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The Target in the Chantilly Crossing shopping center (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) A Fairfax County Public Schools instructional assistant has been arrested after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars worth of cash and goods from a Target in Chantilly.

Fairfax County police arrested Denise Pitkin-Tilson, 55, of Chantilly yesterday and charged her with felony embezzlement for taking more than $10,000 in cash, gift cards and merchandise, the department announced today.

Pitkin-Tilson works as an instructional assistant at Eagle View Elementary School in the Fairfax Corner area. She’s also employed as a cashier by the Target at 4391 Chantilly Crossing Lane, according to the FCPD.

Police say they were contacted at 7:52 p.m. Monday by a Target loss prevention officer who was alerted by the retail company’s headquarters that money was missing after Pitkin-Tilson’s shift.

“Pitkin-Tilson worked as a part-time cashier and was recorded for more than a month,” the FCPD said. “She was seen embezzling money from registers as well as stealing gift cards and merchandise.”

After being questioned at the Sully District Station, Pitkin-Tilson was transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. The police department says she has been released on a $2,000 unsecured bond, though no record appears yet in the general district court’s online information system.

“This individual is currently on administrative leave,” FCPS said in a statement.

Here’s more from FCPD on how to contact detectives with any additional information about the case:

Anyone with information about this case, or others possibly related, is asked to contact detectives at 703-246-7800. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477) and by web  - Click HERE. Download the ‘P3 Tips’ App and follow the steps to “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers.” Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you.

Photo via Google Maps

Surveillance footage depicts possible suspects in car thefts in Rose Hill (Photo via FCPD).

Four cars were stolen early Wednesday morning in the Rose Hill neighborhood, according to police.

The cars were taken near South Van Dorn Street and Franconia Road. A resident reported that a group of men attempted to enter several vehicles in the area around 5 a.m.

But the individuals left he area before police officers arrived on the scene.

Two of the four vehicles were found in Washington, DC. An unidentified number of other vehicles were also entered — all of which were unlocked.

Police published the following surveillance video — taken from a home-based system — in hopes of finding more information.


Here’s how to contact FCPD with information about the incidents:

Anyone with information about this case, or others possibly related, is asked to contact detectives at 703-691-2131. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477) and by web – Click HERE. Download the ‘P3 Tips’ App and follow the steps to “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers.” Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you.

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A Virginia State Police vehicle (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A driver nearly hit one vehicle, rammed into a Virginia State Police trooper’s vehicle, and crashed into a third vehicle head-on during a police pursuit last night (Thursday) that extended from I-395 in Arlington to South Kings Highway in Groveton.

According to state police, a trooper saw a vehicle headed northbound on I-395 nearly hit another vehicle traveling in the same direction around 10:27 p.m. yesterday. When the trooper attempted to make a traffic stop, the vehicle instead “sped away,” a news release says.

As the pursuit continued east onto the Capital Beltway (I-495), the trooper learned that Fairfax County police were searching for the vehicle in question, which had been reported stolen in the county.

“The suspect vehicle exited I-495 at Telegraph [Road] and continued through Fairfax County,” the VSP said. “At one point, the suspect vehicle intentionally rammed the trooper’s vehicle and continued to flee.”

After exiting the Beltway, the chase turned onto South Kings Highway. As it neared Telegraph Road, the pursued vehicle “struck the raised median and crossed into oncoming traffic where it struck head-on another vehicle,” according to the news release.

“The impact of the crash caused the suspect vehicle to overturn twice before coming to rest on its side,” state police said.

The pursued vehicle’s driver, an adult man, was transported to Fairfax Inova Hospital for treatment of injuries that VSP described as serious, while the driver of the vehicle that was hit went to the hospital with minor injuries.

No injuries to state police were reported.

An investigation into the incident is underway with charges forthcoming, VSP said.

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Morning Notes

Sun shines through tree leaves in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Man Dies After Fairfax City Crash — “A 32-year-old Maryland man died from injuries he received when the motorcycle he was riding Monday afternoon collided with an SUV on Chain Bridge Road in Fairfax City, according to a police release.” [Patch]

Suspect in Fatal Springfield Stabbing Extradited — “This evening, Jose Heber Hernandez Mejia was extradited back to Fairfax County from South Carolina. He’s charged with 2nd degree murder for the July 17 domestic-related stabbing in the 5200 block of Rolling Rd. Hernandez Mejia was held on no bond.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Arrests Made in Child Solicitation Sting — “Six men ranging in ages from 26 to 43 were arrested by Fairfax County Police as part of an online sting to identify and apprehend predators seeking to exploit children using the internet, according to a police brief.” [Patch]

Food Stolen From Mount Vernon Daycare — “Officers were called to the KinderCare at 4287 Buckman Road early Monday morning for a burglary that occurred over the weekend. When officers learned thousands of dollars worth of food was stolen from the center, they quickly jumped into action to ensure the kids wouldn’t go hungry by purchasing breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks.” [FCPD/Facebook]

Virginia Sees Bump in Pro-Choice License Plates — “Pro-life and pro-choice license plates aren’t new to Virginia: The commonwealth has issued ‘Choose Life’ plates since 2009 and ‘Trust Women. Respect Choice.’ since 2010…Since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, though, more people are buying pro-choice plates.” [Washingtonian]

Fire Department Enlists Starbucks for Backpack Drive — “#FCFRD is partnering with select local @Starbucks stores to collect backpacks for underprivileged children. Backpacks will be given to local schools in #FairfaxCounty for distribution. Backpacks will be collected until August 12. Please donate a new backpack today!” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Metro Seeks to Add More Trains — Metro is seeking permission to operate more of the 7000-series trains that were sidelined late last year after a derailment in Arlington, according to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. The transit agency is currently permitted to run 64 cars, or eight trains, per day, as long as their wheels are inspected daily. [The Washington Post]

State Legislators Consider Changes to Recall Process — “Activists in Virginia are increasingly turning to the state’s court-driven recall process to try to take out their frustrations on local officials they feel have done something wrong…The fact that the recalls almost never work doesn’t seem to be stopping the trend, but it’s causing some lawmakers to rethink a system that empowers judges, not voters, to decide when politicians deserve to be kicked out of office early.” [Virginia Mercury/Inside NoVA]

“American Idol” Winner to Take Wolf Trap Stage — “Her victory on Season 3 of ‘American Idol’ made her a household name. Now, Fantasia Barrino is bringing her signature sound to Wolf Trap in Virginia on Aug. 19.” [WTOP]

It’s Wednesday — Rain starting in the afternoon. High of 88 and low of 77. Sunrise at 6:19 am and sunset at 8:11 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Birds perched on a ledge in the Fair Lakes area (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

County NAACP Calls for Action on Heat — “It is Too HOT for people to be outside all day and all night. Fairfax County needs to create and publicize more cooling options for homeless and low-income residents NOW. See the full Fairfax NAACP resolution” [Fairfax County NAACP/Twitter]

Stolen Laptops Were Wiped Clean, FCPS Says — “The Fairfax County Police Department has made a number of arrests in connection to the theft of approximately 35,000 laptops from a warehouse. We want to let you know that the laptops had been stripped of all data and their hard drives in preparation for their auction and that, as a result, no student data was compromised in this theft.” [FCPS]

FCPS Students See Progress With Free Online Tutoring — “In Fairfax County, Virginia, the academic backlog became more evident than ever with the complete return of children to the classroom last fall. Students are lagging behind in math, language arts, English, and social skills. The solution? Since April, an online tutoring service has been made available to more than 180,000 students, 25% of whom are Latino.” [DCist]

New Metro GM Takes Charge — “New Metro General Manager Randy Clarke began his role at the transit agency Monday, marking the end of a leadership vacuum that was created during a tumultuous spring…Clarke on Monday said his priorities will be improving service frequency and ensuring customer safety ahead of addressing longer-term goals, such as finances and the agency’s business model.” [The Washington Post]

Fundraiser Up for Family of Woman Killed in Springfield — “An online fundraising campaign was launched to help the family of Evelin Cali, a Springfield woman who was killed in her home on [July 17]. The family plans to use the funds to cover the cost of Cali’s funeral. Fairfax County Police have charged Cali’s husband, Jose Hernandez Mejia, in her stabbing death.” [Patch]

Police Investigate Reston Stabbing — “Around 2:23 a.m., on July 15, two men confronted the victim in the 1800 block of Sycamore Valley Drive in Reston, according to police. One of the men then stabbed the victim in the upper body. The victim was later treated for non-life-threatening injuries.” [Patch]

Swap Plant Seeds at Library in Rose Hill — “Do you have extra seedlings, #Fairfax? On the hunt for different varieties of plants to add to your collection? Bring your cuttings, seeds, seedlings, transplants & garden supplies to our John Marshall branch Saturday for a community plant swap.” [Fairfax County Public Library/Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Rain starting in the afternoon. High of 81 and low of 73. Sunrise at 6:06 am and sunset at 8:27 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A plane at Dulles International Airport, visible from Chantilly (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Man Arrested for Fairfax Church Thefts — “On June 28, our officers responded to the Saint Mary’s of Sorrows Catholic Church in Fairfax for a man who stole a purse from a car in the parking lot. The man used stolen credit cards from the purse at several stores nearby. On July 4, the same suspect returned to the church and stole from two donation boxes. At least one stolen check was cashed from donation box.” [FCPD]

Covid Cases Close Reston Pools — “RA is currently experiencing a lifeguard shortage due an uptick in Aquatics staff testing positive for Covid-19. As a result, the Ridge Heights and Upland pools will be closed for the next five days (Friday through Tuesday).” [Reston Association/Twitter]

Silver Line Delays Not Justified, McKay Says — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay says any further delays of Metro’s Silver Line Phase 2 project “will be met with a lot of discontent.” He’s hopeful the rail extension will open this fall but wants to be certain that a $250 million budget increase approved earlier this week will be the last needed payment. [WTOP]

Vienna Lodge Seeks Funds for Repairs — “Vienna Moose Lodge, a fraternal organization that does community service work, launched a Save the Lodge fundraising campaign this week to help remain open and continue its mission…One of the major repairs needed is a new HVAC system in the banquet hall that will cost $35,000.” [Patch]

Ribbon Cut on Reston Affordable Senior Housing — “It was warm this morning but still a great turnout for the ribbon cutting for Hunters Woods Fellowship House! Much needed $26 million renovations provide modern & safer home for many older residents.” [Walter Alcorn/Twitter]

Herndon Company Expands HQ — The defense and intelligence contractor Expedition Technology has signed a lease amendment for its corporate headquarters offices “that will support its current and anticipated growth.” Lasting through June 2033, the new agreement doubles its office space from approximately 32,000 to more than 64,000 square feet and can accommodate up to 170 workers. [CityBiz]

GMU Joins Gun Violence Research Effort — “Fifteen members of a consortium of local schools will pool their resources, researchers and faculty experts in areas including maternal and child health, public policy, mental health, criminology and technology, officials said. The goal is to provide lawmakers and the public with steps they can take to drive down gun violence.” [The Washington Post]

Good Pups Visit McLean Nursing Home — “Fairfax County senior residents are getting some furry visitors at their nursing homes thanks to a group of volunteers at Pets on Wheels…The non-profit is run by volunteers that say pets can be therapeutic for senior citizens.” [ABC7]

Cool Off With Dolley Madison Library — “#Fairfax teens can beat the heat Saturday at our Dolley Madison branch. We will meet at the library before heading to McLean Central Park for a sponge war! Sponges provided. Wear clothes that can get wet (minimum shorts & shirts required).” [Fairfax County Public Library/Twitter]

Cirque du Soleil Makes Tysons Return Next Week — “Cirque du Soleil has become the gold standard of 21st century circus productions…The global brand brings ‘KURIOS: Cabinet of Curiosities’ to the Under the Big Top tent at Lerner Town Square in Tysons, Virginia from July 29 to Aug. 27.” [WTOP]

It’s Friday — Clear throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:03 am and sunset at 8:30 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A Fairfax County police car (file photo)

Fairfax County police have charged three people in connection to the embezzlement of as many as 35,000 Fairfax County Public Schools laptops with an estimated value of over $2 million, police said.

In March, detectives were notified that several thousand laptops were believed to be illegally reallocated and stored at a Springfield warehouse, in the 6800 block of Industrial Road, and were set to be auctioned.

Detectives identified a box truck registered to Attyah Computer Recycling (44190 Waxpool Rd Ste 157, Ashburn) that went to the warehouse on multiple occasions, police said. Laptops and computer parts would be loaded into the truck, and the driver would leave without showing any paperwork.

Detectives were conducting surveillance at the warehouse on July 14 and observed the truck arrive, police said. They conducted a traffic stop and found stolen laptops in the vehicle. The driver, Fadi Atiyeh, 36, of Centreville, was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property and larceny with the intent to distribute. Detectives determined he was employed by Attyah Computer Recycling where a search warrant was executed and additional evidence was recovered.

Police identified two warehouse employees, who were also employed by FCPS, as facilitating the transactions. Franque Minor II, 35, of Maryland, and Mario Jones Jr., 21, of Woodbridge, were charged with embezzlement and larceny with the intent to distribute.

While the detectives are still combing through evidence, they believe as many as 35,000 laptops were stolen with an estimated value of over $2 million. They believe the offenses date back to November of 2020.

Police ask anyone with information to call detectives at 703-256-8035. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), and by web.

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Morning Notes

A bicyclist on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail passes Herndon Caboose Park (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

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]

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Fairfax County police car with lights flashing (file photo)

A man taking a nap in his vehicle in Merrifield earlier this month awoke to the startling realization that he was being carjacked, the Fairfax County Police Department reported on Friday (July 15).

According to the department’s recap for the week of July 8-14, a man was recently arrested in a neighboring jurisdiction for the carjacking, which occurred in the 8500 block of Lee Highway around 8:01 p.m. on July 10.

“The victim was asleep in the passenger seat of his running 2021 Toyota Camry,” the FCPD said. “While he was asleep, a man got in the car and drove away. When the victim awoke, the man implied he had a weapon and ordered the victim out of the vehicle.”

Last week, the McLean District Station also handled an assault case in West Falls Church that allegedly involved a vehicle and a handgun being fired.

The incident started around 10:57 p.m. last Tuesday (July 12) at the intersection of Monticello Drive and Labella Walk with two people getting into an argument while driving:

The man demanded the victim to get out of his vehicle while displaying a handgun. When the victim refused, the man parked the vehicle and assaulted the victim.  When the victim continued to refuse to get out of the vehicle, the man pulled the victim out of the vehicle while discharging a handgun. The man then left the area in the vehicle.

The FCPD says the individual pushed out of the vehicle was treated for injuries not considered to be life-threatening.

“This does not appear to be a random act,” the department said.

Overall, the FCPD received a total of 8,224 service last week, including 183 for domestic situations, 194 stemming from people experiencing mental health crises, and 572 for vehicle crashes.

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Morning Notes

A bicyclist heads down Maple Avenue in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Inova Plans New Recovery Hospital —  Inova Health System will open a Critical Illness Recovery Hospital at the Mount Vernon Hospital in Fort Hunt in the first half of 2023. Operated by the provider Select Medical, the 32-bed facility will provide specialized clinical support for patients who require an extended stay but no longer need intensive care — an option currently not available in Northern Virginia. [Inova]

Jollibee Opening in Lincolnia Area Sunday — “Filipino chicken chain Jollibee announced that, after some earlier delays, the Lincolnia location is scheduled to open this Sunday, June 26. The restaurant is opening at 4809 Beauregard Street in the Plaza at Landmark shopping center.” [ALXnow]

Fairfax City Mayoral Race Adds New Candidate — “Fairfax City Council member Sang Yi announced on Wednesday that he was running in the Nov. 8 general election to be city’s next mayor…Sang will be running against Catherine Read. Mayor Daniel Meyer previously announced that he wouldn’t be running for reelection.” [Patch]

Car Wheels Stolen in Newington — “Two car owners in Newington in Fairfax County woke up this morning to find their cars propped up on bricks and all the wheels stolen. One of the car owners…tells me he works hard to provide for his family and is very frustrated by this. It’s part of a troubling trend that’s been going on for years in the DC area.” [NBC4]

Fairfax County Is #1 in Country for Mental Health — Northern Virginia had a strong showing in a “Healthiest Communities” ranking from U.S. News & World Report and CVS Health, which graded 500 localities nationwide. At #17 overall, Fairfax County got its highest mark for mental health based on reports of mental distress, depression, and death rates related to suicide and substance issues. [U.S. News & World Report]

NOVA Parks Seeks Input on Five-Year Plan — The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has released a draft 2023-2027 strategic plan and is accepting feedback via an online survey until 5 p.m. on July 8. Priorities proposed by the plan include a $6 million investment in trails, a visitor center for the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, and a commitment to plant over 50,000 trees. [NOVA Parks]

Merger Gives Tysons Another Corporate HQ — “Defense contractor Vectrus Inc. and government services company Vertex Inc. are moving forward with a $2.1 billion merger that will move the rebranded company’s headquarters to Northern Virginia…V2X is expected to be based in McLean, where Vectrus already has an office at 7901 Jones Branch Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]

Vienna Cuts Ribbon on New Mural — “The new mural, a nod to the month-long Liberty Amendments Month celebration and painted by local artist, Teresa Ahmad, was unveiled today at the Patrick Henry Library! Everyone is encouraged to check out this beautiful addition to the Town!” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

Celebrate Hummingbirds in Lincolnia — “For those who can’t get enough of the beauty of hummingbirds, a group of local photographers are mounting an exhibition this summer at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria…The show runs from June 28 through Oct. 16, 2022, at the Historic House at Green Spring Gardens and is free to the public.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]

It’s Friday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 82 and low of 64. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:40 pm. [Weather.gov]

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