tenth of a second off of Dagny Knutson’s National Public High School record of 1:53.82 that had stood since 2009.” [Swim Swam]

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Arlington police are investigating a robbery that happened in the Courthouse area, just two blocks from police headquarters.

Police say a man followed a woman off of a bus and then forcefully stole her purse, pulling her to the ground and down a set of stairs in the process.

The masked man fled with the purse, along with a red duffle bag and dark backpack that he was carrying. The woman suffered minor injuries.

The incident happened on Wednesday, Jan. 20, just after 7 p.m. The Arlington County Police Department released more information about the crime and surveillance photos of the suspect Thursday afternoon.

The full ACPD press release is below.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is seeking the public’s assistance to identify the suspect in a robbery by force incident captured on surveillance images.

At approximately 7:16 p.m. on January 20, 2021, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force in the 1200 block of North Troy Street. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect followed the victim off of a bus and approached her as she was attempting to enter her residence and grabbed her purse strap. A struggle ensued over the purse, during which the suspect pulled the victim to the ground, dragging her down a set of stairs. The suspect then stole her purse and fled on foot prior to police arrival. The victim sustained minor injuries during the incident.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, approximately 5’5″ and 155 lbs., with curly hair, wearing dark pants, a black and white striped jacket with the hood up, and carrying a dark backpack and a red duffle bag.

Anyone with information related to this incident and/or the suspect’s identity is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Photos courtesy ACPD

Morning Notes

Police Trying to ID Robbery Suspect — “The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating a series of convenience store robberies and is seeking the public’s assistance identifying a suspect captured on cell phone image.” [ACPD]

Gymnasts May Be Barred from State Tourney — “The [Washington-Liberty] girls high-school gymnastics team won its third straight 6D North Region championship… The Arlington school system has made a preliminary decision not to allow the W-L team to attend the state meet because of the pandemic. Parents of the W-L gymnasts are asking the school system to allow the Generals to participate.” [InsideNova]

Local Architects Like HQ2 Design — “The majority of architects and designers who spoke with the Washington Business Journal about the NBBJ-designed Helix had a positive take on Amazon’s plans and its new flagship structure. Most said it could become an iconic building that would give Arlington a sense of place. But a few were more cautious, noting there could be ramifications of allowing a megacorporation to build and own such an architecturally striking landmark.” [Washington Business Journal]

Va. Bishops Support Death Penalty Bill — “Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington and Bishop Barry C. Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond issued the following statement on passage of death penalty abolition legislation: ‘We welcome today’s vote by the Virginia House of Delegates to abolish the death penalty, as well as the vote by the Virginia Senate to do so earlier this week.'” [Diocese of Arlington, Arlington Catholic Herald]

Pot Legalization Bill Passes — “Lawmakers in both chambers of Virginia’s General Assembly approved legislation Friday that clears the way for legal cannabis sales in the state. The move sets up Virginia to be the first southern state to establish a recreational marijuana marketplace, and potentially the first to do so in the Washington region.” [DCist]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Possible Rabies Exposure in EFC — “On Saturday, January 30, a raccoon was reported in the area of the 6900 block Williamsburg Boulevard… in the East Falls Church neighborhood. This animal was showing signs of neurological symptoms and was caught and removed by Animal Control after potentially having contact with a pet. The raccoon tested clinically positive for rabies.” [Arlington County]

Rouse Property Showdown Heads to County Board — “With a unanimous vote, Arlington’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board kicked the controversy over preservation of the Rouse estate on Wilson Boulevard up to the County Board. The action, taken Jan. 27 after the matter was fast-tracked through what ordinarily would have been a much more drawn-out process, puts the advisory body at odds with the owners of the 9-acre property, who want to raze the buildings and sell off the tract.” [InsideNova]

Pike McDonald’s Robbed by Irate Customer — “The suspect was in the drive thru line of a business and became irate over an issue with their order. The suspect then parked their vehicle and entered the business yelling and threatening the victim. She slapped items out of the victim’s hand, then pushed her out of the way and stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the register, threw food items on the floor, and damaged property, then fled in a vehicle prior to police arrival.” [ACPD]

Local Businessman Pleads Guilty to Fraud — “An Arlington businessman pleaded guilty today to making false statements to multiple federal agencies in order to fraudulently obtain multimillion-dollar government contracts, COVID-19 emergency relief loans, and undeserved military service benefits… Robert S. Stewart, Jr., 35, was the owner and president of Federal Government Experts LLC, an Arlington-based company that purported to provide various services to the U.S. government.” [U.S. Dept. of Justice]

Volunteers Working to Widen Mt. Vernon Trail — “Volunteers removed overgrown grass and mud from the trail between Memorial Bridge and TR Island in January widening the trail by more than a foot in some spots. Volunteers also fixed drainage of three areas where winter ice sheets were forming. We have multiple upcoming volunteer events through March to continue widening the trail.” [Friends of the Mt. Vernon Trail]

Super Bowl Safety Reminder — “Super Bowl LV is on Sunday, February 7, 2021, and it’s one of America’s favorite annual celebrations… The Arlington County Police Department is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remind football fans everywhere that Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.” [ACPD]

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Morning Notes

ACPD Warned About Possible IED Threat — “Virginia police are warning officers to be on the lookout for IEDs and disseminated photos of the two found in DC during the Trump mob, per internal bulletin leaked to me.” [Twitter, The Nation]

Beyer Signs On to Impeachment — From Rep. Don Beyer: “I have just signed onto the Articles of impeachment… Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our country and he has to go immediately. [Twitter]

Local Eateries Get Dine-In Bump — “Nam-Viet Restaurant co-owner Richard Nguyen has similarly seen a bump in diners from Maryland and the District since those jurisdictions paused indoor dining. ‘We’ve been around for such a long time that I know my clientele,’ he says… ‘The locals have only been doing takeout.'” [Washington City Paper]

Robbery Attempt Near Police HQ Fails — “15th Street N. at N. Taft Street. At approximately 5:37 a.m. on January 6… the victim was walking in the area when he was approached by the suspect, who allegedly displayed a knife and demanded the victim’s belongings. The victim declined and began walking away, however the suspect followed for a short while and continued shouting at him. Arriving officers located the suspect still in the area and took him into custody.” [ACPD]

Discussion About Police Officers in Schools — “The APS School Resource Officer Work Group will host a virtual community engagement session on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. The session will be an opportunity for the community to provide feedback and recommendations going forward on the relationship between APS and the Arlington County Police Department.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Columbia Pike Blanket Initiative — “Columbia Pike is working together with its restaurants with outdoor seating areas through our new initiative, the Columbia Pike Blanket Program. Launching today, customers will be able to purchase a Columbia Pike Blanket at these participating restaurants: Cafe Sazon, The Celtic House, Dama Cafe, Rebellion on the Pike, Ruthie’s All-Day, and William Jeffrey’s Tavern.” [Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization]

Flickr pool photo by BrauhausDC

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A woman who was sitting in her car the day after Christmas in Pentagon City was attacked and robbed by a pair of teens, according to Arlington County police.

The victim was in her car, on her phone — on the 1100 block of S. Hayes Street, near the Pentagon City mall — when one of the suspects allegedly climbed in the back of the car, punched her, and stole her phone. The suspect also tried unsuccessfully to steal the woman’s purse, police said.

The teens ran off before officers arrived. The woman suffered what police described as minor injuries.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ROBBERY, 2020-12260096, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 5:47 p.m. on December 26, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was inside her vehicle using her cell phone when she was approached by two suspects, who opened the rear doors to her vehicle. Suspect One struck her with a closed fist and stole her phone and attempted to steal her purse unsuccessfully, while Suspect Two tampered with items in the vehicle. The victim yelled for assistance, at which point the suspects fled prior to police arrival. The victim sustained minor injuries. Suspect One is described as a Black male in his teens, approximately 5’6″, with a slim build,  wearing a dark colored hoodie, blue jeans, and a black mask. Suspect Two is described as a white male in his teens, approximately 5’6″, with a slim build, wearing a dark colored hoodie, jeans, and a mask. The investigation is ongoing.

Perhaps the pen is not mightier than the sword, after all.

A man who tried to rob a local store by passing a note to a clerk yesterday left empty-handed, according to Arlington County police.

The incident happened shortly after 1 p.m. on the 2100 block of 15th Street N., in Courthouse. That’s the same block as the CVS Pharmacy adjacent to the Metro station entrance.

Police say a man passed a threatening note to a store clerk, demanding cash, but “the employee declined.” The man then snatched the note back and ran off, according to a crime report.

ACPD is investigating whether the crime may be connected to three similar note-passing robberies and robbery attempts in September and October.

“Based on similarities with the other reported incidents, detectives from the Homicide/Robbery Unit are investigating this as a possible additional case in the series,” police spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow.

More from the crime report:

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 2020-11110082, 2100 block of 15th Street N. At approximately 1:19 p.m. on November 11, police were dispatched to the report of an attempted robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 1:09 p.m., the suspect approached an employee at the counter and passed them a note demanding cash and threatening them. The employee declined to provide cash and the suspect took the note and fled prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a middle aged Black male, approximately 5’10”-6’0″, with a slim build, wearing a yellow jacket with the hood up, a dark colored baseball cap, a dark colored shirt, dark blue jeans, tan shoes and a tan backpack. The investigation is ongoing.

A 34-year-old D.C. man dubbed the “Beltway Bank Bandit” has pleaded guilty to charges connected to his use of a gun in three robberies, including one in Arlington.

Federal prosecutors say Freddie Lee McRae brandished a firearm when robbing a Wells Fargo branch and a Burke & Herbert branch, both in Alexandria, in late 2018. He also brandished a pistol on April 21, 2019, when he robbed the Legend Kicks and Apparel store on Columbia Pike in Arlington, prosecutors say.

McRae’s getaway vehicle was spotted by police after that robbery, leading to a chase on the GW Parkway that ended up with the car in the Potomac River and McRae unsuccessfully trying to swim to freedom.

“McRae pleaded guilty to three counts of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence,” the U.S. Attorney’ Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a press release Tuesday evening. “He faces up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 21 years in prison when sentenced on Feb. 23, 2021.”

In addition to the three robberies for which he pleaded guilty on Tuesday, McRae also admitted to several other bank robberies, as well as the attempted robbery of a Capital One Bank branch in February 2019, prosecutors say.

The full press release is below.

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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).

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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