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Saturday, October 6, 2012

'Extreme yard sales' are back in business

6231 Columbia Pike
After a few quiet weeks, the “extreme yard sales” are back in the Parklawn neighborhood in Mason District.

Michael Tyrone Suggs, who had been organizing yard sales up and down Braddock Road for more than a year, told us a few weeks ago that he was finished, citing all the hassles from complaining neighbors and negative publicity. People who live near the yard sales have repeatedly called the police and county zoning officials, citing concerns about traffic, noise, and declining property values.

On Saturday, Oct. 6, though, he was running a yard sale at 6231 Columbia Pike, next to the Arcadia Road intersection. About a dozen shoppers were browsing among the goods, which included at least eight refrigerators, a freezer, several washers and dryers, a large TV, a card table covered with purses, another table full of costume jewelry, an assortment of small appliances, and other stuff. The same white truck that Suggs has used to bring merchandise to and from other yard sales was parked down the street.

Suggs, who lives on Braddock Road, later said he won’t hold any more yard sales in the Braddock Road area and will instead have them in Maryland, where he has been having them recently and where he said people appreciate what he is doing and don’t complain so much.

According to Suggs, Police Capt. Gun Lee, commander of the Mason Police Station came by and told him he “is not really breaking the law but there are too many complaints” and said if he wants to continue having yard sales, not to do it “within a 15-mile radius of Braddock Road.”  If Lee “sees me again, it will be a civil action. I’m done,” Suggs said.

Suggs said he made about $2,000 Saturday, not counting his expenses for paying his helpers and for paying Oscar, who lives at 6231 Columbia Pike, to agree to have the sale at his house.

3908 Braddock Road
Also on Saturday, there was another large yard sale around the corner at 3908 Braddock Road. That sale was not organized by Suggs, but a neighbor said the homeowner had been holding about six large yard sales a year, with furniture and other items shipped in by truck during the night, which might have given the Suggs the idea for having commercial sales just about every weekend.

According to the neighbor, the homeowner manages estate sales, and that’s where he gets the stuff he sells. The neighbor had once caught a glimpse inside the house when the door was propped open during a delivery and was shocked at how much stuff was inside. “You couldn’t even walk through that house,” he said. “It was piled high with merchandise. He might not even live there.”

The police came by that yard sale, too, but apparently didn’t do anything; it’s up to the Fairfax County code compliance staff to issue citations for illegal yard sales. A county ordinance prohibits residents from having more than two yard sales a year on their property and bans yard sales with commercial items for resale.

Last April, a county code investigator issued a notice of violation to the owner of 3908 Braddock for having a retail sales establishment and parking on the grass. The case has been forwarded to the county attorney’s office to initiate litigation against the property owner.

During the past few weeks before Oct. 6, there hadn’t been any major commercial yard sales along the Braddock Road corridor. “It’s been wonderfully quiet,” a neighbor said. “I thought we were done with this.”


  1. Wonder how much of this stuff fell off the truck or went out the backdoor of some warehouse.

  2. You have done an incredible job on this story. Fair and balanced ... however is there some way this article could find a way to the governors email or facebook page. Sounds like this guy is running a business but not paying business taxes, or charging sales tax, and who knows if he pays personal property on his vehicle.

    Excellent reporting, now you need to channel Bob Woodward and be sure the right people are informed!

  3. Seems like the County has not been fully effective in stopping these less than good citizens from turning Mason District into one big junkyard.

  4. What if neighbors called the news channels and picketing this next time.

    1. Yes this is a great idea, perhaps shame, exposure and embarrassment will stop their behavior. They obviously do not fear or respect the law. I've got my sign already made!

  5. These guys should be reported to the IRS for tax avoidance. Clearly the profits they are making without paying taxes is quite healthy. Wish I could avoid paying taxes, I will ask my employer on Tuesday! Anyone who thinks that these thugs are paying taxes on these sales are very naive. This is a criminal activity and its continuing to be a nuisance in a County that has always been noted for its low crime rate. What has happened, is anyone in the County, State or Federal Government paying attention or have you all gone an extended lunch break?

  6. Daren Shumate10/9/12, 1:38 PM

    It was nice that they mowed the grass where VDOT doesnt mow regularly. Too bad they didn't mow the whole thing!

  7. We caught up with Capt. Gun Lee, commander of the Mason District Police Station, later and asked him about the yard sales. “It’s a fine balancing act,” he said. “You can’t have a commercial sale. We also need to be protecting the rights of people in the community to have a yard sale.”

  8. Zippy Shell of Northern Virginia10/19/12, 12:12 PM

    If any of you around the Annandale area dont want to have a yard sale and part with your belongings we can help you out with storage!