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Police car speeding to a call at night (staff photo)

Shots were fired in the Buckingham neighborhood Wednesday night, and one bullet when through the window of a nearby home.

The gunfire rang out around 9:45 p.m. near the intersection of N. Carlin Springs Road and N. Park Drive, about four blocks southwest of Ballston Quarter mall.

No one was reported to be hurt but at least one bullet went through a resident’s window.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

SHOTS FIRED, 2022-04130237, 4500 block of N. Carlin Springs Road. At approximately 9:47 p.m. on April 13, police were dispatched to the area of N. Park Drive and N. Carlin Springs Road for the report of shots fired. Upon arrival, officers located evidence confirming multiple shots had been fired in the area. While on scene investigating, a resident in the 4500 block of N. Carlin Springs reported a bullet had entered their home through a window. No injuries were reported. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

Elsewhere in Arlington on Wednesday, someone threw a rock through the window of a business in Ballston. Initial reports suggest it was the Melting Pot restaurant, though Arlington police typically do not reveal the exact location of crimes.

“At approximately 9:23 a.m. on April 13, police were dispatched to the late report of a destruction of property,” said a crime report. “Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 8:44 a.m., the unknown suspect approached the business and threw rocks at the building, causing damage and breaking two of the exterior windows. The suspect then fled the scene on foot.”

On Wednesday afternoon, police responded to another incident of someone firing a pellet gun from a car, this time near the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center. The suspects were later stopped by police but the person who was struck by the pellets declined to prosecute.

From ACPD:

ASSAULT & BATTERY (Significant), 2022-04130195, 2900 block of S. Glebe Road. At approximately 3:46 p.m. on April 13, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, officers made contact with the reporting party who advised she had observed a vehicle traveling in the area while the passenger discharged a pellet gun at pedestrians. A short time later, a victim contacted the Emergency Communications Center and reported being struck by the pellets and declined medical attention. Officers canvassed the area, located the suspect vehicle, conducted a traffic stop and identified the occupants. The victim declined prosecution at the time and the investigation is ongoing.

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Sixteen cars had windows smashed in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood earlier this week.

The smashing spree happened Monday morning along a two block stretch of S. Adams Street, in the neighborhood that’s located roughly between Pentagon City and Shirlington.

The suspect (or suspects) appears to have rummaged through the vehicles but no items were reported stolen.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Series), 2021-11150063/11150074, 2600 block and 2700 block of S. Adams Street. At approximately 10:26 a.m. on November 15, police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property in the 2700 block of S. Adams Street. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim observed the front passenger window to her car had been smashed, but no items appeared to have been stolen. During the course of the investigation, seven additional vehicles were discovered to have had their windows smashed. At approximately 11:22 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property in the 2600 block of S. Adams Street. Upon arrival it was determined that eight vehicles had their windows smashed and items rummaged through. No items were reported stolen. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

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The person or people who lit flags on fire outside of at least three Arlington homes remains at large.

The first such incident happened on 6th Street S. in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, during the early morning hours of Friday, Oct. 15, and was caught on video (above). A man can be seen walking up to an American flag hanging outside of a home and lighting it aflame, before running away.

“A witness observed the flag on fire and extinguished it,” said a subsequent Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The suspect is described as a White male, 18 – 30 years old, 5’4″ – 5’11” tall and wearing a dark hooded windbreaker, jeans, white sneakers and carrying a backpack.”

Two similar flag-burning incidents happened in northern Arlington neighborhoods between the late night hours of Oct. 27 and the early morning hours of Oct. 28.

From ACPD crime reports:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Significant), 2021-10284010, 5000 block of Yorktown Boulevard. At approximately 11:30 p.m. on October 27, the Arlington County Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Office and the Arlington County Police Department responded to the report of a destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect lit an American flag on fire that was hanging from a single family home. A passerby extinguished the fire with a garden hose and notified the resident. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Significant), 2021-10284003, 3300 block of N. Brandywine Street. On October 28th, an online police report was filed for vandalism. The reporting party advised that on the morning of October 28, they discovered their American flag and flag pole had been burned overnight. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

In a third incident that night, a resident near the corner of Williamsburg Blvd and N. George Mason Drive that reported her “Keep Virginia Blue” lawn sign was set ablaze, according to the Washington Post and an account on Nextdoor. All three locations are within a few blocks of one another.

There have been no reports of burning flags since then, according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. Police and the fire department are continuing to investigate.

“A joint investigation into these incidents is underway by the Arlington County Police and Fire Departments,” Savage said. “As part of the joint investigation, the departments are actively working to determine if the incidents are linked.”

“Anyone with information regarding the incidents is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected],” she continued. “Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).”

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Someone threw rocks at police cruisers a proverbial stone’s throw away from Arlington police headquarters in Courthouse.

The incident happened just before 10 a.m. last Friday, on the 2000 block of 14th Street N., the same block as the entrance to the police department.

“Police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property,” ACPD said in a crime report. “Upon arrival, officers located the suspect and he was taken into custody without incident. The investigation determined that the suspect allegedly threw rocks at three police vehicles, causing damage and shattering a window.”

A 29-year-old D.C. man was arrested, charged with Destruction of Property, and held without bond, police said. A search of court records reveals a number of past arrests in Arlington, including for theft, destruction of property and drugs.

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(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A local park with a popular playground keeps getting vandalized, this time with obscene language and drawings.

As of this article’s publication Rocky Run Park, along N. Barton Street in the Courthouse area, has graffiti featuring anti-police slogans and crude drawings of male genitalia. It’s been there, near the soccer field, since at least Friday.

(A not-safe-for-work video gives an uncensored look at the graffiti.)

The graffiti follows other reports of vandalism over the past few months, and an incident on Tuesday in which a dispute between two teenagers led one to draw a gun and make threats. It turned out to be a BB gun, police determined after taking the teen into custody.

“At approximately 5:32 p.m. on September 23, police were dispatched to the report of a person with a gun,” said an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The investigation revealed that the juvenile victim and the juvenile subject had been involved in an ongoing dispute when the subject allegedly brandished a BB gun from his bag and made threats to the victim. The subject was located in the area and released to his guardian. The investigation is ongoing.”

Between the BB gun incident and the graffiti, neighbors are unnerved.

“There has been an increase in graffiti and vandalism at Rocky Run Park over the past several months,” the Clarendon Courthouse Civic Association said in a statement to ARLnow this morning. “The field was vandalized over the summer, and this past week, someone added a lot of crude graffiti throughout the park.”

“This is a family park and parents should let their kids know this is not the place for graffiti or vandalism,” the statement continued. “There was also a fight between two teenagers on Sept. 23 and one brandished a BB gun, which looked like a firearm. It will be helpful if the County/ACPD act with an awareness campaign to prevent these issues from happening in the future.”

An ACPD cruiser was parked outside the park this afternoon.

An Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman said the park has been vandalized multiple times over the past couple of weeks. The most recent graffiti could not be removed using standard methods, meaning the concrete seating area that was vandalized will need to be repainted.

“About a week and a half ago we were notified of the presence of graffiti by a member of the public and removed it,” said DPR spokeswoman Susan Kalish. “That same day the park was vandalized with graffiti two more times. Unfortunately, a few days later there was even more graffiti only this time the paint used is particularly difficult to remove and required that three staff using a powerwasher, graffiti remover and hand brushes remove it. However, it was to no avail and so today we scheduled a team to repaint it.”

“Every time our goal is to first notify the police and then remove [the graffiti] within 24-48 hours as best as we are able,” Kalish said. “There are times when we realize that our regular removal methods are not going to be sufficient and have to schedule a time to perform additional work including repainting the area, which is what happened in this particular case.”

Kalish said police and Arlington park rangers typically increase patrols around a park — “targeted around when the activity may occur” — in response to vandalism incidents.

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Clarendon mainstay The Liberty Tavern was vandalized overnight.

Someone apparently fired a BB gun at the front door and windows of the restaurant, on both the Wilson Blvd and N. Irving Street sides, cracking the glass. Police are investigating.

“At approximately 1:22 a.m. on April 15, police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the front door and windows of a restaurant were cracked with what appeared consistent with damage from a BB gun. There is no suspect description(s). The investigation is ongoing.”

It’s unclear why Liberty Tavern was singled out by the vandal or vandals. Savage noted that “no similar incidents have been reported” today.

Liberty Tavern was famously visited by President Obama in 2011, and by now-President Biden in 2013 for a taping of MSNBC’s Morning Joe. It was among the top vote-getters for Best Restaurant for Takeout and Delivery in the winter 2021 edition of ARLnow’s Arlies awards.

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Long-time Clarendon restaurant Nam-Viet was the victim of a break-in over the weekend.

Someone shattered the glass front doors of the restaurant, located at 1127 N. Hudson Street, just off Clarendon’s main nightlife district. The break-in happened early in the morning, police said.

“At approximately 2:22 a.m. police were dispatched to the report of a burglary in progress,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “Upon arrival, officers observed the suspect sitting at a table inside a closed restaurant and gave him commands to exit, which he complied with. The investigation determined the suspect forced entry into the restaurant by breaking two glass doors.”

A 21-year-old man from Milton, Massachusetts was arrested and charged with Unlawful Entry and felony Destruction of Property.

The break-in happened amid a national focus on hate-motivated crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Savage said anti-Asian bias did not appear to be a factor in this crime, however.

“The suspect was intoxicated at the time of arrest,” she said. “The preliminary investigation has not revealed a bias-based motive nor a connection to any other criminal incidents.”

On Instagram, Nam-Viet thanked customers for their support while the business cleaned up, noting that the pandemic has hit it and other Asian-owned businesses in the area hard.

We want to take a minute to thank everyone who has reached out to us today to show their love and support. We were fortunate enough to only have cosmetic damage to the doors. Nothing was taken and both our family and business are doing well. In the meantime, if you would like to help us out, we urge everyone to please support any and all Asian owned businesses in the area. They have been some of the hardest hit businesses during this pandemic.

We will continue to remain optimistic during these times and we will allow the proper authorities to do their work in remedying justice to those who caused this damage today. We wish for everyone to have nothing but respect for one another. And please know that Nam-Viet Restaurant is so blessed and thankful for the love, support and kindness shared in the Arlington community and beyond.

The broken doors were boarded up as of Saturday evening, as an anti-hate vigil was held nearby.

The Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate Vigil, held from 6-6:30 p.m., was coincidentally organized a week prior in response to “events that have been occurring nationally,” said co-organizer Allyson Dieck.

“The backdrop of Arlington’s historical Little Saigon on Clarendon Blvd was the perfect site for an opportunity to honor and show our support for our own AAPI community,” Dieck told ARLnow. “We really felt that our AAPI community is in deep pain — currently from the national trend of violence being shown towards them, but also from more general bias shown on a regular basis. There were some moving accounts expressed during the vigil.”

About two dozen people attended the event, which was promoted on social media. Gathered at the Clarendon Metro plaza, they lit luminaries and held a moment of silence for the victims of the recent mass shooting in Atlanta. A number of those in attendance also spoke of their experiences with anti-Asian bias.

Jay Westcott contributed to this report

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Arlington County police are investigating a series of overnight break-ins at the Arlington Forest Shopping Center.

Thieves smashed windows and forced their way in to three businesses, stealing cash. Another business was reportedly damaged but the thieves — or thief — did not get in.

“At approximately 7:33 a.m. on January 7, police were dispatched to the late report of a breaking and entering in the 4800 block of 1st Street N.,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “Upon arrival, it was determined that unknown suspect(s) forced entry to three businesses, causing damage. The suspect(s) rummaged through items and stole an undisclosed amount of cash. Police remain on scene investigating.”

ARLnow has received numerous tips about the break-ins from outraged neighbors.

“The cleaners, Bricks Pizza, and Thai place had their front doors smashed and interiors ransacked,” said one. “Sense of Place’s door was damaged but not destroyed.”

“Significant damage to already struggling local businesses thanks to Covid,” said another neighbor. “The neighborhood is devastated and want answers.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the business owners and, as of about 10:30 a.m., has already raised more than $2,500.

“This is just garbage — hurting literal mom and pop businesses who are so good to us and our community,” the organizer of the campaign said in an email to ARLnow. “The Bricks guy gives my dog water in the summer. The cleaners are the kindest most hardworking people. The coffee shop is a treasure. Crystal Thai has been my favorite Thai food for almost 30 years.”

“All three businesses will need new doors to get up and operating again ASAP,” the GoFundMe page says. “The total amount donated will be split equally between the cleaners’, Bricks, and Crystal Thai. Please give if you can.”

Photos courtesy Stephen Trickey

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Not once, not twice, but four times, vandals have targeted a Black Lives Matter sign in front of the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington near Ballston.

Church officials were first alerted of the vandalism on Saturday morning, and presume that the destruction occurred overnight.

“It’s been a rocky history at this point,” said Scott LaGanga, an elder at the church, which is located at 601 N. Vermont Street in the Bluemont neighborhood.

First Presbyterian is at least the fourth church in Arlington reported to have a racial-justice sign vandalized this year.

The church has gone through four signs since one first went up on Oct. 4, LaGanga said. The sign read “Black Lives Matter” on a striped background imitating the Philadelphia Pride flag, which includes the colors for Gay Pride and Trans-rights flags as well as black and brown stripes to symbolize people of color.

“They’re clearly doing it in the dark because they have a certain viewpoint and don’t want to share that they have it,” LaGanga said.

After the first sign was stolen, the church invested in steel cables to secure it. Instead, vandals covered it in graffiti. Once, they crossed out the “V” in “Black Lives Matter” to read “Black Lies Matter,” LaGanga said.

This time, someone cut the sign out of the cables and took it.

LaGanga explained that the church has been more engaged in issues of racial justice, putting up signs and hosting a weekly outdoor vigil for an end to racial injustice. Acts of vandalism will not shaken the resolve of the church, he said.

“The church has taken a strong position on inclusion and racial justice,” said LaGanga. “It reaffirms the stance we are taking and the reason we’re going to replace the sign.”

(While the Black Lives Matter sign was destroyed, the church’s LGBT-friendly “God Loves Love” signs remained untouched.)

This time, LaGanga said the church is considering security cameras, which he hopes will catch whoever is targeting the sign.

“We’re so resolved that if someone wants to do it, they’ll do it on camera,” he said.

First Presbyterian has received strong support from people in the community, many of whom are neighbors but not members, LaGanga said.

“We were surprised in the uptick in support from others in the community who were upset by this,” he said.

The first time, the church submitted a police report, but LaGanga does not see much point in submitting more since there have been no leads to date on the vandal.

In the wake of the protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd this summer, a rash of church signs were vandalized. Black Lives Matter sign were vandalized at Rock Spring Congregational church and at St. George’s Episcopal Church as well as a racial justice sign was vandalized outside of Clarendon United Methodist Church.

Acts of vandalism against BLM signage also occurred in secular spaces this summer, including S. Abingdon Street bridge over I-395.

Photos courtesy Mark Blacknell

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Along George Mason Drive near the hospital Thursday morning, bare metal frames were almost as ubiquitous as the undamaged political signs still standing in the median.

Reports of widespread political sign vandalism earlier this month have seemingly not deterred the vandal or vandals. Newly ripped, trampled or discarded signs can still be seen along Arlington’s main roads. Many, if not most, are those supporting the Democratic presidential ticket.

“We continue to have widespread and sustained destruction and vandalism of campaign signs we’ve lawfully erected,” Arlington County Democratic Committee spokeswoman Rebecca Theim told ARLnow yesterday afternoon. “Our program chair, Carol Burnett, estimates that fewer than 25 of the 780 Biden-Harris signs Arlington Democrats volunteers placed on Oct. 3 remain undamaged. Although we’ve replaced many, most of the original signs simply disappeared; those that remained have been shredded.”

“More than half of our Arlington Democrats Joint Campaign signs titled ‘Vote Democrats’ are also gone or vandalized, including 30 such signs just last night along Wilson Boulevard,” Theim added. “The majority of signs supporting the re-election of Sen. Warner also have been removed or vandalized… There’s been some vandalism of the other signs, but for the most part, signs about the proposed state constitutional referendums and School Boards races have remained untouched.”

Arlington Democrats took the rare step of putting out a press release about the sign destruction on Oct. 4. Isolated incidents of signs being vandalized happen every election cycle, but 2020 seems to be different, local Democrats say.

“I have done median signs for a dozen elections in Arlington, and have never seen vandalism this rampant,” said Burnett, who heads ACDC’s sign program. “Usually, a few signs go missing, but I’ve never seen this kind of destruction, where signs are shredded or torn in half. And I’ve not seen entire streets with signs in a dozen medians vandalized, like has happened this year.”

“There are also many more reports of residents having their ‘Dump Trump’ and Biden-Harris signs stolen from their yards,” she continued. “One resident who lives on 23rd Street in Aurora Hills has had 6 signs stolen. He now takes his signs inside at night.”

On Nextdoor this week, Arlington residents have also reported numerous missing or damaged signs supporting President Trump.

Arlington GOP Chair Andrew Loposser previously told ARLnow that sign vandalism is a common occurrence.

“Nearly every candidate’s signs — regardless of political party —  get vandalized at some point during the campaign, usually by bored high school kids,” he said earlier this month. “Let me be clear: Vandalism of any kind is unacceptable.”

Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow that as of Thursday, the department has received more than a dozen reports of political sign theft and damage in recent months.

“Since July, ACPD has taken 13 reports for damaged, destroyed or stolen political signs,” Savage said. “These incidents have been reported in areas throughout the County.”

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(Updated at 12:10 p.m.) Arlington Democrats are decrying what the local party describes as a wave of vandalism of Democratic election signs.

Almost every election cycle in Arlington there are reports of small-scale vandalism and mischief involving campaign signs. Rarely do those reports, on message boards and community listservs, rise to the level of county-wide news.

But the Arlington County Democratic Committee says the latest vandalism spree, which happened just after the signs went up, is different.

“At least 30 election signs lawfully placed in public street medians by the Arlington County Democratic Committee encouraging citizens to vote in the Nov. 3 election and to support Democratic candidates, including presidential nominee Joe Biden and Virginia U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, were destroyed and vandalized overnight,” the party said in a press release Sunday. “Signs not specifically referencing the Democratic ticket were not disturbed.”

Each election season, the signs for candidates of all stripes pop up in roadway medians 31 days before the election, as permitted by local and state law. Democratic signs are particularly prolific, given the party’s electoral dominance in Arlington and the committee’s organizing prowess.

But this time around, Democrats say, the signs appear to be the target of a wider-scale vandalism effort. Signs “along Sycamore Street between Williamsburg Circle and Lee Highway, and on Little Falls Road at Lexington Street were either destroyed or vandalized” over the weekend, according to the press release.

The latter intersection is about a 15 minute walk from where a church’s Black Lives Matter sign was vandalized in June.

“We always get a certain amount of vandalism, but the vandals are off to a fast and aggressive start this year,” Arlington Democrats Chair Jill Caiazzo wrote in an email to the Arlington County Police Department, reporting the crimes. At Little Falls Road, “it looks like someone actually drove onto the median in order to run over the signs.”

“Arlington Dems understand the police department has more urgent issues to address, but wanted to document the destruction,” the press release adds.

Arlington Republicans tell ARLnow that the Democrats tried to pressure them into condemning the vandalism, which the local GOP says is nothing new.

“This is every election cycle’s ‘dog bites man’ non-story,” Arlington GOP Chair Andrew Loposser said in an email to ARLnow last night. “Nearly every candidate’s signs — regardless of political party —  get vandalized at some point during the campaign, usually by bored high school kids.”

“Arlington Democrat campaign hacks attempted to pressure us into condemning this vandalism over the weekend,” Loposser continued. “Let me be clear: Vandalism of any kind is unacceptable — whether it’s Antifa and BLM rioters destroying small business storefronts or bored high school students ripping up political yard signs.”

The Arlington Democrats press release goes on to report that signs in the front yard of famed local civil rights figure Joan Trumpauer Mulholland were also vandalized. In a bout of rhetoric not typically seen in Arlington politics, at least among official Democratic communications, the release quotes Mulholland in equating supporters of President Trump to “Klan sympathizers.”

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