Alexandria, VA

Just hours after the Ford F-150 was stolen in front of a Del Ray office, the victim’s mother received a call from the thief telling her not to call the police.

The incident occurred at around 2 p.m. on August 25 in the 500 block of E. Braddock Road near the Braddock Road Metro station.

The victim was getting measurements on a ladder when he saw a Black male with a thin build, about 5-foot-8 with long braided hair, drive away in his truck. Inside the truck was a handgun valued at over $1,000, according to police.

Later that night, the victim’s mother received a phone call from the male suspect, who “stated that he had information about the stolen truck and that he did not want to involve the police,” according to a search warrant affidavit. “The phone call was received only a few hours after the vehicle was stolen.”

The victim’s mother said that the suspect must have found a business card in the truck belonging to an employee that works with the victim’s family, and that the number the suspect called was linked to her home phone.

The truck was found 12 days later on September 6, just after 4 a.m. in southeast D.C. It was found near the home of a woman where police traced the call from the suspect to the victim’s mother.

The gun was not found in the truck and the case is ongoing.

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It’s the end of another work week in Alexandria!

There was a lot of crime this week, as police responded to multiple shots fired incidents in the Parker Gray area on September 2. There was also another carjacking in the West End — the latest in a recent uptick that prompted Mayor Justin Wilson to ask the public for help in reducing the number of vehicle-related thefts.

But there is also some good news to report, as businesses are opening in the city despite the daily pressures of the pandemic. This week we took a look inside The Company Of Books used book store in Del Ray, and we covered the city’s new Wellness District, which is providing a number of free programs and discounts for the recently expanded Wellness Month.

Also this week, Alexandria City Public Schools cut down a 150-year-old tree to make way for a concession stand. The move was criticized by activists and former Mayor Allison Silberberg. With the destruction of the tree, the renovation project for the Parker-Gray Stadium has now officially begun.

What stories impacted you this week? Let us know in the comments.

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. Alexandria Woman Uninjured in Tuesday Carjacking at Gunpoint in Potomac Yard
  2. Beatley Central Library Closed Until Further Notice Due to ‘Emergency Conditions’
  3. Police: Three Alexandria ABC Stores Broken Into, High-End Liquor Stolen
  4. Police Investigating Multiple Gunshots Fired in Parker Gray/Braddock
  5. Alexandria’s COVID Positive Testing Rate Lowest in Region
  6. Halal Slaughterhouse Construction Begins, Opening Reset to Mid-November
  7. Update: Chalk Graffiti Decrying Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf Sprayed In Front of Wrong House
  8. Braddock ‘Elizabeth’s Counter’ Last of Regional Chain After Bankruptcy Filing
  9. Police: Three Alexandria ABC Stores Broken Into, High-End Liquor Stolen
  10. North Potomac Yard Plans Going to Planning Commission, Board of Architectural Review
  11. ACPS Cuts Down 150-Year Old Tree to Make Way for Concession Stand

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria Police are investigating another violent carjacking yesterday in the West End of city, this time in the 3400 block of Berkeley Street near Northern Virginia Community College.

The incident occurred at around 6 p.m. in a residential area across the street from the Alexandria Gateway shopping complex. The unknown suspect approached the victim with a gun and took their car. No one was injured in the incident.

The carjacking is the latest in an uptick in vehicle thefts that have occurred in the city this year.

Last month, 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.

In July, a West End carjacking ended with a crash in Fairfax County, and on July 14, a man was hospitalized after a carjacking in Old Town.

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Alexandria Police are investigating another violent carjacking in the city.

The victim is an adult female and was approached early on Tuesday morning at The Reserve of Potomac Yard apartment complex by an unidentified man with a gun in the 3700 block of Richmond Highway.

The victim was not injured and the suspect drove away in her car, which has not been recovered, according to police.

The area is across the street from the Potomac Yard Center, which is home to retail stores, restaurants and the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus development. It is also less than a mile from where a woman barricaded herself in her apartment in June and fired on police.

Earlier this month, Mayor Justin Wilson cautioned the public over a rising trend in vehicle-related thefts. As of August 11, there have been 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.

Last month, a West End carjacking led to a police chase that ended with a crash in Fairfax County. On July 14, a man was hospitalized after a carjacking in Old Town.

Map via Google Maps

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With vehicle thefts on the rise, Alexandria Police are investigating a violent carjacking in the West End that injured two men and led to a car chase and crash in Fairfax County.

The incident occurred on July 25 around 5 p.m. Two men parked their cars at their homes in the 300 block of South Whiting Street. The two cars, a black 2014 Toyota Camry and a black 2012 Chevrolet Impala were parked at S. Whiting Street (facing Stevenson Avenue) and their owners were unloading them. The engines were left running with the keys inside and were unlocked, according to police.

Two men in face masks then approached them. One of the men pointed a gun at one of the victims and asked that they give him money, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The second suspect also had a gun and asked for money from the other victim “several times before striking him in the face with the grip and magazine well of the gun” before taking his cell phone, according to police.

The suspects then drove away in both cars.

The Camry was recovered the next day after a chase with Virginia State Police in Clifton that ended with it crashing and two male suspects fleeing the scene on foot. The female driver was taken into custody and later interviewed at the hospital by police.

According to the affidavit, the driver told police that she drove because she was nervous letting her two companions get behind the wheel. She also said that the trio were driving to the beach. The investigating officer then asked her about the gun and she “stated she wanted an attorney and the interview was terminated.”

Inside the Camry, police found a Glock handgun and several wallets. One of them had an identification belonging to the victim of another carjacking that occurred approximately the week before in the city “with similar suspect descriptions,” notes the affidavit.

On July 30, there was also a violent carjacking in Old Town. A man was approached by three men who asked for a ride. When he refused, the man was beaten unconscious and woke up in the hospital.

Alexandria Police would not respond to questions regarding this incident. It is not clear if the Impala has been recovered.

Earlier this month, Mayor Justin Wilson appealed to the public for help in lowering a rising trend in vehicle-related thefts. As of August 11, there have been 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.

Map via Google Maps

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Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson on Monday asked residents to lock up their cars, as the number of stolen vehicles and thefts from vehicles has already eclipsed last year.

“Car thefts and thefts from cars are up considerably in the city,” Mayor Justin Wilson wrote on social media. In the vast majority of these cases cars are left unlocked with valuables in sight and keys in the car.”

Wilson’s message, which he shared on Facebook and Twitter, shows a LexisNexis map of Alexandria littered with little green cars to indicate individual crime events.

Alexandria Police reported the following for grand larceny auto (GLA) and larceny from an auto. There have been 179 vehicle thefts so far this year, 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.

“With the pandemic, people leave their cars parked for weeks and months,” APD spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow. “The numbers will go down if folks do some preventative stuff, like not leaving their cars running and taking valuables out of your car.”

‪Car thefts and thefts from cars are up considerably in the City.‬‪In the vast majority of these cases cars are left…

Posted by Mayor Justin Wilson on Monday, August 10, 2020

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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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Alexandria Police are investigating more than $40,000 in car parts stolen from BMW of Alexandria in the Landmark Mall parking garage.

On Jan. 17, the sales manager for BMW of Alexandria (499 S. Pickett St.) told police that 10 BMW M-Series sedans and sport utility vehicles stored at the property had been stripped of their wheels and put on concrete blocks. The passenger side front windows were smashed and the lug bolt locks were taken from the glove compartments.

Video surveillance footage found two unknown suspects entering the parking lot at around 3:15 a.m. in an older GMC Yukon XL/Chevrolet Tahoe or a GMC Yukon XL/Chevrolet Suburban. The license plates of the GMC could not be read, but the vehicle is missing the passenger-side rear chrome wheel cover.

“The suspects were on the top floor of the parking garage for about 35 minutes before leaving the area,” police reported in a search warrant affidavit. “In the surveillance footage, two suspects can be seen and multiple car alarms are sounding from the victim vehicles… No other vehicles or persons are seen on the property of the mall with the exception of the Landmark Security vehicle in the former location of the Macy’s Department store.”

Landmark Mall is closed except for Carpenter’s Shelter, the Sears department store and two auto service centers.

Image via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Stolen Vehicle Prompts Police Helo — “The Alexandria Police Department stopped a stolen vehicle in the 3000 block of King Street. A helicopter has been requested to assist.” [Twitter/@AlexandriaVAPD]

Route 7 Bus Lanes Planned — “New plans for rapid bus stations and bus lanes along Route 7 in Northern Virginia show the changes that could come to the busy commuter route over the next decade. A new conceptual engineering report lays out 18 specific bus rapid station locations from Tysons to Alexandria.” [WTOP]

Hospital Uses Temporary Cowbell Alert System — “It got a little noisy at Inova Alexandria Hospital on Thursday, Nov. 7, as hospital staff had to get creative in the in-patient unit by giving patients cowbells during an upgrade to the call bell system. Extra hospital staff were deployed to help patients during the four hour shutdown before the system was back online. There were no reported issues.” [Zebra]

Thousands of Coats Donated — “It wouldn’t be the holiday season in Alexandria without Willie Bailey’s annual coat drive. By the end of the year, Bailey and his team of volunteers from the Alexandria Police Department, Fire Department, and Sheriff’s Office have distributed more than 4,000 winter coats to city youth.” [Zebra]

Nearby: Elaborate Light Display Taking Year Off — “Collingwood Lights will not open this winter, ending a tradition for thousands of local residents. Elaborate, music-synched light displays have given joy to many people for more than two decades at Bill and Jan Vaughan’s home at 1601 Collingwood Road. In 2018, the couple won $50,000 in ABC television’s ‘The Great Christmas Light Fight.'” [Alexandria Living]

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