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by ARLnow.com — May 2, 2016 at 3:55 pm 0

Rosslyn Hyatt (photo via Google Maps)Prosecutors have dropped charges against a woman who told police she was drugged and sexually assaulted before stealing a car in Rosslyn in February.

The 22-year-old suspect, whose first name is Samantha, was arrested on Valentine’s Day morning after calling police to report that she was “in possession of a vehicle that was not hers.”

From our previous article on the alleged crime:

Samantha, 22, told police she was intoxicated when she took an Uber to District Taco in Rosslyn Saturday night, intent on grabbing some food. Afterward, she walked down to the Hyatt hotel, on the 1300 block of Wilson Blvd, milled about a bit and then allegedly stole a car from the valet.

Samantha’s next recollection, according to police, is waking up in the back seat of the car around 1 a.m., in an unknown location in Arlington. She then drove home, went to sleep, and called police around 9 a.m. to come clean about what happened, said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

After Samantha’s arrest was included in a crime report and in the ARLnow article, her attorney contacted us to say that she was “involuntarily intoxicated and had been the victim of a sexual assault.”

Police were called to a local hospital and took a report of a sexual assault Sunday evening, after the suspect was released from jail, ACPD confirmed after an inquiry from ARLnow.com. “That case is ongoing,” said Savage, the police spokeswoman.

Court records show that Samantha had a preliminary hearing in April and that the charges had been dropped “nolle prosequi.”

Savage said that no arrests have been made in the alleged sexual assault and that police do not have a description of the suspect. Jeff Overand, Samantha’s attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.

by ARLnow.com — April 28, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Potomac River calm (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Residents Supportive of Cemetery Expansion Plan — The military held a meeting yesterday to reveal preliminary plans to expand Arlington National Cemetery and realign Columbia Pike. Local residents were generally supportive of the plan and the need to expand the cemetery. [Washington Post]

Arlington Woman Turns 100 — The Sunrise senior living community in Arlington has celebrated the 100th birthday of a resident, Kathleen Hanawalt. Hanawalt celebrated the event with her daughter-in-law and two grandsons. Hanawalt’s husband died in 1969. [InsideNova]

Endorsements for Gutshall, Talento — Arlington County Board challenger Erik Gutshall has picked up a trio of endorsements from state lawmakers. State Sen. Adam Ebbin, Del. Alfonso Lopez and Del. Rip Sullivan have endorsed Gutshall in his primary challenge against County Board Chair Libby Garvey. Meanwhile, School Board candidate Tannia Talento has received the endorsement of School Board member Reid Goldstein. [Blue Virginia, InsideNova]

Sexual Assault Awareness Event at the Pentagon — All branches of the military were represented at a recent event to raise awareness of and combat sexual assault in the military. “Walk-a-Lap for a Survivor” was held in the Pentagon courtyard on April 20. Also participating in the event were members of Arlington-based Doorways for Women and Families. [Pentagram]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — April 14, 2016 at 4:15 pm 0

ACPD arrest of sexual assault suspect Melvin Perez-Bonilla (mug shot vs. sketch)A 19-year-old man has been sentenced to spend seven years in prison before being deported, after pleading guilty to two sexual assault incidents in Arlington.

Melvin Perez-Bonilla was arrested in October and charged in connection to a string of sexual assaults in 2015.

Prosecutors say Perez-Bonilla attacked a 25-year-old woman while she was walking home alone in the Clarendon area early in the morning of July 25, 2015. On the evening Sept. 29, 2015, he attacked a 23-year-old woman who was walking home near Washington-Lee High School.

Perez-Bonilla was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with 13 years suspended. He will be placed on the sex offender registry and will be deported upon serving his sentence, according to a press release.

“The Special Victims Unit and Tactical Unit’s efforts and a strong partnership with the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office have resulted in a predator being removed from the streets.” said Deputy Chief Daniel Murray, who heads ACPD’s Criminal Investigations Division. “These horrible offenses and attacks on our community will be relentlessly pursued by our detectives.”

Another sexual assault suspect, Santos Efrain Vasquez-Lopez, is set to go before a grand jury on April 25, according to police.

The full press release from the Arlington County Police Department, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com — April 11, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Police car lightsA man was assaulted by a group of people on Columbia Pike early Friday morning after he got them kicked out of a restaurant, according to police.

The incident started around 8:40 p.m. Thursday as a dispute between two groups of people, inside a restaurant on the 2900 block of Columbia Pike, police said.

One member of a group was upset about being filmed by members of the other group and complained to restaurant management, which reportedly kicked the offending group out.

“Why they were filming or taking pictures inside the restaurant, that was not explained by the victim,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

The group that got kicked out apparently decided to hang out in order to exact some retribution. When the victim exited the restaurant around closing time, they assaulted him. The victim later transported himself to the hospital, where he was treated for minor abrasions.

The victim waited until Saturday evening to report the crime to police. From an ACPD crime report:

ASSAULT BY MOB, 160409035, 2900 block of S. Columbia Pike. At approximately 8:40 p.m. on April 7, following a dispute, a victim was assaulted by a number of offenders after he exited a restaurant. The victim was able to give suspect descriptions for two of the suspects. The first suspect is described as a black male in his teens, approximately 5’6″ tall with a slim build. He was wearing glasses and had braces. The second suspect is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 5’6″ tall with a slim build. The investigation is ongoing.

On Saturday, a block away from the first incident on Columbia Pike, police investigated an alleged abduction and sexual assault.

Officers responded to the Days Inn motel at 3030 Columbia Pike around 10 p.m. Saturday for a report of a dispute. The dispute turned out to be between the victim’s family — she had called them for help — and the suspect.

Police say the victim and the suspect were acquaintances and had gone out for drinks before heading to the motel, where he held her against her will and assaulted her. From today’s crime report:

ABDUCTION WITH THE INTENT TO DEFILE, 160409051, 3000 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 10:00 p.m. on April 9, police responded to a dispute in progress, upon investigation they determined the male subject used threats to hold the female victim against her will and assaulted her. Jorge Luis Velazquez Camacho, 34, of Wheaton Maryland, was arrested and charged with abduction with the intent to defile, object sexual penetration, strangulation, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, and assault and battery. He is being held without bond.

by ARLnow.com — March 29, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Doorways for Women and Families logoApril is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and local nonprofit Doorways for Women and Families is reminding Arlington that sexual assault remains a significant problem in our community, even though it’s sometimes hidden.

Based in Arlington — the group doesn’t publicize its office address for security reasons — Doorways “creates pathways out of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault.”

Last year, calls to the group’s 24-hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline — at 703-237-0881 — was up 53 percent year-over-year, Doorways said. A total of 1,244 callers reported incidents impacting 2,012 adults and children.

Doorways attributed much of the rise to increased awareness.

“Thankfully, more and more people are becoming aware of the hotline and are feeling empowered to reach out to us to access the resources they need,” said Doorways President and CEO Caroline Jones.

Doorways has several awareness events planned for April, as detailed in the following press release, after the jump. (ARLnow.com will also be helping out, by donating 100 percent of the proceeds from our soon-to-be-announced April event to the organization.)

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by ARLnow.com — March 23, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

Police car lightsA woman told police that two men tried to abduct her near the entrance to the Lubber Run Amphitheater last night.

The alleged incident happened around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, on the 200 block of N. Columbus Street in the Arlington Forest neighborhood.

The victim told detectives that two men approached her from behind as she was walking down the street. One tried to place something over her head while the other tried to muffle her screams and also touched her inappropriately, she said.

The woman was able to break free and the men fled on foot, according to a crime report. Despite the presumed commotion, there have thus far been no reports of neighbors who heard or witnessed the incident.

Police are planning to canvass the area to further investigate the crime and are also planning to increase foot patrols in the neighborhood, said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

This incident is not believed to be related to a string of sexual assault incidents last summer, Savage said — the suspects in those incidents are both in custody.

From the crime report:

ATTEMPTED ABDUCTION, 160322052, 200 block of N. Columbus Street. At approximately 8:30 p.m. on March 22, two unknown male subjects approached a female from behind. One subject attempted to place an unknown object over her head while the other subject touched her inappropriately. The female was able to break free from the subjects and they fled the scene on foot. The first suspect is described as a Hispanic male, approximately 5’7″ tall and weighed 130 lbs. He was wearing a dark colored shirt and white/black checkered shorts. The second suspect is described as a Hispanic male, approximately 5’7″ tall and weighed 130 lbs. He was wearing dark colored pants and a dark colored shirt.

by ARLnow.com — February 29, 2016 at 10:55 am 0

Santos Efrain Vasquez-Lopez (photo courtesy ACPD)Arlington County Police have made an arrest in the Aug. 1, 2015 sexual assault of a woman in the Buckingham neighborhood.

It was initially believed that the Aug. 1 case may have been related to another series of sexual assaults last summer. A suspect was arrested in October and charged in some of those crimes. (That suspect, Melvin Perez Bonilla, is still in jail and due in court today to face charges in a July 25 assault on N. Scott Street, police say.)

Investigators now believe that separate suspects were each responsible for a separate series of assaults.

Police say the man just taken into custody, 19-year-old Santos Efrain Vasquez-Lopez, may have also sexually assaulted women along the W&OD Trail. ACPD is asking anyone with information about him to come forward.

From a press release:

The Arlington County Police Department arrested and charged a 19 year-old subject with abduction with the intent to defile for his role in a sexual assault incident last summer. Santos Efrain Vasquez-Lopez, 19, of Arlington, VA is currently being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

The attack occurred on August 1, 2015 in the 4300 block of N. Pershing Drive at approximately 11:26 p.m. As the 25-year-old victim was walking home, the suspect grabbed her from behind and pushed her to the ground. The suspect held her down, covered her mouth, and attempted to remove her shorts. The victim was able to bite one of the suspect’s hands before he fled the area on foot.

Investigators assigned to the Tactical Unit and detectives assigned to the Special Victims Unit were able to identify a suspect matching the description provided by the victim. Police were able to secure DNA analysis results from the state lab, confirming Vasquez-Lopez’s involvement in the incident. Tactical Unit officers took Vasquez-Lopez into custody at his residence in the late evening hours of February 24, 2016.

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating Vasquez-Lopez’s possible involvement in a series of assaults along the bike trail last summer and additional charges may be pending. Anyone who has information regarding this incident or concerning Vasquez-Lopez is asked to call Detective Bercovicz at 703.228.4235 or email [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

by Jennifer Currier — January 14, 2016 at 6:30 pm 0

Old Arlington County police car paint job (file photo)Arlington Police are searching for additional victims of two men who were arrested earlier this week and charged with sexual assault.

Plain clothes officers arrested Alexandria residents Jose Euseibo Guevara-Rodriquez, 39, and Elmer Umberto Lopez-Velasquez, 38, on Tuesday.

According to police, the men sexually assaulted a woman who was involved in “escort-related activity” at a motel in south Arlington, threatening her with a weapon and stealing her iPad before leaving the room.

Investigators believe the suspects could have other victims — specifically, sex workers who do not speak English and who are therefore less likely to report a crime to police.

The department’s Homicide Robbery Unit is investigating the incident. They’re asking victims who may have had an encounter with these suspects to call Det. Greg Seibert at 703-228-4199.

From the ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide Robbery Unit is investigating two suspects involved in a sexual assault and are seeking additional victims. On January 12, 2016, the female victim was involved in escort-related activity at a motel in S. Arlington when two suspects unknown to the victim knocked on the door. Upon entering the motel room, the suspects sexually assaulted the victim while using the threat of a weapon to hold her against her will. The suspects fled the room with the victim’s iPad. The suspects were apprehended by police working a plain clothes detail in the area.

Jose Euseibo Guevara-Rodriquez, 39, of Alexandria, Virginia was charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, rape, abduction with intent to defile and resisting arrest. Elmer Umberto Lopez-Velasquez, 38, of Alexandria, Virginia was charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted rape and abduction with intent to defile and resisting arrest. Both suspects were arrested and held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

Investigators believe the suspects are targeting non-English speaking victims in hopes that they will not report crimes to police. Anyone who had past inappropriate encounters with the suspects is asked to call Detective Greg Seibert at 703-228-4199 or email [email protected]

by Jennifer Currier — December 8, 2015 at 12:15 pm 0

APS Host SafeBAE (via Facebook:SafeBAE)A survivor-driven program on preventing and responding to sexual violence in middle and high schools across the country is coming to Arlington this weekend.

Arlington Public Schools is hosting the SafeBAE (Before Anyone Else) National Summit at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street) this Saturday, Dec. 12 from 2-4 p.m.

SafeBAE is a virtual organization that is focused on students by raising awareness about sexual assault and educating them about their rights under Title IX to prevent dating violence. Its programs are designed to give students resources and skills to advocate for consent and safe relationship education.

During Saturday’s program, attendees will hear the stories of four students who were assaulted and how they now work with the organization toward social change. All of the speakers were victims of rape, some of whose stories made national news.

Other panelists include legal experts and members of the School Board.

The event is open to members of the APS community and their families. Tickets are free and available online, but donations are also accepted.

Photo via Facebook/SafeBAE

by ARLnow.com — November 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm 0

Ahmad-El-Khatib (photo via ACPD)A man listed as a co-founder of an Islamic education and recreation center has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy in Ballston.

Ahmad El-Khatib, 31, was arrested Sunday morning at a friend’s apartment building on the 800 block of N. Randolph Street. Police say El-Khatib had been out with friends in D.C. Saturday night and came back to his friend’s building.

Around 3:40 a.m., a 13-year-old boy who was sleeping in the club room of the building was awakened to find a stranger touching him in appropriately, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The teen immediately fled the room and reported the incident to a family member, who was working as the building’s overnight concierge.

The concierge reviewed surveillance footage and found that the incident had been caught on video, Sternbeck said. Later that morning, when El-Khatib was leaving the building, an employee identified him as the suspect in the video and called police. El-Khatib was arrested on scene, said Sternbeck.

El-Khatib, an Annandale resident, has been charged with aggravated sexual assault and is being held without bond.

El-Khatib is listed as the “founding director” of the NUR Center, an Islamic education, recreation and cultural center with locations in Loudoun County and on Carlin Springs Road in Falls Church. The center offers Montessori classes for ages 3-9, along with after school activities for ages 5-12 and youth day and summer camps.

Also on the NUR Center website, El-Khatib is listed as the coach of a martial arts team based at Abingdon Elementary School, in Arlington’s Fairlington community. On his LinkedIn profile, he’s listed as the “program director” of the NUR Center and a company called Arlington Day Camps LLC.

A website for Arlington Day Camps has the following biography for El-Khatib:

Ahmad El-Khatib has directed art, fitness, and enrichment camps in the DMV area for over 10 years. His programs have been offered at Fairfax County Rec Centers, Sport and Health Clubs, Abingdon Elementary, Drew Model School, Lyles Crouch Traditional Academy, and Randolph Elementary. In 2010, he founded the NUR Center, a Montessori School and After-School recreation center for children and adults. His working partnerships with local schools gave him the ability to establish strong relationships with some of the areas most extraordinary teachers. In September 2013, with the support of his staff and community, he established Arlington Day Camps in an effort to provide quality and affordable camps during school holidays and teacher work days.

A phone number listed for El-Khatib went straight to a full voicemail box. An employee at the NUR Center in Loudoun County did not have any information on El-Khatib’s arrest, and an email to the company has not been returned. Attempts to reach Mary El-Khatib, who’s listed as a NUR Center co-founder and a former Arlington Public Schools teacher, were also unsuccessful.

by ARLnow.com — October 8, 2015 at 9:20 am 1,565 0

Wilson Blvd has been renamed Marine Corps Marathon Drive in honor of the marathon on Oct. 25, 2015

Sandra Bullock Remembers W-L Cheerleader Days — Oscar-winning actress and Arlington native Sandra Bullock says her Washington-Lee High School cheerleading uniform still fits like a glove. “That might come in handy some sexy night. I don’t know who I’m saving it for,” she told Glamour magazine. [Daily Mail]

ICE Detainer for Sexual Assault Suspect — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a detainer on Melvin Bonilla, the suspect in a string of sexual assaults in Arlington. Bonilla was arrested by Arlington County Police yesterday morning. [Fox 5]

Opposition to Homeless Shelter Winds Down — With Arlington’s new Homeless Services Center now open across from police headquarters in Courthouse, nearby residents are apparently starting to acquiesce to their new neighbor. Reports “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark: “Many neighbors in condos alongside the Courthouse building at 2020 N. 14th St. have rethought their opposition.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Lockdown Drills for Pre-K Students — An Arlington Pre-K teacher reflects on having her students participate in lockdown drills, which would be used in the event of an active shooting situation. The drills are now routine in Arlington elementary schools, the teacher says. [Washington Post]

Library Launches Sci-Fi Book Club — Arlington Public Library has launched “Strange Lands,” a science fiction book club that will meet monthly at Java Shack in Courthouse, starting Oct. 21. [Arlington Public Library]

VOICE Launches Voter Outreach Effort — The pro-affordable housing group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, or VOICE, is launching a voter outreach effort this fall. VOICE plans to concentrate turnout efforts on two low-turnout precincts: Arlington Mill and Glebe. [InsideNova]

by ARLnow.com — October 7, 2015 at 11:35 am 8,519 0

ACPD arrest of sexual assault suspect (mug shot vs. sketch)

Arlington County Police have announced an arrest in a series of sexual assault cases that have had the community on edge since mid-summer.

Police say a 19-year-old Arlington man has been arrested and charged with two counts of attempted abduction in connection to at least three sexual assault cases. The man was arrested early this morning and has confessed to multiple attempted sexual assaults, according to police.

From an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department arrested and charged a 19 year-old subject early this morning with two counts of attempted abduction with the intent to defile for his role in multiple sexual assault incidents. Melvin Perez Bonilla, 19, of Arlington, VA is currently being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

Bonilla confessed to multiple sexual assault attempts in the county during questioning at police headquarters and is believed to be responsible for a similar attack that occurred in August. Police are awaiting DNA analysis results from the state lab for that incident for confirmation of his involvement.

The initial attack occurred July 25, 2015 in the 1900 block of N. Scott Street at approximately 1:20 a.m. as the 25 year-old victim was walking alone in the Clarendon area. A second attack took place August 8, 2015 in the 1900 block of N. Highland Street at approximately 2:45 a.m. as a 29 year-old year victim was walking alone. A third attack occurred on September 29, 2015 in the 1200 block of N. Quincy Street at approximately 10:20 p.m. on a 23 year-old female victim as she was walking home.

The victims in each of these attacks assisted detectives by providing details of the events and the description of their assailant. A composite sketch based upon a victims’ description had previously been released. Detectives assigned to the Special Victims Unit and investigators assigned to the Tactical Unit worked with Metro Transit Police to obtain surveillance video and other information to identify the suspect. Tactical Unit officers took Bonilla into custody when they observed him exiting a Metro Bus in the Courthouse area in the early morning hours of October 7, 2015.

“Our officers have taken a dangerous individual off the streets and the community should feel a little safer knowing he is behind bars,” comments Daniel J. Murray, Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigations Division for Arlington County Police Department.

Anyone who has information regarding these incidents or concerning Bonilla is asked to call Detective Icolari at 703.228.4240 or email [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

by ARLnow.com — October 6, 2015 at 9:00 am 1,283 0

Evening rush hour traffic on S. Walter Reed Drive

Office Vacancy Down in Arlington — Arlington has had a 1.6 percent positive net absorption of commercial office space so far this year. Crystal City in particular has done well, gaining 313,000 square feet of occupancy. [Bisnow]

History Plan for Arlington Centennial — Arlington County is seeking public comment on the mid-term report produced by the Arlington History Task Force. The task force is trying to come up with a plan for preserving Arlington’s history, in time for the county’s centennial in 2020. [Arlington County]

McLean Up in Arms Over Gun Store — Nova Firearms, the gun store that tried unsuccessfully to open a store in Cherrydale, has moved its McLean store to a larger location but is now incurring the wrath of a group of residents. Parents object to the fact that the new store is behind a local elementary school, in view of at least one classroom. [Washington Post]

Gym Responds to String of Sexual Assaults — Responding to a string of attacks on women in Arlington, including a sexual assault near Rosslyn over the weekend, the Nova MMA CrossFit gym is offering a free self-defense seminar on Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 7-9 p.m. [MyFoxDC]

Road Closures for Army Ten-Miler — Route 110, the northbound I-395 HOV lanes, S. Eads Street, Army Navy Drive, Long Bridge Drive and Washington Blvd are among the roads in Arlington that will be closed Sunday morning for the annual Army Ten-Miler race. [Arlington County]

by ARLnow.com — October 5, 2015 at 1:45 pm 1,184 0

Arlington police carA woman was sexually assaulted in the Rosslyn area early Saturday morning, according to police.

The incident was reported on the 1800 block of N. Scott Street — two blocks north of the Colonial Village Shopping Center — around 2:30 a.m.

“A 23 year-old female victim was followed home and pushed into the bushes by an unknown male subject,” said an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The subject touched the victim inappropriately and implied that he had a knife.”

“The suspect is described as a black male in his 20’s, approximately 5’10”-5’11” tall and was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt,” the crime report said.

A woman was also grabbed from behind and pushed into some bushes near Quincy Park and Washington-Lee High School last week, but the attacker quickly fled the scene. The crimes do not appear to be related.

by ARLnow.com — September 30, 2015 at 2:35 pm 4,595 0

Police car (file photo)A woman was attacked last night near Quincy Park and Washington-Lee High School.

Police say the 23-year-old woman was walking down the 1200 block of N. Quincy Street around 10:20 p.m. Tuesday when she was grabbed from behind by an unknown man. The man tried to pull her into some nearby bushes but quickly fled the scene.

“The victim screamed out for help causing the suspect to flee,” according to Arlington County Police. “The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his 20-30’s, approximately 5’6″-5’8″ and weighed 130-160 lbs. He was wearing a white t-shirt, dark pants, loafer shoes, and a backpack at the time of the incident.”

Though the suspect description is similar to that of a man suspected in up to a half dozen similar attacks on women in August, police say they don’t think it’s the same person.

“It doesn’t appear that this is the same guy, but we’re not going to rule that out,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

Sternbeck said there’s additional information or evidence that suggests it’s a different suspect, but so far that information is not being publicly released while investigators continue to work the case.

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