The Fairfax County Police Department is investigating a “cash for gold robbery scheme” involving three Maryland residents who forced a driver on the Capital Beltway (I-495) to give them money for jewelry that was likely fake.
The driver encountered the three individuals while driving home on Oct. 29 near the exit to Bethesda, where he saw them standing on the side of I-495, police said in a news release published today.
The victim stopped to provide aid. A woman said the stranded group needed money to continue their travels. She showed the victim a watch and gold jewelry. She requested cash in exchange for the items. The woman convinced the victim to drive to an ATM. Two men in a black SUV followed the victim and woman. The victim began driving and quickly realized this was likely a scam. The victim stopped in a parking lot and exited his car. One of the men from the other vehicle exited their car and told the victim to sit in the driver’s seat while he drove the victim to obtain money.
The man was driven to four locations around the Tysons area, where the trio forced the man “through intimidation” to withdraw money until his bank accounts were empty, according to the police.
Once the trio left him, the man called 911.
The FCPD says the perpetrators of the scam were identified as 39-year-old Magdalena Mazil, 36-year-old Hagi Voinescu, and 23-year-old Romeo Voinescu — all Baltimore residents — after an officer came across them in a gray Chevrolet Tahoe that “appeared to be disabled” on the Dulles Toll Road near Route 7 in Tysons on Nov. 3.
The officer searched the vehicle and found “large amounts of fake gold jewelry,” police said.
Mazil and Hagi Voinescu were arrested by Baltimore City detectives on Nov. 22, but Romeo Voinescu remains “outstanding,” according to police.
All three individuals are facing charges of abduction and four counts of robbery. The FCPD also obtained warrants for Hagi Voinescu for preventing a person from calling 911.
“Two additional warrants for preventing a telephone call were obtained for Magdalena. An additional warrant for driver failing to report an accident was issued for Romeo,” police said.
Police believe the trio may be connected to other crimes in the area.
“We’re asking anyone with information about the suspects or who may have encountered the suspects to contact us,” the FCPD said.
Detectives can be contacted at 703-691-2131. The department also accepts anonymous tips by phone (1-866-411-TIPS), text (type “FCCS” plus tip to 847411) and online through Crime Solvers.
The FCPD offers cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 to tipsters who provide information that leads to an arrest.
A Maryland driver has been arrested after leading police on an extended chase down the Capital Beltway yesterday (Monday) that crossed state lines and ended with a car flip in Tysons.
According to Montgomery County police, its officers were on the lookout for 26-year-old Frederick K. Njihia of Germantown after getting a report of a man shooting a rifle at people, including a local sanitation worker whose vehicle was hit multiple times.
No one was injured in the shooting, which occurred around 9:20 a.m., the Montgomery County Department of Police said.
The pursuit began when an officer spotted a blue Honda Civic matching the reported description of Njihia’s vehicle. Njihia shot at the police cruiser, flattening a front tire, and other officers pursued him on southbound I-270, police said.
A police pursuit that began in a Germantown neighborhood after a Montgomery County Police officer was shot at came to an end in Fairfax, Virginia. No police officers or citizens were injured during this pursuit. The suspect is in custody.
Video Credit : Spencer Deese#mcpnews pic.twitter.com/OHr7VFeRWa
— Montgomery County Department of Police (@mcpnews) July 4, 2022
Virginia State Police were notified about the pursuit at approximately 9:41 a.m. and took over once it crossed the American Legion Bridge and entered the state, according to a VSP news release.
Once the Honda Civic passed into Virginia on I-495, it exited onto Route 7 towards Tysons Corner. When it did a U-turn on Route 7 at Route 267/Dulles Toll Road, a Virginia State Police trooper administered a pursuit intervention technique by making contact with the suspect vehicle. The Honda Civic ran off the road, struck the Jersey wall, and overturned onto its roof.
With a pursuit intervention technique, also known as a precision immobilization technique or PIT manuever, police stop a vehicle by running into its rear, causing it to turn and often flip. The move has been the subject of some debate over its safety.
NEW: The end of a lengthy chase from Montgomery Co. to Tysons on Rt 7 at 267. @VSPPIO ended it by purposely crashing into the vehicle with a PIT (pursuit intervention technique) after suspect made a U-turn on 7. #police @CordellTraffic @RealTimeNews10 @marykimm @TomJackmanWP pic.twitter.com/twSbGzprb5
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) July 4, 2022
POLICE CHASE: Montgomery County police say a man w/ a gun in Germantown fired shots at an officer, then led them on a chase down 270, over the American Legion Bridge onto 495, then onto route 7 and crashed in the Tyson’s area. We can see the car flipped upside down @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/A2ukN2g0Zn
— Aimee Cho (@AimeeCho4) July 4, 2022
The crash closed all east and westbound lanes on Route 7 and required a medical response, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Virginia State Police reported that Njihia was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital “for treatment of minor injuries sustained when his vehicle overturned.”
The VSP has charged Njihia with eluding police, a felony, and reckless driving, a misdemeanor. He’s currently being detained without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.
Njihia also faces four counts of attempted murder and a count of first-degree assault with a firearm in Maryland.