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Two Manassas men face multiple charges after allegedly stealing airbags from vehicles throughout the region, including 11 from the 4500 block of Strutfield Lane during the summer of 2022 (via Google Maps)

Two Manassas men arrested in November for allegedly stealing air bags in Arlington are also suspected of committing 11 similar acts in Alexandria, according to police.

The 43-year-old and 25-year-old suspects were arrested on Nov. 13 in Arlington and charged in connection with three airbag thefts committed that day. The suspects are also accused of 11 similar incidents in Alexandria between Aug. 25 and Oct. 31, 2022, according to a recently released search warrant affidavit.

The 11 incidents occurred in parking garages in the 4500 block of Strutfield Lane, in a West End residential area full of apartment complexes. Police obtained numerous videos of the two suspects smashing vehicle windows and removing airbags. The suspects allegedly drove a black Honda Civic with Virginia tags and a distinctive chrome dual exhaust — a detail that led to their eventual arrest.

In early November, a license plate reader hit on a black Honda Civic with the same tags in connection to a possible airbag theft in D.C., police said in the search warrant affidavit. The responding officer also noted the dual exhaust system of the vehicle.

The suspects were arrested on Nov. 13 after allegedly smashing the windows of three vehicles and stealing airbags in the 2100 block of Columbia Pike in Arlington. The 43-year-old suspect posted bond and the 25-year-old is being held without bond.

According to the Arlington County Police Department:

Upon a search of Suspect One incident to arrest, a glass breaking tool was located. Upon a search of the suspect vehicle, burglarious tools, a radar detector and air bags were recovered. [A suspect], 25, of Manassas, Va. was arrested and charged with Destruction of Property (x3), Tampering with Auto (x3), Grand Larceny (x2), Possession of Burglarious Tools, Possession of Stolen Items with the Intent to Sell, Conspiracy to Commit Larceny (x2), Carrying a Concealed Weapon and Possession of Radar Detector. [A suspect], 43, of Manassas, Va, was arrested and charged with Destruction of Property (x3), Tampering with Auto (x3), Grand Larceny (x2), Possession of Burglarious Tools, Possession of Stolen Items with the Intent to Sell and Conspiracy to Commit Larceny (x2).

Both suspects go to court for the offenses on Wednesday, Jan. 18.

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Alexandria Police lights (staff photo by James Cullum)

After a lengthy trial, a hung jury couldn’t reach a verdict against a 24-year-old California man accused of murdering a man in the West End in 2020, and the Commonwealth’s Attorney will retry the case in February.

On Thursday (Dec. 15), the jury remained deadlocked on whether Ahmed Mohammed Shareef should be charged with murder or manslaughter in the Nov. 2020 shooting death of 23-year old Yousef Omar. The jury did, however, find Shareef guilty of racketeering with 20 others for operating a drug trafficking organization between the D.C. Metro area and Los Angeles, California.

Shareef is claiming self-defense and pleaded not guilty to all charges. He will be retried for the murder charge on February 16, Alexandria’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter told ALXnow.

“The jury trial was extremely lengthy,” Porter said. “It started the very beginning of November, and was a six-week trial. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury convicted him of racketeering, but was unable to reach a verdict on the murder charge. The case has been continued to February 16.”

Sentencing is being withheld for the racketeering charges until the conclusion of the upcoming murder trial. Shareef faces life in prison for the murder charge and up to 40 years for the racketeering charge.

Omar was found shot multiple times in the driver’s seat of a 2016 silver Mercedes E350 on the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 17, 2020. A firearm was found near Omar’s body, as well as numerous shell casings, indicating that he fired at his attacker. A half-hour after the shooting, Shareef checked himself into Howard University Hospital with a gunshot wound, police said in a search warrant affidavit.

The investigation of the drug trafficking organization resulted in the arrest of 20 individuals, including Shareef, and the seizure of $500,000 worth of marijuana, nearly $275,000 in cash, 23 firearms, cocaine and other drugs, digital scales, money counters, fake identifications and a number of vehicles.

“The investigation also revealed that the likely motive (of the murder) was over an unresolved drug debt and potential interference by the victim to pry customers away from the (drug trafficking organization),” police said in a search warrant affidavit.

A witness told police that they saw Shareef and Omar in the Mercedes, parked across the street from the Newport Village apartment complex near Fort Ward Park.

The witness saw Shareef “exit the vehicle and proceed to shoot the victim multiple times as he sat in the driver’s seat, striking him multiple times,” according to the search warrant affidavit. “The suspect then ran to a waiting vehicle, entering the front passenger seat and fleeing the scene.”

The incident was the third and final homicide of 2020.

A police investigation determined that Shareef and his co-conspirators ferried marijuana from Los Angeles to the D.C. Metro area in large suitcases on commercial airliners. In many instances, the suspect who checked the baggage in California would not get on flights and the bags, with different names on identification tags, would be picked up by other suspects in Virginia. The marijuana in the luggage was found in vacuum-sealed bags.

“The method included top tier traffickers purchasing flights for individuals and packing large suitcases with other materials to conceal large quantities of marijuana, ensuring that the bag was checked approximately 50 minutes before the flight left and would often be picked up by different individuals at DCA (Washington Reagan International Airport) and IAD (Dulles International) airports in the Commonwealth,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

(The story previously said incorrectly that Shareef is defending himself. That is not accurate. He is instead claiming self-defense.)

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A 23-year-old Loudoun County man is being held without bond after allegedly eluding police, crashing into a semi-truck on Interstate 95 and ditching a stolen gun, weed and a safe into a nearby ravine.

The incident occurred on the rainy evening of Thursday, October 6, after police received an emergency call from an apartment in the 2400 block of Mandeville Lane in the city’s Carlyle neighborhood, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Police responded to a domestic incident inside the apartment. The victim said they were afraid for their safety during an altercation, and that the suspect had a gun. As the suspect walked out of the apartment, the argument went into the hallway and the victim was seen tugging on the suspect’s shorts and a black handgun was observed falling from the suspect’s waist and onto the floor, police said in the search warrant affidavit.

The suspect was also allegedly carrying a two-foot-square black safe, and was seen by police fleeing the area in a gray Honda Accord. Police followed him, and said that he drove erratically, and that he fled after they tried to initiate a traffic stop.

“The above-described vehicle ended up crashing into another vehicle on I-95 South at Exit Ramp 174,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

After the crash, the suspect got out of the Accord, and was seen throwing the safe into a ravine near the exit ramp. Police searched the area and found the closed safe, an ounce of marijuana in a plastic bag, a handgun and bullets — not yet sunken in the mud and within throwing distance. What was found inside the safe has not yet been made public.

The suspect was arrested shortly thereafter, and was found carrying $5,700 in cash. Police found that the gun was reported stolen by the Fairfax County Police Department, and that the suspect has been charged numerous times with felony possession with intent to distribute marijuana since 2017.

The suspect was charged with weapon possession by a convicted felon, domestic assault and battery, receipt of a stolen firearm, reckless driving, eluding police, and failing to use his headlights with his windshield wipers.

The suspect goes to court on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Via Google Maps

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A 23-year-old Alexandria man is being held without bond after allegedly pointing a handgun at his landlord in a West End apartment.

The incident occurred on the night of Sunday, September 18, in an apartment in the 2800 block of Seay Street.

The victim told police that his tenant, Khalil Gray, got into an argument with him at home. The victim told police that Gray has pointed the same gun at him multiple times during arguments over the last several months, and that Gray moved in when the victim’s son moved out of the apartment, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Gray was arrested on Monday, September 19, and charged with brandishing a firearm, assault and battery and two counts of violating a protective order. He goes to court for the offenses on November 28.

The apartment where the incident occurred is near Bishop Ireton High School and the intersection of Seay Street and Duke Street.

Via Google Maps

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A man acquitted by reason of insanity for a brutal stabbing death in Old Town has been ordered to stay off all social media except LinkedIn.

The news came Thursday afternoon, after 38-year-old Pankaj Bhasin was ordered by the Alexandria Circuit Court to stay off the websites after lying about himself and his whereabouts during a period that he was in prison for murder.

Bhasin was conditionally released from the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services in May — four years after stabbing 65-year-old Brad Jackson to death with a box cutter. Bhasin said that he thought Jackson was a werewolf, and stabbed him 53 times. He was conditionally released on May 27, 2022, after being diagnosed as bipolar by five doctors and found not guilty by reason of insanity in July 2019.

After his release, Bhasin opened a Facebook page where he listed that he was in India at the time of the murder, according to court records. He also created dating application profiles and wrote that he’d recently returned from traveling for two years.

“I’m an easy going adventurer who believes in a universal connection with all and love to explore n try new things,” Bhasin wrote on a dating app, according to the motion to amend the terms of his conditional release. “Also, recently getting back from two years of travel…”

Bhasin also wrote that he is interested in “travel, kayaking, dancing, photography, camping, reading, concert n all things fun,” and that he has an ENFP-A personality — someone who is extraverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving.

Bhasin’s attorney, Peter Greenspun, sent out a statement that Bhasin is “doing extremely well,” but did not discuss the decision of the court. He said that Bhasin is remorseful for Jackson’s death.

“Mr. Bhasin is not on any social media or dating sites,” Greenspun said. “He has and will continue to follow all of the directions of the City of Alexandria Circuit Court.”

A review hearing is scheduled for December to assess Bhasin’s release.

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Updated at 3 p.m. The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is hoping to limit access to the internet for a man acquitted for reason of insanity for a brutal stabbing death in Old Town.

Pankaj Bhasin, now 38, was conditionally released from the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services in May, nearly four years after killing 65-year-old Brad Jackson. Bhasin said that he thought Jackson — a complete stranger — was a werewolf, and used a box cutter to stab him 53 times. Bhasin was later diagnosed as bipolar by five doctors and was found not guilty by reason of insanity in July 2019. He was conditionally released in on May 27, 2022.

After his release, Bhasin opened a Facebook page where he listed that he was in India at the time of the murder, according to court records. He also created dating application profiles and wrote that he’d recently returned from traveling for two years.

“I’m an easy going adventurer who believes in a universal connection with all and love to explore n try new things,” Bhasin wrote on a dating app, according to the motion to amend the terms of his conditional release. “Also, recently getting back from two years of travel…”

Bhasin also wrote that he is interested in “travel, kayaking, dancing, photography, camping, reading, concert n all things fun,” and that he has an ENFP-A personality — someone who is extraverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving.

On Thursday (September 15), the Commonwealth’s Attorney will argue to amend Bhasin’s conditional release by either preventing him from using social media and online dating applications or installing software to allow the Community Services Board to monitor his activity.

“Given the violence involved in this case, our office is extremely concerned about the acquittee being in the community,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter told ALXnow. “We are trying to do everything wr can to ensure he is not in a position to commit further acts of violence.”

“Of particular concern, the acquittee appears to be actively engaged in deception regarding his recent history,” the Commonwealth said in its motion. “For example. he states that he has been ‘recently getting back from two years of travel and he appears to have created artificial check-ins to overseas locations, giving the impression that he was there during a period of time he was incarcerated and standing trial for murder.”

The motion continued, “In this case, because the acquittee may be meeting potential romantic partners while not only concealing, but actively lying about his recent history, those individuals may be put at risk during a period of time when the acquittee is first transitioning to the community. In light of the acquittee’s online conduct, public safety calls for modification of the terms of his release.”

Bhasin’s attorney, Peter Greenspun, said that Bhasin is “doing extremely well,” but did not discuss the Commonwealth’s motion to amend the conditions of his release.

“Mr. Bhasin has expressed his remorse for Mr. Jackson and those who knew him in every setting possible, including in his treatment,” Greenspun said in an email. “While those expressions may, understandably, not be enough for those who are suffering, it is sincere and constant, and has been an important part of his recovery.”

A review hearing is also scheduled for December to assess Bhasin’s release.

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Fredy Ortiz Dominguez, charged with involuntary manslaughter, photo courtesy Alexandria Sheriff’s Office

Maryland resident Fredy Ortiz Dominguez, 46, pleaded guilty to a felony count of involuntary manslaughter for the death of a pedestrian in Arlandria last November.

Dominquez was indicted in April in connection with the death of Roy Saravia Alvarez, a 46-year-old Alexandria resident killed after exiting a bus at the corner of Mount Vernon Avenue and West Glebe Road. Dominguez pleaded guilty in the Alexandria Circuit Court on July 28, according to a press release from the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

According to the release:

The investigation established that on the evening of November 13, 2021, Roy Saravia Alvarez exited a bus at the intersection of Mount Vernon Avenue and West Glebe Road in the City of Alexandria. He crossed West Glebe Road in the crosswalk. He completed crossing Glebe and began walking westbound on the sidewalk.

The defendant, Mr. Ortiz Dominguez, was the second car in line waiting to turn left from northbound Mount Vernon Avenue onto West Glebe Road. The car in front of the defendant completed the turn without incident, but the defendant took a wide turn and drove up onto the sidewalk, striking Mr. Saravia Alvarez from behind and pinning him underneath the vehicle.

For six minutes, the defendant pressed the gas pedal and rocked his work truck back and forth while the victim remained pinned underneath the vehicle. Onlookers attempted to get the defendant to stop, but he persisted in pressing the gas pedal until police arrived. Mr. Saravia Alvarez was freed from underneath the vehicle by the fire department within 10 minutes of arrival, but he had succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead on scene.

The release said that Dominguez was not under the effects of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash and Alvarez and Dominguez did not know each other before the crash.

“The cause for the collision remains undetermined,” the release said. “The sentencing hearing in the case will be held on September 15, 2022. The maximum penalty for Involuntary Manslaughter is ten years in the penitentiary. The defendant is incarcerated in the Alexandria Adult Detention Center awaiting sentencing.”

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Peter Laboy laughed as he talked about Kashif Bashir‘s sentencing.

It’s been nine years since Bashir shot Laboy, a former Alexandria Police officer, in the head in 2013. Bashir was later found not guilty by reason of insanity, and was conditionally released from prison in 2018. He was arrested the following year for setting the homes of his mental health providers on fire.

“Yeah, I feel justified,” Laboy told ALXnow. “It’s justice for me and all of his victims, all the social workers that tried to help him.”

On Thursday (July 21), Bashir was sentenced to life in prison plus 11 years for setting two houses on fire, setting a car on fire and illegally buying a handgun and silencer in 2019. Bashir pleaded guilty in January — on Laboy’s birthday.

“The victims were all women, and when they rejected him that’s when he set two houses on fire, bought a gun and started doing research on me, on where I lived,” Laboy said.

Bashir, a former taxi driver from Woodbridge, was stalking a woman when he shot Laboy on Feb. 27, 2013.

Bashir was sentenced by Prince William County Circuit Court Judge Carroll Weimer, Jr. — a former Alexandria Police officer. Weimer said that Bashir could not be rehabilitated, according to WTOP.

Bashir was sentenced to life or the arson charges, 10 years for being an insane person carrying a firearm and a year for lying on paperwork to buy a firearm. He was also fined $100 for having a tracking device.

Laboy was in the courtroom when Bashir was sentenced.

“Oh yeah, I was happy as hell,” Laboy said. “He’s never getting out of jail now.”

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Alexandria Police lights (Staff photo by James Cullum)

A 32-year-old Alexandria man is being held without bond after allegedly selling narcotics from various hotel rooms in Northern Virginia.

The series of events leading to the suspect’s arrest begins on February 20, 2022.

On that date, Alexandria Police were called to an apartment in the 5700 block of Dow Avenue for a 35-year-old man who was not breathing. The man’s 13-year-old son made the call, and led police to the bedroom, where they were unable to resuscitate him, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Police also questioned a person who was asleep in the bedroom with the man, and in the adjoining bathroom found a small plastic bag with “white powder inside, a spoon with baked white powder residue and a lighter,” according to the search warrant affidavit. The person told police that they bought the schedule I/II narcotics from the suspect and brought the drugs back to the apartment.

APD then discovered that the suspect’s fiancé died of a drug-related overdose on March 23, 2021, in Arlington County.

“During the investigation, (the suspect) admitted to obtaining the narcotics from an individual in Prince George’s County and sharing them with his fiancé before her overdose,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

Police conducted a sting operation in March in Fairfax County, and the suspect drove to the meet in a rental car and sold an unspecified amount of fentanyl to a police informant. The suspect’s rental car was found in the parking lot of a Motel Six in Dumphries on March 23, and then at a Days Inn on South Bragg Street in Alexandria on March 29.

On March 30, APD conducted a search of the suspect’s hotel room in Alexandria and found:

  • Multiple baggies of cocaine
  • Multiple baggies of suspected fentanyl
  • $529 in cash
  • A vise press with suspected narcotics
  • Multiple digital scales
  • Packaging and cutting materials
  • Suspected MDMA pills
  • Multiple cell phones

The suspect was arrested on March 30, charged with posession with intent to distribute schedule I/II narcotics (a felony) and then released on bond in May.

On June 14, the suspect met with his pretrial officer at the Alexandria jail, and was afterward seen getting into a vehicle with two other people and driving away. The suspect, who has a suspended driver’s license, was pulled over by police after parking for a long period in a nearby convenience store parking garage. Inside of the suspect’s vehicle, police found multiple baggies of a white powdery substance hidden in the roof lining, and then another plastic baggie with white powder in the  pocket of the back passenger seat, according to the search warrant affidavit.

In the backseat, the passenger told police that he’d met the suspect five days before, and that he had a drug problem and was trying to buy narcotics from the suspect, police said in the search warrant affidavit. Neither of the passengers were arrested, and the suspect said that the only items in the car that belonged to him were a bank card and his clothes, that he’d just left a pretrial meeting at the jail and was “going to sign up for treatment at a Fairfax substance abuse clinic shortly,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

“When advised that members of the Vice/Narcotics Unit had observed him use narcotics inside a parking garage and found discarded drug paraphernalia and his pretrial officer’s business card near the parking spot the vehicle had occupied, (the suspect) advised he didn’t realiz we had been watching him for such a long period of time,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

The suspect has been held without bond since the June 14 incident, although that case was dismissed for want of admissible evidence.

On July 13, the suspect’s March 30 arrest was certified to the grand jury as a felony possession with intent to distribute charge. He faces indictment in August, and between five and 40 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

In May, Alexandria warned of a spike in fentanyl-related opioid overdoses. There were 30 opioid overdoses in the first five months of 2022, with two confirmed fentanyl overdoses.

According to the City:

For life-threatening situations, call 9-1-1 immediately. If you have information regarding the illegal sale of opioids or other drugs, please call the Alexandria Police Department at 703.746.6277.

If you or someone you care about needs help, please call 703.746.3400 to speak with staff at the Department of Community and Human Services. Treatment for opioid use can be accessed by calling the City’s Opioid Treatment Program intake line at 703.746.3610 and detox services can be accessed by calling 703.746.3636. Additional treatment options can be found at samhsa.gov or by calling 800.662.HELP (4357).

The City also encourages residents to dispose of expired or unneeded medications.  Several medication disposal boxes are located throughout the City.

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A 21-year-old Alexandria man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the Sept. 30, 2020, murder of John Pope in the West End.

On June 30, Tavon Marquis Lanier was sentenced to 73 years in prison — with all but 20 years suspended — for his convictions of second-degree murder, two counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony, grand larceny and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

When released from prison, Lanier will be on supervised probation for 10 years.

Pope was shot to death on Sept. 30 at his home in the 5900 block of Quantrell Avenue in the Mayflower Square apartment complex. He later died at the hospital. It was the second murder (of three) that occurred in Alexandria in 2020.

“The investigation showed that on September 30, 2020, Lanier shot and killed John Pope in his apartment located on Quantrell Avenue while attempting to steal prescription drugs lawfully prescribed to Pope,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said in a release. “After the shooting, Lanier took the prescription drugs and made good his escape.”

Lanier was released on bond just eight days before Pope was killed. He was arrested on Sept. 22 for for allegedly breaking into his girlfriend’s apartment, stalking and threatening her and was released on bond by the magistrate’s office.

Lanier is held at the Alexandria Adult Detention Center and will be transferred to the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Photo via Facebook

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