A crime wave has hit a small pocket of Mount Vernon, and the Fairfax County police are busy tracking down the vandals.
Lt. Mike Proffitt, supervisor of the criminal investigation section, has been monitoring the cases and is concerned about the round of break-ins.
"This is a large number of cases for a small area," said Proffitt, who has prepared a map of the crime scenes. All of the 13 crimes fall within a 4-mile radius. The oldest one listed was a crime of destruction that was committed on Jan. 14, when a person threw a brick through a window of a home on Waynewood Boulevard.
The most recent wave occurred on March 18. On this day, four crimes were committed: A brick was thrown through a window on Tower House Place; bricks were thrown through windows at the 7-Eleven on Fort Hunt Road and the 7-Eleven on Elkins Street (here the videotape seemed to indicate that there was an attempted burglary as well); and there was a burglary on Doyle Drive.
Last week, 7-Eleven manager Ung Y Choe pointed out the two windows that were broken by bricks. He said that the damage happened late on a Sunday night or early Monday morning and that the windows were repaired the next day.
LAST WEEK the police obtained and served a search warrant on a home at Baltimore Drive. Subsequently, a 17-year-old from the same address was arrested and later charged with burglary, larceny of a firearm (stolen previously from a home on Potomac Lane), and possession of marijuana.
Police believe that the youth was involved in the burglary on Doyle Drive and have also identified him from a videotape taken during the attempted burglary at the 7-Eleven on Elkins Street. Two other youths were in the video as well; one has been identified as an adult.
"In all cases it appears that they [the crimes] are being committed by kids from the neighborhood. What we've found through multiple interviews is that everybody we've interviewed has knowledge of all the incidents, either through direct involvement or knowledge thereof," said Proffitt. "What we want to stress it that these are neighborhood kids who for some reason are attacking the neighborhood."
THE OTHER ACTIVITIES fall into three different categories: larceny, burglary, vehicle tampering and destruction. The other burglaries were committed at Dr. Craik Court and Cedar Landing in February and at Potomac Lane in March. Cars were vandalized on Culver Place, Cyrus Place, Dalebrook Drive and Waynewood Boulevard.
In three of the five vehicle-tampering cases, the youths who were involved have claimed responsibility and are in the process of making restitution.
One of the residents whose car was vandalized said that he has lost some of his idealism about the neighborhood. At another 7-Eleven store (on Old Mount Vernon Road), three young males committed a larceny when they stole beer. They have also been recorded on videotape. Police have a warrant for an arrest in that case.
Proffitt said that Kent Siegel has been very helpful.
"He called to say that he started seeing things [happen]," said Proffitt. Siegel is the Security Committee Chairman for Mount Vernon and first alerted the police department about the vandalism to the vehicles. Coupled with the other incidents, this was enough to raise warning signals. Siegel keeps his neighbors informed about these and other incidents by printing information in the Waynewood Citizens Association newsletter.
"Just be aware of people in the neighborhood (even people you know), especially late at night," said Proffitt.
This advice wouldn't have helped the owners of a home on Potomac Lane. Their house was broken into sometime between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Proffitt said that the items stolen — alcohol, CDS and stereo equipment — indicate that it was youths who did it. The police are looking at school absentee lists to identify some suspects.
Police ask anyone who has information about any of these incidents to call Detective Roger Siegel or Detective Tammi Alfred at 703-360-8403.