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Week in Springfield

News Briefs

<sh>I-95 Toll Negotiations To Start

<bt>The proposal to place High Occupancy Toll lanes on Interstate 95 took another step forward on Tuesday, Dec. 20. The Virginia Department of Transportation will enter into preliminary negotiations with the Fluor Corporation, said Gregory Whirley, acting commissioner of the department.

Fluor's $913 billion proposal will convert the existing carpool lanes on I-95 into HOT lanes. Cars with three or more occupants can ride free, while cars with fewer occupants can use them for a fee which would change based on the level of congestion on the road.

Fluor would also add a third lane to the existing carpool lanes and would construct two new lanes south to Massaponax.

Fluor was one of two companies — Clark Shirley was the other — which participated in a competitive bid process under Virginia's Public-Private Partnership Act. A task force studied the proposals and recommended Fluor in November.

The Department will now begin to negotiate with Fluor on an in-depth traffic and revenue study to determine if the lanes are viable. After that, a more comprehensive negotiation will begin.

<sh>Man Defrauded in Lotto Scheme

<bt>A Springfield man gave away thousands of dollars to a man who claimed to have a winning lottery ticket.

On Thursday, Dec. 6, a 61-year-old Springfield man was approached in the 8400 block of Old Keene Mill Road by a man who claimed to have a winning lottery ticket. The man said he could not cash the ticket because he was an illegal resident and asked the victim if he wanted to purchase the ticket. A second man offered to buy the ticket and the three men went into several banks until several thousands of dollars were collected and given to the suspect. The second man and the victim went into a store to attempt to redeem the lottery ticket but the second man left the store before the victim learned the ticket was not valid.

"This kind of thing happens all the time," said Officer Richard Henry with the Fairfax County Police Department. "There are a lot of variations to the story and the scheme, but it's more frequent than you'd suspect," he said.

The second man who approached the victim and left the store was most likely in on the scheme, Henry said, and gave money to the first suspect in order to make the transaction seem "more legitimate."

"If it seems too good to be true, it probably is," Henry said. "In situations like this, it's best to use common sense."

The first suspect was described as a white man in his 40s, standing 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds and was wearing a green hooded jacket and jeans at the time. The second suspect was described as a white man in his 30s, 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 230 pounds. He has a mustache and was wearing blue Oxford jeans at the time.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477 or the Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.

<sh>Racist Graffiti Incidents

<bt>Two homes in Springfield were targeted by racist graffiti in early December.

According to a Fairfax County Police release, both incidents occurred over night between Friday, Dec. 9 and Saturday, Dec. 10. In both cases, a swastika was spray painted on a house and words were spray painted on cars.

The first incident, in the 6700 block of Reynard Drive, occurred between Dec. 9, at 4:45 p.m. and Dec. 10, 8:15 a.m., according to police reports. The second incident, in the 6700 block of Bellamy Ave., occurred between 10:45 p.m. and 8:15 a.m. No estimates were released on damages caused by the graffiti to the homes or cars.

<sh>Stolen Car Arrests

<bt>Two teenagers were arrested on Saturday, Dec. 10, after Fairfax County Police stopped them for speeding while driving a stolen car.

According to a police release, officers noticed a car driving at a high speed on northbound Route 1 near Interstate 95 and, after following the vehicle, attempted to make a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle refused to stop and turned onto the Fairfax County Parkway and then onto Newington Road. When the vehicle was turning into Shannon's Landing Way, it ran over a snow embankment and onto a sidewalk.

A 17-year-old Alexandria area female and a 14-year-old Woodbridge area male then ran away from the car. Officers later found the two teenagers, with the help of backup officers and a K-9 team, hiding under a car in the apartment complex. They were taken into custody and later released to adults, but may face charges of receiving stolen property, speed to elude and reckless driving.

<sh>Armed Robbery at 7-Eleven

<bt>A Mason Neck 7-Eleven store was robbed on Thursday night, Dec. 8, around 11:30 p.m., when two men walked into the store at 9804 Gunston Road and demanded cash, said a Fairfax County Police release.

One of the suspects, described as a 5 foot tall man wearing blue jeans and a green jacket, pointed a gun at the 46-year-old clerk who was working at the time. The other suspect, described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, was wearing a gray sweatshirt and blue jeans. Both men were wearing black ski masks.

The two men took cash from a register, cigarettes and possibly scratch-off lottery tickets before getting into a car and driving north on Route 1.