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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Warmer weather means more crime

Mason Police Commander Capt. David Smith (right) presents the “Edwin Smith Officer of the Year Award” to Pfc. Jonathan Nytes at the April 1 CAC meeting. Nytes, a 10-year veteran on the Fairfax County police force, has been a consistently high performer, mentors junior officers, and has a particularly strong record in DUI arrests. The Rotary Club of Bailey's Crossroads presented Nytes with a $100 gift card.

During the cold snowy winter months, the crime rate has dropped, but that’s going to change, Capt. David Smith, the commander of the Mason District Police Station, said at the April 1 Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting. “History has shown that crimes increase as the weather gets better.”

You can expect more larcenies, burglaries, scams, and crimes of opportunity, Smith said. He urges residents to keep their car doors and garage doors locked and report suspicious activities.

There were four or five incidents of tools stolen from vehicles in various areas of Mason last weekend, said Lt. Joe Flynn, supervisor of detectives at the Mason station. There have also been reports of Mason residents receiving harassing phone calls from tax scammers who tell them they owe tax money to the IRS and need to send money.

A house on Montrose Street in Lincolnia under investigation by the Fairfax County Department of Code Compliance for illegal overcrowding and structural problems was occupied by an alleged ring of burglars, Flynn said. Two of them, including one man linked to a California gang, were arrested for burglaries in Prince William and Loudoun counties.

This house is not only under investigation for multi-occupancy, the residents were arrested for burglary.
While there is a definite gang presence here, Flynn doesn’t think those burglars were trying to recruit new members. There hasn’t been an increase in gang activity, he said. “It’s the 15 and 16 year-olds you have to worry about,” he added, noting that school resource officers at Stuart High School and other nearby schools are keeping an eye on potential troublemakers.

A Maryland man was arrested recently for a forced-entry robbery that occurred at the Barcroft View apartments on Columbia Pike a few weeks ago, Flynn said. The suspect had responded to an ad for a laptop on Craig’s List and appears to be connected to five other robberies. There was another Craig’s List robbery on Metro Court in Annandale recently, but that suspect escaped.

MPO Mike Nicholson gave a presentation at the CAC meeting on truck safety. Nicholson, a military veteran with experience as a truck driver, is one of three officers assigned full time to look for safety problems with commercial trucks and ticket the drivers.

Four of the most severe traffic incidents in the D.C. area last year involved commercial trucks, Nicholson said.

He looks for things like overloaded trucks, inadequately secured cargo, worn-out tires, faulty brakes, flimsy trailer hitches, broken parts and cracks, liquids spilling out the back of dump truck, cargo hanging out the side, and fake inspection stickers.

He’s seen tires in such bad shape, tire chunks were flying off and truck parts were held together with duct tape. In one incident, Nicholson busted a driver for leaving a truck overloaded with garbage overnight in a residential area near Gallows Road. He had it weighed, towed to a landfill, and sanitized. It cost the driver $4,200 to get it back.

Some truckers only make $20 for hauling a load, so they don’t want to spend a lot of money repairing their vehicles, he said. As a result, there are many trucking companies that cut corners on safety.

He busted a 16-year-old driving a dump truck. Another driver he ticketed turned out to be a felon who’d been deported. His main concern is vehicle safety, but sometimes a traffic stop could reveal a more serious issue, like the time he found five kilos of cocaine in a truck.

There were a lot of problems with the snowplow contractors hired by VDOT this winter, Nicholson said. They are paid $225 an hour, he said, and “with that kind of money, they better be doing it right. My job is to take unsafe trucks off the road.”


  1. Where there is zoning non-complianc issues such as the residence noted above, there is likely more crime related issues going on. Somehting our code and elected official have not successfully put their arms around.
    Lack of enforcement of nuissance crimes breeds more criminal acitivty. NY got it, but FFX still doesn't get it!

  2. Thanks for the nice report of happenings at the CAC meeting. With the ability to report suspicious activities online, we all need to do so...if we see it, say it...easy to do, no excuses. A big "thank you" and congratulations to our Mason District Station Officer of the Year.

  3. Who else but Ellie would have the answer to the question all my neighbors were asking. Why were there 7 police cars in my neighborhood at 6845 Montrose Street? Right across from Holmes Middle School.

    Ellie, do you have the sources to keep us posted on follow-up? As of Friday 4/4/14 there were still 6 cars and many televisions in the driveway.

    1. Eviction seems to be in progress at 6485 (address correction) Montrose St.
      They had a large yard sale last Saturday but I was afraid to buy anything for fear it was stolen.

    2. OK, so I'm dyslexic. Correct address is 6548 Montrose St. No update yet in code compliance database.