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An Alexandria man was arrested last month for a half dozen petit larceny incidents where packages were stolen from the front doors of homes in Old Town.

The 56-year-old suspect, who lives in the West End, was arrested on October 1 and released on $2,000 bond the following day. He was charged with six counts of petit larceny for incidents that go back as far as February.

On August 18, at around 1:30 p.m., a woman reported that the suspect walked up to her front door in the 500 block of Gibbon Street in Old Town and removed a package with $60 of merchandise from her property, according to a search warrant affidavit. The victim told police that the suspect fled with an accomplice in an older model beige-colored Toyota Camry.

Police tracked down the car and its owner, who filled the description of the suspect, according to the affidavit.

Using footage from homes using the Ring video doorbell surveillance system, police found the following similar incidents:

  • $50 worth of food items stolen on February 23, 2021 in the 500 block of N. Pitt Street
  • $250 sleep apnea machine stolen from the unit block of Cockrell Avenue on July 9
  • A pair of $39.95 sneakers were stolen from the 5000 block of Donavan Drive on July 9
  • $393.17 worth of electrical lighting fixtures were stolen from the 500 block of N. Patrick Street on August 26
  • $74 worth of delivered food was stolen from the 500 block of N. Patrick Street on August 26
  • $52 worth of delivered food was stolen from 125 S. Payne Street on September 6

After police seized the property, the suspect repeatedly called the investigating officer and asked for a return of the stolen merchandise.

The suspect goes to court on December 20.

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A Fairfax County man was arrested and released multiple traffic offenses in Old Town on Oct. 10, including driving while intoxicated, driving under a revoked/suspended license and two counts of failing to stop at the scene of an accident.

The 59-year-old suspect allegedly hit three vehicles and drove off while attempting to park in front of The Light Horse Restaurant at 715 King Street, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Restaurant staff told the suspect that he could not park there, and he then returned to The Light Horse after parking elsewhere.

“I was just standing here across the street watching this guy smashing cars trying to park and then drive away,” a witness told ALXnow.

“I arrived on scene at the Light Horse… and was advised that the subject had walked into the bar,” police said in the affidavit, adding that the suspect did not remember where he parked his car.

This is the suspect’s third DWI and he goes to court on November 11.

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An 28-year-old Arlington man is being held without bond after allegedly strangling and physically assaulting his live-in girlfriend in the Van Dorn Plaza Shopping Mall parking lot.

Alexandria Police officers responded to Inova Fairfax Hospital on September 8, where they interviewed the victim, who had injuries to her face and arms, including “swelling to her forehead, nose, shoulders, forearms and left wrists… bruises to her left leg and swelling to the back of her head,” police said in a search warrant affidavit.

Obaidah Nasir Fareed was arrested on October 18 and charged with two counts of strangling a family/household member and two counts of domestic assault and battery.

The victim told police that the incident occurred in the parking lot at 299 South Van Dorn Street. She said that the suspect “pushed her head into a pillar between the front and rear passenger side door (of a car), delivered several clenched fist punches to (the victim’s) forehead, nose, jab, and torso,” according to the warrant. “He then climbed on top of her and wrapped his arm around her neck in a choke hold fashion.”

The victim told police that she could not breathe for four seconds. After she was freed, she said that the suspect left to go to the bathroom and that she then called police and drove herself to the hospital.

Via Google Maps

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An argument over marijuana was behind the Oct. 10 shooting of a juvenile on the roof of an Arlandria apartment building, according to court records.

A 17-year-old Alexandria male was arrested five days later, transported to the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center and charged with malicious wounding, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and possession of a firearm by a juvenile. The suspect is a student at Alexandria City High School, according to the affidavit.

The victim, who does not live in the building, told police that he was hanging out with three other people and was invited to come smoke marijuana on the roof of the 14-story apartment building, according to a search warrant.

The group was using a vape pen to smoke concentrated THC, and the victim then allegedly took the vape pen and refused to give it back. He told police that the suspect then allegedly brandished a small black handgun and began chasing the suspect around the roof.

“[The victim] made it to the roof access door for the stairwell, where [the victim] attempted to secure the door with [the victim’s] body,” the police said in the warrant. “[The suspect] was able to push the door open just enough to fit his arm inside and fired one round from the firearm, which struck [the victim] in the left arm and left side.”

The victim then told police that everyone, including the suspect, fled from the roof, past the victim and down the stairwell. The victim went from the stairwell to the 14th-floor hallway of the apartment building and cried out that he was shot until residents heard him and called police, according to the affidavit. The victim was transported to George Washington University Hospital and released the same day.

On the day he was arrested, the suspect was found with several males and a female in the boiler room of an apartment building in the same block where he lives with his parents. Police found a handgun on the suspect with an “obliterated” serial number. Later, when police interviewed the suspect’s mother in their apartment, the investigating officer observed two magazines for firearms on a television stand, and that one of them was an extended magazine loaded with ammunition.

The suspect told police that he was in Maryland at the time of the incident, that he heard about the shooting on Twitter and denied any involvement. His story quickly changed, however, when police explained information learned during the investigation.

“[The suspect] stated he was with three to four other friends when they went to the roof of the building to smoke marijuana,” police said in the affidavit. “He stated he brought his firearm with him and his friends were playing with it. He stated when the firearm was given back to him, he went to put it away when the firearm discharged.”

The suspect then told police that he heard through a mutual friend that the victim was shot, and that he told the mutual friend to tell the victim that the shooting was an accident.

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Virginia State Police pursuing a vehicle on I-395 (photo via Dave Statter/Twitter)

Two Maryland juveniles have been arrested and face several charges after leading Virginia State Police on a high-speed chase that ended in a crash at the I-395 and Seminary Road interchange on Wednesday afternoon (October 27).

According to a release put out by the Virginia State Police, the chase started at around 2:30 p.m. after an Infiniti was clocked doing 89 mph in a 55 mph zone and displaying a fake temporary registration tag.

“The trooper activated his emergency lights and sirens to initiate a traffic stop for speeding, but the driver of the Infiniti refused to stop,” the Virginia State Police said. “Instead, it cut across all four lanes of travel in an attempt to elude the trooper. A pursuit was initiated.”

The release said the Infiniti exited Interstate 395 at Duke Street and continued west toward Beauregard Street, then returned to northbound I-395 where it changed lanes while allegedly going at 115 mph. During one lane change at Seminary Road, the drivers lost control of the car and it struck a Honda Civic and a Jersey wall.

The driver of the Honda, a 29-year-old man from Fredericksburg, was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries from the crash. the drivers of the Infiniti were arrested and also taken to a hospital.

“The 17-year-old male driver from Capitol Heights, Maryland and the 17-year-old male passenger from Prince George, Maryland were taken into custody,” the release said. “Two loaded handguns and prescription narcotics were recovered at the scene. Both juveniles were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the crash.”

The driver of the Infiniti has been charged with reckless driving, improper registration, one felony count of eluding police, failure to maintain control, and a series of felony possession charges. The passenger is also facing felony firearm possession charges along with narcotics charges.

Part of the incident was captured on a traffic camera video and shared by public safety watchdog Dave Statter.

The incident followed another pursuit a few days earlier where both driver and passenger died in a crash. The pursuit started with speeding and a claim from a dispatcher that the vehicle was stolen, which later turned out to be false. Whether or not Virginia State Police should have broad authorization to engage in pursuits has been an issue of some debate.

Photo via Dave Statter/Twitter

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Metal detectors are not being considered at Alexandria City Public Schools.

After a rocky start to the school year with multiple students caught bringing weapons to Alexandria City High School, the issue has been publicly raised more than a few times in recent weeks.

In the October 12 City Council meeting where school resource officers were returned to ACHS, George Washington Middle School and Hammond Middle School, City Councilman John Taylor Chapman asked School Board Chair Meagan Alderton and Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr., about metal detectors.

“It hurts to think that we have to have metal detectors in our schools, because we’ve never had to have them,” replied Alderton. “How many entrances would we have to have… It doesn’t feel right.”

Violent incidents have overshadowed the school year so far, including a recent shooting of a student down the street from ACHS at the McDonald’s at the Bradlee Shopping Center, a student being arrested with a gun on ACHS grounds, a student being arrested with a knife at ACHS, a firecracker incident that led to the evacuation of a football game, brawls inside ACHS and George Washington Middle School and more.

Ricardo Roberts, a District B candidate for the School Board, made an impassioned plea for metal detectors to the Board in last week’s public comment period. It wasn’t the first time that Roberts has pressed the Board on the issue, and he promised it would not be the last.

“The metal detectors deter kids from continuing to bring in knives and guns and weapons into our school,” Roberts said, adding that it was he who asked Chapman to bring up the subject at the Oct. 12 meeting.

Hutchings said he does not support metal detectors, although the school system’s safety and security team are exploring various options within school facilities.

Mo Canady, president of the National Association of School Resource Officers, doesn’t think metal detectors are the answer. He also said that anyone who didn’t think there would be an increase in violence and student mental health issues coming into this school year “had their heads in the sand somewhere.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind, and common sense should tell us all this, that law enforcement presence deters criminal activity,” Canady said. “The problem with metal detectors is that they provide a false sense of security.”

Canady continued, “You’ve got to make sure that you’re hiring highly capable people to manage those metal detectors. Those detectors need to be constantly maintained, and your people need to be constantly trained and updated. Also, these metal detectors are probably going to be at the primary entrance. What about all the other perimeter doors of the school building? I’ve been around school buildings that have 100+ perimeter doors. What’s to stop someone from opening the door for someone else to bring something in, and I’ve been around schools all over the country. This goes on all day long. Kids, even teachers are constantly opening those perimeter doors.”

A 2019 study by the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center found that, “metal detectors may provide a visible response to concerns about school safety, (but) there is little evidence to support their effectiveness at preventing school shootings or successfully detecting weapons at schools.”

The study found, by looking beyond schools to airport security, that some airports had fail rates as high as 95% on screening checks for weapons.

“On the whole, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) averaged around 80 percent in failing to identify weapons during metal detector searches that same year,” the study concluded.

Alexandria could likely get partial state funding to pay for metal detectors via School Security Equipment Grants. Last year, the state awarded $12 million to 489 schools, including $250,000 to Alexandria for security upgrades at Cora Kelly Elementary School, George Washington Middle School, Naomi L. Brooks Elementary School, William Ramsay Elementary School and Alexandria City High School. In years past, the grants also funded metal detectors in public schools throughout Virginia.

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This week saw possibly the most contentious meeting between the City Council and School Board in years for a debate over School Resources Officers that ultimately culminated in the Council voting to temporarily restore the program. The reversal has been advocated by school officials and some parents, but was lamented by advocacy group Tenants and Workers United that saw it as a step-backward for racial justice.

The following day, ACPS was also hit with lockdowns at Alexandria City High School’s King Street and Minnie Howard campuses and Hammond Middle School, though police later said initial calls about a school shooting were unfounded. At the same time, a gas leak near Potomac Yard led to two homes being evacuated and the temporary closure of Richmond Highway.

Here are this week’s most-read stories.

Top Stories

  1. Man injured and juvenile arrested after fight at the McDonald’s in Bradlee Shopping Center
  2. In dramatic reversal, City Council brings back school resource officers to Alexandria City Public Schools
  3. Planned bus rapid transit route from Alexandria to Tysons rolls ahead
  4. Alexandria City High School on lockdown after anonymous threat
  5. Police: Call about shooting at Hammond Middle School unfounded
  6. City rethinks waterfront flood mitigation plans after seeing the price tag
  7. Tenants and Workers United upset by City Council restoration of school resource officer program
  8. City Council to consider swapping parking for ‘parklets’
  9. Man attempts to steal $1,850 in merchandise from Restaurant Depot with discarded receipt
  10. Project crowdsourcing Alexandria history aims to go nationwide next year
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A man was unsuccessful in trying to walk out of the Restaurant Depot on Eisenhower Avenue with $1,851.73 using a discarded receipt, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

The incident at the store at 4600 Eisenhower Avenue occurred in August, and the suspect has not been arrested. He “passed all the points of sale without purchasing the store merchandise,” police said in a search warrant.

Restaurant Depot management gave APD security footage of the suspect picking up a discarded receipt out of a trash can and then presenting it to security staff at the exit of the store, police said.

“The suspect was questioned regarding the authenticity of the receipt, at which (time) the suspect immediately left the merchandise inside the store and walked to his vehicle,” police said in the search warrant.

The suspect was then captured driving away in a black SUV with DC license plates.

Restaurant Depot wants to follow through with prosecution if the suspect is arrested, police said.

Via Google Maps

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After significant outcry from a school system concerned about weapons in schools, the Alexandria City Council took a dramatic 4-3 vote around 1 a.m. this morning (Wednesday) to temporarily return school resource officers (SROs) to two middle schools and Alexandria City High School until the end of this school year.

Councilman John Taylor Chapman was the lone vote to reverse course, going against Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker and Councilmen Canek Aguirre and Mo Seifeldein, who voted to keep away SROs.

“I’ve seen the smile of kids that do not fear adults in school, whether that’s law enforcement or not, and that’s what we can do,” Chapman said. “I would challenge all of us to see that future and make that change.”

SROs are police officers assigned to Alexandria’s high school and middle schools. The program started in 1997. Unlike security staff, which remain at the schools, SROs carry weapons and can fulfill the regular duties of a police officer. The SRO program has been under scrutiny for years, particularly after an officer fired his weapon in George Washington Middle School, but the push to remove police officers from schools ramped up after nationwide protests against police brutality last year.

School Board Chair Meagan Alderton and Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. said that the school year so far has been punctuated by violent incidents, including a recent shooting of a student at the McDonald’s at the Bradlee Shopping Center, a student being arrested with a gun on ACHS grounds, a student being arrested with a knife at ACHS, a firecracker incident that led to the evacuation of a football game, brawls inside ACHS and George Washington Middle School and more.

“Fighting is really not the reason why we need school resource officers in our school buildings,” Hutchings said. “We are not trained to deal with guns or violence or gang initiation, or things of that nature in our school buildings.”

Alexandria City High School Executive Principal Peter Balas begged Council to bring back SROs, and said that students are literally sending warning shots. He also said that gang initiations with fighting are taking place. Balas said that many of his 4,370 students have been traumatized by the pandemic and social/political upheavals over the last couple of years.

“Our students are sending us warning shots, literal warning shots,” Balas said. “My staff, the students, we’re not okay.”

City Councilman Mo Seifeldein introduced the measure in May, redirecting $800,000 from the SRO program toward student mental health resources. Seifeldein said he was heartbroken by Council’s latest decision.

“I am truly heartbroken, I think for the first time, about a discussion in our city,” Seifeldein said. “I cannot emphasize enough how sensitive this discussion is, and the way this has been discussed… has not been the best way of presenting it to the public. I am heartbroken, but I am looking forward to the path my colleagues have worked so hard on charting.”

Councilman Canek Aguirre acknowledged that Council’s May decision was messy and that he was dismayed and frustrated by the position. Aguirre wanted more data from the school system to show a direct correlation between the SROs being gone and an increase in violence, and said that it can also be the result of a shared school-wide lunch period at ACHS, a staffing shortage and security officers not doing their jobs.

“My issue here is that you are trying to draw a direct correlation between the removal of SROs and everything else that’s been going on,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre said much of the blame for how the situation ended up lay on the School Board, which he accused of not properly planning for the removal of SROs.

“I’m dismayed and frustrated that we’re even in this position,” Aguirre said. “Schools knew that with the new lunch period and everything that was going to happen we were going to have problems. Instead of getting new bodies into the building, they decided to pay for overtime for police officers, which is time and a half. Instead of coming to Council and saying, ‘You guys made your decision, we really need these additional bodies, we’re having trouble finding the money now before the school year starts,’ I would have said ‘Yes, 100%. City manager, get that money ready.'”

Councilwoman Amy Jackson said she’s been calling for the reinstatement of SROs since the defunding decision was made in May.

“[The schools] have asked for help and it is our job to help,” Jackson said.

The decision to restore SROs to schools came near the end of a six-hour City Council meeting, where the SRO decision took up much of the discussion. The meeting also laid bare tensions not just between the City Council and the School Board, but between various members of the City Council. When Hutchings said he would go back and rewatch the discussion, Mayor Justin Wilson urged him not to waste his time.

“I’ve been up here 11 years I can’t think of a bigger waste of my time than the last three hours,” Wilson said. “I thought we were going to have a productive conversation about how we move forward in our community about a problem we’re hearing about from far too many people in our community about, frankly on both sides of the SRO decision. We had a discussion where we’re all trying to score points on an issue decided in the spring. I’m sorry that we had to do this, quite honestly.”

Wilson called the process “horrific” and shames the city’s leadership.

“This is not the way we collaborate with another elected body,” Wilson said. “This is not the way we collaborate with staff, this is not the way we collaborate with the police. This sucks. What person would watch this meeting tonight and say ‘this is the school system I want to send my schools to’ that’s governed by this relationship? This is horrible. This is absolutely horrible.”

Vernon Miles contributed to this story

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An adult male was injured and a juvenile arrested last week after a fight at the McDonald’s at the Bradlee Shopping Center.

The incident occurred at around 2:20 p.m. on Tuesday, October 5. The victim was treated for injuries at the scene.

“A juvenile suspect was taken into custody,” APD Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “Officers are still looking for several other suspects. It remains an active investigation.”

The incident follows the September 21 shooting of a juvenile at that same McDonald’s, which is a short distance from Alexandria City High School.

Via Google Maps

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