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Fairfax County police arrested Manassas resident Rickey Lowe for allegedly stealing a medical transport vehicle from Inova Fairfax Hospital (courtesy FCPD)

A man who allegedly stole a medical transport vehicle from Inova Fairfax Hospital last week has been located and arrested, Fairfax County police announced over the weekend.

Rickey Lowe, 32, of Manassas was arrested on Friday (Feb. 23) by Fugitive Tracking and Apprehension Unit detectives who found him “near a hotel in Manassas,” the Fairfax County Police Department said in a news release on Saturday (Feb. 24).

According to police, Lowe was a passenger in a 2015 Toyota Corolla that was reported stolen from Prince William County on Feb. 14. When officers spotted the sedan near Fair Oaks Mall at around 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 19, the driver took off, reportedly speeding out of the mall parking lot and onto eastbound Route 50.

“The driver quickly changed directions and drove towards the westbound I-66 ramp,” the FCPD said in an earlier news release. “The driver lost control of the Corolla, entered the embankment, and struck a small hill sending it airborne. The vehicle landed against a concrete wall on the exit ramp of westbound I-66 toward Route 50 eastbound.”

All five occupants of the Corolla were hospitalized with injuries, but while receiving treatment, Lowe allegedly left the emergency room at Inova Fairfax Hospital “in his medical gown with an IV still in his arm and then stole an ‘MMT’ Medical Transport vehicle,” police said.

The vehicle was later found in the 4200 block of Annandale Road in Annandale, but officers didn’t locate Lowe.

Upon his arrest on Friday, Lowe was transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where he was held on a $2,000 bond. He has been charged with grand larceny.

The driver of the Corolla — identified by police as Xxeavius Romoance Marlow, 29, of Manassas — has also been charged with grand larceny. After getting treated for injuries from the crash, he was taken to the county jail, where he’s currently in custody without bond.

Fairfax County General District Court records indicate that Lowe remains in custody after an arraignment this morning. He faces a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 29, while Marlow’s preliminary hearing will be held on June 12.

Aerial view of Route 29 corridor study area (via Fairfax County)

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is asking commuters for feedback on changes they would like to see along the Route 29 corridor.

The department recently launched a survey asking commuters how often they travel Route 29, the duration of their travel, and the mode of transportation they use.

The survey focuses on a 2.9-mile stretch of Route 29 near Fairfax City between Buckleys Gate Drive and Jermantown Road. The survey will help the county identify multi-modal solutions to support increased development in the area, according to Fairfax County Transportation Planning Section Chief Michael Garcia.

The county is seeking to shift away from the interchanges, road widenings and other auto-focused improvements currently recommended for the corridor.

“There have been development proposals in the corridor and trying to accommodate the Comprehensive Plan recommendations for interchanges may not be in harmony with how the area has developed and will continue to develop,” Garcia told FFXnow.

Instead, his team is working with Fairfax City and the Virginia Department of Transportation to study low-cost multi-modal solutions, such as bicycle and pedestrian upgrades, with the goal of preserving future mobility and accessibility in the corridor, as well as enhancing public spaces.

Garcia says the feedback collected from the survey will play a crucial role in shaping county staff’s recommendations for transportation improvements. Interested participants can fill out the survey online or leave a recorded message at 703-890-5898 (Project Code 3941) by Friday, March 1, 2024.

FCDOT will present the results at a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, March 12, at 7 p.m., per the study website.

Garcia noted that FCDOT’s study of this Route 29 section is “timely,” since the county is in the process of updating its plan for the Fairfax Center area, which spans about 5,500 acres between Centreville and Fairfax City bounded by Route 50 and 29.

As authorized by the Board of Supervisors last year, the county’s Department of Planning and Development is currently reevaluating its vision for the “core area” that includes Fair Oaks Mall and the Fairfax County Government Center.

Building on past reviews of the area-wide and low-density residential neighborhood goals, this third phase of the planning study will include a transportation analysis and consideration of additional housing on the Reserve at Fairfax Corner Apartments site. The property owner, Equity Residential, has requested more density at 11727 Fairfax Woods Way for a 405-unit residential building “to complement” the existing apartments.

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A white vehicle is about to crash off of the Route 50 ramp to I-66 in Fair Oaks (courtesy Statter911/Twitter)

(Updated at 8:15 p.m.) Fairfax County police combed Annandale last night for a man who reportedly stole an ambulance while getting treated at Inova Fairfax Hospital after a vehicle crash off I-66 near Fair Oaks.

The crash occurred at the eastbound Route 50 ramp to westbound I-66 around 12:30 p.m. yesterday (Monday) when officers attempted to stop a 2015 Toyota Corolla that was identified as stolen from another jurisdiction, according to the Fairfax County Police Department and scanner traffic on Open MHz.

The officers saw the driver pulling out of a Fair Oaks Mall parking lot when he spotted them and “accelerated at a high rate of speed,” the FCPD said in an update.

“The driver quickly changed directions and drove towards the westbound I-66 ramp,” the police department said. “The driver lost control of the Corolla, entered the embankment, and struck a small hill sending it airborne. The vehicle landed against a concrete wall on the exit ramp of westbound I-66 toward Route 50 eastbound.”

The crash was captured on traffic camera video shared by public safety watcher Dave Statter.

According to the FCPD, all five of the vehicle’s occupants received first aid, and four of them were taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital, one with injuries initially considered life-threatening.

However, while getting treated at the hospital, one of the passengers left and took off in a private ambulance.

“While not yet discharged, he walked away from treatment with an IV in arm, jumped in a private transport ambulance and stole it,” the FCPD said in a tweet at 10:29 p.m.

The ambulance was located in the 4200 block of Annandale Road in Annandale that evening, but the man who allegedly stole it still hasn’t been found, despite “an extensive search” by Fairfax and Prince William County police officers, according to the FCPD.

Identified by police as Rickey Lowe, 32, of Manassas, the man is now wanted for grand larceny in connection to the ambulance’s theft.

The FCPD says that two guns, a bag of “unknown white powder” and drug paraphernalia were found in the Corolla that crashed at the I-66 and Route 50 interchange. The driver remains hospitalized and has been charged with grand larceny.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is relocating its Fair Oaks Mall customer service center to a bigger space on Braddock Road (courtesy Virginia DMV)

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is departing Fair Oaks Mall.

The department’s Customer Service Center in the mall will relocate this month to a larger site at 9855 Braddock Road, just next door to the Woodleigh Chase Senior Living community. The move was driven by a “need for more space to better serve the growing Fairfax area,” a DMV spokesperson says.

“The new Braddock Road CSC will have triple the square footage of the Fair Oaks Mall location and will feature 10 additional service windows, bringing the total to 20,” the DMV said in today’s announcement. “It will also have a new countertop design to improve efficiency and customer flow and offer road skills testing.”

The existing center near JCPenney will close for good at 5 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday).

With the new office not scheduled to open until Jan. 22 at 8 a.m., the DMV is advising customers to visit other locations. The closest customer service center is in the Westfields area of Chantilly at 14950 Northridge Drive, though some transactions — registration renewals, titles, license plates, and decals — can be handled by the Fairfax City DMV Select at 10455 Armstrong Street, Room 224.

Many services are also available online, including driver’s license replacements, registration renewals and address updates.

The DMV’s relocation isn’t the only change coming to Fair Oaks Mall. A site plan and permit applications filed with Fairfax County suggest the mall is gearing up to renovate the JCPenney wing — possibly reducing the retail store’s space, subdividing the remainder and adding a third story.

Attempts to contact JCPenney and Taubman, the real estate company that owns Fair Oaks Mall, were unsuccessful.

The renovation appears to be coinciding with the departure of the mall’s Apple store, which is currently near JCPenney and reportedly moving to Fairfax Corner as soon as late 2024. Fair Oaks is also slated to add the indoor climbing gym Movement by the end of this year.

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D’Ambrosio Gelato is now open in Fair Oaks Mall (photo by Vivian Hoang)

A new gelato stall has arrived at Fair Oaks Mall, just in time to offer sweet relief during the final days of summer.

D’Ambrosio Gelato opened for business on Aug. 16. It’s located on the first floor outside the Apple store at 11750 Fair Oaks Mall and sells both milk-based and vegan options as well as coffee.

Flavors include hazelnut, Italian coffee, strawberry, Italian organic chocolate, matcha green tea, and more.

This is the company’s first physical location in Virginia and only its second in the U.S., following a debut in Seattle back in 2010.

D’Ambrosio was concocted in Milan, Italy, by master chef Enzo Dambrosio, who began making gelato when he was 17. The business still utilizes ingredients made by the same dairy production facility that has been operating in Italy since 1957, per its website.

The company expanded its production line in 1974, adding other Italian desserts, coffee and beverages to its offerings. Its products can now be found in restaurants and hotels, along with its official shops.

D’Ambrosio has opened six locations worldwide now, including in Italy, France and Taiwan. Three stores are slated to open in Japan this year, according to its website.

Paul Kwon, who manages the Fair Oaks location, says the shop is planning to introduce more desserts in the coming weeks. On Monday (Aug. 28), they added panna gelato — warm, toasted bread filled with gelato — to the menu.

“We will introduce other desserts called cream fredda [a mousse-like coffee cream] and panna cotta in September,” he said.

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Fairfax County police car with lights flashing (file photo)

(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) A man was arrested at 10 p.m. last night after he barricaded himself and a woman in a home in Fair Oaks, prompting a police response.

Officers were currently on the scene in the 4100 block of Park Chase Drive, which is the Parkside at Fairfax Corner community yesterday afternoon and into the night.

The Fairfax County Police Department said at 5:11 p.m. that the man is “possibly armed,” advising community members to avoid the area as its officers work to resolve the situation.

Police were dispatched to the townhome at 4:05 p.m. for a “domestic dispute” that the dispatcher described as a priority, according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.

According to the dispatcher, the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office had gone to the home earlier today (Monday) to serve a protective order. Neither the FCPD or the sheriff’s office was immediately available to confirm that.

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Police say a teen charged with shoplifting at the Fair Lakes Target recently distributed antisemitic flyers (via Google Maps)

A teenager detained for an alleged shoplifting attempt at Fair Lakes Shopping Center was responsible for a series of antisemitic flyers scattered around Fair Oaks last week, police say.

Officers determined that the teen distributed the flyers after they were apprehended at Target (13047 Fair Lakes Shopping Center) on Sunday (Aug. 20), according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

“The Target Asset Prevention Team advised that the suspect was observed stealing a staple gun, sandwich bags, glue, and other miscellaneous items,” the FCPD said in a news release published last night (Tuesday).

The Target is near where some flyers were found, and the teen was caught on video by a local homeowner’s surveillance camera, FOX5 reported.

The FCPD said on Saturday (Aug. 19) that it had received numerous reports of “suspicious flyers portraying bias material” over the past two days, noting that it was talking with local religious leaders to identify safety measures but there was “no specific threat within our community.”

“We are grateful for our strong ties within this community, which help us in gathering additional information and developing long-term solutions to address instances of hatred like this one,” the FCPD said at the time.

The flyers were stuck to windshields, doors and yard signs supporting Del. Karrie Delaney’s reelection campaign, the delegate said in a statement. Delaney represents the 67th House District, which was redrawn as the 9th District and includes Fair Lakes and parts of Chantilly.

“I am deeply disturbed by the distribution of these flyers in our community,” Delaney said. “I stand unequivocally with the Jewish community, and condemn this action in the strongest of terms. There is absolutely no place for this kind of hate in Fairfax County, or anywhere in Virginia.”

The teen has been charged with petit larceny and is currently in custody at the county’s Juvenile Detention Center, according to police.

This isn’t the first time Fairfax County has dealt with antisemitic propaganda. Flyers targeting local school board members were found in Fairfax Station in 2021, and county leaders condemned a series of flyers distributed in the Wolf Trap area last year.

As many as 50 flyers claiming to be from a Virginia-based branch of the Ku Klux Klan were discovered in McLean this past February.

Image via Google Maps

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Route 50 has been closed at I-66 after a two-vehicle crash near Fair Oaks (via Google Maps)

Updated at 6:40 p.m. on 8/13/2023 — Fairfax County police have determined that the crash on Route 50 started when the driver of a 2007 Jeep Laredo rear-ended a 2023 Lexus. The driver then hit a Land Rover and a guardrail, drove across the grass median and went airborne, striking a 2009 Ford U-Haul Truck.

The Jeep and U-Haul drivers were hospitalized with injuries initially considered life-threatening, but their condition has since been changed to non-life-threatening.

Police are still investigating whether alcohol, drugs or speed were a factor in the crash.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. Route 50 has reopened to traffic, according to police.

Earlier: Two people have been taken to the hospital after a two-vehicle four-vehicle crash at the Route 50 and I-66 interchange near Fair Oaks Mall.

Eastbound Route 50 has been shut down at West Ox Road as officers investigate the crash, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. The eastbound I-66 ramp to eastbound Route 50 and the I-66 West ramp to westbound Route 50 have also been closed.

Police initially reported that one person had been transported to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, but a later update stated that both drivers were in critical condition.

A Fairfax Alert on the road closure described the crash as “significant.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation advises drivers to expect delays. Its traffic camera system indicates that the east left and right shoulders of Route 50 are closed.

According to scanner traffic on OpenMHz, the incident involved two separate crash scenes with a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a U-Haul mini truck found overturned about a quarter-mile apart.

“We have a report of a Jeep Cherokee that flipped over the median with a female occupant still inside the vehicle,” a dispatcher told responders with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department at 11:11 a.m.

Per scanner traffic, the Jeep occupant had a broken arm and needed to be extricated.

The person who suffered life-threatening injuries was trapped in the driver’s front seat of the U-Haul. FCFRD responders reported that they had extricated the person around 11:35 a.m.

At least two other vehicles were reportedly involved in the crash, including an SUV that got flipped onto its driver’s side. The dispatcher reported at 11:38 a.m. that they got a call from someone who had pulled off at Route 50 and Waples Mill Road with two people in need of medical attention.

Map via Google Maps

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A different kind of Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Towda, has taken over the former Pomodoro Pizza at 12151 Fairfax Towne Center.

Co-owners and brothers-in-law Nhan Nguyen and Chi Phan moved into the shopping center after selling their original restaurant Pho Bytes (11211 Lee Hwy), which was just a few miles away. The duo sought a fresh start after experiencing complications with their previous third partner and the restaurant’s setup.

“The kitchen [at Pho Bytes] was run down so bad, and we couldn’t afford to renovate the kitchen, so we sold that, and we build a new one here,” Phan said.

After a difficult, long renovation process, Pho Towda finally welcomed customers for a soft opening from July 10 to July 13.

Nguyen, who also owns a cybersecurity company, says Pho Towda staff were “overwhelmed” by the customers that arrived after a friend advertised the soft opening in Northern Virginia Foodies, a Facebook group with over 100,000 members.

“We didn’t expect to have that many people show up for two, three days,” Nguyen said. “…We [sold] out all the food on the first day, and we had to close an hour early, and then the second day, the same thing.”

Unprepared for so many customers, the restaurant descended into chaos. Customers complained about long wait times, as young, inexperienced servers struggled to handle the rush, and the kitchen, led by Phan, became backed up with constant orders, Nguyen says.

After three days, the pair knew they had to regroup and adjust their strategy, so they shut down and delayed their grand opening to Monday, July 17. They worked to implement the feedback they received from friends, family and customers — namely, improving wait times.

“We had to look at how to improve our process,” Nguyen said. “…We did a taste test, and we [re-trained] all the servers to make sure that they knew all the food inside and out.”

Since reopening, Nguyen says operations have been “a lot smoother,” though they had to forgo some beloved practices, such as offering hand-cut noodles, to shorten wait times.

Pho Towda cooks “authentic Vietnamese food” with a modern American “twist,” specializing in banh mi and pho, according to Nguyen. Its name comes from the signature dish, pho tho da, a noodle soup served in a hot stone bowl.

“A lot of customer request hot soup…so I kept thinking and come up with the hot stone bowl,” Phan, the head chef and innovator behind Pho Towda’s menu, said. “It takes at least 10, 15 minutes to heat the stone bowl and make it hot, and it keeps the soup hot for longer.” Read More

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A new cupcake business has landed at Fair Oaks Mall, adding a sprinkle of delight to visitors’ shopping experience.

Located near the mall’s upper-level food court next to a smoothie shop, Irresistible Cupcakes (11750 Fair Oaks Mall) celebrated its soft opening on Thursday, June 29.

Though Sunday, July 1 marked Irresistible Cupcakes’ official grand opening, founder and owner Fatima Reid has decided to extend the celebration through the entire month of July.

Until Aug. 1, Irresistible Cupcakes is sweetening the deal with a discount in honor of its grand opening: buy four or six cupcakes, get one free. Purchases of a dozen cupcakes are also discounted.

Reid says her cupcakes are freshly baked in the morning, and she hand-makes all of the cupcake batter and buttercream.

“Irresistible Cupcakes does everything from scratch,” Reid said. “So we use high-quality products and whatever I think are the finest products to produce a good quality cupcake and cake. I don’t cut any corners on that at all.”

Reid turned to baking cupcakes as her full-time career after losing her job in 2017, inspired by friends and family who insisted that there was something “special” about the cakes she would make during the holidays, she says.

Though Reid didn’t initially believe in her ability to perform physical labor and questioned whether her cupcakes could truly stand out against the pack, her husband and a higher calling gave her the final push to pick up a whisk and get to work.

“My husband said if you’re going to do this, you’ve got to be all the way in,” Reid said. “So I just researched and prayed about where I should go next.”

Launching her cupcake business out of her home kitchen, Reid went from selling baked treats at her local Bible study to opening her own store, which migrated across the D.C. region from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to Fort Belvoir to Springfield Mall.

Reid settled on Fair Oaks Mall as Irresistible Cupcakes’ next spot after her storefront in Springfield Mall closed, because she would have access to an in-store kitchen, something she has long sought.

“My wonderful big fat oven that I love so dearly has brought me much joy in this last month here,” Reid laughed.

Now, she makes the 26-mile commute from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, to Fairfax every morning to open the store at 11 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

“I’m excited at being welcomed at Fair Oaks Mall and to the Fairfax community,” Reid said. “It’s a wonderful community, and it seems like the people are very kind and very welcoming to us.”

Reid says she’s observed over the last five years that, wherever her business operates, the residents seem to gravitate towards different cupcake and cake flavors, creating different lineups of best-sellers.

“Here, they love pineapple upside-down, strawberry shortcake, strawberry cupcakes,” Reid said. “And definitely the red velvet and the caramel. The caramel is a huge hit…and the rum is a great cake as well.”

In the future, Reid hopes to expand her menu to include more vegan options, and she is seeking another store manager to help run day-to-day operations when she isn’t there.

Until then, she’s focused on “figuring out what works best for Irresistible to flow” seamlessly and giving her customers “a great experience” when they come into the mall, she says.

“It’s not just a bite of heaven, but it’s a good experience,” Reid said.

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