Police took two people into custody yesterday (Thursday) after a reported armed robbery in Great Falls turned into a dizzying pursuit from Tysons to Herndon and back again.
Officers were called to the Safeway at 9881 Georgetown Pike at 12:05 p.m. for a report of a man and a woman stealing merchandise, the Fairfax County Police Department says. The suspects allegedly pointed a gun as they left the store.
According to the initial police dispatch, the individuals took Tide detergent from the store. The vehicle tag was traced to a man with an outstanding felony warrant for robbery in Prince William County.
“The two left in a car with a child in the backseat. Officers saw the car and attempted a traffic stop that resulted a pursuit,” FCPD spokesperson Sgt. Jacob Pearce said.
Per scanner traffic, the chase began on southbound I-495 (Capital Beltway) at Georgetown Pike before exiting to the westbound Dulles Toll Road toward the airport, as officers asked for a helicopter to assist.
After feinting an exit multiple times in the Reston area, the driver turned off at Centreville Road in Herndon and swung back around to the eastbound toll road. The screech of tires can be heard on the police radio.
“Do not PIT the vehicle,” a supervising officer said, referring to a maneuver used by law enforcement to stop moving vehicles. “At most, try to bring the car to a stop slowly. I do not want any reckless driving behavior to endanger the child’s life inside the car.”
The pursuit continued into the Dulles Toll Road’s airport lanes and exited onto Route 7 (Leesburg Pike), where the driver jumped a curb to cross from the eastbound to the westbound lanes.
After turning onto Trap Road, back onto the toll road, and off at Dolley Madison Blvd in McLean, the chase made its way onto the Beltway and finally ended in the northbound lanes near Lewinsville Road, where the driver was arrested.
📸: Wreck on 495.https://t.co/ZCXBmMXPPj
— Henry Bright (@HCBright10) March 23, 2023
The woman was also taken into custody, according to the FCPD.
“No injuries were sustained as a result of the incident,” Pearce said. “The child is safe and is currently with caregivers. No crashes were reported during the pursuit. Detectives are actively investigating. The names and charges will be released once charged.”
Close to 40 police vehicles were involved in the chase, including both local and state agencies, according to a tipster who said they followed part of the saga on Route 7 and the Dulles Access Road. At one point, an officer said on the radio that there were “too many vehicles” in the pursuit.
Photo via @notaveryh/Twitter. Hat tip to Alan Henney, Henry Bright and KKirkhart.
A man from Springfield is facing multiple charges after stabbing another man’s hand and stealing a bus driver’s cell phone while riding Fairfax Connector in Tysons.
Fairfax County police responded to the intersection of Jones Branch Drive and International Drive at 12:52 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 11) after getting a report that a person had been stabbed.
The altercation started as a verbal argument between three men on the bus that escalated “to one of the men being stabbed in the hand,” according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
“The suspect then stole the bus driver’s cell phone and ran away,” the FCPD said.
The chase didn’t last long. With the assistance of the department’s Fairfax 1 helicopter, officers quickly located the suspect as he attempted to run into Freddie Mac’s headquarters on Park Run Drive, per a Twitter user who follows police scanner traffic.
The man who got stabbed was taken to a hospital with injuries that police say aren’t considered life-threatening.
The suspect — identified as 28-year-old Lionel Aguilar Cantareo, of Springfield — was arrested and has been charged with three counts of robbery and preventing a person from summoning law enforcement, the FCPD says.
The robbery charges include two counts of using physical force not resulting in serious bodily injury or displaying a weapon other than a firearm “in a threatening manner,” which is classified as a Class 5 felony by Virginia law.
Cantareo is currently being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond, according to police.
The suspect fled on foot, but Fairfax 1 was overhead quickly and found him running from the scene. Patrol units with the assistance of a VSP Trooper took him into custody as he attempted to run into Freddie Mac's HQ on Park Run Dr.
— Henry Bright (@HCBright10) February 11, 2023
Fairfax County police are investigating a “smash-and-grab” jewelry store robbery at Tysons Corner Center.
The suspect used a hammer to smash display cases at Elite Jewelers, which is on the mall’s first floor near Macy’s, the Fairfax County Police Department reported at 5:53 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 1).
Police say the suspect was a man wearing a white, hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. Surveillance footage shared by the department show the man wearing a disposable blue surgical mask and sneakers. In a couple of images, he appears to be talking on a cell phone.
The sound of the cases being smashed evidently prompted another unfounded panic about a shooting at Tysons Corner Center, though the FCPD confirmed that there were no shots fired.
Officers are on scene of Elite Jewelers in Tysons Corner Center for a robbery. Suspect smashed jewelry cases with a hammer. NO shots were fired. Male suspect, white hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans. Call 703-691-2131 with info. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/869qcwoJ36
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) January 1, 2023
As reported by ABC7, Daily Beast reporter Zachary Petrizzo said “mobs of people began running yelling about a shooter,” adding later that he hid in the mall’s North Face store before evacuating.
Maria Leaf, a reporter for the radio station WMAL DC, said she was getting her nails done when “when all of a sudden there were people running, screaming and what sounded like gunshots.”
“I yelled to my nail tech to shut the doors and turn the lights off,” she said after reporting that the incident sounded like a robbery. “Everyone here was shaken. Mall was packed due to it being a holiday. Supposed to be open till 7.”
Currently hiding out in a North Face store.
— Zachary Petrizzo (@ZTPetrizzo) January 1, 2023
I am safe. Locked in a dark salon. Sounds as if it was a robbery. Fairfax Co. police are here.
— Maria Leaf (@MariaLeaf) January 1, 2023
Anxiety about the potential for gun violence has been high at the D.C. area’s biggest mall since three shots were fired on June 18, sparking a panicked evacuation that injured three people. D.C. resident Noah Settles was indicted for that incident in September.
A shattering light fixture prompted another evacuation on Aug. 7 after the sound was mistaken for gunshots, and rumors of gunfire spread on social media last month when police chased a trio of men wanted for a robbery in Arlington. Police found a gun on one of the suspects, a teenager, but no shots were fired.
Regarding the jewelry store robbery, the FCPD said this morning that it had no updates to share, but its “detectives continue to investigate and ask for information.”
The department advises anyone with information to contact its non-emergency line at 703-691-2131.
One of the two individuals arrested at Tysons Corner Center on Sunday (Dec. 18) will face several charges, mostly related to possession of a gun that police say was reported stolen in Prince William County.
The Fairfax County Police Department said Monday that a 16-year-old from Centreville has been charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm by a person underage, possession of a concealed weapon, possession of a stolen firearm and obstruction of justice.
The teen is one of three people sought by police in connection to a robbery in Arlington County. A second person taken into custody on Sunday — a man — has been released, according to the FCPD.
“Officers continue to work with Arlington County Police to positively identify the third suspect and determine if additional charges will be sought,” the department said.
UPDATE: Tysons Urban Team officers charged a 16-year-old teen from Centreville after yesterday’s arrest at the Tysons Corner Center. Officers continue to work with @ArlingtonVaPD & assist with their investigation. pic.twitter.com/CPei0BvFKm
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) December 19, 2022
According to the FCPD, an off-duty Arlington County police officer notified its Tysons Urban Team (TUT) at 7:54 p.m. on Sunday that they saw three people “believed to possibly be involved” in a robbery in that neighboring county.
“TUT officers waited for the three men to exit the mall and attempted to take them into custody,” the FCPD said. “The men ran back into the mall. Two of the men were taken into custody.”
No shots were fired, but social media reports of people running in the mall led to unfounded rumors of an active shooter. Police later said there were no gunshots or evacuation, though a gun was recovered in the arrest.
An Arlington County Police Department spokesperson said last night that a person had been robbed, but no further details about the robbery investigation could be shared due to a need “to ensure the integrity of the ongoing investigation.”
“The investigation into the Arlington County robbery is ongoing and no charges have been sought at this time,” APD spokesperson Ashley Savage said.
(Updated at 10:25 a.m. on 12/20/2022) Contrary to some reports on Twitter, there were no gunshots at Tysons Corner Center last night, Fairfax County police confirmed.
Officers with the Tysons Urban Team did take two people into custody at the mall as part of an investigation into a robbery in Arlington County, the department said.
The FCPD said that it was working with the Arlington Police Department on the case and had located three suspects at Tysons Corner Center. Two of the suspects were taken into custody, and a firearm was recovered, but no shots were fired.
“The investigation continues. One suspect outstanding. No outstanding threat to the mall or community,” police said.
A handful of tweets from around 8 p.m. yesterday say that “everyone” in the mall started running, mentioning a possible active shooter and stores going into lockdown.
According to the Washington Post, the robbery suspects ran when officers arrived, which may have triggered a fire alarm, but no evacuation was ordered. Neither of the suspects was holding a gun when they were detained.
The FCPD didn’t immediately respond to FFXnow’s inquiry seeking to confirm the Post’s reporting.
Gun-related anxieties have been high at Tysons Corner Center since three shots were fired on June 18, triggered a panicked evacuation. The suspect in that incident was indicted in September.
The mall was also evacuated on Aug. 7 after the sound of a light fixture shattering was mistaken for gunfire.
“At Tysons Corner Center we put the safety of our retailers and shoppers at the center of everything we do,” Jesse Benites, the mall’s general manager said in a statement. “Through our robust security program, we work closely with our partners in law enforcement and are continually evaluating and adjusting our plans to address specific issues. We know Tysons Corner Center is the heart of the community and we want all who work here and visit to enjoy their experience.”
Tonight, our TUT officers located three suspects involved in a robbery in Arlington. No shots were fired. Two suspects taken into custody and a firearm was recovered. The investigation continues. One suspect outstanding. No outstanding threat to the mall or community.
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) December 19, 2022
was inside Tysons Corner and saw a crowd running towards the exit, so told my husband that we should just leave. as we exit the garage, they announced to evacuate the mall immediately. we saw this outside Macy’s. don’t know what’s happening but stay safe! pic.twitter.com/t4ZKdZGTGg
— marj (@marjanneco) December 19, 2022
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.
An Alexandria man was convicted earlier this month in connection with a series of armed gas station and convenience store robberies in Herndon.
Rashawn Perkins, 28, allegedly wore a ski mask and used a firearm during four robberies over five weeks, according to court documents.
“The evidence established that Perkins robbed a 7-Eleven on December 30, 2021 and a Sunoco on January 19, 2022. The evidence further proved that on February 5, 2022, Perkins returned to both locations and robbed them at gunpoint again,” the Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a Sept. 23 release.
According to court documents, Perkins — who previously had been convicted of three felony offenses — threw a firearm out of his bedroom window when the Fairfax County Police Department executed a search warrant for his home.
“Evidence at the trial established that this was the same firearm Perkins used to commit several of the robberies,” the release said.
Perkins faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 28 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment when sentenced on Jan. 12, 2023.
The Fairfax County Police Department is seeking the public’s help identifying suspects in three recent jewelry store robberies, two of which are believed to have been committed by the same people.
The first robbery occurred at the Prince Jewelers in Tysons Corner Center at 2:45 p.m. on Sept. 8, police said in a release last night (Wednesday).
The FCPD says its detectives believe preliminarily that the same men were also behind a Sept. 18 robbery at Fair Oaks Mall, where two men entered Henzley Jewelers at 1:06 p.m. and stole “a number of high-end watches.” The store’s display case was also destroyed, according to police.
“In each case, they used hammers to destroy the display cases and fled the scene in stolen vehicles,” the department said. “The stolen vehicles were found in nearby parking lots. Detectives continue to investigate, including an extensive review of surveillance footage.”
Police are also investigating a robbery of Sonia’s Jewelers & Boutique Inc. (6681 Backlick Road) in Springfield.
According to the FCPD, two men entered the store at 11:50 a.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 20):
The first man was let into the store under the guise of shopping for jewelry. Once inside he presented a handgun and instructed employees to let the second man inside. The two men used hammers to destroy the display cases and fled the scene in a black Lexus SUV with stolen license plates. The stolen vehicle in this case has not been recovered.
No injuries have been reported in any of the incidents. Detectives are still working to determine if all three cases are connected, police say.
Police describe all of the potential suspects as Black men who are about 6 feet in height. Those allegedly involved in the Tysons and Fair Oaks robberies wore gloves and masks.
The FCPD says anyone with information about these incidents or others that may be related can contact its detectives at 703-246-7800, option 3. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone (1-866-411-TIPS) and online.
A man was injured during a carjacking and shooting in Herndon over the weekend, the Herndon Police Department said in its weekly recap.
The man said that someone he knew assaulted him, fired a gun at him and stole his car in the 500 block of Fairfax Lane on July 23 around 9 p.m.
The victim was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The car was later found, according to the HPD. No information about an arrest was immediately available.
Police said the case is under investigation. They were alerted to the scene after multiple callers reported hearing a gunshot in the area.
More Money Requested for Silver Line Phase Two — “Officials with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority are seeking an additional $250 million in funding to pay for construction…citing the project’s complexity, coronavirus-related restrictions, an increase in the cost of building materials, and supply chain slowdowns as key factors for the cost increase.” [The Washington Post]
Mochi Doughnut Eatery Opens in Vienna — The regional chain Donutchew has opened a franchise in the former Starbucks at 107 Maple Avenue West, offering about 20 flavors of doughnuts made with glutinous rice flour. The shop gives Vienna a second option for mochi doughnuts and bubble tea after Bubble Mochi opened nearby in January. [Patch]
Man Robbed on W&OD Trail in Herndon — “The victim reported he was walking along the W&OD Trail on the afternoon of Thursday, July 14, 2022, when he was approached from behind by two unknown suspects. The suspects robbed the victim of personal property. The case is under investigation.” [Herndon Police]
Vienna Business Committee Chair Dies — “It’s not easy assuming a leadership role during a pandemic, but Robert ‘Bob’ Leggett did it willingly and enthusiastically when he became chairman of the Town Business Liaison Committee (TBLC) in 2020. Upon learning of his death on Sunday, July 17, 2022, Town leaders reflected on Leggett’s ability to bring people together for the greater good of the community.” [Town of Vienna]
Fairfax Station ATM Stolen From Gas Station — “Authorities say two men forced their way into a gas station in Fairfax and stole the automated teller machine inside. The incident happened just after 4:05 a.m. Tuesday at the Exxon at 5211 Ox Road. Police say the men loaded the ATM into a white van and fled the area.” [FOX5]
Vienna Revises Historic Site Definition — The Vienna Town Council voted unanimously on July 11 to amend an ordinance to make buildings, structures, businesses and sites eligible for the town’s historic register if they’re at least 100 years old. The town previously defined sites as historic if they’ve been at their current locations or in continuous use or operation since before 1900. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
County Library Foundation Board Elects New Chair — “The Fairfax Library Foundation is excited to announce that Miriam Smolen has been elected chair of the board of directors beginning in 2022-2023. Miriam will replace outgoing Chair, Patricia Reed. She previously served as the board’s special projects lead.” [Fairfax Library Foundation]
Students Master Cake and Swordplay at Summer Arts Program — “The teenagers are part of Fairfax County Public Schools annual Institute for the Arts, a summer program that encourages kids — even those not enrolled in FCPS — to explore subjects like ‘Modern Buttercream Techniques’ or ‘Stage Combat’ that either aren’t traditionally offered during the school year or may not fit into a student’s academic scheduling needs.” [FCPS]
It’s Wednesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:01 am and sunset at 8:32 pm. [Weather.gov]