<sh>Information Sought Regarding Man Who's Defrauded Banks

<bt>Wanted: The identity of the man who, since September, has defrauded several local banks of more than $20,000. Fairfax County police say several of the fraudulent transactions were done in the Centreville/Manassas area.

The man assumed the identity of a California resident and opened several accounts at branches of various banks. He deposited counterfeit checks into these accounts and then made withdrawals before the victim banks discovered that the checks were counterfeit. He also was able to obtain an ATM card from one bank and has made numerous, fraudulent, "point-of-sale" purchases.

Police say the suspect has targeted Sun Trust Bank, United Bank and BB & T Bank branches throughout Fairfax County. He's described as white and in his 30s or 40s. Anyone with information about him is asked to call police at 703-691-2131 or Crime Solvers at 1-800-673-2777.

<sh>Colmes Found Guilty of Petit Larceny

<bt>For Centreville's Gilbert N. Colmes, it's one case down and one to go. Last week, he was found guilty of petit larceny; next week, he's to go on trial for grand larceny.

Colmes, 39, lives at 13684 Bent Tree Circle. And in September, Fairfax County police charged him in connection with various thefts of car stereos and sunglasses from a Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter lot in Burke.

Last Tuesday, Jan. 6, in General District Court, his charge of destruction of property was dropped, but his charge of possession of burglary tools was sent to the grand jury for possible indictment. In addition, Judge Mark Simmons found him guilty of petit larceny and sentenced Colmes to a month in jail (12 months, with 11 suspended). He must also pay $202 in court costs.

But the Centreville man is not out of the woods, yet. Indicted by the grand jury, Nov. 17, for grand larceny, he's scheduled for a jury trial, next Wednesday, Jan. 21, in Circuit Court with Judge Terrence Ney. If convicted, he could receive as much as five years in prison.

<sh>Place of Worship Planned

<bt>Sant Nirankari Mission wants to build a place of worship on a nearly 4.1-acre site at 4501 Pleasant Valley Road. The sanctuary would have seating for 376 people and would operate from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The parcel is currently vacant, and the applicant needs to obtain a special permit from Fairfax County to build there.

Details were presented at the Dec. 16 meeting of the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee. The congregation has existed in this area for more than 20 years, and its members meet in a Methodist church in the local area.

"We asked them to meet with the Pleasant Valley Homeowners Association [near the proposed site]," said WFCCA Chairman Jim Katcham. "And [county] staff is concerned that [the proposal] has no [plan to handle] overflow parking, so they have to work that out."

<sh>Centreville Community Coalition

<bt>The next meeting of the Centreville Community Coalition will be Friday, Jan. 23, at 11 a.m. at Union Mill Elementary. The public is welcome to attend.

<sh>Raccoon with Rabies Dies

<bt>A sick raccoon found last week in Clifton area has tested positive for rabies. Last Thursday, Jan. 8, at 1:15 p.m., a citizen on the 7400 block of Clifton Road reported seeing one of her horses sniffing the sick animal.

Fairfax County Animal Control responded, but the raccoon died before the officer could euthanize it. It later tested positive for the rabies virus at the county Health Department. The horse involved was not bitten and has a current rabies vaccination.

<sh>Blood Urgently Needed

<bt>The Inova Blood Donor Center in the Centremed I Building on Route 29 in Centreville (across from the Centreville Multiplex Cinemas) is in urgent need of blood donations — especially O positive or negative, as well as A and B. They're accepted Tuesday-Friday, noon-8 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. For an appointment to give blood, call 703-322-1970, or drop in at your own convenience.