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A male suspected of breaking into a locker at a gym in the Carlyle area and going on a spending spree has been on the run for more than a year-and-a-half.

The incident at OneLife Fitness occurred on December 1, 2019. The victim told police that he locked his belongings with a Swiss turnstile lock, and returned 40 minutes later to find the lock gone and the locker empty. Among the items stolen were a $100 duffel bag, a sterling silver money clip, cash, credit cards, his driver’s license, and car and house keys, according to police.

Just 20 minutes after he found the empty locker, the victim was notified that someone tried to buy something worth $2,500 at the Pentagon City Fashion Center. That payment was declined, and the suspect then used another credit card, which went through. The suspect then used another card to make a $1,900 purchase at an Apple Store, and then tried to spend more than $800 at a Footlocker store, but that payment was declined.

The suspect checked into OneLife Fitness using the name David Thomas, which was also the name the suspect gave to Footlocker employees, according to police.

Police secured warrants for the suspect on December 15, 2020, which is more than a year after the incident. Using phone records, police determined that the suspect made outgoing calls from the gym as well as in Pentagon City, and that the suspect also made multiple calls to his mother.

Police have made contact with the suspect three times via phone, but he “was not compliant with the option to turn himself in for the warrants,” according to a search warrant affidavit. “The whereabout of (the suspect) are unknown at this time.”

The most recent contact was made with the suspect last month, according to a search warrant affidavit.

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What a busy week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

Alexandria City Public Schools reopened their doors to full-time in-person instruction on Tuesday, and there have been a few hiccups. On Friday, we published a video taken of a brawl inside Alexandria City High School, and a teenager was hit by a car while walking home from school in Del Ray on Thursday.

This week was dominated by crime stories, although other big events occurred, such as the City breaking ground on a new broadband network.

In our poll this week, we asked if readers agree with a proposed 5 cent tax on plastic bags. Out of more than 900 votes, 62% said it shouldn’t be implemented and 38% said it should.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Alexandria man arrested for beating up ex-girlfriend in Old Town North
  2. Fox put George Washington Middle School into a lock-in today
  3. Design realities could conflict with promises to speed up stormwater improvements in Alexandria
  4. City breaks ground on new broadband network
  5. Poll: Do you support the proposed 5 cent plastic bag tax?
  6. This Alexandria gym manager went rogue and launched a personal training business
  7. Alexandria kicks off Restaurant Week tomorrow
  8. Alexandria sees huge spike in COVID-19 cases in August, another death
  9. Poll: Have you been impacted by flooding in Alexandria?
  10. New Normal: ACPS fully reopens for first time since pandemic started
  11. Evolving COVID-19 decisions loom as Alexandria City Public Schools fully reopen next Tuesday

Have a safe weekend!

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Melissa Graves calls CrossFit her medicine.

Last year, though, she was forced to shut down her brick and mortar gym, CrossFit MVA at 1712 Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray. Graves and her team of a half dozen coaches kept the ship afloat with Zoom workouts, as members who stuck it out took home weight sets and medicine balls from the gym.

“It felt like a year, but it was probably only three months that we were out of this space,” Graves told ALXnow. “Even now I’m counting every day, one day at a time until we can function somewhat like normal.”

Graves says most of her clients are vaccinated against COVID-19, and those who aren’t are asked to wear face masks during the high-intensity workouts. Those workouts include weightlifting, rowing and gymnastics, and are alternately conducted inside the gym and in an outdoor tented area in the parking lot.

“I don’t like change, and I’ve never been a person that likes change,” Graves said “Being adaptable when those big changes were thrown at me really helped me to grow as a business owner and personally.”

A former Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter, the 44-year-old Graves started was introduced to CrossFit in 2008. She opened CrossFit MVA in 2014, and is personally ranked 86th worldwide and 63rd in the U.S. for her age group.

“When I discovered CrossFit, it literally became my medicine,” she said. “I got off antidepressants, I started eating better, I slept better, my mood changed. I was just a different person, like it literally my whole life and my personality.”

Graves continued, “The pandemic was just so tough on people mentally. So having us as an outlet every day for 45 minutes was huge for them, and I’ve heard from countless members tell me that if it wasn’t for these workouts that they don’t know what they would have done.”

Graves increased the monthly fee for members by $5 to make up for the additional space needed for six-foot distancing for athletes inside the box. It costs $235 for unlimited access to the gym, $210 for three workouts per week, and $185 for two workouts per week.

Nervous about CrossFit? Don’t worry if you’re not in great shape, Graves said.

“When people show up for a trial class, they see that there’s all different kinds of people in the gym,” she said. “Some people maybe are getting ready for a triathlon, there might be someone else who’s never worked out before, maybe a mom who just decided that she wanted to start CrossFit in her 40s. We have just everyone from every walk of life, and usually when people take a trial class they feel pretty comfortable.”

Courtesy Facebook

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Morning Notes

Jollibee to open first Alexandria restaurant — “The Filipino chicken restaurant Jollibee is bringing its signature Chickenjoy to Alexandria. Jollibee will open in Lincolnia at the intersection of Beauregard Street and Little River Turnpike. The building was previously occupied by Boston Market. Jollibee has about 40 restaurants in the United States — primarily in California — and more than 1,300 restaurants worldwide.” [Alexandria Living]

Bishop Ireton seniors win honors — “Congratulations to senior Mary Kate Mull who was named the Commonwealth of Virginia Young Woman of the Year by the Knights of Columbus! She is the first BI student to win this statewide prestigious honor. Mary Kate and senior Critter Johnson were named Young Woman and Young Man of the Year by the Knights of Columbus, Fitzgerald Council #459. Seniors Madeleine Klunder and Aidan Fedorochko received the same honors from the Knights of Columbus, Springfield Council #6153. Bravo to these amazing students!” [Facebook]

Gastropub ‘Old Hat Bar’ opens May 21 at the Former King Street Blues location — “Anticipating their opening for almost two years, friends and business partners, Jack Caminos and Tim Prosser are looking forward to introducing Old Town to Old Hat Bar Friday, May 21. Newly renovated 112 N. Saint Asaph Street, the former King Street Blues location, has kept some of the booths and has refinished the original bars along with adding their own artistic style to the location.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Mostly cloudy (during the day). High around 75F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph… Mostly cloudy (in the evening). Low near 55F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Child watch attendant –– “The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington is one of the largest charities in the DC area. The Y serves as an anchor in the community offering programs and services encompassing youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.” [Indeed]

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A new fitness studio is opening in the West End on Saturday, October 10.

E60 Fitness, which has had a location in Rosslyn since 2017, will formally open its doors to the public with a grand opening at its newest location in the West Alex project at King and Beauregard Streets.

The new space is 3,200 square feet and is located next to the new Silver Diner, the soon-to-open Rush Cycle, Sushi Jin and Harris Teeter.

The gym, which focuses on high intensity workouts and nutrition services, was founded by Doug Frantzen, a former Virginia Tech wrestler and fitness consultant.

E60 Fitness will offer free trials and discounts on monthly memberships at the grand opening.

Book Your Next Workout | E60 Alexandria Coming Soon! – https://mailchi.mp/008427d620ab/fit-tips-hrmonitoring-1768030

Posted by E60 Fitness – Arlington on Sunday, September 27, 2020

Courtesy photo

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Morning Notes

Missing Man Found and Returned Home — “Mr. Walter ‘George’ Winstead has returned home safe and without incident.” [Facebook]

Beyer Says Trump Colluded With Russians — “The Trump campaign was offered Russian government assistance. The Trump campaign sought Russian government assistance. The Trump campaign received Russian government assistance. Trump campaign personnel coordinated efforts with Russian intelligence operatives and Wikileaks.” [Twitter]

Social Justice Walk Passing Through Alexandria on Thursday — “Join Pastor Juli and people of faith who began walking for racial justice from Charlottesville to DC last week when they arrive in Alexandria Thursday afternoon.” [Facebook]

E60 Fitness to Open Gym in Alexandria — “Alexandria’s West End residents are getting a new fitness option! E60 is opening in September.” [Alexandria Living]

GET AIR Trampoline Park Bounces Back Into Business — “The park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to provide a safe and fun environment for families to get out of the house and enjoy time together.” [Zebra]

Escape Room Live Reopening in Old Town on August 28 — “Feel the rush of adventure! A safe, PRIVATE, immersive, and FUN experience. We are committed to the health and safety of our community, guests, and team members and will be going above and beyond to ensure everyone has a safe ESCAPE!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Partly cloudy in the morning followed by scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. High around 90F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%. In the evening, mostly clear skies. Low 72F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Chief of Staff — “Islamic Relief USA is seeking a Chief of Staff to provide leadership support to the CEO by being a strategic partner focused on communications, policy development, management and oversite to enhance efficiency and create the capacity necessary for the CEO to focus on the most critical aspects of the CEO’s job. The Chief of Staff will serve as the primary point of contact for internal and external stakeholders on all matters pertaining to the CEO.” [Indeed]

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An Alexandria climbing gym is surviving by its fingertips amid a slow recovery.

“We are talking about a year of survival,” said Sportrock spokesperson Sean Taft-Morales, “not a year of thriving.”

Sportrock is a climbing gym that boasts the tallest indoor rock climbing surface in the Mid-Atlantic. The gym has been located in the city since 1996 and has been part of a small enclave of western Eisenhower businesses that had been thriving before the pandemic.

The gym closed voluntarily before the governor’s order, with Taft-Morales saying the gym’s leadership felt it was unsafe to remain open. The gym was fortunate enough to not have to lay anyone off through the shutdown, but the slow recovery did lead to the first layoffs last month.

The gym’s survival this far has been owed largely to their community, Taft-Morales said.

“We’ve always been a very community focused gym, that’s one of the pillars of our model,” he said. “We’ve been here since the 90s, we’re not new, and it’s still locally owned and operated. Our connection with membership… that really came through for us. Not to the extent that we’re not feeling the financial effects, but had a number of members keep their memberships active through the pandemic and that helped.”

The gym reopened about a month and a half ago, but with heavy restrictions. The plan was, Taft-Morales said, to reopen more gradually over the summer, but those plans seem to have been overly optimistic as the city, and state, have remained at the same level of reopening.

“It’s a huge space,” Taft-Morales said. “According to regulations, we could have something like 350 people in the space. They’re just doing a percentage of your occupancy, which just seems totally nuts. We’re doing voluntary cap of 75 customers at a time.” Read More

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Rosslyn-based gym E60 Fitness announced yesterday (Sunday) that the business is planning to open a second location this summer at West Alex — a new apartment at 3445 Berkeley St.

The gym will occupy 3,200 square feet of the new building, which is scheduled to open this summer. An employee at E60 fitness said the company is tentatively eyeing a September opening.

E60 is described in the press release as a circuit training-style program that combines functional, cardio, and weight training.

“A dedicated and certified fitness expert will guide you through our workout, which changes daily to keep the body guessing and prevent plateau,” the press release said. “At E60 you will build a better, stronger, healthier long-term body.”

The building will also have a 62,000 square foot Harris Teeter and a Silver Diner.

Photo via E60/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Large Income Disparities in Alexandria — “White Alexandria is pulling in significantly more money than Hispanic workers and African Americans, according to numbers from the United States Census Bureau. A look at average income shows non-Hispanic whites make more than $85,000 a year. That’s more than three times the average income for Hispanic workers, $24,000, and more than twice the average income for black workers, $37,000.” [Gazette]

Water Taxi Returns to Old Town — “A face mask requirement and other safety measures are in place for the limited water taxi service.” [Patch]

Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden Hosting Juneteenth Trivia Night — “It’s long been on our calendar to celebrate Juneteenth – marking the legal end of slavery in the United States on June 19th, 1865 – with a trivia night that explores African American culture. We hope you’ll join us on Zoom this Friday night for this special evening! Tickets are FREE, but an optional donation will be split between us, Carlyle House Historic Park, and ALIVE. Pre-registration at our Eventbrite page is required.” [Facebook]

NVTA Recommends Full Funding for Duke Street Transitway — “The Duke Street Transitway was the City of Alexandria’s only request to the NVTA and the cost is estimated at $87 million. Alexandria received $12 million already, so this funding request is for the remaining $75 million.” [Alexandria Living]

North Potomac Yard Virtual Meeting at 7 p.m. — “The Virginia Tech Foundation and JBG SMITH is hosting virtual community meetings to provide information on the design of the proposed buildings and site-wide updates.” [City of Alexandria]

Casa Chirilagua Hosting Fundraiser Sunday — “Casa Chirilagua is a local community nonprofit serving the Central American Latinx community in City of Alexandria zip code 22305 – a hot spot for COVID-19. Because of the health and economic conditions, demand for Casa Chirilagua’s services has become enormous.” [Facebook]

‘Ascend Cycle’ Hosting Virtual Pride Ride — “A $15 minimum donation is requested for this event. 100% of proceeds will be donated. Sign up for the ride online and we’ll text you the Zoom code before class!” [Facebook]

YMCA Reopens in Del Ray — “Your local YMCA at 420 East Monroe Avenue is back in business. It opened for the first time in months this past Monday, June 15, along with the Arlington location. The Y is following a phased approach to reopening so you will see differences when you visit.” [Zebra]

New Job: Assistant Center Manager — “Mathnasium is a highly dynamic and fast-paced and is known for the great care we take with our students and employees alike… We’re looking for an Assistant Center Manager to assist at both our Alexandria City and Mount Vernon centers. The pay range we’re offering is $16-$18/hour depending on center performance.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Tenants and Workers United Organizes Rent Protest in Arlandria Friday — “Join our Caravan. THIS FRIDAY at 4:30 P.M.” ️[Facebook]

Here’s an Updated List of Alexandria’s Nonprofit Needs — “This list is updated on a regular basis, so check back regularly to see the latest items needed to support our most vulnerable populations during this critical time. Thank you for caring for our community!” [Volunteer Alexandria]

‘Let’s Meat On The Avenue’ Requiring Customers Wear Face Masks — “As of TOMORROW [Wednesday], we will REQUIRE all patrons to wear masks. ‘Most everyone’s already on board, but we had a nitwit or two today.” [Twitter]

Taqueria Picoso Donates Tacos to Police — “Thank you so much #TaqueriaPicoso for dropping off tacos for our officers and dispatch! From left to right: Capt. Ladislaw, Taqueria Picoso employees, and Officer Cushing.” [Twitter]

City Housing Director Wins 2020 Regional Housing Leaders Award — “This month we are honoring Helen McIlvaine for leading the Office of Housing in the City of Alexandria, developing creative solutions in land use and zoning, and supporting a dedicated source of revenue to address the growing housing needs in the city.” [Facebook]

Revolutionary Fitness Hiring Gym Manager — “Under the direction and guidance of the CEO, the incumbent has the general responsibility of managing the day-to-day operations of Revolutionary Fitness.” [Indeed]

Del Ray Cakery Makes Hospital-Themed Cookies — “Thank you to all our healthcare professionals during this pandemic. We are truly grateful for your efforts!” [Facebook]

DASH Hosting Online Meeting to Discuss Future Service — “Join us live on Facebook at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday 4/29 for our Transit Development Plan Community Meeting to discuss potential changes to FY2021 service, including to the AT-4.” [Twitter]

Group Give Meals From ‘The Warehouse’ to Alexandria Hospital — “These are crazy, uncertain times right now and the least we can do is support our favorite independently owned restaurants and bring some food to healthcare professionals! Cheers to supporting local, supporting each other, and showing gratitude for our community! [Facebook]

Method Acting Used to Teach Polk Elementary Students the Scientific Method — “Hello children of Polk Elementary School. I am professor Brainstein, and Mr. Palmer has invited me to speak to you about the scientific method. First, I want you to feel welcome in my laboratory…” [wevideo.com]

Alexandria Nurse Speaking in Church Online Sermon Series at Noon — “As part of our Finding Hope sermon series, this week, we hear from our very own Caroline Cheek, an Emergency Room nurse, who shares how she has experienced hope in the last 6 weeks.” [Facebook]

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