(Updated at 6 p.m.) Two men wanted for stealing tires and rims from at least three cars in the Pentagon City area this month have been caught on camera, Arlington County Police said today.
The thefts happened on the 1600 block of S. Joyce Street around 7:15 a.m. on Sept. 8, the 1300 block of Army Navy Drive around 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 8 and the 900 block of S. 15th Street around 3 a.m. on Sept. 20.
Similar wheel thefts have been periodically reported in and around Pentagon City over the past few years.
From an ACPD news release:
At approximately 7:15 a.m. on September 8, units were dispatched to the 1600 block of S. Joyce Street for the report of a vehicle being left on concrete blocks with all four tires and rims removed. At approximately 7:30 a.m., officers responded to the 1300 block of Army Navy Drive for the report of a second vehicle located on concrete blocks with all four tires and rims removed. The suspects were captured on surveillance camera pulling up in what appears to be a light colored four door sedan. The first suspect is described as a male wearing a hooded jacket, pants and gloves. The second suspect is described as a medium to dark skinned male with a beard and skull cap.
At approximately 3:00 a.m. on September 20, units were dispatched to the 900 block of S. 15th Street for the report of a vehicle being left on plastic crates with all four tires and rims removed. Unknown suspect(s) entered the parking garage, repositioned the security camera and broke the passenger window to make entry into the vehicle.
Anyone with information on the identity of these individuals or details surrounding these incidents is asked to contact Detective S. Whalin of the Arlington County Police Department’s Auto Theft Unit at 703.228.4159 or at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
Photos via Arlington County Police Department
The incident happened just after noon, a block from the Fashion Centre mall.
Police say the suspect, 34-year-old Michael Black, inexplicably claimed to be a volunteer firefighter after being stopped by officers, even going so far as to flash a fake badge.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
GRAND LARCENY OF AUTO (Significant), 160829019, 1700 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 12:15 p.m. on August 29, officers responded to the report of a suspicious person moving a motorcycle. The subject fled the scene prior to police arrival. A lookout was broadcast and a subject matching the victim’s description was located in the immediate area. Michael Delonte Black, 34, of Oxon Hill MD, was arrested and charged with grand larceny of auto, possession of burglarious tools, impersonating a firefighter, and destruction of property.
The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, after the jump.
Police say the juvenile suspects were stealing bike from a bike rack in the area of Barcroft Park.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
At approximately 2:37 p.m. on July 17, officers responded to the report of a larceny in progress. Three juvenile suspects were arrested for allegedly stealing bikes from a bike rack. All three suspects were arrested and charged with grand larceny and released to their parents.
Also Sunday afternoon, police say a couple caught two people burglarizing their home in the Glebewood neighborhood.
BURGLARY, 160717025, 2100 block of N. Brandywine Street. At approximately 1:30 p.m. on July 17, two homeowners returned from a vacation to find a known individual and an accomplice in their residence. After the individuals left, the female victim discovered several items of value to be stolen. Officers located and apprehended the suspects a short time later. Margarita Denison, 34, of Alexandria VA, was arrested and charged with burglary, breaking and entering, and grand larceny. Matthew Pair, 30, of Waldorf MD, was arrested and charged with burglary, grand larceny(x2), and possession of methamphetamine.
Firings at Peter Chang After Receipt Incident — Three employees have reportedly been fired and the chef’s own daughter is also on the chopping block at Peter Chang restaurant along Lee Highway. The firings come after a server included the insults “i have a small penis” and “im a plad [sic] a**hole” on a customer receipt. Chang has promised to improve service at his restaurant. [Washington Post]
Arlington Restaurants on Cheap Eats List — More than a dozen Arlington eateries have been included in Washingtonian magazine’s list of the top 100 inexpensive restaurants in the D.C. area. Among them: Bayou Bakery, Cheesetique, Pupatella, Ray’s Hell Burger, Yona and Peter Chang. [Washingtonian]
Video of Track Issue at Court House Station — A video taken inside the Court House Metro station shows sparks and smoldering from the track area. The video comes after a number of well-publicized electrical issues at Metro. “It was kind of weird watching infrastructure fail before my very eyes,” said the man who took the video. [Washington Post]
Tech Company Saves the Day for Theft Victims — Course Hero, a Silicon Valley-based company that provides study materials, has paid for a scholarship for the Penn State student whose mom left her purse, with $10,000 in tuition money inside, in an
Arlington Falls Church Dunkin Donuts. Police still have not found the woman who stole the purse. [NBC Washington]
Most of Crystal City Could Change Hands — Vornado, the property owner that owns more than half of the square footage in Crystal City, is considering spinning off its D.C. properties from those it owns in New York. [Washington Post]
D.C. Complaining About DCA Flights — D.C.’s attorney general has sent an email to the FAA asking that flights to and from Reagan National Airport be shifted away from the District. In 2015 the FAA received 8,670 noise complaints from those in the District, 6,500 of them from the same person. [Washington Post]
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.
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating a break-in and theft at Japanese Auto Service, a service station located between Clarendon and Virginia Square.
The service center, at 3413 Wilson Blvd, has been in business for 19 years, according to owner Ed Lahrime. It was broken into by an unknown suspect early Sunday morning.
From an ACPD crime report:
“At approximately 4:51 a.m. on March 27, an unknown male subject forced entry into a business and stole several items of value and an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect is described as a white male, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and dark shoes.”
A customer provided ARLnow.com with some additional details about what happened.
“The thief took their cash register and a significant amount of money in cash and checks,” the customer told us. “The store owner was able to provide the police with video of the suspect and they are currently reviewing the footage. Poor guy looked heart broken that his business had been violated like that.”
Lahrime said that his motion detection security system didn’t go off during the break-in, for some reason, and has since been replaced by the security company. He also had to replace a broken window and his cash register. All told, the theft is costing him more than $1,500, along with some sleep and peace of mind, he said.
“I couldn’t sleep that night,” he said. “I had to put my phone [with a connection to the surveillance system] next to me to make sure he didn’t come back to rob us again.”
Police told Lahrime of a number of other recent burglaries and burglary attempts in various parts of the county, from Shirlington to Clarendon, he said. This was the first burglary at Japanese Auto Service since it opened nearly two decades ago.
“Arlington is not safe,” said Lahrime.
Tuesday afternoon Arlington County Police released multiple surveillance images of the suspect, describing him as “a white male in his mid-20’s to early 30’s, wearing dark clothing and a gray hoodie.”
“If anyone has information on the identity and/or whereabouts of this individual, please contact Detective Echenique of the Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit at 703.228.4241 or at [email protected],” police said in a press release. “To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”
“This is an ongoing and active investigation,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
The video shows the thief returning to the scene of the crime a half hour after the initial break-in, apparently to steal some change from the floor, Lahrime added.
Philip Pierce, a 35-year-old Arlington resident, was pulled over by police around 5 a.m. Sunday, on the 4000 block of Wilson Blvd in Ballston, after he was observed conducting an illegal tow by an officer, police said. Around the same time, the owner of the tow company informed police of suspicions that Pierce was stealing items from vehicles.
Police say they found “numerous stolen items” inside Pierce’s vehicle. It’s unclear whether any of the items came from cars that were being towed. Police located one of the the owners of the stolen items, whose car was broken into but not towed, said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
Police also performed a field sobriety test on Pierce and found marijuana in the vehicle, said Savage.
Pierce faces numerous charges, including three counts of grand larceny, one count of grand theft auto and one count of driving while intoxicated, along with possession of burglary tools, possession of a controlled substance and a civil violation for failing to inform police before performing a tow.
John O’Neill, owner of Ballston-based Advanced Towing, confirmed to ARLnow.com Monday afternoon that Pierce had been working for his company.
“I was alerted to suspicious activity and immediately contacted the police who were able to investigate and make an arrest within just a few minutes of my call,” O’Neill said. “For accuracy it is important to point out it is not accurate to say the suspect was performing an ‘illegal tow’ as noted in your article but was apprehended in the process of apparently stealing a car by using a tow truck. The vehicle being stolen and tampered with by the suspect… was not a vehicle subject to being towed pursuant to enforcement of parking restrictions hence it was not a legal or illegal tow.”
“The vehicle was apparently a randomly chosen by the suspect for a vehicle theft,” O’Neill added. Pierce no longer works for Advanced, he said.
Pierce has had other recent run-ins with the law in Arlington. In 2008 he was charged with possession of marijuana and an unlawful vehicle window tint. Last year he was also charged with DWI, although in January he was found guilty on an amended misdemeanor charge of reckless driving. In February he was charged with a traffic infraction for improper towing.
Police are not releasing the name of the tow company Pierce worked for, citing a policy against identifying the employers of those who are are arrested.
Authorities Still Investigating Oil Sheen on Potomac — In an effort to find the source of an oily sheen on the Potomac River near the Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary, the Coast Guard, state authorities and the Arlington County Dept. of Environmental Services will be conducting a “dye test.” Non-toxic dye may be seen in the river today. At least 23 birds were were sent to a wildlife rescue organization for cleaning as a result of contact with the oil. [U.S. Coast Guard, Facebook, WJLA]
Two Displaced By Fire Near Clarendon — A structure fire Friday night on the 1200 block of N. Kirkwood Road, near Clarendon, has left two residents displaced. No one was injured in the blaze. The residents are being assisted by the Red Cross. [Twitter, Twitter]
Nauck History Project Seeks Contributions — As part of Black History Month, Arlington County is encouraging residents of the Nauck neighborhood to donate images and stories to the Nauck/Green Valley Heritage Project. The project has an online archive dedicated to preserving the community’s rich history. [Arlington County]
Arlington Makes AARP ‘Healthy’ List — Arlington County is among the top “medium population cities” for those ages 50+ to stay active and healthy, according to new rankings. [AARP]
Clement: Support Governor’s I-66 Plan — Frequent local candidate for elected office Audrey Clement is encouraging Arlingtonians to support the McAuliffe administration’s plan for tolling I-66 inside the Beltway. That plan, which calls for widening I-66 only as a last resort, is preferable to the call from outside the Beltway lawmakers to widen I-66 as soon as possible, Clement says. [Campaign for a Greener Arlington]
Arlington Woman Has Purse With $10K Cash Stolen — Police are looking for a suspect seen stealing a purse with $10,000 cash inside from a Fairfax County Dunkin’ Donuts. The purse was accidentally left behind by an Arlington mother who had saved for years to pay her 18-year-old daughter’s tuition at Penn State. [NBC Washington]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Police were dispatched to the store around 2:30 p.m. Monday.
A man was in the jewelry store for about 10 minutes looking at rings, said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. At one point, he allegedly grabbed one of the rings — a diamond engagement ring — and took off running.
So far, police have declined to identify the jewelry store or the release the value of the ring.
The suspect is described as a 6-foot-tall black male in his 40s, with a medium build. He was wearing a tan thermal hat and a zip-up sweatshirt at the time of the crime, we’re told.
Baby Jesus was stolen from outside Calvary United Methodist Church (2315 S. Grant Street), in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood, sometime between 8 p.m. Saturday and the next morning, when parishioners showed up for Sunday worship services.
Police were called and took a report Monday, though hopes of cops catching the perpetrator are low. Rev. Matthew G. Smith said he’s hoping the thief has a change of heart and repents — by returning the Son of God to his rightful place in the manger, at least until the nativity scene is brought inside next weekend. Alternatively, the little Lord could also be left on the front steps of the church or brought, in person, to the front office.
“We have no desire to prosecute,” Smith said. “We would be very happy just to get Him back.”
“Baby Jesus missing,” said a sign posted in front of the nativity scene today. “Please return. No questions asked.”
(No other nativity thefts were reported this year in Arlington, according to an ACPD spokeswoman.)
This was the third time Jesus had been swiped from the church’s nativity scene, and if all works out it wouldn’t be the first time He has been returned, Smith said. The first time, years ago, Jesus mysteriously reappeared in the nativity scene on Christmas morning.
The last time, a few years back, baby Jesus vanished for good. A parishioner ended up ordering a new, hand-painted figure of the young Prince of Peace from Italy and donated it to the church as a replacement.
Before the nativity scene was put on display a few weeks ago, in mid-December, Smith and some church members discussed ways to prevent theft. The nativity scene itself is bolted down, but the Italian baby Jesus is too fragile to be secured in a permanent fashion. While many ideas were proposed, the one that was implemented involved tying fishing line around the porcelain figure. That did not save the Savior; the fishing line was cut by the thief.
Smith said he expects there to be more discussion of nativity security ahead of 2016’s Christmas season. Should the Christ child not be returned, the church will also have to consider raising funds to buy a new one. The pastor said he wasn’t sure of the cost of a new porcelain baby Jesus, but said of the Italian-made model that was stolen, “I’m certain it’s not inexpensive.”
“We will look for ways next year,” to secure baby Jesus, he said, “but we don’t want to chain him in.”
Either way, said Smith, “it’s not going to sour our love of the community or our mission.”
Photo via Facebook
Guns Stolen from Nova Firearms in McLean — A burglary has occurred at Nova Firearms, the gun store that wanted to open a location in Cherrydale before residents pressured the store and the landlord to scuttle those plans. Two handguns were stolen from Nova Firearms’ McLean store just after midnight this past Friday. Police are seeking tips in the case. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Taxicab Fares Raised in Arlington — A taxi ride in Arlington will now cost an extra 25 cents per ride and an extra six cents per mile. The County Board on Saturday unanimously approved new taxi rates that also include a $25 cleaning fee for those who “dirty or foul a cab enough that the cab must be removed from service.” [Arlington County, WJLA]
Locals Make ’50 On Fire’ List — A number of Arlington-based companies and individuals have been named to this year’s DC Inno “50 on Fire” list. Local honorees include Vornado/Charles E. Smith honcho Mitchell Schear, Crystal City incubator Eastern Foundry, newly-IPOed Evolent Health in Ballston, Ballston-based tech firm Distil Networks and Rosslyn-based advertising agency LMO Advertising. [DC Inno]
Nauck Town Square Design Meeting — A community discussion will be held at Drew Model School to help officials arrive at a final plan and design for its Nauck Town Square project. The meeting will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. tonight (Monday). [Arlington County]
Review of Oz in Clarendon — Oz restaurant in Clarendon, which opened in September, continues to receive so-so reviews from the critics. The latest review suggests that Oz suffers from the inherent blandness of Australian cuisine, which it attempts to recreate faithfully. Oz may benefit, however, from its co-owner’s casting on the Real Housewives of Potomac. [Washington Post]
Arlington Fire Captain Retires After 35 Years — Arlington County Fire Department Captain Robert Patterson has retired after 35 years on the job. [WJLA]
Huge Apartment Building Proposed for Ballston — A Bethesda-based developer is proposing a huge new apartment building on the western side of the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Glebe Road in Ballston. The building would feature 483 apartments, 760 underground parking spaces and 68,000 square feet of retail including a grocery store. The nearby Bluemont Civic Association has expressed concern about the proposal, including the potential impact of traffic from the grocery store. [Washington Business Journal]
Mall Worker Accused of Stealing Dozens of Shoes — A maintenance worker at the Pentagon City mall has been arrested and accused of stealing at least 77 pairs of shoes and boots and 9 purses. Police say surveillance footage shows Michael Meza-Guevara unsuccessfully trying to disable surveillance cameras. [NBC Washington]
Arlington Tops Regional Teacher Pay List — Arlington Public Schools offer the highest average teacher pay in suburban D.C. The average teacher salary in Arlington was $78,002 a year, compared to $76,029 for Montgomery County, which ranked third. [WTOP]
Editorial Supports I-66 Toll Plan, Widening — A new Washington Post editorial supports Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s plan for adding tolls to I-66. The editorial also supports widening the highway: “The right policy response to the I-66 mess, in addition to promoting mass transit, is to widen the road. Unfortunately, that’s been blocked by Arlington County, whose hostility from the outset is why the road was designed to narrow to four lanes inside the Beltway (from six outside).” [Washington Post]
Freezing Temperatures This Morning — Temperatures reached the freezing mark, dropping down to 32 degrees for the first time this season. The average first freeze in Arlington occurs on Nov. 18. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
(Updated at 10:05 a.m.) A video on Reddit shows a man allegedly stealing a bike from a porch of home on Key Blvd in Lyon Village.
The video was originally uploaded last week but was posted on a Reddit thread yesterday, with the comment that the thief had not been caught as of that morning.
The video, captured by a home security camera, shows a man with long hair and wearing a backpack, short sleeve graphic t-shirt and pants and sneakers. The camera catches him glancing at a window in the house and then sneaking up the porch. He then walks off the porch with a bicycle.
“Took this video from the listserv. I have seen numerous bikes left on porches/children’s bikes left on front lawns overnight around the neighborhood. Hopefully this video proves that no neighborhood is invincible to theft and that everyone should lock up (if for some reason you decide to leave your bike outside),” the poster said.
Asked about the video, Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said: “We did receive an online report, however, this was the first our detectives had seen the video.”
An American flag that was flying outside of American Legion Post 139 in Virginia Square was apparently stolen earlier this morning.
Sharon Walker, the club manager at the post at 3445 Washington Blvd, said she noticed the flag was gone when she went to check on a mural currently being painted on the side of the building. The POW flag, which flies below the American flag, was lying on the ground and the rope that held the American flag was torn she said.
She first thought that someone had saw it on the ground and picked it up, but that didn’t quite add up, she said.
“If someone had picked it up, they’d also pick up the POW flag,” Walker said.
She asked neighbors if they saw a person take the flag, but so far no one has seen anything, she said. This is the first time in her 31 years at Post 139 that someone has stolen the flag.
A mural of an American flag is currently being painted on the side of the building, and artist Scott LoBaido said there is something ironic about the situation — that the flag was stolen while he was painting the huge mural.
“It just broke my heart,” he said. “It just broke my spirit.”
LoBaido is currently on a mission to paint an American flag on a VFW or American Legion post in every state. The Arlington American Legion is the last stop on his 50-state tour and this is the first time someone stole a flag while he was painting a mural.
“It’s the last one I’m doing. It’s Arlington, Virginia. It’s the Arlington National Cemetery,” he said. “That’s what it is all about.”
LoBaido filed a police report online, but he hasn’t heard back from the Arlington County Police Department. He said he hopes one of the buildings nearby has camera footage of the person stealing the flag. He checked in with the building across the street, but it did not have cameras.
“I consider it a hate crime,” he said. “It’s vandalism. It’s against the law.”
Desecrating the flag from an American Legion post doesn’t make a political statement, he said, it only hurts the service members who fight for it.
“You don’t desecrate the flag because you’re hurting the men and women who gave you the right to protest,” he said.
He urges anyone who saw something to call police. If the thief is caught, LoBaido says he knows the perfect punishment: the person should spend a week doing community service at a local VA Hospital to see the type of sacrifices military personnel make for the flag.
“The irony is here we are at Arlington. The Arlington National Cemetery is down the street,” he said.
A flag will “absolutely” fly tomorrow at the American Legion, Walker said, but she was not sure how much it would cost to replace it.
Police say the man entered the bar, at 2854 Wilson Blvd, just after 9:00 a.m. and stole six bottles of liquor. An alert employee, however, was able to foil the alleged theft and hold the suspect until police arrived on scene.
Wilber Johnson, 37, was arrested and charged with statutory burglary and grand larceny, according to a crime report.