Morning Notes

Elo’s Italian pop-up opens in Live Oak space — “The owners of Live Oak in Del Ray have opened a pop-up Italian restaurant in the Live Oak space in Del Ray. Chef Justus Frank is offering family Italian fare Tuesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. Brunch is ‘coming soon’ according to the owners. The menu includes a variety of appetizers, flatbreads, paninis, seasonal pasta dishes, fish, chicken and more. A kid’s menu is available.” [Alexandria Living]

Police asking for help finding robbery suspects — “APD is following active leads and working with neighboring jurisdictions on the investigation into 2 armed robberies that occurred on May 5. One happened at 12:15pm on E. Oxford Ave. The second happened at 12:40pm in the 3900 blk of Courtland Cir… Witnesses and anyone with security video should contact Det. Stephen Riley at [email protected] or 703.746.6225. Even the smallest details can be significant.” [Twitter]

Chamber ALX releases City Council candidate survey results — “The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce recently asked all announced candidates to complete a survey of critical business issues facing our city. In order to ensure our members are informed prior to entering the voting booth, the Chamber is providing the candidate’s responses.” [Chamber ALX]

Alexandria resident Brian Hooks named to Time100 Next list — “Brian Hooks wants to change the country – but not by himself. An Alexandria resident, Hooks was named one of Time Magazine’s next 100 most influential people in the world in February for his work as the chief executive officer of nonprofit Stand Together.” [Alex Times]

City seeks input on American Rescue Plan Act funding — ” The City will host virtual meetings on Saturday, May 8 at 10 a.m. and Monday, May 10 at 7 p.m. to review the funding guidelines and discuss project proposals. The input will be used to inform a spending plan, and the deadline to provide feedback is Thursday, May 13.” [City of Alexandria]

Resurfacing work temporarily closes portion of Mount Vernon Trail — “In a step to prepare for an upcoming $6.5 million Mount Vernon Memorial Highway Trail Project on the south end of the Mount Vernon bike trail, a portion has been blocked off to bicyclists while crews resurface a portion of the trail between the Mount Vernon Plantation and Richmond Highway.” [Gazette]

Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy skies during the morning hours will give way to cloudy skies and rain in the afternoon. High 66F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch… Rain showers early with clearing later at night. Low 44F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Temporary COVID POD vaccinator assistant — “Are you a hardworking individual who is eager to join our efforts to augment and expedite vaccinations in the community? Does your passion drive you to commit to a cause that could have a positive impact on many? If this is you, we invite you to apply to one of our temporary City of Alexandria Vaccination site opportunities. One of which is the Vaccinator Assistant who assists the Vaccinator in efficiently dispensing COVID-19 vaccine according to existing protocols at PODs (Points of Distribution).” [Indeed]

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Alexandria Police are investigating an incident where a knife was brandished against a woman outside the La Madeline restaurant in Old Town.

The incident occurred at around 1 p.m after the victim was eating lunch with her son at the restaurant at 500 King Street. The woman noticed that the strap to her purse, which was on the back of her chair, was moving. When she turned around, her purse was no longer on the back of her chair and her wallet was gone. There were two unknown men sitting at the table behind her, and she saw one of them fumble with her wallet.

“Give me my wallet back!” the woman demanded, according to police.

The suspects reportedly threw the woman’s wallet back and then made for the door. The woman cried out for someone to call the police and followed the suspects outside.

“Once outside, exiting through the northern door onto King Street, the male subject who had taken her wallet turned back towards her with a knife now in his left hand and stated, ‘Get away lady, you’re crazy!'” according to a police search warrant affidavit.

The suspects, who were seen getting into a black Infiniti, have been identified and not arrested. Both suspects have been positively identified through photo lineups, according to police.

Map via Google Maps

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Alexandria Police are investigating two armed robberies that occurred within a half hour of each other in Del Ray and Arlandria on Tuesday (May 4) afternoon.

A male victim was robbed of his cell phone at gunpoint by two male suspects at around 12:15 p.m. in the unit block of E. Oxford Avenue in Del Ray. Then at around 12:40, another male victim was robbed of his cell phone and wallet at gunpoint by two male suspects in the 3900 block of Courtland Circle in Arlandria.

“The suspects fled both scenes in a vehicle,” APD Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “Suspect descriptions are still being developed.”

No one was injured in the incidents.

E. Oxford Avenue map and Courtland Circle map via Google Maps

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A man was robbed at gunpoint in a residential area of the West End on Tuesday night, according to Alexandria Police.

Police tweeted that at around 11:20 p.m., the victim was walking in the 200 block of Century Place when he was approached by a suspect, who displayed a handgun.

The suspect allegedly stole personal items and the victim was not injured.

No suspect description was provided.

Map via Google Maps

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Alexandria Police say the COVID-19 pandemic had a lot to do with a 19% crime surge 2020.

Police released the city’s Part 1 crime statistics for 2020 on Tuesday, and included are the reported numbers of homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults.

“2020 provided a unique set of challenges,” Police Chief Michael Brown said in a statement. “Our officers dedicated themselves to protecting the City and community members, while working through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, both at home and on the job, as well the fallout and questions brought on by the death of George Floyd. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Violent crime reportedly increased 3.33% over last year. There were three three homicides in 2020, up one death over 2019, and aggravated assaults increased 6%, with 208 incidents reported.

Residential burglaries fell “drastically” while commercial burglaries climbed nearly 50%, “likely due to stores being temporarily closed or having limited hours,” according to police.

Vehicle thefts also increased 54%, and police said the cause is largely from owners leaving cars unattended and unlocked during the pandemic. Police also reported that few thefts from vehicles involved use of force.

“There are simple steps vehicle owners can take to reduce their risk of becoming victims. Check on your vehicle daily, make sure the doors are locked and there are no valuables inside,” Brown said. “You should also move the vehicle periodically to reduce the appearance it is not being used.”

Below are the 2020 and 2019 Part 1 crime stats for Alexandria:

Crime Type 2019 2020 Change
Homicide 2 3 1
Rape 20 12 -8
Robbery 82 87 5
Aggravated Assault 196 208 12
Burglary 117 126 9
Larceny 2,093 2,473 380
Auto Theft 233 359 126
Total 2,743 3,268 525
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It was a historic week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.

President Joe Biden visited the Neighborhood Health COVID-19 vaccine site at Virginia Theological Seminary on Tuesday, just before announcing that the date for adults to get access to the vaccine has been moved to April 19.

The Alexandria School Board, on Thursday night, voted to change the name of T.C. Williams High School to Alexandria City High School.

The School Board also voted unanimously to reduce the distancing requirement in ACPS schools from six feet to three feet, all the while community support is growing to expand in-person instruction to more than the current two days a week. Summer school is currently planned to begin in July and will be four days a week, and ACPS is planning on reopening to five days a week at the beginning of the next school year.

Our top story was on the T.C. Williams Titans junior varsity football team walking off the field after an incident with the Robinson Rams on Monday night. Robinson Rams players allegedly spit at and made a racial slur against T.C. players. The incident has prompted Fairfax County Public Schools to announce a “stand-down” meeting for all athletic teams and coaches to discuss “appropriate behaviors required to play sports in FCPS.”

Additionally, six Alexandria Police officers were placed on administrative duties after a chase suspect died while in custody. Police responded to a call for shots fired in the 800 block of North Patrick Street, and multiple buildings and vehicles were struck. The driver of the vehicle crashed on Interstate 295, and then jumped over an overpass barrier and fell more than 20 feet and was tased by police, arrested and later died.

Important Stories

Top Stories

  1. JUST IN: T.C. Williams JV football team walks off field after alleged racial slur, spitting incident
  2. BREAKING: Shots fired in Old Town leads to chase that ends in D.C.
  3. JUST IN: President Biden set to visit Alexandria vaccination site Tuesday
  4. National Park Service announces George Washington Parkway to go on a diet
  5. Neighborhood Health vaccinating thousands at sites in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County
  6. JUST IN: Woman arrested after fight on King Street Metro station platform
  7. UPDATE: $8,500 reported stolen in terrifying West End robbery
  8. JUST IN: President Biden visits COVID-19 vaccine site at Virginia Theological Seminary
  9. COVID-19 update: Alexandria moves into vaccination phase 1C
  10. JUST IN: Six Alexandria Police officers put on administrative duties after chase suspect dies
  11. Fairfax County man arrested for three burglaries, released three days later

Have a safe weekend!

Photo via T.C. Williams Football Boosters/Facebook

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A 35-year-old Washington, D.C. man was sentenced to 21 years behind bars on Tuesday for a Northern Virginia crime spree at a number Alexandria banks and area businesses in 2018 and 2019.

Freddie Lee McRae robbed a Wells Fargo bank branch on Nov. 13, 2018, and reportedly told the teller in a note that he had a gun and would “kill all the bankers” in the bank unless they paid up. He pointed a gun at the teller and then fled the scene with $8,750.

Less than a month later, McRae robbed a Burke & Herbert bank branch in the city and pointed a gun at the teller. He then racked the slide, demanded large bills and fled with $1,366. He also robbed a BB&T branch in the city A week later, and later admitted to robbing a Bank of America in Springfield in October 2018, a Capital One in Bowie, Maryland, in Jan. 2019 and a Capitol One in Arlington on Feb. 11, 2019.

On April 21, 2019, McRae stole $2,160 from the Legend Kicks & Apparel store in Arlington. He pointed a gun at employees and told them to empty their pockets and lie on the ground. Police ended up chasing him on the George Washington Parkway, and he ended up jumping out of his car before it crashed into the Potomac River. He then tried to escape by jumping in the river.

“This case involved a chilling armed robbery spree during which innocent community members were threatened with serious injury or death if they did not comply with repeated demands for money,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We are thankful to our law enforcement partners for their thorough investigation across multiple jurisdictions to bring the defendant to justice, including apprehending him after he jumped out of a moving vehicle prior to it crashing and sinking into the Potomac River.”

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More details have emerged after a West End robbery at gunpoint that left three men beaten and tied up with phone charging cords.

The incident was reported at around 11:30 p.m. on March 19 at an apartment in the 5000 block of Seminary Road. Police also reported that one of the victims’ cars was stolen.

One victim told police that there was a knock on the apartment door, and he blacked out after being pistol-whipped as soon as it opened.

The resident of the apartment told police that he fell asleep on his bed and woke to find an unknown suspect with their hand over his mouth. The victim said that two of his friends were also in the apartment at the time, and that four masked men entered and held them at gunpoint, according to a police search warrant affidavit.

The resident told police that one of the suspects reached into his pockets, took his wallet and stole $8,000.

The third victim told police that he, too, was pistol-whipped and regained consciousness as his friends untied his bonds. He told police that $500 was stolen and that he had no idea why they were targeted.

Map via Google Maps

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It was quite a week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week was on a man who allegedly crashed his car headfirst into the Verizon store near Potomac Yard. The suspect was later arrested in North Carolina.

The week was full of big news. Former Mayor Allison Silberberg announced her candidacy against Mayor Justin Wilson for the June 8 Democratic primary, and ALXnow has learned that the Del Ray Business Association is planning a debate.

One of our favorite stories this week was on Tobi, the Alexandria dog without front legs who needed a new $2,350 wheelchair. Within a day of posting the story, Tobi’s GoFundMe goal was reached. The fundraiser has since raised $3,590, and Tobi’s owner says the excess funds will be donated to help another disabled pet get a wheelchair.

As of noon Friday, our unscientific poll on mayoral candidates had 1,111 votes, but only 537 views. Former Mayor Allison Silberberg trailed by a large percentage for the first several hours, but she later received a surge of votes that led to her getting 589 votes, or 53%, to Wilson’s 432 votes, or 39%. Republican candidate Annetta Catchings, who also announced her mayoral candidacy this week, got 90 votes, or 8%.

Other important stories:

ALXnow’s top stories:

  1. BREAKING: Man rams car into Verizon Store near Potomac Yard
  2. Waterfront Commission tries to avert ‘Disneyland-like’ development in Old Town
  3. Flight attendant Annetta Catchings running for Alexandria mayor as a Republican
  4. Chadwicks going double-decker on outdoor dining at upcoming BAR meeting
  5. BREAKING: Former Mayor Silberberg rematch as she enters democratic primary for mayor
  6. City Councilman Seifeldein quits meeting after argument with mayor
  7. Three men tied up and robbed in West End
  8. GoFundMe launched to get wheelchair for Tobi, an Alexandria dog with no front legs
  9. Just Sold in Alexandria: March 23, 2021
  10. Republican J.D. Maddox announces run for 45th District seat
  11. Al’s Steak House to endure under new management

Have a safe weekend!

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Updated at 3:30 p.m. — Four people have been arrested and charged with robbing a juvenile of a pair of shoes at gunpoint in the West End on Tuesday (March 23).

Alexandria Police said the incident occurred at around 8:30 p.m. in the 5400 block of Knole Court, which is near Holmes Run.

The victim suffered a minor injury, and the suspects were arrested a short time later after being pulled over by police two miles away in the 600 block of South Pickett Street.

Police arrested Nicholas Kumar Bansal II, 24,  Jacob Benjamin Bansal, 20, Nathan Temesgen, 19, and a juvenile suspect. Charges included armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, conceal carry without a permit and other traffic offenses.

Map via Google Maps

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