It was a surprising week in Alexandria.

Our top story by far was on the venomous rattlesnake found in Old Town on Sunday. The timber snake, which also goes by the name American Viper, was discovered in the 400 block of Gibbon Street — a few blocks from the waterfront. It didn’t bite anyone, and was apprehended by the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria’s Animal Services team and later moved to a wildlife facility in Northern Virginia.

This Saturday, June 19,  is also Juneteenth, and the new federal holiday recognizes the end of slavery in the U.S. The City recognized Juneteenth on Friday, and most government offices and facilities were closed. This weekend, the Alexandria Black History Museum is partnering with Washington Revels Jubilee Voices — a group that preserves local Black traditions through a cappella music, dramatic performances and dance — for a virtual Juneteenth Celebration.

Meanwhile, in-person dramatic and musical performances are being planned for July. The Little Theatre of Alexandria is expanding capacity with their new lineup of shows, and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will resume in-person performing in a reduced program at the City’s birthday celebration on the waterfront on July 10.

In other good news, a pair of T.C. Williams High School Titans raised more than $4,800 to attend the Outdoor Nationals at the University of Oregon on July 1.

In this week’s poll, we asked readers how they think the millions of first allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds should be spent, as City Council will conduct a public hearing on how to spend it on Saturday. After a rash of flooding incidents last year, a majority of the respondents want the funds prioritized for waterway maintenance.

This Sunday is also Father’s Day, and a number of Alexandria businesses are offering unique specials.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. JUST IN: Rarity as American Viper Rattlesnake found in Old Town
  2. Captain Sean Casey wins Democratic primary and is running unopposed for Sheriff in November
  3. Woman assaulted by mob and pepper-sprayed in Old Town North
  4. Man dies of apparent overdose at coworking office in Old Town
  5. T.C. Williams High School’s final graduating class walks the stage
  6. Alexandria Fire Department rescues woman from stalled car, Flash Flood Watch in effect
  7. City launches Duke Street transit overhaul process
  8. For Taco Bamba owner, newly announced Landmark location is a homecoming
  9. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  10. Here’s what to do when you find dead birds amid recent epidemic
  11. Java Grill closed until further notice in Old Town

Have a safe weekend! 

Courtesy AWLA/Twitter 

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A woman was beaten up by a mob and pepper-sprayed during the middle of the day in Old Town North on Sunday, June 6, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

The adult woman was assaulted in the 800 block of N. St. Asaph Street, and was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

A 911 call was made in response to the fight, which occurred near Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority properties, hotels, local businesses and the Harris Teeter grocery store.

The mob — more than five adults and teenagers — ran away as soon as police arrived. No suspects have been arrested, and the incident remains under investigation, police told ALXnow.

Courtesy Google Maps

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An adult man was stabbed in Old Town late Monday morning.

The incident occurred at around 11:30 a.m. in the intersection of Wolfe Street and S. Alfred Streets in Old Town, which is just blocks from the Alexandria Courthouse and City Hall.

“It’s an active investigation,” Alexandria Police Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “A male victim was stabbed by the suspect and transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”

Police said that nothing was stolen in the incident, and did not provide a suspect description.

Alexandria Police recently reported an increase in aggravated assaults.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

ALIVE! free food giveaway this Saturday — “On Sat, Apr 10, 8:30-10:30am, @ALIVE4AlexVA will distribute food in Cora Kelly Elem School parking lot and parking lot B-1 of NOVA-Alexandria Campus (map at alive-inc.org, if college closes due to weather, distribution cancelled).” [Twitter]

Sexual assault survivors making community quilt — “(T)he Sexual Assault Center is hosting the second of two art events to decorate denim squares for a community quilt to support survivors of sexual assault: April 6, 4-7 pm. The events will comply with state COVID-19 guidelines.” [Twitter]

Presto Valet turns 70 — “Alexandria institution at 1623 N. Quaker Lane, Presto Valet has been the primary dry cleaner for many local notables such as former Presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton, and former Vice President Al Gore, and for cultural establishments such as The Kennedy Center, The Washington Opera, and Ford’s Theatre.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Sunshine and clouds mixed. High around 75F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph… A few clouds from time to time. Slight chance of a rain shower. Low 53F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Bartender at the Belle Haven Country Club — “The Bartender works a flexible schedule and embodies the service culture at Belle Haven. Bartenders understand the member service is every employee’s most basic job description.” [Indeed]

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Updated at 3:20 p.m. — An adult woman suffered minor injuries after an altercation with another woman on the platform of the King Street-Old Town Metro station in Old Town on Friday.

Alexandria Police and the Metro Transit Police Department responded to the incident at around noon.

According to MTP, the victim was struck with a cane or a pole and was transported to the hospital.

The suspect was identified as 41-year-old Jessica Williamson, 41, of Round Rock, Texas. Police said she was carrying a round metal object when she was arrested, and was charged with assault and battery.

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Morning Notes

Verizon store crash suspect also suspected of crashing into D.C. apartment complex — “Following receipt of his emails, we immediately worked to increase security at the property. Unfortunately, he visited the office twice last Monday and the second visit is when he crashed his car into our lobby. After leaving The Drake, he visited a Verizon store in Virginia and crashed his car through their storefront as well.” [PoPville]

The Art League bringing back in-person classes this month — “In-person classes will start on Monday, April 5 with adherence to CDC, Alexandria Health Department and Virginia Department of Health guidelines. Over 40 classes will be offered, covering a range of art forms, including drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, metal jewelry design, stained glass, and steel furniture design and construction.” [Patch]

April is Sexual Assault Survivor’s Month — “In April, the City will recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month with a series of events, activities, workshops and displays to support survivors of sexual assault and engage the community in prevention efforts.” [City of Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 48F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph. Higher wind gusts possible… Clear skies. Widespread frost likely. Low around 30F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Child care director — “Are you a natural leader who LOVES working with children? Are you passionate about working in child care and managing and inspiring a team? Are you ready to grow personally and professionally? We are seeking an awesome assistant director to join our child care team.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria Police are investigating a number of crime events that occurred during late night hours over the weekend all over the city.

A man was seriously injured in a robbery in the 2500 block of North Van Dorn Street near Ft. Ward Park. The incident occurred at around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 27. A man was robbed and assaulted by gunpoint by an unknown man and woman. Personal items were taken, according to police.

The previous day, a man was seriously injured by several suspects in the 5400 block of Sheffield Court in the West End and was later transported to the hospital.

“We were very busy over the weekend responding to calls for service,” Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow.

A man was also shot in a home invasion early on Sunday morning in Del Ray, and there were calls for shots fired in Old Town and the West End on Friday and Sunday evenings.

This week, police announced they will release year-to-date Part I crime data and information regarding the multiple calls for shots fired in recent months.

Sheffield Court and N. Van Dorn Street Maps via Google Maps

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A pair of incidents — racist threats at a local martial arts champion and a man spitting at a local coffee house owner — were the prevailing stories Alexandria.

Alexandria Police told ALXnow that a suspect in the incident was found and taken into custody, but ultimately was not identified and “received services.”

Here are some of the top stories in Alexandria this week:

  1. Customer Spits on Old Town Coffee Shop Owner and Vandalizes Store After Being Asked to Wear a Mask
  2. Muay Thai Champ Gets Racist Threats at Jones Point Park
  3. New Mixed-Use Development Sparks Frustration With Density in Parker-Gray Neighborhood
  4. ACPS Has No Comment on Chief Operating Officer’s Vocal Departure
  5. Man Charged With Multiple Misconduct Counts at Old Town Gas Station
  6. Power Outage Covers Potomac Yard and Parts of Del Ray
  7. Arlington-Based Fitness Studio Coming to Alexandria’s West End
  8. Old Town Garden-Style Apartments to Be Replaced by Multifamily Apartment Complex
  9. Here’s What’s Happening July 4 in Alexandria
  10. Update: Alexandria Now Has 2,380 COVID-19 Cases, No New Deaths
  11. Poor Business Revenue Amid Shutdown Leaves Alexandria Government With Empty Pockets

Photo via Abyssinia Market and Coffee House/Facebook

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Alexandria Police are investigating an assault that put an Alexandria minor with non-life-threatening injuries on June 3 in the Del Ray/Rosemont area.

The incident, which was first reported by the Alexandria Times, occurred at around 10 p.m. in the area of Russell Road and Rosecrest Avenue. The victim was jumped by two suspects while walking home from a friend’s house, according to Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine.

The victim is a member of the T.C. Williams High School varsity baseball team, according to The Times. He was reportedly driven to the hospital by his father.

The suspects did not have weapons and full descriptions of their appearances are not available. Nothing was stolen from the victim and the investigation is ongoing, Ballantine said.

File photo

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(Updated at 4:30 p.m. on June 9) Alexandria Police say that more than half of the crime increases in ALXnow’s recent report are attributable to larcenies from vehicles during the pandemic and 36 incidents at the Target store at 3101 Richmond Highway. 

“The 80% increase in larcenies at Target year-to-date (45 in 2019 vs. 81 in 2020) is because the store significantly increased their loss prevention staff in January 2020,” Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow. “This has helped identify more shoplifters, but it does not necessarily represent an increase in shoplifting.

Ballantine said the vehicle larcenies are primarily due to “owners leaving vehicles unattended for long periods of time while at home during the pandemic.”

He added that larcenies from buildings are down 19.2% year-to-date (167 in 2019, 135 in 2020). During the pandemic period alone (March to present), they are down 18.3% year-to-date (93 in 2019, 76 in 2020). 

Alexandria has experienced a double-digit percentage increase in crime over last year, according to data provided by the Alexandria Police Department to ALXnow.

While there have been no murders this year and aggravated assaults, rapes and robberies are down, there are noted increases in burglaries, larcenies and stolen vehicles.

Police are currently investigating a number of shooting incidents, including the March 31 shooting of a 17-year-old in what is believed to be a targeted attack, as well as a number of shots fired incidents.

As of June 6, there were 914 larcenies in the city, an increase of 119 incidents, or 15%, since last year. There were also 109 stolen vehicles, a 15% increase; and 46 burglaries, which is a 25% increase over last year.

While auto thefts increased this year, there were 18 vehicle thefts reported last month, which is a decrease from April, which saw 26 stolen vehicles, according to Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine.

Among the vehicles stolen between March 27 and April 26 were eight reported incidents of stolen mopeds or scooter vehicles in Alexandria, all of which remain under investigation, Ballantine said.

“All of these incidents occurred on a public highway, street, sidewalk or open access parking lots for apartment complexes,” police said in a search warrant affidavit.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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