Alexandria, VA

Alexandria Police are investigating an attempted robbery in a residential neighborhood in the West End of the city, which occurred hours before a woman was shot to death less than a mile away early Wednesday morning (July 29).

The male victim was reportedly cut multiple times during the altercation, but the injuries were not life threatening, according to Alexandria Assistant Police Chief Don Hayes.

The incident occurred just before 5 a.m. in the area of Beauregard Street and N. Armistead Street. The victim was out walking when he was approached by three males who demanded his wallet.

“When he refused he was assaulted,” Hayes told ALXnow, adding that the suspects are not known to the victim or police. “No property was taken.”

Hayes said that no similar incidents have occurred in the area in recent days. The attempted robbery is near to where two people were stabbed in March and less than a mile from where a man was robbed of $400 at gunpoint at the end of May.

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.

File photo/ Map via Google Maps

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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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It was quite a week in Alexandria. The city saw the removal of a controversial Confederate Statue at Prince and Washington Streets, had numerous vigils and demonstrations against police brutality, and weathered more cases of COVID-19.

In the spirit of resting up and looking back at some of the top issues in Alexandria, ALXnow has included some of our top stories.

Here are the top 11 most-read articles this week in Alexandria.

  1. BREAKING: Barricade Situation, Suspect Firing on Police on Main Line Boulevard
  2. BREAKING: Old Town Confederate Statue Removed
  3. Alexandria Now Has 1,974 Cases of COVID-19, No New Deaths
  4. Vigil for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor in Old Town on Thursday
  5. Protests and Vigils for Racial Justice Planned in Alexandria
  6. Man Robbed of $400 at Gunpoint in Alexandria’s West End
  7. Mayor Wilson: Alexandria Can Honor George Floyd By Fixing Its Inequities
  8. Teen Arrested in Old Town for Weapon Possession and Drug Violation
  9. ACPS Announces Mandatory Summer Learning to Combat COVID-19 Academic Loss
  10. Unemployed Arlandria Mom Makes Ends Meet With El Salvadoran Recipes
  11. Alexandria Now Has 1,960 Cases of COVID-19, City Seeks Feedback on Coronavirus Response

Feel free to discuss those or other topics in the comments. Have a safe weekend!

Staff photo by James Cullum

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The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a robbery at gunpoint that occurred last night in the 5400 block of Richenbacher Avenue in the city’s West End.

The victim, a male in his 30s, was waiting in a parking lot at around 8:30 p.m. to buy an electronics item from an individual he met online. When the seller arrived, he pointed a handgun at the victim and took $400 in cash, according to Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine.

The victim was not injured.

The suspect, who fled the scene on foot, is described as a six-foot-tall black male with a slim build and wearing a black jacket and blue jeans.

The incident occurred in a residential neighborhood within walking distance of N. Van Dorn Street.

Staff photo by James Cullum, Map via Google Maps

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Police say two men were stabbed and robbed by two unknown suspects on Sunday night near the Holmes Run Trail.

The incident reportedly took place around 10 p.m. on the 5700 block of Sanger Avenue on a trail behind the William Ramsey Recreation Center.

“Two people were stabbed and robbed over personal items,” said police spokesman Courtney Ballantine. “They took themselves to the hospital and were treated for non-life threatening injuries.”

No suspect descriptions are available.

Ballantine said a helicopter and a police K-9 were brought in to search but the suspects had fled the scene. He added that the search was partly complicated by a significant delay between when the stabbing took place and when it was reported.

Image via Google Maps

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Two men and a juvenile have been arrested for an armed robbery and carjacking near the Mark Center in the West End last month.

At around 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19, an Alexandria man and woman were parking his car in the 5500 block of Forrestal Ave. when they were reportedly approached by four males wearing ski masks. According to police, the suspects opened the driver and passenger-side doors, punched the victims multiple times, and threatened to shoot them.

The victims were dragged out of the car and the suspects went through their pockets, but did not find anything because all of their property was inside the vehicle, according to police. The suspects then allegedly drove away in the car, inside of which was $200 in cash and two iPhones.

Police tracked one of the phones through the “locate my phone” app, which led investigators 20 miles away to a house in Camp Springs, Maryland.

“When [police] arrived on scene, they located the vehicle and it was occupied by three subjects who matched the description provided by the victims. The subjects were arrested at the scene,” notes a search warrant affidavit.

Alexandria resident Abdellah Sayeh, 18, and the juvenile suspect are currently in the Alexandria jail. Malique Harden, 19, of Suitland, Maryland, is currently being held in the Prince George’s County jail. Harden was also charged with carjacking in 2018. The fourth suspect has not been located.

The juvenile suspect was seated in the passenger seat of the car and had a BB gun in his waistband, police said.

According to the affidavit, “During the interview, [the juvenile suspect] initially denied any involvement in reference to this incident. [He] later confessed to all three subjects being involved.”

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Schools Preparing for Coronavirus — “ACPS has partnered with the Alexandria City Health Department and local first responders to form a COVID-19 Task Force Planning Committee to work closely to monitor this evolving situation. We plan to provide updates as we progress with this planning and work.” [ACPS]

Reminder: Primary Day is Tomorrow — “On Tuesday, March 3, there will be a Democratic Party presidential primary election in the City of Alexandria. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.” [City of Alexandria]

Business Robbed in Old Town on Sunday — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a commercial robbery in the 800 block of South Washington Street. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]

Kaine Campaigning for Biden Today — Sen. Tim Kaine is scheduled to help Joe Biden’s re-energized presidential campaign phone bank at its Eisenhower Avenue office this afternoon.

Resident: Parking Is Too Sparse in Old Town — “Personally, I have consciously put off or cancelled Old Town plans several times because the parking crisis made visiting a business or meeting up with friends impossible with my own vehicle. I believe our city planners should consider building a public parking deck or similar facility somewhere in the neighborhood in order to alleviate the impossibly high demand on our limited parking situation.” [Gazette Packet]

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An Arlington man is in custody after police say he robbed a 7-Eleven store in Arlington and attempted to rob a 7-Eleven in Alexandria’s Landmark area.

Michael Sheffey, 59, was arrested on Monday by Arlington County Police for a robbery of the 7-Eleven at 2815 S. Wakefield Street in Arlington on Saturday, Feb. 15. He has also been charged with attempting to rob the 7-Eleven at 30 S. Reynolds Street on Sunday, Feb. 16.

“Sheffey was arrested and is being held in Arlington,” Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow. “He has been charged in Alexandria for attempted robbery.”

Both alleged incidents are similar. They occurred early in the morning and the suspect, who wore a red jacket for both offenses, did not have a weapon, but punched the employees behind the counters at the registers of each store and made grabs for cash, according to police.

The Arlington incident on Feb. 15 occurred at around 5:48 a.m. The suspect, who was caught on surveillance footage, walked up to the register with merchandise and gave the employee cash. When the registered opened, the suspect allegedly punched the employee, “jumped over the counter and stole cash before fleeing the scene prior to police arrival,” according to Arlington County Police.

The Feb. 16 event occurred at around 6:15 a.m. The suspect walked up to the counter to buy a small cup of coffee, was told that it was $1.79 and, according to police, reportedly told the cashier, “that’s a lot,” and gave the cashier money.

According to a search warrant affidavit, during the transaction the suspect asked about when buses started to operate in the area, and as the employee turned to ask one of his co-workers, the register opened and the suspect allegedly punched the employee and lunged for the cash. The employee resisted and the suspect threw the cup of coffee in his face and was chased out of the store by another employee. Nothing was stolen.

The 7-Eleven at S. Reynolds Street is next to the Reynolds Street Bar and Grill, which has a security camera. Alexandria Police found footage of the suspect running from the 7-Eleven and driving away with his headlights off in a silver-colored Chevrolet Equinox in the direction of Edsall Road.

Based on surveillance footage, Alexandria and Arlington police determined that the same suspect committed both crimes. Police found that the vehicle Sheffey allegedly drove was still registered in the name of his wife, who died last year, according to the affidavit.

Sheffey lives in the Fairlington neighborhood, near Route 7 and the Alexandria border.

Anyone with information related to the investigation can contact Detective R. Ortiz of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-7402 or [email protected]. Information can also be given anonymously to the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a robbery that occurred at the Speedway gas station at 4808 King Street over the weekend.

At around 9 p.m. Saturday, a man walked into the gas station and brandished a handgun, before fleeing on foot. No one was injured in the incident.

The suspect took cash and other items, according to police.

The Speedway is located at the corner of King Street and Dawes Avenue, and is near Northern Virginia Community College and a number of apartment complexes, shops and restaurants.

The Arlington County Police Department assisted in searching for the suspect.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Robbery in Landmark Area — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a robbery from person in the unit block of South Reynolds Street. Victim had items taken and received a minor injury. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]

Alexandria’s Mobility Priorities — “The top four priorities for the future of transportation according to Alexandria residents are congestion management, safe and comfortable places to bike and walk, reliable and efficient transit and maintaining infrastructure. The Alexandria Mobility Plan team revealed those results from their community outreach meetings at seven locations in Alexandria and an online survey last fall.” [Alexandria Living]

VT Names Innovation Campus Director — “The new leader of Virginia Tech’s billion-dollar tech campus project in Alexandria is laying out his vision for it. Lance Collins comes from Cornell University, for which he helped open a tech campus in New York City. The Virginia Tech Innovation Campus is being built in the Potomac Yard area.” [Virginia Tech, WTOP]

Crash Near Hospital Yesterday Morning — “Police, medics on scene of a car that reported[ly] crashed into a tree on the 800 block of N. Howard Street, near the hospital. Road may be temporarily closed.” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

APD Investigates Friday Night Robbery — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a commercial robbery in the 3100 block of Duke Street. Merchandise was taken and one minor Injury. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]

Appointment for Former Fire Chief — “Former Alexandria, Va Fire Chief Robert Dubé has been appointed Deputy Director of the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, according to a press release issued Friday, January 10, 2020 from Governor Ralph Northam’s office.” [Zebra]

New Sephora Store Close to Opening — “Wood floors, lots of mirrors, and colorful walls are in place at the new Sephora makeup store in Old Town Alexandria. Sephora’s Alexandria store, at 810 King St., will open Jan. 24, according to the company.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Holds Housing Summit — “Hundreds of residents and local leaders gathered in Alexandria, Virginia, for the city’s 2020 Housing Summit as local officials worked to take on the challenge of affordable housing. The full day event offered discussion on everything from housing for seniors and the 2013 Housing Master Plan to the development and preservation of affordable living.” [WTOP]

Federal Case Details Local Swatting Incidents — “Another false threat was called in to the Alexandria police last January; the caller claimed to have killed his girlfriend and taken her two children hostage. The address he gave was of a person protected by the U.S. Secret Service. A person familiar with the incident said it was resolved without fanfare after a call to the Secret Service” [Washington Post]

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The Safeway near the King/Braddock/Quaker intersection and the Bradlee Shopping Center was robbed early this morning morning, according to police.

Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine said the robbery took place around 3 a.m. at the Safeway at 3526 King Street.

The earlier police activity around the supermarket has since dissipated, but police are still investigating the robbery. Ballantine said cash was taken from the store by a knife-wielding robber.

No injuries were reported, police said. No other details about the robbery or the suspect were immediately available.

Photo via Google Maps

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