Alexandria, VA

There’s been another indecent exposure in Del Ray, this time in an alleyway in the unit block of East Bellefonte Avenue.

The incident occurred at around 6:30 a.m. on Friday, November 20. There was also another incident in the 2200 block of Mount Vernon Avenue at around 6 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 13, according to Del Ray activist Gayle Reuter. The police did not file a report for the Nov. 13 incident, Reuter said, as the officer told the victim who witnessed the exposure to call him if she saw the suspect again.

A woman reported to police that the suspect, a bald Black man in his 30s, was masturbating with his pants around his ankles.

“We would love for the police to find out who this is and continue to keep the community apprised of what’s happening,” Reuter told ALXnow. “It’s surprising that when there’s this many people out on the street that he would have that much nerve to do this.”

There were also two reports during August of a suspect with a similar description performing lewd behavior in an alleyway in the 2200 block of Mount Vernon Avenue. The incidents occurred at around 10 p.m. on August 13 and August 25. The incidents are occurring in alleyways near busy areas near businesses and homes.

Alexandria Police Sgt. Mike Nugent recently told the Del Ray Business Association that cases like this often involve the homeless, and that the department is seeing homelessness rising in the nearby neighborhood of Arlandria.

“Call the police right away, and try to recall as much detail as possible. A lot of these cases in the city are connected to homeless,” Nugent said. “If you see something, get away from the danger if there is danger.”

Maps of East Bellefonte Avenue and Mount Vernon Avenue via Google Maps

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For over four years, Alexandria Police have failed to get body worn cameras off the ground. A new report going to City Council this Tuesday outlines the costs and staffing issues that have played a part in that extended delay.

“Oftentimes, jurisdictions do not realize the true extent of costs to implement a program that is based on deploying technology devices,” City staff said in a report. “The belief that the costs are solely the devices and associated licensing fees leads to disastrous results when the ripple effects of that technology are felt. The proliferation of cloud-based technology solutions actually adds to the impression that the cost of the desired ‘e-widget’ is all that is needed for consideration. In few areas could the purchase of technology in one agency have a huge impact across many others the way that BWC programs do.”

The new report coming to the City Council follows a push earlier this year Alexandria Police to adopt a body worn camera program.

The report acknowledges, however, that Alexandria is one of the few jurisdictions in the area that doesn’t have a body worn camera program either implemented or in the works. Fairfax County Police Department implemented body worn cameras earlier this year — and within the year an officer was charged with assault and battery after being caught on camera assaulting a black man — and the Arlington County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office are both scheduled to start a body worn camera program in 2021.

Of the 17 regional law enforcement offices surveyed, only the Falls Church Police Department and Charles County Sheriff’s Office did not have body worn camera programs.

“The City is one of the few remaining law enforcement agencies in the [region] who do not employ BWC,” the report said, “though many agencies are phasing in and not yet fully deploying BWC to their staff due to unrealized costs and the need for additional staffing that were not funded.”

The report said Alexandria plans to eventually implement body worn cameras. The Alexandria Police Department would require a total of 325 body worn cameras, while the Sheriff’s Office would require 175 and the Alexandria Fire Department would need seven. As noted earlier in the report, the cameras also come with an increased cost for data storage and staffing. The report outlines a program that would phase-in body worn cameras to offset the upfront cost.

Another part of that report put the estimated total cost at between $1.4 to $2 million at first-year costs alone.

The report is scheduled to be received by the City Council at the meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Photo via Tony Webster/Flickr

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What a week full of news in Alexandria.

With city offices closed due to Veterans Day on Wednesday, there were still a number of big stories.

For the second week in a row, our top story was on a fraudulent mailer that was sent out to a number of residents before election day. In the story, households with Joe Biden signs posted in front yards were sent letters with a Northern Virginia postage mark stating that Biden is a pedophile.

On Monday, we reported the third murder in the city this year. Yousef Tarek Omar, a 23-year-old Texas man, was shot to death in the West End on the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 7. Police have released few details of the incident, except the victim’s name, the general time of the incident and that it occurred in the 4800 block of W. Braddock Road.

City Councilwoman Del Pepper announced on Tuesday that she will not seek reelection. Pepper has been on the Alexandria City Council since 1985.

“There’s really not much to say,” Pepper told ALXnow. “There’s a time for everything, and I just felt this was my time. I have enjoyed every minute that I’ve served on the City Council.”

We also covered the city’s recovery plan for parts of the city devastated by the pandemic, and it lists a number of programs and strategies for impacted residents and businesses.

On the coronavirus front, Alexandria surpassed 4,500 cases since the beginning of the pandemic in March. The number of fatalities is still 76, and Latino residents have the highest number of infections.

Additionally, our weekly poll got a lot of attention this week. This week we asked about Thanksgiving plans, and 60% of respondents said they were eating at home with their household, 30% are planning a small gathering with at least one guest, and 10% are planning a large gathering of family/friends.

  1. Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
  2. BREAKING: 23-Year-Old Shot to Death in City’s Third Murder of the Year
  3. ‘Clyde’s at Mark Center’ and Other Businesses for Sale in Alexandria
  4. Del Ray Staple Al’s Steak House for Sale After Owner’s Death
  5. The Waypoint at Fairlington to Break Ground Next Month
  6. Councilwoman Del Pepper Announces She’s Not Running for Reelection
  7. City Council to Consider Publishing Names of Delinquent Real Estate Taxpayers
  8. Upcoming Signage Plan Could Subtly Shape New Potomac Yard Skyline
  9. One Person Injured in West End Carjacking
  10. Alexandria Parents Start #OpenACPS Sign Campaign as School System Begins Partial Reopening
  11. Alexandria Surpasses 4,500 Cases of COVID-19, Counts Now Rising at Summer Pace

Have a safe weekend!

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As you park at home and head inside after getting back from a flea market or cat cafe, maybe check one more time to make sure you’ve locked your car.

At a City Council meeting earlier this week, Mayor Justin Wilson said a spate of recent car thefts have mostly targeted unlocked cars.

“One of the things: and it showed up in the data we received, one of the thing it shows is thefts from vehicles and theft of vehicles, a stunning percentage are unlocked vehicles,” Wilson said.

While the police department is continuing to conduct investigations into the thefts, Wilson said the police are also going to move forward with an educational campaign to remind locals to lock their cars.

“A big part of the conversation is one of education,” Wilson said. “It’s a crime of opportunity. The criminal element is going door to door on cars at night and they find a stunning amount of vehicles unlocked. It’s a testament to a safe community that we forget to lock our car doors.”

Crime, in general, has been up this year compared to last year, particularly for vehicle thefts. A man was arrested earlier this month for car theft. While many of the car-related crimes have been non-violent, there have also been several carjackings, some of which have left victims injured.

“I think we can go a long way to reducing those numbers if we can get people to lock their doors,” Wilson said, “but there’s a fair amount of investigative work going into the ones we can’t prevent.”

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The City of Alexandria is planning to host a series of meetings to discuss work being done to promote racial and social equity in the city. The discussions will culminate with a resolution going to City Council.

“Alexandria is committed to race and social equity through collaboration among City departments, employees, community members, nonprofit partners and other stakeholders to implement a framework that ensures City policy decisions and practices advance race and social equity,” the city said. “The City’s commitment and efforts moving forward require inclusion, input and ideas from every part of the community.”

The city hosted town halls this summer discussing changing policies and concerns about systemic racism in policing. City leadership remains divided over plans to implement a Community Police Review Board.

The focus on recognizing and addressing racial injustice issues in Alexandria over the last year has led to initiatives, including a committee researching lynchings in the city and the hiring of the city’s first Race and Social Equity Officer Jaqueline Tucker.

The engagement sessions are scheduled for:

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One person was injured in an afternoon car crash at the intersection of Seminary Road and N. Beauregard Street on Thursday afternoon. After the crash, at least two suspects from one of the cars fled the scene by commandeering another car.

The incidents occurred at around 12:15 p.m., and police helicopters were unsuccessful in finding the suspects. The victim of the hit-and-run suffered minor injuries, and the stolen vehicle was later recovered about a mile away along Sanger Avenue.

No arrests have been made and no suspect descriptions are available.

Police are also investigating the first vehicle that the suspects abandoned and said that the investigation is ongoing.

In August, Mayor Justin Wilson asked the public to help prevent a rising trend in vehicle-related thefts. As of August 11, there were 179 vehicle thefts, which is an increase of 34 over last year. There have also been 379 thefts from vehicles, which is an increase in 69 events over 2019.

“There has certainly been a big uptick,” Wilson said on Thursday night. “We have worked with the police department to increase visibility and try to bring those who are responsible for these crimes to justice.”

Map via Google Maps

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A 33-year-old Alexandria man is being held without bond for stealing a car in the West End last month and being a fugitive of justice.

The woman that he lives with in Old Town also admitted to police that she forged a $300 check that the suspect gave her earlier this year, although she has not yet been charged.

The black Nissan Altima was stolen from a parking lot in the Parkstone Alexandria apartments (3001 Park Center Drive) during the overnight hours of September 7. It was found two days later a block away from where the suspect lives in an Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority home in the 3200 block of S. 28th Street.

Fingerprints in the car were matched to the suspect, and police discovered that he lives with a woman under investigation of forging a check for $300 from a stolen Nissan Juke last May, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Police contacted the female suspect, and she was escorted by the male suspect to an ARHA office at 401 Wythe Street. There, she was interviewed alone by police and admitted that her roommate “provided her a stolen check which she then used to fraudulently withdraw $300 from the victim’s account.”

The woman has not been charged and the case remains under investigation, according to police.

Police then called the male suspect on October 13 and he agreed to an interview at Alexandria Police headquarters, but never showed up.

He was arrested on November 2 and charged with receiving/buying stolen goods and being a fugitive from justice for missing two court appearances after being charged with stealing a car last year.

He is currently being held without bond and has two court dates next month.

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A 34-year-old Washington D.C. man labeled the Beltway Bank Bandit by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, pleaded guilty to three counts of brandishing a firearm during a series of bank and shoe store robberies in and around Alexandria in 2018 and 2019.

Freddie Lee McRae will be sentenced on February 23, 2021, and faces up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 21 years in prison. On November 13, 2018, McRrae robbed a Wells Fargo Bank in Alexandria, handed the teller a note and demanded money, indicated that he had a gun and said he would “kill all bankers” if his directions were not followed. He then pointed a handgun at two tellers and ran out of the bank with $8,750, according to prosecutors.

The following month, McRae robbed a Burke & Herbert branch in Alexandria. He walked up to a teller and said, “Gimme your money,” and then pointed a gun at the teller.

“As the teller gathered money, McRae racked the slide on the pistol and demanded all large bills,” according to United States Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger of the Eastern District of Virginia. “McRae fled with approximately $1,366 in cash.”

McRae was arrested after robbing the Legend Kicks & Apparel in Arlington on April 21, 2019. After a brief police chase on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, McRae jumped out of his moving car before it crashed and sank in the Potomac River, and then unsuccessfully tried to escape by jumping in the river.

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A 17-year-old is on the run after being charged with stealing a car in the West End in the early morning of Saturday, September 19.

The suspect, who was from out of town visiting friends, was followed for a half mile by the owner of the car, who held him until police arrived, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The juvenile was processed through juvenile services at the Alexandria courthouse, according to police.

“We don’t know where he is,” Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow.

Ballantine said that a runaway notice that was released on September 21 was later rescinded.

At around 1:20 a.m. on September 19, the owner of a silver Toyota Highlander reported to police that his car, which had been stolen two hours prior, just drove past his residence. The owner reported that he was waiting for police to arrive when he saw the suspect walk down the road, and then minutes later saw the same suspect driving down the street in his car, according to the affidavit.

The owner, who is a federal law enforcement officer, got into another one of his cars and followed the suspect for a half mile until he stopped in the 5800 block of Quantrell Avenue.

The victim then “pulled up across from the stolen vehicle, observed the same Black male in a black hooded sweatshirt exit his stolen vehicle, then issued him commands to lay on the ground,” according to the affidavit.

The car owner kept the suspect in custody until police arrived.

The suspect admitted to police that he was hanging out with friends and stole the car when one them gave him the keys, according to police.

Map via Google Maps

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The Alexandria School Board last Thursday approved a revised bi-annual memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Alexandria Police Department to provide school resource officers in the city’s public schools.

Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. also said that all Alexandria City Public Schools employees will get racial diversity training.

“That is what’s going to help us to tackle some of those racial disparities, because unfortunately society has made black and brown people in general seem as if we are criminals, and that is the perception that people have in their minds,” Hutchings said.

Last month, parents, students and community advocacy representatives railed against SROs, and said they foster an inappropriate culture of prejudice against non-white students. LaDonna Sanders, president of the Alexandria NAACP, filed a Freedom Of Information Act and found that in 2018 there were 140 out-of-school suspensions, and that a “significant enough proportion of the suspensions involve referrals to law enforcement.”

However, “In the event of a significant and articulable threat to health or safety school or for school officials may disclose any information from student records to the appropriate parties, including law enforcement officials, whose knowledge of the information is needed to protect the health and safety of a student or other individual,” according to the MOU.

The Board approved the MOU 6-3, and Board Members Michelle Rief, Jacinta Green and Heather Thornton voted against its approval. As previously reported, the MOU has “measurable objectives” for SROs, meaning that the officers have to complete statistical reports, data collection for quarterly performance reports, and after-action reports after incidents with students.

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Alexandria Police are investigating two incidents of gunfire over the weekend.

The first incident occurred at around 3 a.m. on Halloween morning in the 300 block of S. Reynolds Street in the Landmark area. Multiple shots were fired in a parking lot.

On Sunday, Alexandria police also reported shots fired in the 400 block of N. Van Dorn Street. The incident occurred about a mile away from the S. Reynolds Street incident. Multiple shell casings were found along a trail, according to police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine.

No one was arrested for either incident.

S. Reynolds Street and N. Van Dorn Street maps via Google Maps

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What an intense week in Alexandria.

Our top story was on the massive power outages that affected tens of thousands of residents on Friday, October 23. Without providing specifics, Dominion Energy told City Council this week that outages in Alexandria and Arlington were “unique,” and caused by a piece of equipment that failed at its Glebe Road substation. City Councilors responded that there have been at least eight outages since May.

Monday started with news that an Alexandria Police officer was shot in Old Town and that the 27-year-old suspect was found shot to death near a construction site.

Police were called to the Holiday Inn & Suites in Old Town North after reports that shots were fired in the lobby of the hotel. Police chased two suspects on foot and a shootout ensued. The officer was shot in the lower body and was later released, and the other suspect later turned himself in to police.

On the coronavirus front, there are now 74 deaths in Alexandria and there are now or have been more than 4,200 cases since the pandemic began in March. Latino residents continue to lead the case count. This week the Alexandria Health Department reported that majority of recent coronavirus cases in Alexandria might be the result of contacts at home, indoor gatherings and eating out.

Restaurant-wise, we reported the soft opening of a new chicken joint in North Old Town.

Additionally, the Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies art installation at Waterfront Park will be taken down next month at Waterfront Park, and the installation will temporarily be moved outside of Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron Street).

We also reported that more than 50% of Alexandria voters have already cast their ballots.

Additionally, more than 240 people participated in our weekly poll. With Halloween on Saturday, this week we asked about trick-or-treating plans, and 38% of respondents are not celebrating Halloween this year, 31% are not trick-or-treating but have other plans, 17% plan to trick-or-treat with modifications, and 14% plan to trick-or-treat as usual.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. BREAKING: Massive Power Outage Reported in Alexandria
  2. BREAKING: Virginia State Police Seek Alexandria Man After Police Shootout
  3. School Board Shelves Plan to Reopen Schools in 2021, Students with Disabilities Transitioning Back Next Month
  4. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  5. Here’s Where Alexandria Residents Might be Getting COVID-19
  6. BREAKING: Shooting Suspect In Custody, Police Announce
  7. Police: Man Killed in Car Crash on N. Van Dorn Street
  8. Identity Released of Old Town North Suspect Killed in Shootout
  9. Police: Shots Fired in Braddock Area on Monday Night
  10. The Chewish Deli Opens New Location in Old Town
  11. Police Assist Man With Psychotic Episode in West End

Happy Halloween!

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