Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

It’s Columbus Day — Despite the federal holiday, all Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and facilities will be open today. Barring breaking news, ARLnow will be publishing on a limited schedule today. [Arlington County]

Theft from Casual Adventure — From an Arlington County Police crime report: “At approximately 11:35 a.m. on October 10, police were dispatched to the late report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered a business at approximately 5:30 p.m. on October 9, selected numerous fleece jackets before fleeing the scene without paying.” [Arlington County]

ACPD Warns of Phone Scam — “Residents have reported receiving unsolicited phone calls from individuals fraudulently claiming to be technicians with Dominion Energy. These individuals accuse the victims of having overdue bills which must immediately be paid, or their power will be disconnected. The caller then provides a fraudulent claim number and phone number where the funds may be paid and often requests payment using a prepaid debit or gift card.” [Arlington County]

Governor Issues Drought Watch — “Governor Ralph Northam today announced a statewide drought watch advisory for the Commonwealth of Virginia. A drought watch is intended to increase awareness of current conditions that are likely to precede a significant drought event.” [Press Release, Capital Weather Gang]

Circus Returns to Rosslyn — Updated at 3:45 p.m. — Conservative provocateurs Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl are holding yet another press conference this week outside Burkman’s Rosslyn townhouse. The duo say they will be joined by a “longtime drug dealer” for prominent Democratic members of Congress. [Twitter]

Nearby: Four Mile Run Trail in Alexandria to Reopen Soon — “A bridge spanning the last gap on the Alexandria side of the Four Mile Run Trail has been put into place, but the trail remains impassable for pedestrians.” [ALXnow]

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A string of vehicle break-ins in north Arlington is continuing, but this time a suspect might have been caught on camera.

Someone stole a cell phone from an unlocked car in a garage on the 4700 block of N. Carlin Springs Road late Thursday night or early Friday morning, according to Arlington County Police.

“Between 11:00 p.m. on September 12 and 3:10 a.m. on September 13, an unknown suspect entered an unlocked vehicle inside a garage and stole a cell phone,” ACPD said of the theft. “The investigation is ongoing and detectives will work to determine if this case is linked to any others reported in Arlington County.”

An anonymous resident in the same area as the break-in, a few blocks from Ballston, contacted ARLnow with video footage (above) of a man looking into a vehicle behind a house, taken that same night. Nothing appears to have been taken in the video, however, and police declined to confirm whether the person seen is a suspect in the theft.

ACPD was notified about the video, the resident said.

The video was taken with an Ring video camera. Arlington County Police are considering a public safety partnership with the Amazon-owned company, the Washington Business Journal reported last week, despite concerns nationally about the privacy implications of such partnerships.

On Ring’s Neighbors app, at least a half dozen car break-ins have been reported in and around Arlington over the past week — mostly involving unlocked vehicles. ACPD has been reminding residents to lock their cars and homes at night as part of a public safety initiative dubbed the “9 P.M. Routine.”

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Thieves burglarized a house in Arlington’s Madison Manor neighborhood Sunday night, terrorizing a family that was inside the home at time.

The incident happened around 11:30 p.m. this past Sunday, on the 1100 block of N. Powhatan Street.

A man inside the home was able to chase off the suspects, but not before they stole some items and a family car. Police are now searching for the vehicle and the suspects.

More from an Arlington County Police crime report:

BURGLARY, 2019-09080227, 1100 block of N. Powhatan Street. At approximately 11:33 p.m. on September 8, police were dispatched to the report of a breaking and entering just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that unknown suspects gained entry to a residence and began rummaging through items. A female victim heard noise originating from within the home, observed two individuals outside the residence and notified the male victim. The male victim located a suspect inside the residence, confronted him and a brief struggle ensued. The suspect was able to flee the residence and steal the victim’s vehicle, a silver 2013 Ford Escape bearing Virginia license plate VKG7321, and personal property. No injuries were reported. The suspect is described as a dark-skinned black male in his late teens wearing dark clothing. The investigation is ongoing.

A woman identifying herself as one of the victims told ARLnow that her family was terrified during the encounter, which she described as a home invasion-style incident.

“Two intruders entered our home via main-level windows at 1130 p.m.,” she said via email. “One daughter heard noises outside and downstairs, saw men on the street out her window with our car doors open, called dad and sister to alert them in other parts of house — and called 911.”

“The men entered the house through back windows, went down to the basement where our other daughter was by herself, she jumped up and hid in the bathroom,” she continued. “Dad came down and chased them off. They had already taken a set of car keys from the kitchen and they drove off in our car. Everyone’s okay. Missing wallets, iPads, old iPhones, laptop… and car.”

News of the crime has spread quickly on local Nextdoor neighborhood forums, amid a series of mostly vehicle break-ins in northern Arlington neighborhoods.

“The spate of car break-ins (or entry to unlocked cars) in North Arlington has escalated,” the burglary victim write. “Seems like neighborhoods with quick access to I-66 are being targeted. Another car was stolen in the East Falls Church area the same night. Our car keys were tracked to Washington, D.C. yesterday via a Tile on key ring where the other car was located but unfortunately neither car was recovered at that time.”

Police are continuing to remind residents to lock their cars and homes at night, as part of a new initiative dubbed the 9 p.m. Routine. Sunday’s burglary victim urged fellow residents to do just that.

“Don’t just lock your car doors, lock your house doors and windows too,” she said.

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A waitress at the Ballston IHOP restaurant was robbed of cash on a weekday morning this week.

The alleged crime happened around 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday. Police say a man approached the waitress and “stole a billfold containing an undisclosed amount of cash from her hand,” before running off.

More from Arlington County Police:

LARCENY, 2019-07300101, 900 block of N. Stafford Street. At approximately 10:45 a.m. on July 30, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male suspect approached a waitress and stole a billfold containing an undisclosed amount of cash from her hand. The suspect then fled the scene on foot. The suspect is described as a black male in his 20s wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. The investigation is ongoing.

More from this past week’s ACPD crime report is below, after the jump.

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Yet another series of car break-ins has been reported in Arlington, this time in Lyon Village.

Police say about 10 unlocked vehicles were tampered with and “items of value” stolen. From Arlington County Police:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2019-07200087/07200104/07200106/07200138/07200156, 1500 block of N. Johnson Street/3100 block of Key Boulevard/3100 block of Key Boulevard/3100 block of 17th Street N./1400 block of N. Hancock Street. At approximately 6:18 a.m. on July 20, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 11:00 p.m. on July 19 and 5:30 a.m. on July 20, two unknown suspects gained entry to approximately ten unlocked vehicles, tampered with items and stole items of value. Suspect One is described as a female, approximately 5’2″-5’8″, with a slim build and long, dark hair. Suspect Two is described as being approximately 5’2″-5’8″. The investigation is ongoing.

ACPD is continuing to urge residents to lock their car and home doors to prevent crimes of opportunity.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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A thief reportedly stole equipment worth tens of thousands of dollars from the famous Inner Ear Studio near Shirlington this morning.

The building’s landlord was the first to spot something was amiss: a car was parked by the rear door of the recording studio with the trunk open.

“He got pictures,” said Inner Ear owner Don Zientara, of the landlord’s eagle eye. “But they were stolen [license] plates.”

Several police officers could be seen on scene today just before 1 p.m., searching the studio. An officer photographed the remnants of a lock that had been punched through, leaving a gaping hole in the building’s front door.

“The stuff I can see just by looking totals around $10,000,” said Zientara, who described holes in the wall where some of his music recording equipment once stood.

He said he’s still working on assessing all the pieces of equipment that were stolen, but so far noticed a power supply, a pre-amplifier, and a Telefunken AR-51 tube condenser microphone are gone. Other, expensive items like computers had been left untouched, he noted.

“It was kind of indiscriminate,” said Zientara, who said his insurance will likely cover the losses.

Over the past three decades, he said thieves have never targeted his Shirlington studio — though a bass guitar once went missing many years ago.

Police responded to the call about the theft just after noon today, though the theft took place earlier in the morning, per scanner traffic.

Zientara founded Inner Ear Studio in the late 1970s, recording a long list of bands, including key members of the D.C. area’s punk scene.

Since then, the studio has continued to record independent artists. But it’s also attracted big names like the Foo Fighters, who recorded in the studio for their 2014 album Sonic Highways. An HBO documentary about the band and the album prominently featured Inner Ear.

Foo frontman Dave Grohl and bandmates previously recorded at Inner Ear before he went on to worldwide fame as a member of Nirvana.

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A recent spate of car thefts and break-ins in North Arlington is continuing.

Arlington County Police are investigating two car thefts and seven car break-ins in the Lyon Park neighborhood this week. The crimes were first reported Wednesday morning on the 2900 block of 2nd Street N. and the 300 block of Edgewood Street, about a half mile south of Clarendon.

At least one car was stolen after the thief found the keys in an unlocked vehicle, police said.

“Keys to one of the stolen vehicles were located inside an unlocked vehicle involved in the larceny from auto series,” and ACPD spokeswoman told ARLnow. The second vehicle was unlocked and “stolen by unknown means.”

Additionally, seven vehicles were broken into “and items tampered with.”

Police are again reminding residents to lock their cars at night. Yesterday the department announced a new public safety initiative dubbed the “9 P.M. Routine,” which encourages Arlingtonians to make a habit of ensuring their vehicles and homes are locked at night.

“Burglaries and thefts are often crimes of opportunity with thieves taking advantage of unsecured doors and windows to steal unattended items or items left in plain view,” police said in a press release. “The 9 P.M. Routine encourages residents to conduct security checks in their homes and vehicles each evening to ensure their property is secure.”

The campaign also encourages residents to report suspicious activity by calling the Arlington Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.

The full crime report item from the Lyon Park thefts is below.

LARCENY FROM AUTO/STOLEN VEHICLE (series), 2019-07100052/07100064, 2900 block of 2nd Street N./300 block of N. Edgewood Street At approximately 6:54 a.m. on July 10, police were dispatched to the report of a stolen vehicle. Upon arrival, it was determined that between approximately 9:00 p.m. and 6:54 a.m., an unknown suspect(s) obtained the keys to and stole an unlocked parked vehicle. While investigating the stolen vehicle, officers were notified of a second unlocked vehicle in the area that had been stolen and located approximately seven additional unlocked vehicles that had been entered and items tampered with. There is no suspects descriptions. The investigation is ongoing.

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There has been a recent increase in reports of car break-ins in residential portions of North Arlington, with more than a dozen vehicles broken into this week.

Arlington County Police reported this morning that around 10 vehicles were tampered with in the Bellevue Forest neighborhood in the early morning hours.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2019-07020047/07020061/07020062, 3000 block of N. Oxford Street/3100 block of N. Peary Street/3700 block of Roberts Lane. At approximately 6:17 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a larceny from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that between approximately 5:30 a.m. and 6:17 a.m., an unknown suspect gained entry to and tampered with approximately 10, mostly unlocked vehicles and stole items of value. The suspect is described as a tall male with a slim build, wearing a long sleeve shirt, light colored pants and black sneakers. The investigation is ongoing.

Over the past few days, residents have reported similar vehicle break-ins and thefts in the Lyon Village, Virginia Square and Rock Spring neighborhoods, via social media and email listservs.

Police continue to ask residents to lock their cars at night, to discourage such break-ins.

The rest of this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report is below, after the jump.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Someone rifled through at least five cars parked in the Dominion Hills neighborhood over the weekend.

The vehicles were all parked along the 900 and 1000 blocks of N. Madison Street, a couple of blocks away from McKinley Elementary School.

Only loose change was reported to have been stolen, though one of the vehicles — a truck — was also spray painted. Police described the spray paint as “alleged gang graffiti;” multiple tipsters tell ARLnow it was “MS-13” gang graffiti, though that could not be officially confirmed.

More from Arlington County Police Department crime reports:

Destruction of Property, 2019-06160101, 1000 block of N. Madison Street. At approximately 9:21 a.m. on June 16, police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim’s truck had been vandalized by spray paint and change had been taken from within the vehicle. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

Larceny from Auto, 2019-06174001, 1000 block of N. Madison Street. Between 2:00 a.m. – 4:00 a.m. on June 15, an unknown suspect entered a vehicle and stole loose change.

Larceny from Auto, 2019-06174010, 900 block of N. Madison Street. Between 11:00 p.m. on June 15 and 9:30 a.m. on June 16, the owner left their car open and an unknown suspect rummaged through it. Nothing was reported stolen.

Vehicle Tampering, 2019-06174013, 900 block of N. Madison Street. Between 11:35 p.m. on June 15 and 9:35 a.m. on June 16, two vehicles were rummaged through. Nothing was reported stolen.

“It appears most vehicles were left unlocked,” noted ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage, who offered some theft prevention tips. “Residents are reminded to keep their vehicles locked, remove valuables and report suspicious activity such as individuals attempting door handles by calling the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.”

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Morning Notes

Arlington GOP Not As Interested in Local — “The Arlington County Republican Committee’s efforts to regain a toehold in local governance may continue to suffer from a general disinterest in local affairs from many within the party’s rank and file.” [InsideNova]

Housing Initiative Getting Underway — “Arlington County has a shortage of homes, and with Amazon moving in, that pressure is only increasing. Now the county is asking residents about their housing needs and their ideas to address the crunch as part of its Housing Arlington initiative announced earlier this year.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Women of Vision Winners — Arlington County has named the three honorees of its 2019 Arlington County Women of Vision awards: long-time Arlington County housing staffer Melodee Melin, Clarendon Childcare Center director Sandra Redmore, and Virginia Equal Rights Coalition founder Julia Tanner. [Arlington County]

Bike Theft Reminder — On Friday, two men were taken into custody after a foot pursuit and search on suspicion of stealing bicycles in the Clarendon area, according to Arlington County Police. It serves as a reminder for Arlington residents to register bikes for free with the police department. [Arlington County, Twitter]

Wardian Now Racing Horses — “Michael Wardian has finished the Boston Marathon 18 times. He holds the world record for fastest 50-kilometre run on a treadmill. This year he raced 631 miles across Israel in barely 10 days’ time… The Arlington, Virginia, runner will be one of 650 or so humans and five dozen horses racing against each other in the annual Man Versus Horse Marathon on Saturday.” [National Post]

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A custodian at Long Branch Elementary School is facing a battery of charges after allegedly making fraudulent purchases with the credit cards of school employees.

Arlington County Police say 25-year-old Kevin Sykes stole personal and banking information by photographing items from a colleague’s purse. The woman, and two other school employees, reported the suspected credit card and identity theft to police.

More from an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department has charged a suspect following a fraud investigation targeting employees of Long Branch Elementary School. Kevin Sykes, 25, of Washington D.C. has been charged with three counts of credit card theft, two counts of credit card fraud, and two counts of identity theft. Mr. Sykes was arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department and is being held in Washington D.C.

At approximately 3:46 p.m. on May 11, police were dispatched to the report of a credit card fraud. Upon arrival, the victim reported her credit cards had approximately 16 fraudulent charges since April. The investigation determined that the suspect, a custodian at Long Branch Elementary School, had stolen the victim’s personal and banking information by photographing documents obtained from inside her purse. Detectives identified two additional victims who were working at the school at the time their personal information had been stolen.

Arlington County Police are reminding residents to regularly check your bank statements. If you notice fraudulent activity, notify the banking institution so they can begin an investigation and file a police report.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective G. Gammell of the Arlington County Police Department’s School Resource Officer Unit at [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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