Alexandria, VA

Two men have been arrested after allegedly trying to resell stolen cars and nearly running over an Alexandria Police officer.

Michael Daugherty, an 18-year-old resident of Washington, D.C., and a 20-year-old man from Prince George’s County, Maryland, were arrested on Dec. 7 after allegedly fleeing the Yasini Auto Gallery near the King Street-Old Town Metro station in a stolen white Toyota RAV4.

The suspects allegedly refused an Alexandria Police officer’s order to stop and nearly hit him, according to a search warrant affidavit. The vehicle was later found abandoned less than a half mile away on Roberts Lane near the Mason Garden Apartments.

Alexandria Police have connected the incident with the November theft of multiple cars that were listed on the OfferUp website. In those cases, owners who advertised their vehicles for sale on OfferUP met the suspects at predetermined locations and were given false checks of up to $22,000. The suspects then drove away in the cars and at least one of the cars was listed on the same website.

The auto gallery ended up buying a Chevrolet Camaro for $4,000 that had been stolen on Nov. 4 after the victim had been given a false check for $23,000. The auto gallery then posted the car for sale on its OfferUp profile.

“We gonna bring you more cars anyway but we want at least 5 (thousand dollars for the Camaro),” the suspects allegedly told the Yasini representative, according to the affidavit.

After being contacted about the stolen car by Alexandria Police, the owner of the dealership reported on Dec. 7 that two of the suspects responsible for selling the vehicles were trying to sell him another one.

“Police arrived on scene… and attempted to stop the individuals in the vehicle by commanding them to stop after receiving confirmation they were the suspects,” police reported in the affidavit. “The vehicle did not stop and almost struck the officers attempting to stop the vehicle.”

Police found the suspects near the abandoned RAV4 and confirmed their identities by getting their cell phone numbers from the owner of the dealership.

Daugherty was released on bond on Dec. 8 after being charged with attempted assault on law enforcement, receiving/buying stolen goods and failure to remain at an accident involving property damage. The 20-year-old suspect was charged with violating a protective order and was released on bond that same day.

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Alexandria Police are investigating a scam where owners posting cars for sale on the OfferUp marketplace are having them stolen after being handed fraudulent checks.

The cars have since been found for sale by the suspects on OfferUp.

“The description of the suspect in both incidents is similar and the vehicles involved are identical,” police said in a search warrant affidavit.

On Nov. 4, a man reported to police that his 2018 Chevrolet Camaro was stolen. The man posted the car for sale for $23,000 on OfferUp and was contacted by the suspect, who was accompanied by a man in a white Audi A6 or A8 with DC tags, according to the affidavit.

The suspect handed over a check for $22,500 and drove away with the car. The man then took the check to the bank and they told him it was a fake. The man contacted police after finding his car being sold by the suspect on OfferUp, according to the affidavit.

On Nov. 5, a woman and her grandson reported to police that her 2014 BMW 535 was stolen. The woman allowed her grandson to post the car for sale for $14,700 on OfferUp, according to another affidavit.

The grandson met the suspect in the 4900 block of Seminary Road on Nov. 4. The suspect gave the man a check for $14,700 made out to his grandmother and then “quickly” drove away in the car, according to police.

The victim got suspicious and decided to follow the car.

“(The victim) was unable to do so because… other vehicles that appeared to be accompanying the suspect blocked his path and then proceeded to disregard a red light and hastily drove out of the area,” according to the affidavit. “The suspect was driving a white Chevrolet Camaro, and the other vehicles were an Audi A6 and a BMW 33 series with red rims.”

The grandmother was told it was a fake check when she took it to her bank. Police later found the car being sold by an account on OfferUp for approximately the same price she was asking before it was stolen.

Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine advises anyone selling their car to accept cashier’s checks and money orders, not personal checks.

“Be smart, be safe,” Ballantine said. “Only accept cashier’s checks and money orders, because that’s just cash.”

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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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It was a historic week in Alexandria.

Alexandrians overwhelmingly helped reelect U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Congressman Don Beyer, and 80% of voters chose Democrat former Vice President Joe Biden for president over incumbent Republican President Donald Trump.

Out top story this week was election-related. It turns out that before election day several Alexandria households with Joe Biden signs were sent letters with a Northern Virginia postage mark stating that Biden is a pedophile. The Chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee advised that anyone who receives such notes should call the police. The police, in turn, are sending along the information to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Additionally, 91 people participated in our weekly poll. This week we asked about election night plans, and 65% of respondents said they were staying home to watch the results, 24% had no eleciton night plans, 10% planned to protest that evening, and 1% were going to an election night event.

School News

Alexandria City Public Schools were back in action this week — sort of. While the ACPS opened in-person classes on Thursday, fewer than 10 students made it to class. There were about 60 students eligible to go back to school, since only kids with kindergarten through second graders with disabilities were allowed to attend Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School.

It was the first in-person public schooling in Alexandria since the pandemic shut down schools in March. ACPS plans to expand opening for all citywide special education students by December. Meanwhile, however, hundreds of parents want the school system to open and have started the #OpenACPS messaging campaign.

Also in school news, a two-year-long court battle was settled with the city and 15 Alexandria homeowners were settled regarding the addition of stadium lights to Parker-Gray Stadium at T.C. Williams High School.

The Week in Crime

The week started with news that there were two shootings in Alexandria over the weekend.

The was also the story of a 17-year-old on the run since last month after allegedly stealing a car in the West End. The juvenile, who later admitted stealing the car, was seen by the victim — a federal law enforcement officer — driving past his house, and the victim got into another of his cars and followed the suspect. The victim got the juvenile out of his car and held him at the scene until police arrived, and the juvenile left the area after being charged.

We also covered the story of the ‘Beltway Bank Bandit’. Freddie Lee McRae, 34, of Washington D.C., 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. He will be sentenced on February 23, 2021, and faces up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 21 years in prison.

Health and Business

As of Friday there were 76 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Alexandria, and the case count stands at 4,444, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Latino residents continue to lead the case count.

We also reported that longtime Del Ray staple, Al’s Steak House, is for sale since the owner passed away.

This week also saw fewer continued and initial unemployment claims in Alexandria.

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

  1. Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
  2. Del Ray Staple Al’s Steak House for Sale After Owner’s Death
  3. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  4. Braddock West Project Headed to Planning Commission Later This Year
  5. Identity Released of Old Town North Suspect Killed in Shootout
  6. Soft Opening for New Chicken Joint in North Old Town Today
  7. Alexandria Parents Start #OpenACPS Sign Campaign as School System Begins Partial Reopening
  8. Juvenile Allegedly Steals Car and is Tracked Down by Victim in the West End
  9. BREAKING: Massive Power Outage Reported in Alexandria
  10. The Alexandria Drive-In Just Kicked Off an Encore Series on Halloween
  11. Did You Know: The Tall Ship Providence Encountered a Ghost Ship in 1777

Have a safe weekend!

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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 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 owner of an SUV that crashed into a truck in the West End in August reported that his vehicle was stolen before a hit-and-run.

On the evening of August 13, a passerby reported to police that an unattended silver-colored GMC Acadia crashed into a parked Ford F-150 in the 5700 block of Reading Avenue in the West End.

The Acadia was left unattended in the travel lane with damage to its front passenger side, and the F-150 was damaged on its driver’s side rear end, according to a police search warrant affidavit.

The Acadia was not empty.

“During the inventory of the vehicle, a white Apple iPhone was located in the driver’s seat, later placed into the Alexandria Police Department’s Property and Evidence Room,” according to police.

The responding officers left a note when they were not able to contact the owner of the Acadia at his home. The next day, though, the owner told police that he had not been driving his SUV, and “subsequently reported his vehicle had been stolen,” according to the search warrant.

Map via Google Maps

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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.

Map via Google Maps

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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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