Arlington, VA

(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) A 19-year-old man from Arkansas has been charged with trying to blow up a car in the Pentagon parking lot Monday morning.

The charges, announced Tuesday afternoon, follow an extensive search yesterday involving numerous law enforcement agencies, including Arlington County Police, that resulted in the man being arrested in Arlington National Cemetery.

Federal prosecutors say the suspect, Matthew Richardson, tried to blow up a Land Rover, parked in the Pentagon North Parking lot, by sticking a piece of fabric in the gas tank and lighting it on fire. The vehicle did not explode and the suspect took off running after being confronted by a Pentagon police officer.

More from a Justice Department press release:

An Arkansas man will make his initial appearance in federal court at 2 p.m. today on charges relating to his alleged attempt at blowing up a vehicle at the Pentagon yesterday.

According to court documents, Matthew Dmitri Richardson, 19, of Fayetteville, was discovered in the Pentagon North Parking lot yesterday morning by a Pentagon Police Officer on patrol. The officer allegedly observed Richardson standing next to a vehicle striking a cigarette lighter to a piece of fabric that was inserted into the vehicle’s gas tank.

After the officer approached Richardson, the defendant allegedly told the officer he was going to “blow this vehicle up” and “himself”. When the officer attempted to detain Richardson, Richardson pulled away and ran across the parking lot towards Virginia State Route 110 and onto Virginia State Route 27. A subsequent review of surveillance camera footage showed that Richardson jumped over a fence into Arlington National Cemetery. Richardson was later found by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency Police Emergency Response Team near Arlington House.

According to court documents, after a search of Richardson, officers allegedly discovered a cigarette lighter, gloves, and court documents related to Richardson’s arrest on or about February 22 for two counts of felony assault on a law enforcement officer in Arlington County.

According to court documents, the owner of the vehicle is an active duty servicemember and does not know Richardson.

Richardson was arrested yesterday and is charged with maliciously attempting to damage and destroy by means of fire, a vehicle used in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Woodrow G. Kusse, Chief of Pentagon Police, made the announcement. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Embroski and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc J. Birnbaum are prosecuting the case.

Arlington County Police assisted federal police agencies in the search for the man on Monday.

Arlington officers were dispatched to the area around Arlington National Cemetery around 11 a.m. to look for a man who, according to initial reports, might have intended to light himself on fire. They were joined by Pentagon police, Fort Myer police and U.S. Park Police in searching for the man.

According to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage, Arlington police assisted with maintaining a perimeter around the search area and brought a K-9 officer to help with the search.

The U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter also hovered overhead during the manhunt, looking for the individual throughout the sprawling cemetery grounds and amid throngs of visitors. He was finally apprehended around 12:15 p.m. by Pentagon police near Arlington House, the one-time home of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Richardson was arrested this past weekend in Arlington and charged with felony assault on a law enforcement officer, according to prosecutors. Savage said he was arrested by a different police agency, not Arlington County Police. Richardson was previously arrested on theft charges in Arkansas in November.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

County Manager Warns of Tough Upcoming Budget — “Arlington County faces an estimated budget gap of $20-35 million for its 2020 fiscal year, which could require cuts to County services, increased taxes and fees, or a combination of the two. County Manager Mark Schwartz… said that County revenues are forecast to grow by a modest 1.5 percent, while expenditures for the County’s current set of programs are anticipated to grow twice as fast.” [Arlington County, Washington Post]

GW Parkway Rebuild Coming — “Much of the George Washington Parkway will see a complete rebuild in the next few years — and though it’ll surely result in smoother pavement and longer acceleration lanes, good things on the road only come after lengthy closures. An $150 million overhaul of the George Washington Parkway, including a rework of the interchange with Virginia Route 123, is moving forward.” [WTOP]

County: Report Suspicious Activity — Despite some recent pushback on questionable calls to law enforcement, Arlington County is still encouraging citizens to “See Something, Say Something.” Per the county: “Security is a shared responsibility so if you see something out of place, say something by reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement. Arlington County is safer when everyone is engaged and alert.” [Arlington County]

Cops Called on Food Vendor — Someone called police to report a pickup truck that was selling food without a permit on S. Scott Street near Columbia Pike Tuesday morning. The truck may have been delivering food to construction workers. [Twitter]

Crash on Memorial Bridge — A crash blocked two inbound lanes of the Memorial Bridge during this morning’s rush hour, prompting delays for commuters. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Arlington police carArlington County Police are searching for two men who were spotted photographing a child care center near the Forest Glen neighborhood of Arlington.

The incident was reported around 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

From an ACPD crime report:

PEEPING, 2016-11090200, 600 block of S. Carlin Springs Road. At approximately 3:57 p.m. on November 9, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person. The investigation revealed that two unknown male subjects were seen photographing a child care center. A canvass of the area by responding officers returned with negative results. Subject one is described as a light skinned Hispanic male, approximately 30 years old, 5’8″ with a thin build. He was wearing a light gray hoodie with the hood pulled up. Subject two is described as a light skinned Hispanic male, approximately 30 years old, 5’8″ with a thin build and dark hair. He was wearing a royal blue shirt.

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Police car lightsIn case you thought reports of scary clowns roaming around Arlington were a pre-Halloween thing, think again: another such incident was reported yesterday.

The Election Day clown sighting was reported around 5 p.m. in the Nauck neighborhood. Initially, police dispatchers were told that the clown had a gun.

From an Arlington County Police crime report:

SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES, 2016-11080208, 2100 block of S. Nelson Street. At approximately 5:02 p.m. on November 8, police responded to the report of a suspicious person. The juvenile female reported seeing a man dressed as a clown that tried to scare her. The subject is described as a black male, approximately 5’5″ with an average build. A canvas of the area returned negative results.

The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

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"Creepy clown" Instagram accountAmid “creepy clown” threats locally and across the country, comes a potential sighting of a clown in an Arlington neighborhood this morning.

According to scanner traffic, a caller told police that her child saw a clown emerge from some woods in the Arlington Mill neighborhood around 11 a.m. today (Thursday).

“Police were dispatched to the 800 block of S. Frederick Street at approximately 11:36 for a possible clown sighting,” Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage confirmed to ARLnow.com.

“There was a half an hour delay in reporting to police,” Savage continued. “Police arrived on scene and canvassed the area with negative results. An officer will remain in the area conducting extra checks. If citizens see anything suspicious, we encourage them to report information to dispatch immediately at 703.558.2222.”

On Monday ACPD stepped up its presence at schools in response to threatening messages on social media. Despite being exposed as youthful hoaxes in many parts of the country, numerous social media accounts — including the one pictured above — still purport to belong to local “clown gangs.”

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"Green Man" from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (screencap via Wikia)A man dressed in a green bodysuit was cursing at passersby in Shirlington yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, but no arrests were made.

Police were called around 4:30 p.m. for a man dressed like “Green Man” — a green full-body outfit that also covered his face — who was yelling and accosting people near the Shirlington Branch Library and the Harris Teeter grocery store.

Officers responded but were unable to find anything warranting criminal charges.

“Police were dispatched to the 4200 block of Campbell Ave at approximately 4:32 p.m. for the report of a suspicious man screaming profanities,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Police responded to the area and after investigation determined that no crime had occurred.”

Photo via Wikia

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Morning Notes

Cat in the window on a gray day (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Coast Guard Drill Today — The U.S Coast Guard is scheduled to conduct a drill in the Potomac between the 14th Street Bridge and the Memorial Bridge today, from noon to 2:30 p.m. Drill participants “will be using orange Coast Guard boats with flashing blue lights, simulating a fixed security zone around a simulated high value asset. There will be no live fire or blanks used during this training; this is only a tactics and maneuvering drill.”

Metro PD Looking for Suspicious Men — Metro Transit PD and other local police agencies are on the lookout for four men seen walking and acting suspiciously around the Pentagon Metro Station and the Pentagon reservation on Sunday. Investigators would like to determine the identity of the individuals in question. Update: police say the men have been found and are not suspected of criminal activity. [Twitter]

Drafthouse to Open D.C. Venue — The Arlington Cinema Drafthouse is branching out from Columbia Pike. The owners of the iconic theater have announced plans for an “arts space committed to comedy and our community” called the Drafthouse Comedy Theater at 1100 13th Street NW in downtown D.C. The venue is expected to open as soon as January. [Borderstan]

Millennials to Impact Local Housing Market — In Arlington, home ownership is unaffordable for most of the Millennial generation, but that doesn’t mean that younger people want to stay in rental apartments and group homes forever. Fully 91 percent of Millennials eventually want to own a home, higher than the rate for the overall population, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors. [InsideNova]

Ballston As Arlington’s Downtown? — Local developer John Shooshan says an influx of tech companies and educational institutions, along with the just-approved redevelopment of Ballston Common Mall, will transform the Ballston community. “We think Ballston’s going to become the new downtown of Arlington,” Shooshan said. [Bisnow]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Police respond to suspicious man at Ballston Metro (photo via @SRod17)(Updated at 6:05 p.m.) Reports of a suspicious person at the Ballston Metro station had police racing to the scene shortly after 5:00 p.m. to investigate.

In addition to the Arlington County Police Department, WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel says Transit Police were on the scene investigating the report of a suspicious male subject aboard an inbound train.

Few details are being released right now, but police scanner traffic first indicated the suspect may have lit WD-40 on fire inside the Ballston Metro station or inside a Metrorail car. Scanner traffic also indicates police are interviewing Metro employees at the East Falls Church station, where reports suggest the suspect may have gotten off the train.

Orange Line trains had been single tracking between Ballston and East Falls Church while police searched the station and the train, but the train in question has been released and was taken out of service. Normal service has resumed but some delays remain.

Photo courtesy @SRod17

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