Alexandria Police are investigating the second car stolen this month from a gas station — while the owner is pumping gas. The most recent incident occurred at around 9 a.m. Thursday morning at a gas station in the 2300 block of Richmond Highway in Crystal City.

“The victim had just finished pumping gas when the vehicle was stolen around 9:30 this morning,” according to Alexandria Police. “The suspect accessed the vehicle through an unlocked door.”

No one was injured. The vehicle was found 90 minutes later in the 2600 block of 18th Street SE in the District. Police located it through its tracking system.

ALXnow has reached out to the police for more and will update the story accordingly.

This is the second incident of its kind to occur this month. On Feb. 7, local business owner Allison Priebe‘s car was stolen while she pumped gas.

“For your own safety and protection, lock your doors and keep your keys and key fobs on your person when pumping gas,” police advised.

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It was a cold week in Alexandria.

With bits of snow and temperatures hovering at around freezing, our top story this week was on Allison Priebe, the local business owner who was robbed while pumping gas in Old Town. Police later released suspect photos and advise anyone pumping gas to keep their keys with them and lock their vehicles.

On the coronavirus front, Alexandria is now at 9,903 cases and no new deaths, which is an increase of about 150 cases since Monday’s report. Meanwhile, as the city contends with a growing vaccine waiting list, the Health Department is warning residents of COVID-19 vaccine scams.

More than 260 people participated in our weekly poll. This week we asked about voting in the upcoming City Council and mayoral elections, and 87% plan on voting in the primary and general election; 6% only plan on voting in the primary; 5% aren’t voting and 1% will only vote in the primary.

In case you missed them, here are some other important stories this week:

Here are our top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. Local Business Owner Robbed of Car While Pumping Gas at Old Town Gas Station
  2. BREAKING: Large Power Outage Reported in Old Town
  3. ACPS Releases Semifinalist Names for T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School Renaming
  4. Just In: ‘QAnon Shaman’ from Capitol Siege Transferred to Alexandria Jail
  5. Poll: What Do You Think of the Proposed Heritage Development in Old Town
  6. Mayor: Brace Yourselves, It Could be End of Summer Before City Moves into Next Vaccine Phase
  7. BREAKING: Councilman Mo Seifeldein Running for Alexandria Mayor, Hatch Act Conflict in Question
  8. Alexandria Sheriff: Jailed ‘QAnon Shaman’s’ Organic Food Request is Normal
  9. Just In: James Lewis Files Paperwork to Enter City Council Race
  10. Photos: The Regal Potomac Yard Movie Theater is Being Torn Down
  11. City Councilman’s Virtual Super Bowl Party Ambushed by Racists and Nazi Trolls

Photo via Alexandria Police

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Alexandria Police released photos of two suspects they say stole an SUV from a city resident while she was pumping gas at the Liberty gas station in Old Town on Sunday afternoon.

Police said that security cameras caught the suspects stealing the white 2017 Lexus GS400 from local business owner Allison Priebe on Sunday at around 1 p.m. at the gas station at 700 S. Patrick Street.

The were driving a black 2018-2021 Mazda 6 with Maryland temporary tags.

“The suspect accessed the vehicle through an unlocked door,” police reported in a press release. “There were no injuries reported.”

Police said that security cameras revealed that the suspects tried using Priebe’s credit card in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

“They got away with a goldmine,” Priebe told ALXnow. “I had significant contents in my car — my purse, all the money I made from the warehouse sale, my rent in cash, coats, shoes, my laptop, my briefcase — everything that you need to function as an adult.”

Priebe estimates that she lost a minimum of $10,000 worth of cash and other valuables.

Priebe said that the larger of the two suspects was the man who stole her car. They took it to a Sunoco gas station to fill it up at National Harbor and then bought five $200 gift cards. A suspect then tried to sell her laptop at an electronics shop in District Heights, Maryland.

Police recommend drivers to lock their doors when leaving their cars unattended, and to “keep your keys in hand when pumping gas.”

Anyone with information on the suspects is asked to contact Detective Walter Boyd at 703-746-6245.

Photos via Alexandria Police Department

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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.

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