Tysons, VA

Vienna police are investigating reports of a vehicle getting vandalized with paint and a suspicious chalk message outside someone’s home.

Last Friday, a man reported that someone used paint vandalized his vehicle while it was parked in the 400 bock of Church Street NE, police said.

In a separate incident, a woman who had recently received solicitations for people claiming to be from T-Mobile reported that someone wrote “T-Mobile” on her driveway in chalk, police said.

The chalk message happened during the day on Monday (March 23) in the 500 block of Nanterry Circle SW, police said.

“Someone did the same thing on the curb earlier in the week,” police said.

On March 17, police issued a summons to the men and charged them with Soliciting Without a Town Permit after receiving several reports about two men allegedly claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or T-Mobile.

The men were released on their signatures.

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Editor’s note: Starting March 24, Tysons Reporter will have “Morning Notes” every weekday instead of twice a week to accommodate more news.

Here are the latest stories about the Tysons area that the Tysons Reporter team has been reading:

FCPD Makes Changes Due to Coronavirus — “The department has added staff and is available to take certain police reports over the phone. Community members are also encouraged to utilize the online reporting system.” [Fairfax County Police Department]

AP, IB Info for Students — “Traditional face-to-face [AP] exam administrations will not take place. Students will take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home… The May 2020 IB examinations for Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme students will no longer be held.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Local Couple 3-D Printing Mask Shields — “As protective gear shortages put our frontline medical workers at risk, Vienna couple Amy and Jeremy Filko are 3D-printing shields to protect N95 masks. For each request received, the Filkos are covering shipping costs and sending four free masks to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers.” [Washingtonian]

Dalia Palchik, Del. Marcus Simon (D-53rd) Host Virtual Town Hall — “In an audience that ranged up to 44 viewers, the two responded to questions both about the current pandemic and, for Simon, the recently-concluded legislative session in Richmond.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Capital One Ups Pay for Workers Not Teleworking — “Capital One Financial Corp. is hiking the salaries of its employees who work directly with customers as the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the country, the company announced internally and confirmed to the Washington Business Journal.” [Washington Business Journal]

Metro Cuts Back Service This Week — “Trains will be operating every 20 minutes on all lines except the Red Line, which will run every 15 minutes, according to a news release.” [Inside Nova]

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The Vienna Police Department has recently been dealing with alleged crimes connected to the coronavirus.

The first incident involved a cyclist and a boy along the W&OD Trail around 6 p.m. on Sunday (March 15).

According to the police report:

A juvenile reported that he was on the bike trail near the Whole Foods Market with his friends when he sneezed. A cyclist who was riding by stopped his bicycle and began yelling at the juvenile about the pandemic. The man grabbed the juvenile by the sweatshirt and shook him, then left the area westbound on the trail.

Separately, the police department received several reports from residents about two men who allegedly claimed to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or from T-Mobile — depending on who they were talking to.

On Tuesday (March 17), a resident in the 500 block of Nanterry Circle SW reported that two men said they were with the CDC and doing welfare checks.

“The men continued to go to other residents in the area,” police said. “At 7:20 p.m., the men returned to the residence, this time advising they were from a cellular company.”

Around 3 p.m. on the same day, a resident in the 900 block of Frederick Street SW reported to police that two men claiming to be from T-Mobile were soliciting door-to-door.

Shortly before 8 p.m., police were able to find the men after a resident in the 500 block of Echols Street SE said the men were soliciting.

“Officer Farr located the two men who confirmed that they had been soliciting throughout the Town during the day, unaware that they needed a town permit in addition to their Fairfax County permit,” according to the police report.

Police issued a summons to the men — a 22-year-old from Annandale and a 20-year-old Germantown, Md. — and charged them with Soliciting Without a Town Permit. The men were released on their signatures.

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The Vienna Police Department is making some alterations to reduce the chance of spreading the coronavirus.

Chief Jim Morris announced today (Wednesday) that the police department plans to increase social distancing by:

  • taking police reports via phone for “minor and non-violent crimes”
  • restricting access to the police lobby to “immediate police assistance”
  • urging people to call the police at 703-255-6366
  • suspending low priority services: Ride-Along, PIO public engagements, VIN verifications and child safety seats
    installations

“The process of handling some calls for service over the phone and limiting other services is temporary and will be continually reevaluated in the coming weeks,” Morris said.

Police will show up for incidents for evidence collection and when a crime is in progress, Morris said.

Now, when people call to file a police report, communications personnel will screen callers to see if they meet the criteria for a telephone follow-up.

“If so, you may be advised that an officer will call you back to assess the need to respond in person or complete the
report via telephone,” Morris said. “If you feel that an officer is required, you may make that request, and an officer will respond.”

People are advised to meet police outside and stand several feet apart.  All of the reports will go into the same records management system, Morris said.

“By using telephone reporting, you will help us limit exposure,” Morris said.

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As concerns grow about the coronavirus, state and county officials, along with Dominion Energy, want residents to beware scams related to the virus.

“As the coronavirus public health emergency continues, scam artists are taking advantage [of] the situation,” one of the many alerts from Fairfax County said.

Coronavirus Scam Prevention

Due to Virginia’s declared state of emergency, the county noted that it is unlawful of suppliers to sell, lease or license any necessary goods and services “at an unconscionable price.”

As of yesterday (Tuesday), spokespeople for Fairfax County and FCPD haven’t received any reports about scams related to the coronavirus.

Earlier in March, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring urged residents to be wary of coronavirus scams, which could include products for sale claiming to prevent the virus, misinformation or fake solicitations for coronavirus victims, according to a press release.

“Unfortunately, scammers oftentimes take advantage of natural disasters or public health fears like the coronavirus to make a buck,” Herring said in the press release.

The press release offered tips for people to combat scams:

  • Look out for emails that claim to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying that they have information about the coronavirus. For the most updated information you can visit the CDC and the World Health Organization websites.
  • Do not click on any links from unknown sources. This could lead to downloading a virus on your computer or phone.
  • Ignore any offers, online or otherwise, for a coronavirus vaccine. If you see any advertisements for prevention, treatment or cures ask the question: if there had been a cure for the disease would you be hearing about that through an advertisement or sales pitch?
  • Thoroughly research any organizations or charities purporting to be raising funds for victims of the coronavirus.
  • Look out for “investment opportunities” surrounding the coronavirus. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission there are online promotions claiming the products or services of certain publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure the disease and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase because of that.

“It is so important that Virginians stay vigilant and do their research before giving their money to anyone purporting to sell preventative medications or raising funds for victims,” Herring said.

Scams Often Target Seniors

Dominion Energy is working with police to get the scammers’ phone numbers shut down, according to Peggy Fox, a Dominion Energy spokesperson.

“Dominion Energy will never make threatening phone calls, demand you pay over the phone or ask you to pay with prepaid cards,” Fox said.

Often, the scammers — claiming to be from Dominion Energy — will call people and threaten to cut off service if payments aren’t made immediately, Fox said.

“They direct their victims to another number and when you call it (which I have) you may hear our Dominion Energy voice recording — which they’ve stolen,” Fox said, adding that they will also tell people to buy pre-paid cards for payment.

Tips from Dominion Energy on how to spot scams:

  • While robocall scams can be relatively easy to spot, effective scammers continue to make personal phone calls. Some scammers may employ scare tactics, while others will try to gain your trust by sounding friendly and sympathetic.
  • Many utility scammers try to instill fear and a sense of urgency by threatening immediate service disconnection if you don’t provide payment information over the phone or agree to pay your energy bill with a prepaid debit or gift card.
  • Dominion Energy does not make calls requesting immediate payment or require customers to pay with prepaid cards of any kind.
  • Some utility impostors may falsify their caller ID to appear they are using a local number or even Dominion Energy’s customer service number. When in doubt, hang up and call the number located on your energy bill.
  • Don’t let anyone into your home unless you have a previously scheduled appointment or have called about an issue. Always check for proper identification before letting personnel in. Additionally, utility workers won’t ask you to pay an energy bill in person.
  • Hang up. Customers can always verify their account balance and payment due date by signing into their dominionenergy.com account or calling 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).

“These scams are widespread in each of the 18 states we serve. They’re relentless in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, where we provide electrical service,” Fox said, adding that they often target seniors.

Additionally, Dominion Energy is waiving reconnection and late fees, along with donating $1 million to relief organizations to help people impacted by the coronavirus.

Suspect It’s a Scammer?

So what happens if a scammer calls? Hang up and call these places.

People who have questions or concerns about scams can contact the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Section at 800-552-9963 or the county’s Consumer Affairs Branch at 703-222‐8435, TTY 711.

People who think they’ve received a scam call regarding Dominion Energy should hang up and report the calls to Dominion Energy and the police.

Photo by Jonah Pettrich on Unsplash

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Vienna police are investigating a series of vehicle break-ins and thefts around the town last week.

Four incidents occurred on Wednesday (March 11), according to the police reports.

One person at the Wolftrap Hotel (430 Maple Avenue W.) reported to the police that someone smashed the rear window of her vehicle and stole her purse between 5 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Another woman reported that the front passenger window of her vehicle was smashed between 7 a.m.-2:40 p.m. in the 100 block of East Street SE. One the same block and in the same time period, a man said that someone smashed the front passenger window of his vehicle and stole a black backpack, police said.

Lastly, a woman told police that someone smashed the front passenger window of her vehicle and stole her purse in the 500 block of Beulah Road NE between 3:30-4:20 p.m.

As of Friday, it was too soon to tell if the cases are related or not, Juan Vazquez, a spokesperson for the Vienna Police Department, told Tysons Reporter.

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Fairfax County police said they recently arrested a woman for allegedly trespassing with a gun in a truck near the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station.

The incident happened shortly before 3 p.m. in the 2600 block of Prosperity Avenue yesterday (Thursday).

“The victim saw a woman inside of his truck and confronted her,” police said. “The woman displayed a gun then left the area and was found by officers a short distance away”

Police charged the 24-year-old woman from South Carolina with brandishing a firearm, concealed carry weapon violation and vehicle trespassing.

File photo

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Vienna police are investigating reports of indecent exposure at the Vienna Presbyterian Church and the Estate Market.

Both indecent exposures happened last Thursday (Feb. 27). The first incident happened shortly after 10 a.m. at the church (124 Park Street NE).

A female resident said “she was in a room of the Church for a prayer meeting when a man approached the door exposing himself,” according to the police report, adding that the man left the church in an unknown direction.

Then, at 10:30 a.m., an Estate Market employee told police that a man asked her a few questions and briefly walked around the store (134 Maple Ave E.) before exposing himself to the employee the report said.

“When the employee screamed, the man fled the store,” the report said. “Officers searched the area but did not locate the man.”

Image via Google Maps

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Vienna police say a gun store along Maple Avenue was recently burglarized.

The incident happened at the Vienna Arsenal (386 Maple Ave E.) around 6 a.m. on Monday (March 2).

“Investigation revealed that the suspects forced entry into the establishment and stole approximately 25 firearms,” according to the press release.

Vienna Police Detectives and Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms are investigating the case, the press release said.

People with any information about the case are asked to contact Detective Leroux at 703-255-6322 or email him at [email protected]

Image via Google Maps

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Two school buses were recently vandalized at the Vienna Elementary School, police said.

According to the police report, the buses were in the school’s parking lot when someone vandalized them.

One bus had a broken window and honey mustard packets thrown at it, Juan Vazquez, a spokesperson for the Vienna Police Department, told Tysons Reporter.

The incident occurred sometime between 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 and 6:20 a.m. on Feb. 24.

Vazquez said that the damage is roughly $375 and that the case is inactive.

Image via Google Maps

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