A series of muggings last week near the Franconia-Springfield Metro station has the Fairfax County Police investigating the connection between these incidents and four others in the vicinity.
According to the Fairfax County Police Department, since Sept. 21, seven gun-related muggings have taken place in the Windsor Park and Windsor Estates neighborhoods, which border the rear entrance to the Metro station.
"There's one person. He's coming up behind people. He has a handgun. That's part of what makes the detectives think they are linked," said Mary Mulrenan, spokesperson for the Fairfax County Police.
Three of those incidents took place on one night — Monday, Oct. 25 — in a span of 90 minutes.
According to police reports, a 41-year-old man and his wife were walking on a path connecting Rockleigh Way and Crestleigh Way at 9:50 p.m., when they were approached by a man with a gun. When the woman ran to call police, the suspect grabbed the man by the jacket. The man slipped out of his jacket and ran away.
Approximately 10 minutes later, police reported a 38-year-old man was robbed at gunpoint while walking east on Crestleigh Way near Crestleigh Circle. This time, the attacker demanded the victim's wallet and briefcase. When two people walking dogs came upon the robbery, the suspect fled on foot, heading south. Around 11:30 p.m., a pizza-delivery man in the 6300 block of Hillary Court, located east of the other incidents, was robbed.
Detectives with the police are currently investigating whether or not these incidents are connected to four other muggings that took place from Sept. 21 to Oct. 21. These muggings had similar circumstances.
IN THE MEANTIME, said Mulrenan, police are urging caution and vigilance on the part of those who ride the Metro and those in the neighborhoods around the station.
"They should follow their instincts," she said. "Don't travel after 9 or 10 p.m. We ask people, if somebody asks for their valuables, to give it to them."
Muggings took place on Sept. 21, Sept. 30 and Oct. 21, all in the 7100 block of Barry Road, the block that borders a small cul-de-sac at the entrance to the path leading to the Metro station.
One factor remains to be determined: The descriptions of the suspects given to police have varied widely. In two of the three incidents of Oct. 25, the suspect is described as being black, about 5 feet 8 inches tall. But in the third, victims described him as being white, 5 feet 11, with brown hair. The suspects have been described as either white or black, and with varying heights, in the prior incidents.
"These are all happening at night, so whether the witnesses are getting some of this wrong remains to be seen," said Mulrenan. "It is possible that it's one guy, but some of the witnesses have been a little bit off. It's hard to know for sure."
Police have not released a composite sketch of the suspect. Anyone with information about any of these incidents is urged to call Fairfax County Crime Solvers at 703-691-8888.