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An iPhone (file photo)

An Alexandria woman got scammed by a caller pretending to be a representative of the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office (ASO), less than a week after ASO warned the public against scammers on social media.

The victim was called on her land line at around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15, and the male caller allegedly claimed to be a sergeant with the ASO, according to a recently released search warrant affidavit.

The caller asked the victim if she was aware that she missed jury duty the week before, and said that she should have received a notice in the mail on Dec. 26.

“The male subject responded to (the victim) that a signed acknowledgement of receipt was received by the Sheriff’s Office,” according to the search warrant affidavit. “The male suspect detailed that due to her failing to show, two citations were issued against her.”

The scammer allegedly told the victim to go to the ASO office and pay a fine of $1,750. The victim was then transferred to another suspect who allegedly said he was an ASO lieutenant, and that she needed to pay the fine by cash, check or e-check at the Alexandria Courthouse.

The victim told police that she sent two Zelle payments totaling $1,000 before she realized she was being scammed, according to the search warrant affidavit. The scammer allegedly tried to call her two more times, but the victim did not pick up and instead called the police.

ASO and the police put out warning regarding scammers multiple times per year, and says that their representatives will never ask for money over the phone. Previous phone scams include attempts to remove criminal charges from victims and requests to make charitable donations to the police department.

A police investigation determined that the suspect registered a new phone with TextNow Inc. on Feb. 13, two days before the alleged incident occurred.

No arrests have been made and the Alexandria Police Department is investigating the incident.

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The William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center (via City of Alexandria)

The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office and Alexandria Police Department are investigating an in-custody death at the jail.

Ahntais Lucas, 39, from Fairfax County, was found unresponsive and alone in his cell experiencing a medical emergency. The release said the jail’s medical staff tried to treat Lucas but he was pronounced deceased at 4:42 a.m.

According to a release from the City of Alexandria:

The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office and the Alexandria Police Department are investigating the in-custody death of a local inmate at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center.

This morning, February 26, just before 4 a.m., a deputy found an inmate unresponsive in his cell alone and experiencing an apparent medical emergency. A deputy immediately called for assistance from the jail’s medical staff, and both began life-saving measures. Medics from the Alexandria Fire Department responded and continued treatment, but the patient was pronounced deceased at 4:42 a.m.

The deceased is Ahntais Lucas, 39, of Fairfax County. He had been in custody since August 20, 2023.

Because this is an in-custody death, the Alexandria Police Department is conducting the death investigation. The Sheriff’s Office will conduct a review of the incident to ensure all policies and procedures were followed.

Rendering of outdoor plaza at Monumental Arena development (image courtesy of JBG SMITH)

Alexandria doesn’t have the resources to adequately cover the public safety aspect of the proposed Potomac Yard arena and entertainment district, sources in the Alexandria Police Department and Sheriff’s Office told ALXnow.

The city currently does not have the resources to cover the addition of the arena and entertainment district at Potomac Yard. The Alexandria Police Department has just over 300 officers, the Sheriff’s Office has around 165 deputies and the Fire Department has about 300 fire and rescue personnel.

The city is developing a “public safety and event services plan” to support large events while maintaining service for the rest of the city.

“The project team, which includes multiple city agencies, is developing a public safety and event services plan for the proposed entertainment district that will include deployment of City and regional resources to support the public during events in this area while maintaining full services for the rest of the City,” Ebony Fleming, the city’s director of communications, told ALXnow.

Last year, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals, hired an additional 20% of off-duty D.C. police officers to handle security at games and events.

In the meantime, the Alexandria Fire Department is undergoing a restructuring, or redeployment, of resources. In 2022, more than 70% of AFD incidents were medical and rescue-related and just 15% were fire alarm and fire-related. Fleming says that the AFD Forward plan, which would redeploy resources around the city, will not be impacted by the arena.

“The arena will not impact AFD Forward,” Fleming said. “The Entertainment District project will include a fire and emergency medical services event services plan that will be developed to support the public in this area while maintaining full services for the rest of the City.”

Fleming did not provide a deadline for completion of the public safety and event services plan.

Fleming said that the police department is leading the law enforcement planning and that the Sheriff’s Office is “willing to support APD should they identify specific needs where Sheriff’s Deputies can enhance the public’s safety.” She also said that Sheriff Sean Casey is “confident a thorough needs assessment will be requested and conducted as part of the overall process.”

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(Left to right) Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter, Sheriff Sean Casey and Clerk of Circuit Court Greg Parks outside the Alexandria Courthouse (courtesy photo)

Getting your criminal record expunged in Alexandria just got a lot easier.

Alexandria Sheriff Sean Casey, Clerk of Circuit Court Greg Parks, and Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter announced today that their offices have coordinated efforts to create a “one-stop, limited cost, process for all those seeking expungements of Alexandria court and police records.”

The expungement process can now be completed for free at the Alexandria Courthouse (520 King Street), and are granted when the petitioner was acquitted of an incident, the charge was not prosecuted or if the petitioner was granted an absolute pardon.

“I am committed to ensuring that all Alexandrians have fair access to the expungement process, and waiving the service of process and its fee will remove one barrier to those seeking to clear their records,” Porter said in a release.

Expungements are handled in the clerk’s office. When a record is expunged, the record is removed from public access and sealed for three years, after which it is destroyed.

“I am extremely pleased to have the support of Sheriff Casey and Commonwealth’s Attorney Porter in making the expungement process more convenient, and in limiting the out-of-pocket expenses for applicants,” Parks said.

As part of the agreement, the Sheriff’s Office will take fingerprints at the courthouse at no cost to the petitioner.

“Fingerprinting is critical to the expungement process, and the Sheriff’s Office will provide that service to Alexandrians at no cost to make the process easier and faster,” Casey said.

An expungement clinic was conducted last year, resulting in more than 30 criminal charges expunged. Another clinic is anticipated for “early this year,” according to the three offices.

Applicants can get assistance from the Alexandria Bar Association‘s lawyer referral service for $55.

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Retired Alexandria City High School principal John Porter (on left) and Sheriff Dana Lawhorne in Del Ray (courtesy photo)

Retired Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne and former Alexandria City High School principal John Porter have been named the grand marshals of the 48th annual Alexandria Turkey Trot.

Lawhorne retired last year after a 43-year career in law enforcement in the city, and Porter was a teacher for Alexandria City Public Schools for more than 20 years and the principal at ACHS (back when it was named T.C. Williams High School) for 22 years.

“It is an honor to announce that two of Alexandria’s most loved community members, Dana Lawhorne and John Porter, are this year’s grand marshals,” said Del Ray Business Association board member Gayle Reuter. “Both are lifelong Alexandrians who have dedicated their lives to public service.”

The five-mile race on Nov. 23 through the heart of Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood is expected to draw upward of 6,000 participants. It will start at 9 a.m. outside George Washington Middle School (1005 Mount Vernon Avenue).

On race day, the doors at GW Middle School will open at 7:30 a.m., followed by the invocation and announcements at 8:45 a.m. The race will start at 9 a.m., followed by an awards ceremony at 10 a.m.

Participants are asked to register and pick up their racing materials before the race.

Participants and spectators are also asked this year to donate two non-perishable food items on race day to support ALIVE!

“Most needed items include rice, dry beans, boxed mac and cheese, canned vegetables, canned soup, canned fruit, canned tuna and/or chicken, or boxed/bag baking mixes,” DRBA said in a release. “Last year, ALIVE! received 1,168 pounds of food and a $6,000 check from the Del Ray Business Association to support their food program.”

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Thousands turned out in costumes for the 27th annual Del Ray Halloween Parade on Sunday.

This year, the parade was named one of the top 10 Halloween Parades in the country by USA Today.

The Del Ray Business Association parade started at Mount Vernon Avenue and E. Bellefonte Avenue and ended with live music and prizes at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center athletic fields.

“We couldn’t have made such a successful event without more than 100 volunteers,” said parade organizer Gayle Reuter. “We start planning for this months in advance, and it takes so many neighbors and friends to make it a success.”

Del Ray’s next big event is the 48th annual Alexandria Turkey Trot on Nov. 23.

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Community champions were honored as Living Legends of Alexandria on Wednesday night.

The prestigious annual honor was given to a dozen well-known former lawmakers, city employees, activists and business owners.

Mayor Justin Wilson said that Alexandria draws people who contribute to the greater good.

“This community has a way of just sucking you in to something great and it’s wonderful,” Wilson said. “But quickly, whether you’re growing up or you just got here, you start to realize that some of the same people are involved in multiple things, and… those are the kinds of people we’re honoring tonight. These are the people that make a lasting difference to our community. Decades from now when all of us are long gone, you will go around and you will say, ‘Wow, that happened because of them.'”

The reception was held at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial and was hosted by former Alexandria City High School principal John Porter. Three of the honorees who died recently were still recognized.

The 2023 Living Legends of Alexandria

  • Former Police Chief David Baker
  • Nelson Greene Jr., who died last year
  • Retired Sheriff Dana Lawhorne
  • Carolyn B. Lewis, founder of Project Discovery Alexandria
  • Patty and Kate Moran
  • Gary Oelze, who died this year
  • Colonel James Paige
  • Former City Council Member Redella S. “Del” Pepper
  • Jack Sullivan
  • Former School Board Member Charles Wilson
  • William Vosbeck, who died in 2021
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The William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center (via City of Alexandria)

A contractor has been prohibited from returning to the city jail for work and will be charged with a Class 6 felony for allegedly providing an inmate with an iPhone, Sheriff Sean Casey confirmed to ALXnow.

The former contract employee, a female, worked in the kitchen of the detention center. She admitted “in April 2023, she smuggled an iPhone into the detention center and provided it to an inmate,” the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office said in a recently released search warrant affidavit.

“She (the contractor) stated that she did this at the request of an inmate, and that the phone that she brought into the facility was provided to her by an unknown conspirator of the inmate,” ASO said in the search warrant affidavit.

The phone was found on Aug. 8 by another contractor inside a box in the cafeteria, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Casey said that, due to this incident, contract workers are now subject to “enhanced screening” before entering the jail.

“We take any potential breach of security very seriously and preventing any contraband, including cell phones, from coming into the jail is always a priority,” Casey told ALXnow. “There have been two cases of cell phones illegally being given to inmates in the past three years, but overall, such cases are rare in Alexandria.”

The former contractor has not been arrested and faces a felony charge of “illegal conveyance or possession of cellular telephone or other wireless telecommunications device by prisoner,” which is punishable by one-to-five years in prison and up to a $2,500 fine.

Casey said that the contractor was “immediately prohibited from returning to her position at the detention center,” and that inmates “found to be involved will be subject to criminal charges and administrative discipline.”

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Bobby Smith says he’s a new man. The inmate at Alexandria’s William G. Truesdale Detention Center has spent the last three years participating in the jail’s correctional education programs, and on Thursday he and about 50 other inmates received certificates of completion, rounds of applause and lunch.

“I’m a different man than I was when I arrived,” Smith told ALXnow. “I’ve taken every course that I can here — anger management, finance, fitness, conflict resolution.”

The 51-year-old inmate’s trial date is pending. Smith, a D.C. native, has spent half his life in jail for drug charges. He has been in the Alexandria jail for three years for heroin possession and selling fentanyl-laced heroin to a woman who later died.

“She was a close friend of mine,” Smith said of the woman. “I struggled with that because of the trust that was instilled in me. I failed her.”

The award program for the inmates was held in the jail gymnasium and included two General Education Diploma recipients, creative writing contest winners, as well as participants in the jail’s conflict resolution, reentry and work programs.

“Everyone here volunteered to participate,” said Gloria Wright, program manager at the detention center. “Our main goal is to get as many people to participate as possible. Our job is to go in these units and kind of urge them to participate, instead of sit or lay around not doing anything.”

Sheriff Sean Casey said that the jail’s recidivism rate is one of the lowest in the state and congratulated the inmates who were recognized

“All of you are having a difficult time in your life right now,” Casey said.

“We all know it’s gonna be an uphill battle,” he continued. “We all know it’s gonna be difficult. It was difficult probably before you got in here, and it’s gonna be difficult when you leave. But the fact that you volunteer to take time out of your day to come and be part of these programs, and to better yourselves it means a lot to me means a lot to our staff and everyone sitting in this room so give yourselves a round of applause.”

City Council Member Sarah Bagley told the inmates that she was impressed with their participation in the program.

“I want to let you know that it’s inspiring to me,” Bagley said. “You have an opportunity to be inspiring to others. The choices you are making to learn new skills, to apply yourselves, to come away from this experience as a more interesting person, a more well-read person, a skilled person, is truly impressive.”

Smith, who has seven children, said it’s been a while since anyone cheered for him.

“I never understand the damage I was doing to myself first and the relationships with my family, the people that I love,” he said. “I’m a seasoned veteran in the jail and I’m not proud of that. But I’ve owned up to it, and I’m working on becoming a better person.”

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More than a dozen Alexandria Sheriff’s deputies and police officers played soccer in the blazing heat with about 30 Latino kids yesterday.

It was the last day of the Capital Youth Empowerment Program‘s second annual summer soccer camp at AlexRenew’s Limerick Field. Every Wednesday since June 26, kids who can’t get to the field are picked up by van. Before they play soccer, the kids are given an hour’s worth of the El Camino sexual health program before being let loose on the luscious soccer field.

“We talk about about not doing drugs, about better choices in the life,” said 16-year-old Max Martinez, a rising junior at Alexandria City High School. “It’s worth it. This field is better than the one at school.”

Fredy Martinez (no relation), a substance abuse counselor for Alexandria City Public Schools, is a facilitator/coach for the program.

“We deliver the message of avoiding teen pregnancy and to have a healthy lifestyle without compromising their futures,” he said.

Deputy Carlos Canas is a gang and intel investigator for the city, and said that gangs are active in the city.

“It’s never easy, especially when kids are not in school,” Canas said. “And we all know what happens in our city when it comes to gangs, but lately it’s been active. However, our job is to be out here like today and be proactive, try to show them that we’re here to help and to prevent them from even ever joining a gang.”

Program coordinator Isaac King said that summer camp recruitment will start earlier next year, and that the program has grown largely through word of mouth.

“We want kids to learn about decision making,” King said. “And we want to broker better relations with the police department, so that when the police see the kids on the street, outside of the program, they have relationships with the kids, because they were their coaches and played soccer with them.”

All students are eligible to participate in the program, but it’s geared toward Latino youth.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to engage with kids,” said Chief Deputy Shahram Fard. “If I came out here in uniform, they would not talk to me. But if I come in here and talk to them like this (in workout clothes and soccer cleats), they’ll talk.”

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