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UPDATE: Artist Emerges for Mysterious Street Art in Pentagon City, Crystal City

(Update at 4:25 p.m.) After this article was published, Carol Fuller, president of the Crystal City Civic Association, reached out with some clarity on the origin of the street art:

The art projects are the work of JBG Smith, the major developer in Crystal and Pentagon Cities.  They have so many projects in the works, including PenPlace where the bikes are now located on the wall, that they wanted to “beautify” the project areas. They did this as a “small mini intervention” project to link Pentagon and Crystal Cities and create some “buzz” for their development projects in an interesting and more attractive way. The work was done by Ground Swell, a company of architects, landscapers, and artists from Philadelphia.

The mysterious street art cropping up around Pentagon City and Crystal City seems to be evolving.

Readers first alerted to ARLnow to a series of spray-painted flowers popping up all along 12th Street S. and S. Eads Street earlier this month. Several colorful bikes adorned with flowers appeared on street corners soon afterward, though no one in the county government or local business community had any idea who was responsible for the art.

This week, the bikes remain, but have migrated slightly. Many are now mounted on the wall of a bike and pedestrian trail running along 12th Street S., between S. Fern Street and S. Eads Street, not far from the Pentagon City Metro station. Others are affixed to walls alongside S. Eads Street itself.

Some readers say they’ve spotted a pick-up truck full of workers dropping off the bikes, though it remains unclear who is backing the public art effort. Reader Christine Brown was able to snap a picture of the truck, which is labeled “The Property Coach.”

State records show no indication of any business with such a name, and an internet search was fruitless as well.

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Prankster Reprograms Electronic Sign in Shirlington to Display ‘Fortnite’ Meme

For the last few days, an electronic sign meant to inform drivers about some upcoming roadwork in the Shirlington area has displayed a different message instead: “Ligma.”

A prankster seems to have reprogrammed the sign, located near the intersection of S. Walter Reed Drive and S. Arlington Mill Drive, sometime in the past few days. A tipster told ARLnow the sign’s been changed since at least this past Wednesday (Aug. 22).

The word itself seems to be a reference to a popular meme among fans of the video game Fortnite — its origins are perhaps best not explained on a family website.

When informed of the vandalized sign by ARLnow, county transportation spokeswoman Jessica Baxter explained that it belongs to a contractor working on improvements to S. Walter Reed Drive as part of a bid to “alert the public of the start of upcoming work.”

“The sign is supposed to reference the upcoming construction and date range of work,” Baxter said. “We’ve alerted our contractor to correct the sign as soon as possible.”

Construction on that work is supposed to start in early September, and last for close to a year after that.

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Watchful Mannequin Spooks Residents Near Ballston

Someone placed a mannequin alongside a busy road near Ballston this morning.

The female mannequin was wearing a knit hat, a t-shirt and a sign about being a “DoD based experiment,” a tipster told ARLnow. It was placed at the corner of N. Wakefield Street and N. Carlin Springs Road.

The sign on it referenced Secure Planet, a Ballston-based biometrics and facial recognition technology company. A phone number printed on the sign rings through to a company executive, though it was not answered when an ARLnow.com reporter called Friday afternoon.

At some point, someone placed another typed sign on the mannequin, criticizing the company for alleged privacy violations.

The mannequin, signs and all, appears to have been moved just before the end of the morning rush hour.

“Very bizarre,” the tipster concluded.

Update at 6:30 p.m. — The person who put the second sign on the mannequin discussed it on Twitter yesterday.

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Linda’s Cafe Cooks Up Extra Spicy Twitter Account

Linda’s Cafe is an unassuming, long-time diner at 5050 Lee Highway in Arlington, serving a clientele that includes families and senior citizens.

The restaurant is not active on Facebook and doesn’t have a website that we could find. On Yelp, diners are mostly satisfied with the service and the food — “the service is good and the staff is nice,” is a typical comment. A sign in the window touts “excellent burgers.”

But on Twitter — at least over the past year or so — Linda’s Cafe has a much different personality: quarrelling with customers, warning of speed traps along Lee Highway and saying “f*** the pilgrims” on Thanksgiving.

One long-time customer who contacted ARLnow said the Twitter account is not befitting the character of the restaurant nor the values of its customers.

“Their servers, chefs and other employees have been spouting profanities, talking about… controversial subjects on their restaurant’s official Twitter account,” said the customer, who did not want to be named.

Reached by phone, an assistant manager who said his name was Luciano seemed confused when asked about the Twitter account, saying he was aware of its existence but not the content. He declined further comment. The restaurant’s owner was traveling and not available for comment, we were told.

Photo and screen shots via Twitter

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Crime Report: Masked Man Seen Pleasuring Self in Courthouse

A woman walking down the street witnessed a man wearing a mask, lying atop a car and pleasuring himself last night in the Courthouse area, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

The incident was reported around 10 p.m., on the 1900 block of Wilson Blvd. The masked man fled on foot after the woman screamed. Police were called but officers were unable to find him.

More from ACPD:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2017-11280270, 1900 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 10:00 p.m. on November 28 police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 9:45 p.m. a female victim was walking in the area when she observed a male suspect wearing a mask laying across the hood of a car masturbating. When the victim screamed, the suspect fled on foot. The suspect is described as a male, with light skin, wearing light brown pants, black shoes, a black sweater and a black mask. Officers canvassed the area with negative results. The investigation is ongoing.

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

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2017-11270012, 1800 block of N. Scott Street. At approximately 1:20 a.m. on November 27, police were dispatched to the report of trespassing. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male victim was assaulted by a known suspect after he refused to leave the suspect’s residence. The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival, but was later taken into custody upon returning to his residence. The victim was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with non-life threatening injuries. Robert Willett, 29, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding. He was held on no bond.

EXTORTION, 2017-11260099, 5200 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 12:05 p.m. on November 26, police were dispatched to a possible robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that a female victim called the Emergency Communication Center after receiving a threatening phone call from an unknown suspect. The suspect stated that he had kidnapped the victim’s daughter and would harm her unless the victim provided the suspect with money. The arriving officer was able to contact the victim’s daughter and confirm that she was not in danger. The victim had withdrawn money, however, the suspect was unable to provide her with a method for transferring the money as officers had arrived on scene and interrupted the transaction.

BRANDISHING, 2017-11260037, 6th Street N. at N. Kenmore Street. At approximately 2:05 a.m. on November 26, police were dispatched to the report of a dispute in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male and female victim were walking in the area when they were approached by a male suspect displaying a handgun. The suspect ordered the male victim to get down onto his knees. The suspect then fled the scene. No one was injured.The suspect is described as a heavy-set, white male, with short hair and a beard. The investigation is ongoing.

ROBBERY, 2017-11260156, 2900 block of S. Glebe Road. At approximately 5:44 p.m. on November 26, police were dispatched to the report of a dispute. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim returned to a social gathering at a residence and was punched repeatedly by a known suspect. The suspect stole the victim’s possessions and fled the scene prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a black male, 49 years old, approximately 6’1, slim build, with short black hair and a mustache, wearing dark jeans, a gray sweatshirt, black jacket and black boots. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY, 2017-11260187, 401 block of 12th Street S. At approximately 9:39 p.m. on November 26, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person following a car into an access controlled parking garage. Building security advised the arriving officers that the suspicious person was in the process of stealing a bicycle from a storage area within the garage. As the officers approached the storage area, the suspect was observed attempting to flee the garage on foot. Units established a perimeter and the suspect was located and taken into custody. Nigel Allen, 24, of Landover, MD, was arrested and charged with Burglary and Possession of Burglarous Tools. He was held on no bond.

BURGLARY (late), 2017-11250161, 5800 block of 9th Road N. At approximately 3:09 p.m. on November 25, police were dispatched to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victims returned to their unoccupied residence, which is slated for demolition, and located a brick had been thrown through a window and entry was forced to the residence, causing damage. Graffiti was found on an exterior wall of the residence. Nothing was reported missing. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY (late), 2017-11250172, 800 block of N. Lebanon Street. At approximately 4:38 p.m. on November 25, police were dispatched to the late report of breaking and entering. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 2:00 p.m. on November 24 and 4:00 p.m. on November 25, an unknown suspect(s) forced entry to a residence and stole items of value. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY, 2017-11250184, 1300 block of Kirkwood Road. At approximately 5:30 p.m. on November 25, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 2:00 p.m. and 5:13 p.m. on November 25, an unknown suspect(s) forced entry to a residence and stole items of value. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series), 2017-11260063, 1000 block of N. Madison Street. Between 10:30 p.m. on November 25 and 7:15 a.m. on November 26, an unknown suspect(s) entered approximately nine mostly unlocked vehicles and stole items of value. The investigation is ongoing.

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Mooning Cyclist Evades Police Search

A cyclist was seen riding down the street in Courthouse yesterday, mooning every driver and pedestrian in his path.

Police were called around 3:45 p.m. for “a report of a male traveling by bicycle with his buttocks exposed in the area of N. Veitch Street at Wilson Boulevard,” according to Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

An ARLnow.com contractor witnessed the odd sight and said the man rode his bike into the nearby Key Elementary parking lot. Police, however, were unable to locate him.

“A lookout was broadcast and a search of the area by officers was negative,” Savage said.

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Barber Spat: Neighboring Businesses Feud Over Name

A Rosslyn barber shop has accused a newly-opened hairdresser in the same building of trying to steal its customers.

TL Barbershop moved to a new location at 1800 Wilson Blvd earlier this year, from its old spot at 1755 Clarendon Blvd. Both addresses are in the same condo building: 1800 Wilson Boulevard.

The trouble allegedly began when a new barber shop opened at 1755 Clarendon Blvd: LL’s Barber Shop. TL accused its new neighbor of misleading customers by saying that the new store is actually TL’s second location, and that the two are affiliated. A reader noted in an email the similar names, awnings and signs on both shops.

“TL Barbershop is unique and one-of-a-kind,” TL wrote on its website. “We have relocated our business here [to 1800 Wilson Blvd.]. We have not opened a second location and are in no way associated with any other barbershops. Any individuals or groups attempting to solicit or detain you at our former location have no affiliation with TL Barbershop.”

LL reviewers on Yelp leveled similar accusations at the new barber shop.

“This place has continued to falsely state that they are related to the TL barbershop, which used to be located there and has since moved stores to the other side of the building,” wrote one reviewer. “That is unethical and not true. [They] chose a similar name and LIE when people ask what happened to TL, they say they changed their name. When people ask for specific people they used to get at TL, this new store states that the person is sick. DO NOT FALL FOR IT.”

In a brief interview Monday morning, LL manager Van Lam Pham denied that his staff have been misleading customers. He said that perhaps people were “confused” by the two businesses having similar names, and a new barber shop being located in TL’s old space.

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Photo: Pepsi Spill in Pentagon City

(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) Hundreds of Pepsi cans spilled onto the road at the intersection of Army Navy Drive and S. Fern Street last night.

It’s unclear what exactly happened, but an Arlington resident who drove by the spill theorized, based on the large volume of soda on the ground, that it must have fallen off of a Pepsi delivery truck.

The resident, Christopher C., says that the truck was “nowhere to be found” when he drove by the mess around 6 p.m. Sunday, nor were any emergency responders. Police, we’re told, responded moments later.

“At approximately 6:05 p.m. police responded to S. Fern Street at Army Navy Drive for traffic control,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “A truck lost its cargo, blocking multiple lanes of Army Navy Drive. Arlington [Dept. of Environmental Services] was notified.”

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Arlington Resident Finds Raccoon in Bathtub

Raccoons in Arlington have been known to catch rides on garbage trucks, get stuck in drains and terrorize Fairlington residents.

Now, a trash panda has gone where few have gone before: into someone’s bathtub.

A resident was surprised to find the frightened raccoon in her tub a few days ago. She called the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and an animal control officer was able to free the critter from the home.

More from an AWLA Facebook post, below.

This isn’t what most people expect to find in their bathtub in the morning! A few days ago, a local resident woke up and found this scared little guy in her tub (the home was undergoing attic repairs, so that’s likely how he got in). Luckily, she knew just what to do and called Animal Control, who safely removed the raccoon from the home and released him outside where he happily scampered off!

Photo via AWLA/Facebook

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Report: Man Trapped in Starbucks Bathroom

A Starbucks patron had a grande problem inside the coffee shop’s bathroom Wednesday evening.

Police were called to the Starbucks at 901 N. Stuart Street, in Ballston, around 5 p.m., for a report of a man who had somehow gotten himself locked inside the bathroom, unable to get out.

He called police who responded to help unlock and open the door.

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Morning Notes

Residents Irked at App-Directed Traffic — Residents who live just west of Crystal City are upset that map apps like Waze keep directing cut-through traffic down S. Fern Street as an alternative to S. Eads Street or Route 1. A resident who spoke at Saturday’s County Board meeting said her complaints to Arlington County staff have not resulted in any action. [InsideNova]

Army Ten-Miler to Close Roads Next Month — A number of roads around Crystal City and Pentagon City will close on Sunday, Oct. 8 for the annual Army Ten-Miler race. [Arlington County]

Lions Club Scrambling to Find Xmas Tree Lot — The South Arlington Lions Club is not even sure they’ll be able to hold their annual Christmas tree sale in South Arlington this year. The club’s usual location in the parking lot of the former Food Star is under construction and the club just learned that county land is off-limits to nonprofit fundraising. [InsideNova]

Colorado Has Its Own Serial Pooper — A bizarre situation that’s drawing comparisons to Arlington’s own serial pooper of 2016 is playing out in Colorado. Residents in Colorado Springs say a female jogger has been repeatedly, unapologetically defecating in their neighborhood. [Deadspin, Washington Post]

Nauck Leaders Lauded — A pair of community stalwarts were honored by the Nauck Civic Association in a ceremony this past weekend. “Wanda Pierce was lauded for her tenure leading the Arlington Community Foundation,” while “Cleveland ‘Bubby’ James Jr., another longtime resident, was honored for his work with the youth and young adults of Nauck and the entire county.” [InsideNova]

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Writing-Covered ‘Poisoned’ House Not Violating the Law, County Says

Arlingtonwood is a tiny, affluent neighborhood nestled near the GW Parkway and Chain Bridge in the far northern corner of Arlington.

Amid what is otherwise an idyllic suburban scene along N. Richmond Street, one house stands out: a low-slung brick home covered in handwritten signs and Sharpie-scrawled writing on the white siding and doors.

“POISONED HOUSE, DO NOT ENTER – KEEP OUT,” reads the writing next to the main entrance. “DO NOT TAKE AND DO NOT REMOVE ANY POISONED ITEMS FROM MY POISONED HOUSE.”

The note goes on to claim that the house was poisoned in 1999 with various “dangerous substances” and that the “poisoning was proved to the FBI and Arlington police including other U.S. government agencies.”

“U.S. President Clinton was informed in 2000 and U.S. President Bush in 2001,” the sign continues.

Needless to say, neighbors are not happy with the signage.

“I have contacted the [county] and Arlington states there is nothing they can do because the signs are on private property,” one resident told ARLnow.com. “These signs affect everyone in the area as this home is stating there are poisonous gases everywhere (in the ground, her house, etc.). People stop all the time and ask if it is safe to be in the area.”

Gary Greene, Code Enforcement Section Chief for Arlington County, confirmed that there is basically nothing the county can do about the signs and writing. He said that the county has received seven complaints about the home in the past 12 years and that the only actionable code violations found — like an overgrown lawn — were corrected by the homeowner, who does not live in the house.

There is one outstanding “minor” code violation, Greene said, but it has nothing to do with the house being vacant or covered with signs. The signs are not in violation of Virginia law or county ordinance, he said.

“The signs, letters and wall writings visible on the front façade of the property were placed there in 2005 by the property owner; they have been a primary driver for complaint calls,” Greene said. “The signs, letters and wall writings are not of a commercial or political nature and have not been found in violation of any of Arlington’s property related ordinances.”

The house, which was recently assessed by the county at $862,500, was nearly auctioned by Arlington County in 2015 for non-payment of property taxes — but the taxes were eventually paid along with a penalty fee and interest, county records show. It is currently in good standing with the tax office after $8,570.16 in property taxes were paid in 2016.

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Police Tase Suspect in Pikachu Onesie During Brawl Outside A-Town Bar & Grill

(Updated at 4 p.m.) A wild fight outside Ballston’s A-Town Bar & Grill last night resulted in two suspects being tased by police, including one man who was brawling while wearing a Pikachu onesie.

The incident happened around 9 p.m. on the 1000 block of N. Randolph Street. According to police, it started when the man in the Pikachu costume, Steven Goodwine, Jr., tried to pick a fight with the bouncers at A-Town after being kicked out of the bar’s weekly “Sunday Funday” festivities.

Goodwine “became aggressive with the door staff and Mr. Reid attempted to intervene,” according to what may be the longest item ever on an Arlington County Police Department daily crime report (below).

Police arrived and tried to break up the fight between Goodwine and Reid, according to the crime report. The men allegedly stopped fighting with each other and started fighting with police. Both suspects were tased during the fracas and Goodwine tried to flee, but both were eventually taken into custody and no one was seriously injured, police say.

More from the ACPD crime report:

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2017-03120191, 1000 block of N. Randolph Street. At approximately 8:58 p.m. on March 12, police were dispatched to the report of a fight in progress.  The arriving officer located the subjects, later identified as Steven Goodwine Jr. and Marcus Reid, and provided verbal commands to cease the fight. The subjects allegedly ignored the commands and the officer physically separated them. As the officer was attempting to detain Mr. Goodwine, Mr. Reid advanced and struck the officer, pushing him to the ground. When Mr. Reid advanced towards the officer a second time, the officer deployed his taser. As officers were attempting to place handcuffs on Mr. Reid, he continued to forcefully resist while attempting to stand. An officer deployed their taser and the subject was taken into custody without further incident.

Additional officers responded to Mr. Goodwine’s location who was attempting to flee the scene. Officers ordered the subject to stop and get on the ground. When he refused, officers went hands on in an attempt to detain the subject. Mr. Goodwine struggled with the officer and was able to place him in a stranglehold. The officer was able to free himself, deploy his taser and the subject was taken into custody without further incident. Both subjects were evaluated by medics and did not sustain serious injuries. The investigation revealed that the initial incident began after Mr. Goodwine was removed from a restaurant, became aggressive with the door staff and Mr. Reid attempted to intervene.

Marcus Reid, 31, of Arlington VA was arrested and charged with assault and battery on police, obstruction of justice and drunk in public. Steven Goodwine Jr., 27, or Arlington VA was arrested and charged with assault and battery on police, strangulation, disorderly conduct, obstruction of justice and drunk in public. Both were held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on No Bond.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the crime report interchanged the subjects names in the first paragraph. The report has been corrected at approximately 3:00 P.M. on March 13, 2017.

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Arlington Resident Surprised to Find Anaconda in Toilet

Snake found in toilet (photo via Facebook/Animal Welfare League of Arlington)

(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) An Arlington resident found a snake — a juvenile Yellow Anaconda, to be exact — in an apartment toilet last week.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington recounted the surprise find in a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon. It happened, at an apartment building on 31st Street S. — in the Shirlington area.

“We do not know for certain how the snake got to this particular toilet but it is highly likely that it is someone’s pet that was either abandoned or escaped from an improperly shut vivarium,” said AWLA spokeswoman Chelsea Lindsey. “The snake (named Sir Hiss) would have then gone into the plumbing looking for food.”

No one was injured and the snake was safely removed from the apartment and taken to AWLA’s shelter. The organization says they have subsequently found a specialist to care for it.

“We highly encourage anyone thinking about having a snake as a pet to do extremely thorough research to determine whether they will be able to adequately care for their snake,” AWLA advised. “Fully grown, Yellow Anacondas can be up to 13 feet long and weigh more than 100 lbs.”

More from the AWLA post:

It’s never a dull day in Arlington County Animal Control! Last week, our Animal Control team received a call about a snake in the toilet of a local apartment. Officer Brenys White was able to safely remove the snake from the toilet and brought him back to the shelter. We were all in for a bit of a surprise — we were expecting him to be a wild snake or a ball python, but the snake is, in fact, a juvenile Yellow Anaconda!

Luckily, we were able to find a specialist who is familiar with his species and will be able to give him the care that he needs. We highly encourage anyone thinking about having a snake as a pet to do extremely thorough research to determine whether they will be able to adequately care for their snake. Fully grown, Yellow Anacondas can be up to 13ft long and weigh more than 100lbs. They need specialized care and housing, and while they are non-venomous, can be dangerous when they reach full size and are not well-socialized. Plus, no one likes being surprised by a lost and confused snake in their toilet! We are glad that in this circumstance we were able to rescue this snake, and that he did not make it out of the apartment complex and into the wild. Thank you to Officer Brenys for rescuing the snake and our specialist for giving him a new home!

Photo via Facebook/Animal Welfare League of Arlington

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Planters NUTmobile Coming to Arlington Next Week

Planters NUTmobile (photo courtesy Planters)Don’t be surprised if you see a giant peanut on wheels traveling the highways and byways of Arlington next week.

The 24-foot-long Planters NUTmobile will be spending the week in Arlington from Oct. 17-24. It will be in town for the 2016 National Trademark Expo in D.C. and will also be making appearances at local grocery stores.

Expect to see it parked outside a hotel in the Courthouse neighborhood, the truck’s driver, “Top Hat Trav,” tells ARLnow.com.

“Many of your readers may be seeing our massive peanut vehicle throughout the week,” Trav advised. The NUTmobile travels the country on a “nutty journey” that includes appearances at well-known destinations by the Planters mascot, Mr. Peanut.

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