At least five cars were damaged by airbag thieves in a pair of North Arlington neighborhoods yesterday.
The thieves made off with airbags from three of the vehicles, all of which were Hondas, according to Arlington County police. The thefts were reported Thursday morning along N. Glebe Road, just north of Langston Blvd, and in the nearby Waverly Hills neighborhood.
More from today’s ACPD crime report, below.
LARCENY FROM AUTO/VEHICLE TAMPERING (Series) (Late), 2023-03160084/03160162/03160165/03160186, 2000 block of N. Woodstock Street/4400 block of Cherry Hill Road/26th Street N. at N. Glebe Road/N. Utah Street at Cherry Hill Road/2500 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 10:32 a.m. on March 16, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny just occurred. During the course of the investigation, it was determined five vehicles had their driver’s side windows shattered and airbags were stolen from three of the vehicles. All involved vehicles are Honda models. No other items were reported stolen. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.
(Updated at 1 p.m. on 03/21/23) Arlington County is looking to buy its first home for flood prevention.
The county has entered an agreement to buy the home at 4437 18th Street N. in the Waverly Hills neighborhood for $969,200, according to a staff report to the Arlington County Board.
The Board is set to review and approve the agreement during its meeting on Saturday.
The single-family home and detached garage is located in the Spout Run watershed, which has been hit hard by recent flooding events, such as the floods seen in July 2019. It will be torn down and the property will be replanted to serve as “overland relief,” at a cost of around $350,000.
Overland relief is a safe flowpath for flood waters to the nearest stream or storm drain during a large storm event. (An earlier version of this story incorrectly explained overland relief.)
Arlington County is looking to step up its mitigation efforts in response to severe weather events. While the 2019 flood has been described as a “100-year flood” — or a flood that has a 1% chance of happening each year — some research suggests these may occur more frequently due to rising sea levels and more frequent and severe storms, which are linked to climate change.
As part of this effort, last year county staff sent letters of interest to 38 properties in parts of the Waverly Hills and Cherrydale neighborhoods where overland relief is “an essential element” to manage extreme flooding, the report says. Funding for this voluntary property acquisition program was included in the adopted one-year 2022 capital improvement plan.
“The County will pursue acquisitions of properties whose owners are willing to sell to the County, and whose properties would allow for greater access to existing stormwater infrastructure for potential future upgrades, provide overland relief during periods of intense rainfall,and other future engineering solutions,” it says.
“Several” owners have indicated interest in selling to the county, the report added.
ARLnow last reported that there is some interest among residents in selling, while a number of others say that uprooting their families would come at too high a cost.
We were also told several had unanswered questions about the process and how these properties will be managed. One concern is that a piecemeal acquisition process would result in a “checkerboard” of homes and blighted-looking properties.
That “checkerboard” could result in “community fragmentation, difficulty with providing municipal services, and inability to restore full floodplain functionality,” and is one reason local governments may have a hard time getting enough community support for buyouts, according to a Congressional Research Service report.
Other reasons include the potential impacts on property values and housing stock and fears of displacement, it says.
Still, people are more likely to be interested in selling after a major flooding event.
“Buyouts are often a politically unpopular option unless there is a particularly catastrophic event that changes people’s willingness to move and creates unified state and local support for relocation,” the report noted.
Other research shows that property buyouts are one of the most effective tools at the disposal of local governments to combat frequent flooding.
“At their best, they provide a permanent solution,” according to Pew Research. “Effective buyouts prevent future damage, make people safer, and ideally protect entire neighborhoods or communities. Moreover, once bought-out properties become natural open space, they can provide an added benefit of absorbing additional stormwater, further reducing flooding and helping to conserve habitats.”
Arlington County is looking to buy homes within the Spout Run watershed for flood mitigation.
Since last fall, the county has notified some three dozen property owners in the Cherrydale and Waverly Hills civic associations by letter of its interest in buying their properties for stormwater management. The letters targeted areas that were hit hard by recent flooding events, like the floods seen in July 2019.
Should they agree to sell, the county would tear down the homes, remove infrastructure such as driveways, and then regrade and replant the land to minimize erosion. Properties would be preserved for open space.
“Phased property acquisition is a necessary component of a resilient stormwater improvement program to provide overland relief and reduce flood risk to the community,” Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien said. “Voluntary property acquisitions will be targeted to areas in the five critical watersheds at higher risk of flooding due to existing topography.”
The county’s first priority is to create “overland relief,” or a safe path for stormwater to flow during large rain events, per presentation materials on the county’s website. It contends that there is not enough public space to provide those paths or make infrastructure upgrades, and, crucially, that existing stormwater systems were built assuming sufficient overland relief to handle anything stronger than a 10-year storm (which has a 10% chance of happening annually).
“There is not sufficient available space within existing rights-of-way to maintain the infrastructure, make resilient system upgrades, or to provide overland relief,” the presentation says. “There is no long-term solution to reduce flood risk in Spout Run without adding overland relief.”
The solution is a long time in coming for some in the Waverly Hills Civic Association, which — along with the Cherrydale Citizens Association — has met with Arlington County about stormwater management solutions since 2018.
WHCA President Paul Holland says he has heard several residents express frustrations related “to the extended timeline to identify a solution” to the flooding that occured in recent years.
“For the Waverly Hills Civic Association, stormwater issues are our top priority. Our neighbors were dramatically impacted by major flooding events in 2018 and 2019,” he said.
Both Holland and Cherrydale Citizens Association President Jim Todd said several questions remain unanswered, however.
“There was a lot of concern that the county was really, really vague and didn’t seem to know or be willing to share what they intend to do with any of the properties they intend to acquire,” Todd said, adding that he heard from constituents who felt they didn’t get much clarity after calling the county’s real estate office.
Although WHCA members worked with the county to develop an FAQ page addressing many of the questions, they too have outstanding concerns.
“Our primary concern is that the acquired lots will be well designed and taken care of by the County to become usable park land and/or attractive open space as neighborhood amenities,” said Holland.
Todd, however, said he is unsure how the county will be able to create any meaningful overland relief if only a smattering of people sell.
Arlington police handled several significant incidents over the weekend, including a fight in Clarendon that sent a man to the hospital.
The fight happened in the heart of Clarendon’s bar district, on the 3100 block of Clarendon Blvd, early Saturday morning. The victim was trying to break up a dispute between the suspect and a friend when he was struck and seriously injured by the suspect, police say.
More from today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2022-11050009, 3100 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 12:28 a.m. on November 5, police were dispatched to the report of an assault just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined the male victim attempted to break up a verbal dispute between the male suspect and a friend when the suspect allegedly struck the victim, causing injury. The victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment of serious, non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect was located on scene and taken into custody without incident. [The suspect], 30, of Arlington, Va. Was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding. He was held without bond.
Also this weekend, police investigated gunfire in the Waverly Hills neighborhood of northern Arlington on Sunday morning.
In the end, officers determined that a woman accidentally fired a shot while trying to package her gun.
SHOT FIRED, 2022-11060089, 1900 block of N. Woodrow Street. At approximately 9:37 a.m. on November 6, police were dispatched to the report of a shot fired. Upon arrival, it was determined the female subject was allegedly packaging the firearm to be transported when it discharged. Minor property damage was reported within the home. No injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing.
Earlier today (Monday), police were dispatched to a report of suspicious individuals in a parking lot and found a half dozen Honda vehicles that had been broken, with the airbags stolen.
The suspects remain at large but officers found a backpack with tools and six airbags, according to ACPD.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series, Late), 2022-11070017, 2600 block of S. Cleveland Street. At approximately 2:20 a.m. on November 7, police were dispatched to the report of a late larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined the reporting party observed two unknown individuals wearing face coverings allegedly acting suspiciously in a parking lot. Responding officers canvassed the area and located six Honda vehicles with broken windows and stolen airbags. A search of the area for the suspects yielded negative results, however, a backpack was recovered containing burglarious tools and six airbags. There are no suspect descriptions at this time. The investigation is ongoing.
Crime and comment policy: As a reminder, ARLnow generally does not name suspects in crime report articles such as this. We do name suspects if they are a public figure, if their identity is important to the story, or if they are accused of a significant crime — for instance, if they’re the subject of a police press release. Suspect descriptions from police are generally included when not overly vague. Comments are disabled in crime report articles that describe or name a suspect.
If you like the arts, 5Ks or family- and earth-friendly events, Arlington is the place to be this weekend.
Three separate events in the county will make it bit harder to get around by car.
The Arlington Festival of the Arts will take pace on Saturday and Sunday (April 23-24), shutting down several roads in the Clarendon area. The outdoor event offers art for display and sale over several blocks, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
The Arlington County Police Department announced the following road closures for the event.
The following roads will be closed from approximately 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 23 through 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 24:
- N. Highland Street will be closed from Wilson Boulevard to 13th Street N. Local traffic will be allowed to access the public parking garage to 3033 Wilson Blvd.
- N. Hartford Street will be closed from N. Highland Street to 13th Street N. Local traffic will be able to access the parking garage for 1210 N. Highland Street.
- The alleyway between N. Herndon Street and N. Hartford Street will be closed at N. Hartford Street
Meanwhile, starting at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, the Bunny Hop 5k Race will close streets in the Ashton Heights and Lyon Park neighborhoods. The race kicks off at 8 a.m. and involves the following road closures, according to ACPD.
The following roadways will be closed in order to accommodate the event:
From approximately 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
- N. Irving Street, between 7th Street N. and 5th Street N.
From approximately 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
- N. Irving Street, between 2nd Road N. and 5th Street N.
- N. Pershing Drive, between N. Piedmont Street and N. Edgewood Street
- N. Fillmore Street, between 3rd Street N. and Pershing Drive
- N. Garfield Street, between Pershing Drive and 3rd Street N.
- 4th Street N., between N. Fillmore Street and N. Garfield Street
- 2nd Road N., between N. Irving Street and the Columbia Gardens Cemetery
A portion of the course winds through the Columbia Gardens Cemetery. The Cemetery will be closed to vehicular traffic and have a delayed opening at 10:00 a.m.
Finally, on Sunday, the 2022 Earth Day Every Day Festival will be held off Langston Blvd in front of the Lee Heights Shops. The event will include various family activities, live music, sidewalk sales, food and drink specials, and its own art market.
“Let’s come together as a community to celebrate the beauty and promise of our local environment and the planet,” says the website for the Earth Day event. “Every year, communities worldwide uplift Earth Day to mark the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. It reminds us all to do what we can, in ways small and significant, restore, conserve and protect our environment.”
The 2022 Earth Day Every Day Festival will take place on Sunday, April 24, 2022 and will be held from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The following roadways will be closed from approximately 8:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. in order to accommodate the festival:
- Cherry Hill Road, between N. Woodstock Street and N. Woodrow Street
- Northbound N. Woodrow Street, between 20th Road N. and Cherry Hill Road will be restricted to local traffic only
Community members should expect to see an increased police presence in the area around these events, and motorists are urged to follow law enforcement direction, be mindful of closures, and remain alert for increased pedestrian traffic. Additional closures not mentioned above may be implemented at police discretion in the interest of public safety.
Residents of the affected neighborhood areas will be escorted through the road closures to minimize the impacts on the community, only when safe to do so. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No parking” signs, as street parking in the area around these events will be limited. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.
Police are investigating an incident in which a man fired a gunshot inside a residents one block from Woodstock Park, in the Waverly Hills neighborhood.
The gunfire rang out around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Police say the man who fired the gunshot called police and was carrying a gun when police detained him.
He was brought to a local hospital for evaluation after alleging that “several armed individuals” were coming to get him.
More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
WEAPONS VIOLATION, 2021-12070040, 4600 block of 20th Road N. At approximately 7:31 a.m. on December 7, police were dispatched to the report of a person with a gun. Upon arrival, officers located the reporting party walking in the area with a firearm in his hands and detained him. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the reporting party had discharged the firearm inside of the residence and then left the scene as several armed individuals were allegedly approaching. The reporting party was transported to an area hospital for medical evaluation. There is no description of the other individuals. The investigation is ongoing.
(Updated at 8:20 a.m.) The Inova Urgent Care at 4600 Langston Blvd is temporarily closed.
An Inova spokesperson tells ARLnow the clinic near the Waverly Hills neighborhood should reopen by the end of the year, after closing due to staffing issues.
“The Urgent Care temporarily closed two weeks ago,” the spokesperson said. “As with other health systems across the country, Inova has been experiencing significantly high volumes driven by patients with a variety of healthcare needs and the temporary closure of select locations allows us to consolidate staffing at other UCCs to better accommodate patient volumes.”
Several other Inova urgent care centers are also closed, according to the health system’s website. Like the clinic in Arlington, those in Tysons, Reston, and Purcellville are “temporarily closed for in-person visits.”
Signs posted on the windows in Arlington direct patients to either the Inova Fairfax Hospital emergency room or an Inova Urgent Care in Vienna.
The Arlington center served as a COVID-19 testing site since March 2020.
(Updated at 9:30 p.m.) The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado caused the widespread damage seen in several North Arlington neighborhoods today.
The tornado struck around 9 p.m. Thursday night, touching down near the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road. It was rated as an EF1 — the second-lowest on the Enhanced Fujita scale — and cut a 125 yard-wide path of damage as it made its way east through several neighborhoods, before moving into D.C. Maximum winds were estimated at 90 mph.
The twister’s 4.4 mile path ended on the National Mall, between the Washington Monument and the White House. A second tornado, rated EF0, struck near H Street NE in the District, according to forecasters.
In Arlington last night, the tornado uprooted trees, tore siding and shingles off houses, and turned trampolines and branches into projectiles.
Residents tell ARLnow they had just seconds from when their phones started blaring the Tornado Warning, shortly before 9 p.m., and when the rotating storm struck and caused havoc.
Much of the reported damage happened along the well-defined, roughly west-to-east line from the City of Falls Church and through Tara-Leeway Heights, Waverly Hills, Cherrydale and Lyon Village, before crossing the Potomac into D.C. along the National Mall.
Waverly Hills and Cherrydale suffered the worst of the storm’s fury, starting around Woodstock Park and moving along an easterly route just south of Lee Highway. The extent of the damage was evident this morning after the sun came up and chainsaws started buzzing over a large stretch of the neighborhoods.
At Woodstock Park this morning, children were playing despite the tree carnage that littered the park with fallen trees, branches and leaves. Jill Rabach was out surveying the damage to her house, just south of the park. An oak tree was leaning on her home’s roof and her next door neighbor’s fence was crushed by multiple falling trees.
“We heard the Tornado Warning and went to the basement,” Rabach recounted. “About 15 minutes later when all the noise died down we came upstairs and saw a little bit of damage not much. Power was out. By morning it was clear there was much more damage. All the houses on the street lost significant trees.”
“We’ve lived here for 15 years and there haven’t been many storms that blow that hard, that fast,” she added.
The damage continued along 20th Road N., east of the park, with tree crews hard at work clearing branches. Turning right onto N. Utah Street, the road was still blocked by a large fallen tree at 19th Road N.
Heading back up the street, more signs of a violent storm: Multiple downed trees damaged roofs, broke windows and crushed fences; siding from an unknown house lay next to a sidewalk; trash cans were lifted up and blown into neighboring yards. And stuck in a tree near the road was an unusual sight — a large trampoline.
A family in the area said their storm door swung upon so violently it became lodged into and damaged a railing.
“We got the Tornado Warning and within 30 seconds, our front door burst open. And the whole house shook and rattled,” said René Madigan. “Like it all had to have all happened at once. It pulled down all of our power lines… the house next door, it blew their door wide open, too. They have a lot more damage to their home than we have. We were blessed.”
Madigan recounted the sound of the storm as it struck the normally quiet residential neighborhood.
“I heard a horrible sound. Like it was a really horrible sound. And then the whole house just was doing this,” she said, shaking her arms. “And it just happened so fast.”
“Tornado! Get in!” Madigan recalled shouting as the family took cover.
“I heard it and I was in the basement,” Madigan’s husband said of the noise. “First I thought like a big china cabinet fell down. It sounded like… a really loud explosion.”
One street over, and also to the east, residents were out cleaning up. One house had a blue tarp on the roof, but a neighbor said nothing fell on it — shingles were ripped off at the height of the storm.
Over on N. Stafford Street, Jeff Jackson was picking up tree branches across the street from St. Agnes Catholic School in Cherrydale. The Arlington native now lives in Portland, Oregon, but is home taking care of his mother. He was at a friend’s house nearby as the storm approached.
Police are investigating blood found at a North Arlington park.
Crime scene tape was placed around Woodstock Park in Waverly Hills, a park and playground popular with children, this morning shortly after 8 a.m. One local resident described a “pool of blood” being found at the park.
So far, however, police haven’t determined where the blood came from.
“At approximately 8:01 a.m., police were dispatched to the 2000 block of N. Woodstock Street for the report of blood located in the park,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said. “At this time, no victims or crime have been determined. ACPD remains on scene investigating and will canvas the area for additional information related to the incident.”
The crime scene caused concern among neighbors, who took to social media to ask about what happened.
@ARLnowDOTcom police activity at Woodstock Park, several officers on site and the entire park is taped off
— Nathan Burlingame (@ndb4g) June 7, 2021
@ARLnowDOTcom Whats going on at Woodstock Park? Police have the whole park taped off.
— Sandra L. Rodriguez (@SRod17) June 7, 2021
Map via Google Maps
(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A new Arlington-based ghost kitchen from a pair of prominent restaurateur siblings is now smashing and slinging patties.
Gee Burger is a new delivery-only concept out of Cafe Colline, the eight-month-old French bistro at the Lee Heights Shops, opened by brothers Eric and Ian Hilton.
Serving up smashed burger patties, crispy chicken sandwiches, and fries, ordering is currently available through the usual delivery apps: UberEats (50% off first order), Doordash, Grubhub, and Postmates.
The delivery area includes Arlington and parts of D.C and Fairfax County, Ian Hilton tells ARLnow.
The idea for Gee Burger, Hilton says, came while “stranded” during the pandemic at Cafe Colline with his chef Brendan L’Etoile, who he’s worked with since 2007. They workshopped burgers that would deliver well, and focused on one similar to another they had previously served at the now-shuttered Gaslight Tavern in D.C.
“It is a very quick process of smashing two patties on a flat top grill, giving them a nice crispy edge,” Hilton says, “It’s a nice juicy burger that travels well and can be cooked very quickly so that you can get it to people in short order.”
In fact, he says the burger can be cooked so quickly that it only takes four minutes to fulfill an order, meaning “we can wait till that driver is basically at our doorstep before we even fire up the order.” Plus, with a relatively localized delivery area, burgers are able to arrive at home kitchen tables hot and looking as if they were just served by a waiter inside of the restaurant.
“The idea is… to make it so that once it gets to somebody’s house, we would be proud of of having our name on it,” says Hilton.
In October, Hilton was forced to close a number of his popular District bars and restaurants due to the pandemic. Even while adjusting to take-out, delivery, and ghost kitchens, Hilton makes a point to say that this is not going to change the brothers’ core focus of creating places where people can socialize and be together.
When the pandemic subsides, his hope is that he will be able to move back to providing those experiences.
“I know that people will return to restaurants,” Hilton says.
In the meantime, he understands that people have grown accustomed to getting pretty much any food delivered to their homes and knows that it’s on restaurateurs to adapt to that.
The hope is that Gee Burger outlasts the pandemic since it’s easy to make, portable, and, so far, popular.
As for his favorite order: “It’s definitely the Kickin [Gee burger]. I just love spicy foods,” says Hilton. “Chef Brendan has this house-made kimchi and housemade pickled jalapeños that goes on that burger that I just can’t get enough of.”
Then, he adds, “Unfortunately, I probably shouldn’t eat more than one week.”
Photo courtesy of Gee Burger
Online Forums Devolve into Shouting Matches — Falls Church News-Press columnist Charlie Clark writes about how a Nextdoor post about kids not wearing masks during a baseball game erupted into a barrage of insults and debates among neighbors. Nextdoor is not alone in becoming a forum for heated local debates on hot button issues: last month the popular Fairlington Appreciation Society Facebook group shut down after flame wars broke out over issues related to the Black Lives Matter protests. [Falls Church News-Press]
Virtual ‘Arlington Cares’ Event Tomorrow — “This free, virtual event will recognize the 2020 Community Service Award Winners and remind us of the importance of serving others. A heartwarming opportunity for all ages that will celebrate the overwhelming goodness that is within our community.” [Event Calendar]
Reduction in Homelessness Prior to Pandemic — “For the 20th consecutive year, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Homeless Services Planning and Coordinating Committee has conducted a regional Point-in-Time (PIT) enumeration of the area’s residents experiencing homelessness and those who were formerly homeless. This year’s enumeration and survey occurred on January 22, 2020. Arlington saw a 7-percent reduction in overall homelessness, down from 215 persons in 2019 to 199 in 2020.” [Arlington County]
More Flood Damage in Waverly Hills — “After countless floods in Arlington’s Waverly Hills neighborhood soaked his basement, Tom Reich finally ordered a custom-made waterproof door to protect his home’s bottom level.
On Tuesday, the day before it was scheduled to arrive, yet another storm dumped buckets of rain on the region — and especially on 18th Street North. There, overwhelmed storm water mains sent three feet of water coursing down the street.” [Washington Post]
Beyer Furious at Response to Shooting Inquiry — “‘For nearly three years Bijan Ghaisar’s family and community have sought answers from federal authorities about why these officers killed Bijan and what consequences they will face. This response which tells us nothing after an eight-month delay is an insult to the people we represent,’ said [Rep. Don] Beyer. ‘The contempt such a pathetic answer shows for public transparency and accountability is unacceptable and will further damage the standing of the U.S. Park Police at a time when the region’s trust in them is already at an all-time low.'” [House of Representatives]
Report Businesses Flouting the Rules, Gov. Says — “As Virginia starts seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Ralph Northam reiterated Friday what has become a familiar message about limiting crowds, washing hand frequently and wearing face coverings. But he added a new fourth point: Report businesses flouting the rules to the local health department.” [InsideNova]
Freddie’s Closes Temporarily — “Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to close temporarily. One of our employees has tested positive for COVID-19. We are actively reaching out to customers and staff who may have been in contact since Wednesday July 8. We are beginning the process to have the restaurant fully sanitized so we may safely reopen as soon as possible.” [Facebook]
Nearby: MoCo Starting School Year Online — “Montgomery County students will begin the next academic year online, with a phased approach to bring them back to school buildings part-time by the end of November, according to the school district’s draft plan released Saturday.” [Bethesda Magazine]