Alexandria, VA

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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Morning Notes

High School Student Assaulted Walking Home — “The assault occurred near the intersection of Russell Road and Rosecrest Avenue in the Del Ray/Rosemont neighborhood. The victim was a member of the T.C. Williams High School baseball team.” [Alex Times]

Officers Complain of Toxic Work Culture at Alexandria Police Department — “There are employees, including some who resigned after allegedly being subjected to retribution, who blame Chief Michael L. Brown for establishing an environment without discipline or accountability, where misconduct is swept under the rug. They say that under Chief Brown’s leadership, problems have gotten worse, which has fueled retirements and resignations from the department.” [Alex Times]

Vigil for Victims of Police Brutality Tonight in Arlandria — “Let’s join in solidarity with our Black community. Please bring a candle, poster, or other tribute to honor the lives lost at the hands of police. We will gather in the parking lot behind TWU’s building at 3801 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. For everyone’s safety, please wear a face covering.” [Facebook]

fibrespace Gives May 31 Profits to ‘Innocence Project’ — ‘Thanks to your shopping, we sent almost a thousand dollars today to this incredible organization who is working to exonerate the innocent and reform our broken criminal justice system.” [Facebook]

George Mason Elementary Donates Books to Community Lodgings — “The principal, Mr. O., was so generous to collect the books and spread them around the lawn at Fifer so that families could select books while maintaining a safe distance from one another.” [Facebook]

Virtual Concert Saturday Benefiting Senior Services of Alexandria — “100 percent of your contributions to the Löwball virtual tip jar for our June 6th webcast will go to support SSA Meals on Wheels program.” [Facebook]

Wesley Housing Closes on Affordable Housing Near Huntington Metro — “Located at 2317 Huntington Avenue, The Arden will be a seven-story building at the intersection of Huntington Avenue and Biscayne Drive.” [Zebra]

New Job: Brand and Public Relations Specialist — “The Specialist, Brand and Public Relations is a core member of the SHRM Brand and Communication team with responsibilities to support national TV commercials, brand activations, PR campaigns and earned media to amplify SHRM’s thought leadership and reputation.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria Police are investigating an assault that occurred at the 24 Hour Express Food Store in Arlandria on Wednesday night.

Police received the call at around 9:15 p.m. and found a man with non-life threatening injuries. The victim was transported to The George Washington University Hospital and was conscious when he spoke to police, according to scene commander Sergeant Mark Blackwell.

“There were witnesses,” Blackwell told ALXnow, adding that the suspect has been identified, but not arrested.

Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine said that the victim received a cut on one of his hands.

What prompted the incident is unclear, and the incident occurred outside the shop. Shop management have also supplied police of security footage of the incident.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Morning Notes

City Hotlines Available to Stem Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault — “During a crisis like COVID-19, the risk for intimate partner and domestic violence increases. The City of Alexandria Sexual Assault Center and the Domestic Violence Program want survivors and victims to know they are not alone. Both programs are open during the COVID-19 health crisis, hotlines are available 24/7 and advocates are ready to listen and help.” [Facebook]

Gov. Northam Extends Executive Order by Two Weeks — “That means that gatherings of more than 10 people will remain banned, and entertainment and recreation and personal care businesses will remain closed, until at least May 8. In addition, restaurants are limited to carry-out or delivery orders only.” [Alexandria Living]

West End Business Association Hosting Online Happy Hour at 4 p.m. — “Each person will be able to give their one-minute introduction and should also answer two questions: 1) What do you have to offer that might help other businesses through these times? 2) As your own bartender, what cocktail (or mocktail) are you drinking?” [WEBA]

Alexandria Hospital Staff Working Out to Stay Healthy — “Dr. West leads a team of Inova Health System nurses in some quick exercises you can do throughout the day. Try 10 of each and increase as you can.” [Facebook]

Alexandria Library Offers Temporary Access to Rosetta Stone — “The award-winning interactive approach has been used by millions of learners around the world and now is accessible in the library–or anywhere, anytime. This vital resource includes 30 languages to meet a range of cultural interests. Learning is structured around core lessons to build reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills and also includes focused activities to refine grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and more.” [Zebra]

Restaurant Teams With Carpenter’s Shelter to Give 60 Families Meals — “We are committed to raising $600 weekly to provide meals for 60 local families every week over the next three months, at cost to us. This initiative helps us keep the lights on and provides badly needed hours for our employees! Donate today and become part of the solution!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Author Publishes Children’s Book — “Alexandria author J.R. Becker has a new children’s book coming out in June, called “This World Was Made for Me!” that deals with the environmental issues in an informative but whimsical way.” [Alexandria Living]

Office Assistant/Bookkeeper Job Available — “Join a small, stable IT consulting business where you can apply and expand your accounting, finance, and business operations skills. We are looking for a capable, proactive, detail-oriented person with a can-do attitude to support the day-to-day operations of our business. Excellent opportunity for growth as your capabilities develop.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria Police are searching for two suspects who assaulted and robbed a pizza delivery driver early Wednesday morning on the 6100 block of Edsall Road.

The driver had just finished delivering a pizza at around 1 a.m. and got to his car when he was approached by two unknown suspects. The victim, who is a male in his 50s, was punched in the face during the incident and his cash and car were stolen, according to APD spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine.

One suspect brandished a handgun during the incident, police said. No suspect descriptions are currently available.

The victim was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The incident occurred near a number of apartment complexes in the city’s West End and within walking distance of S. Van Dorn Street.

Image via Google Maps

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Aggravated assaults have increased every year for the last three years in Alexandria, and Police Chief Michael L. Brown said that his department is working on methods to reverse the trend.

“Some of these are happening behind the doors of residences in the city, and we’re trying to get a better understanding of that,” Brown told ALXnow. “We’re working with the Department of Community and Human Services to see what we can do to come up with a program that aligns city services with the need of individuals so that they don’t have to call 911 and we can do something else beforehand.”

In 2019, there was a 37% spike — 208 calls for service for aggravated assaults, compared to the 151 incidents in 2018, which itself was a 10.2% increase from 2017. That year saw an 11.4% increase from 2016. So far this year, there have been eight reported incidents, and the department will be releasing its annual report with final tallies in the coming weeks.

Brown, now in his third year leading the department, said that many of the incidents were caused by suspects who have had difficulty coping with stress at home. He also said that there is no specific hotspot for incidents in the city and that the crime is evenly distributed.

“What is troublesome to me and the police department is that so many of these things are domestic in nature,” he said. “These are people who are in or were in relationships, and it gets down to how that person was coping with that relationship which led to a 911 call because it turned into a crisis. We’re going to find a method for the city to  get the word out to folks to get help.”

Starting this month, the department is increasing its focus on community policing by placing officers in designated beats. That, Brown said, will allow officers to forge stronger relationships with communities and may help stem the tide of aggravated assaults.

“The expectation is that officers will stay within their beats and become a visible presence in the area — like the mailman,” Brown said. “So, you may find that there’s a particular set of high rises or area where officers are working with those communities to identify problems and try to deal with them before they become a 911 call.”

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Morning Notes

Temporary Parking Change for Rec Center — “Due to the closure of Chinquapin Road, parking for Chinquapin Park Recreation Center and Aquatics Facility and Chinquapin Park is being redirected to the parking garage at T. C. Williams High School (3330 King St.) on Thursday, December 26. Chinquapin Park Recreation Center and Aquatics Facility is open until 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 26 and all programs will take place as scheduled.” [City of Alexandria]

Assault Investigation in Landmark Area — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a felonious assault in the unit block of South Reynolds Street. The victim was transported to a local hospital. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]

Local Real Estate ‘Hits Pause’ in Nov. — “The number of sales in Alexandria dropped significantly from year-ago levels, down 25.8%, with the median selling price down 2.5% to $539,000.” [WTOP]

Alexandria Drug Dealer Sentenced — “An Alexandria man was sentenced in federal court to 20 years in prison for drug dealing that caused at least one overdose death. George Addae, 26, was sentenced for conspiring to distribute more than a kilogram of heroin related to heroin trafficking from 2016 to September 2018. Addae was also ordered to forfeit $100,000.” [Patch]

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