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DNA evidence has linked a stolen handgun left in a car to a 32-year-old Alexandria felon, who now faces upward of two years in prison.

The .45 caliber Para Ordnance 1911 pistol was reported stolen from a car in Centreville on August 28, 2021, according to a search warrant affidavit. The same gun was recovered September 2, 2021, by Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police in an abandoned car that was reported stolen from Arlington.

The gun owner told police that he owned the gun for years, had not shot it in more than two years and did not allow anyone else to handle it, according to a search warrant affidavit.

More than six months later, on March 11, the Virginia Department of Forensic Science returned a certificate of analysis with a DNA profile of the suspect.

The suspect, who has more than 10 felony convictions, was arrested on April 11 — eight months after the gun was reported stolen. He was charged with petit larceny and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The latter charge carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison.

The suspect is being held without bond in the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center and goes to court on June 18.

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West Glebe Road Bridge (photo via Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services)

The West Glebe Road bridge over Four Mile Run will be closing completely in two weeks, and will remain closed to vehicles for nearly a year.

The circa-1956 bridge connects Arlington and Alexandria near the I-395/S. Glebe Road interchange. It has been deemed “structurally deficient” since 2018. A $10 million project to replace its deck and beams was approved by the Arlington County Board last April as part of a joint project with Alexandria. The project was slated to start this year, but in the meantime engineers have found “continued degradation of the bridge beams.”

As a result, the bridge is closing to all traffic on Monday, May 9, the county announced today. That’s after southbound bridge traffic was detoured for the same reason in March.

New detours will be put into place that will divert vehicular traffic either over the Mount Vernon Avenue bridge to the east or Shirlington Circle to the west. Both of those bridges, coincidentally, are also aging and set for repairs over the next couple of years; the former received funding from the recent federal infrastructure bill.

Arlington County expects two vehicle lanes on the West Glebe Road bridge to reopen in early 2023, while it’s still under construction. Work is expected to start shortly after the May closure and last until the summer of 2023.

Pedestrians and cyclists who formerly used the bridge will also be detoured, though a temporary pedestrian path across Four Mile Run is expected to open in July. Four Mile Run Trail users, meanwhile, will re-routed to a parallel path, as the portion of trail under the bridge will be closed.

More from a county press release, below.

Because of continued degradation of the bridge beams, engineers will close the West Glebe Road Bridge to all motor vehicle traffic beginning on Monday, May 9, 2022, for construction of a planned replacement superstructure (road deck and beams). Two motor vehicle lanes on the renovated bridge are expected to reopen in early 2023 along with one of two widened sidewalks.

The current structure connecting Arlington and Alexandria over Four Mile Run was built in 1956. Elements have experienced noted deterioration in recent years.

In 2018, a 5-ton weight restriction was placed on all user vehicles. In March 2022, all southbound traffic was detoured away from the bridge amid signs of continued structural beam degradation.

Allowing continued motor vehicle traffic with the additional stress of construction has now been ruled out. Pedestrians and bicyclists will be able to use the bridge through June, after which they will be directed to a temporary crossing, independent of the superstructure, to be built along the bridge, expected to open in July.

The Mount Vernon Avenue Bridge further east over Four Mile Run will continue to handle vehicular traffic detouring from the West Glebe bridge.

The bridge’s original piers are stable and will be used to support the new superstructure, reducing project costs, construction time, and impact on the watershed.

The project is set for completion by summer 2023.

Arlington County and the City of Alexandria continue continue to coordinate closely on the bridge replacement project. Crews will mobilize for the job later this month.

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Alexandria’s Pat Malone will stand up to cancer for 24 hours straight starting this Thursday (Feb. 10) at Fire Works Pizza in Arlington.

The event starts at 4:26 p.m. Thursday and ends at the same time on Friday.

“Standing up so long thoroughly wears me out,” Malone told ALXnow. “People tell me afterward that I look like I got hit by a bus.”

It’s the eighth annual fundraiser for the 64-year-old Malone, who has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Stand Up To Cancer nonprofit.

“The event is very heartfelt,” Malone said. “There are people that are suffering with cancer who can’t stand up and are bedridden or in a wheelchair.”

Donations can be made on Malone’s GoFundMe page.

The 20-year U.S. Air Force veteran has been cancer-free for nearly eight years since undergoing a successful surgery to remove a Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He also had 29 chemotherapy treatments.

“It was like a second birth,” Malone said of his successful surgery. “My birthday is August 12, but February 11 is like a second birthday for me because people at Walter Reed saved my life. I get choked up.”

Donors and survivors will have their names written on paper Stand Up To Cancer plaques, which will be posted on a window of the restaurant.

“On Friday morning there will be anywhere from 50 to 100 plaques there,” Malone said. “I’ll look at those names, and I’ll be by myself sometimes. Quite often, actually, and I have a prayer list and I look at those names and I cry like a baby.”

Fifty percent of men and about 33% of women will get cancer in their lifetimes, according to The National Cancer Institute.

Photo via Elza Daniel/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Inova discourages ER visits for mild, asymptomatic COVID testing — “With demand for COVID-19 testing high, Inova Health System says emergency room visits should be reserved for emergency and critical needs.” [Patch]

New restaurants coming to Shirlington — “Chinese-Korean eatery opens first Virginia location; beer hall to take over Capital City Brewing spot.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

COVID concerns cancel local New Year’s Eve events — “More venues and clubs around the region announced New Year’s Eve event cancellations on Tuesday as the omicron variant continued to bring surging COVID numbers and health concerns.” [WUSA9]

City Council adopts Chirilagua plan — “City Council took a major step toward providing more affordable housing for the Arlandria neighborhood, also known as Chirilagua, this week by adopting a new comprehensive small area plan.” [Alexandria Times]

 

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Alexandria is about to embark on a public relations campaign in response to the 5 cent Plastic Bag Tax, which goes into effect next month.

In a meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 14, the City Council will consider the release of $30,000 from contingent reserves to the city’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services for outreach on the matter.

The tax goes into effect Jan. 1, 2022. According to the city, the collected taxes will be used for:

  • Environmental Cleanup;
  • Providing education programs designed to reduce environmental waste;
  • Mitigating pollution and litter; or
  • Providing reusable bags to recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC) benefits

“The City’s adopted FY (fiscal year) 2022 operating budget included $30,000 in Non-Departmental Contingent Reserves to develop and produce resources for graphics, advertisements, window clings, and to purchase reusable tote bags for distribution to low-income households,” the city said.

The Virginia General Assembly adopted Sen. Adam Ebbin’s (D-30th) legislation last year allowing localities to impose a bag tax. Neighboring jurisdictions Arlington and Fairfax County also adopted bag taxes.

The $30,000 would be spent in the following way:

  • $5,000 allocated for printing and postage (developing graphics, printing mailers, window cling stickers, notification letters for stakeholders);
  • $9,500 to purchase reusable bags for low-income households and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/ Women, Infants and Children (WIC) beneficiaries;
  • $8,000 in temporary staffing hours (hours for reusable bag distribution events, conducting street outreach to regulated businesses); and
  • $7,500 allocated for advertisements (social media, local newspapers, and/or bus shelters)
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W. Glebe Road Bridge, with a weight limit (Image via Google Maps)

The West Glebe Road Bridge connecting Arlington and Alexandria is dropping down to one lane in each direction after an inspection found deterioration under the bridge’s sidewalk.

According to a press release from Arlington County, one northbound lane and one southbound lane will be open, with one northbound lane being converted into a pedestrian and bicycle path after the closure of the west sidewalk.

“A recent inspection revealed additional deterioration under the west sidewalk and the temporary walking path, which necessitated the sidewalk being closed in this area,” the County said.

Lane closures planned for West Glebe Road Bridge (photo via Arlington County)

In April, the County Board approved a $9.89 million contract — funded jointly by Alexandria and Arlington — for a bridge replacement. Construction is expected to start next summer. The County said the closures will remain in place until the bridge replacement is completed.

The County noted that this isn’t the first time travel capacity on the bridge has been reduced.

“The routine inspection of the bridge in fall 2018 uncovered deterioration that prompted a vehicle weight restriction of 5 tons and closure of the sidewalks in both directions,” the County said. “The southbound lane across the bridge was converted for the exclusive use of people walking and biking.”

Photo (1) via Google Maps, photo (2) via Arlington County

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Morning Notes

Taser, pepper spray used by Arlington police to restrain Alexandria man — “Arlington County Police used a taser and pepper spray against an Alexandria man Wednesday after he resisted arrest at a Pentagon City business, according to the daily crime report. Officers were dispatched around 12:17 p.m., to a business in the 1100 block of S. Hayes Street for the report of a trespassing. The officers learned that the business wanted to ban Dupree Stringfellow, 27, of Alexandria. During their investigation, police determined there was an active warrant for Stringfellow’s arrest.” [Patch]

Alexandria’s The Italian Place rolling out eatery in Merrifield — “The Italian Place had planned to welcome customers to its new spot at 2985 District Avenue (Suite 190) this Saturday (July 24), but the grand opening will be delayed to August because more time is needed to prepare, owner and CEO Adriana Penachio-Sifakis says.” [Tysons Reporter]

Alexandria Police Department entrance exam is on July 26 — “Do you want to join the APD family and serve the City of Alexandria? We just added a new date for the written exam. The next test is this Monday, July 26, at 5:00 p.m.” [Twitter]

Mayor averages 5-6 hours of sleep every night — “I usually do 5-6 hours a night. I try to be in bed by 2 most nights and usually up a little after 7. If I run in the morning, I usually go out around 6, so I try to be in bed a little after midnight. I’m sure this sleep schedule is not remotely healthy for me!” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy skies (during the day). High 87F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy skies (in the evening). Low 68F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Store manager — “Come work with us at Spencer’s & Spirit Halloween, where you’ll be working with the best and brightest colleagues as you help us deliver the most fun experience and product possible to our guests. We’re fast-paced and take our work seriously, but we always have a good laugh at the end of the day. Walk through our stores or the halls of our corporate office and you’ll see firsthand that we’re laidback and irreverent. We’re firm believers in being true to YOU, so tattoos and piercings are as common as water cooler convos. Whether it’s critiquing our new exclusive costumes or quality testing newly implemented software technology, our teams understand the importance of working collaboratively to challenge status quo and achieve our goals. We keep pushing ourselves to go above and beyond and are looking for top talent to become a part of our team!” [Indeed]

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An Alexandria certified nursing assistant faces multiple charges of identity theft against six residents under her care at Vitality Senior Living in Arlington.

On April 16, the suspect was arrested after allegedly admitting to the Vitality Senior Living executive director that she cashed a fraudulent $1,200 check from a resident in her care.

The victim reported to Arlington Police that six of his blank personal checks were stolen from his checkbook, and that two checks were cashed without his permission. He also told police that there were a number of fraudulent charges against his debit card.

The suspect’s name was written on one of the checks, and her brother’s name was written on another. Her brother also works at the facility and has not been charged.

Police searched the suspect’s phone and on it found photos of the victim’s driver’s license, and the front and back of his debit cards, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The officer also discovered further evidence on her phone “affecting five victims from Vitality Senior Living, potentially among several others from other facilities,” according to police. “Photographs of all five victims’ credit and/or debit cards were located in addition to some photographs of their respective driver’s licenses and/or social security cards.”

Police confirmed that the additional five victims were under the care of the suspect, and that three of them confirmed fraudulent activity from the cards that were found on her phone.

Also on the phone were screenshots of Apple products purchased, as well as “other fraudulent activity which appeared to include the filing of unemployment and taxes under identities that have been unable to be verified,” according to police.

The suspect goes to court for more than a dozen identity theft charges on May 25.

Vitality Senior Living released the following statement:

At Vitality Living, we are committed to ensuring our residents feel comfortable and confident in the care we provide. We recently became aware that an employee had stolen and used a resident’s ATM card and a number of checks. We immediately notified state and local authorities and terminated this employee. We are working with the police as they conduct their investigation and pursue further legal action. We also are conducting an internal investigation and taking the necessary steps to ensure we prevent similar incidents in the future. We are diligent about protecting the privacy and safety of our residents and will continue to hold our community to the highest standards of compassion, quality and safety.

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Morning Notes

Virginia mask mandate tweaked by governor — “The amended executive order follows CDC guidance that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask outdoors when alone or in small gatherings. Masks remain required in shared indoors settings as well as outdoors at large crowded events such as concerts, sporting events or graduation ceremonies.” [Patch]

Federal grand jury charges Arlington lawyer with paying underage victims for sex — “Matthew Erausquin, 46, was arrested in November after a 1.5-year-long investigation. He was charged in Alexandria federal court with sex trafficking minors, producing child pornography, and charges related to transporting or forcing victims to cross state lines for sex.” [ARLnow]

Misha’s Coffee aims to open second location in May — “A café employee said that Misha’s is tentatively planning to open the second location in May. The brand’s iconic orange sign is already hanging at the remodeled waterfront building, which was formerly home to Olde Town Gemstones.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy and windy (during the day). High around 70F. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph… Clear skies (in the evening). Gusty winds early. Low 44F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Investigator assistant — “The investigator assistant is responsible for providing administrative support to the investigative unit and performing research on data to assist in identifying cases of potential overpayment or abuse.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Arlington Approves Agreement with Alexandria To Dredge Four Mile Run — “The dredging — which will remove built-up sediment and debris from the bottom of the waterway — is expected to cost about $3.6 million, with each jurisdiction paying about $1.8 million. The project is expected to get under way in the late summer or early fall, and will take approximately four months, Aileen Winquist of Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services tells ARLnow.” [ARLnow]

Timothy Guy Named Bishop Ireton High School Principal — “Being a part of the Bishop Ireton community as a teacher has been a true blessing, and I am delighted to be selected as the next principal.” [Zebra]

Northern Virginia Conservation Trust gets quarter acre on Russell Road — “The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) is a nonprofit that works to protect land, water, and other areas. Recently, the group obtained a quarter-acre lot on Russell Road.  It contains trees and open grass areas along with a vegetative buffer leading to a stream that will help protect the Potomac River and Cameron Run.” [Zebra]

Police clarify messaging SNAFU over weekend — “We want to clear something up. On Saturday afternoon, we shared two posts about the DUI patrols in the City. We posted one in English and worked with one of our Spanish-speaking officers to create a separate post in Spanish. What we learned is that Facebook settings appear to automatically translate a post. That’s what happened to our Spanish-language post, making it appear we didn’t check our work on the English side of it. That’s not what happened. There was already an English-language version of the post on the timeline. Consider it a lesson learned. We’ll do better next time.” [Facebook]

Today’s weather — “Rain likely (during the day). High 59F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall near a half an inch… Cloudy skies early with areas of fog developing after midnight. Low 52F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Classroom monitor — “Individuals needed to monitor and assist with enforcing health mitigation strategies within the location assigned…” [Indeed]

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