News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, August 10, 2009

This Week in Crime: The Usual Gang Activity, Car Thefts, Plus Religiously-Motivated Burglaries

An attempted stabbing, a car theft, and a series of weird burglaries targeting folks who keep statues of Ganesh in their yards. No, it's not one of Johnny Carson's old Kreskin punchlines, but the week that was in Reston crime.

First, we have your run-of-the-mill attempted stabbing, which took place in Laurel Glade Court on Aug. 1.

Police arrested a man for attempting to stab another man on Saturday, August 1. The victim, 29, was sitting inside a car in the 12200 block of Laurel Glade Court around 8:04 p.m. when another man approached and confronted him. The suspect pulled out a knife and allegedly tried to cut the victim. The victim exited the car and the suspect chased him around the car, but fled a short time later.
A man "of no fixed address" -- which is the polite way of saying he's homeless -- was charged for stealing a Dodge Neon and using it as a crash pad:
A 1998 Dodge Neon was stolen from the 11100 block of Glade Drive on July 28. About 9 p.m., police were called about a man sitting in a vehicle in the 12100 block of Sunset Hills Road. The vehicle was determined to be the stolen Dodge Neon. A 34-year-old man of no fixed address was charged with grand larceny and possession of marijuana.
And finally, the really weird case. A series of burglaries in Reston and elsewhere in western Fairfax County have been linked by the fact that they all involved homes with clearly visible Middle Eastern religious symbols:
Since January of this year, someone has been targeting homes in Fairfax County based on their ethnic and religious affiliations.

Police say the thief or thieves has been breaking in during the day while the residents are away in the Reston, Sully, McLean and Fair Oaks sections of the county. In each case, the burglar has been going after very specific items.

One of the burglaries took place on June 24 in a Reston neighborhood just off of Towlston Road, not far from Leesburg Pike. Investigators now believe they can link 16 crimes in which the burglar or burglars have been targeting homes in which religious symbols have been prominently displayed.

Fairfax County Police say the homes favored by the burglar or burglars are in neighborhoods heavily populated by people of Middle Eastern or Asian descent. They say they've been looking for homes with religious symbols.

"It's a Hindu symbol, I believe it's called a Ganesh—I hope I am saying it right," said Officer Tawny Wright of the Fairfax County Police Department. "But they hang it, some of them hang it above their garages or in a window, next to their doors, and like I said, and of the 16, a significant number have had this symbol displayed around their house."

On June 29 on Chamberlain Drive, the thief tried to get in through a rear window but left when he realized someone was home. It's the only time anyone has spotted the burglar, but police are reluctant to put out a description.
Here's the complete list of burglaries police have linked:
*        Tuesday, July 28: 12900 block of Wood Crescent Circle
*        Monday, June 29: 10600 block of Chamberlain Drive and 1300
block of Hunter Mill Road
*        Tuesday, June 23 to Wednesday, June 24: 9200 block of Wood Glade Drive
*        Thursday, June 4: 2600 Logan Wood Drive
*        Friday, May 29: 13400 block of Sir Ramsay Way
If you watch the video embedded video below, you'll see that Fairfax County Police "are not suggesting anyone take down their religious symbols." So we'll be keeping up the 90-foot-high neon replica of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on our roof until a higher authority -- the DRB -- tells us to take it down.

Update: Some additional information about the burglaries has surfaced in the comments.


  1. This is a really good blog. Thanks.


  2. I used to date this chic named Jeanine when I was 18. I ran into her last week at the grocery store. Add 30 years, a couple of pups and 75 lbs and, voila, she's now Ganesh. Life can be so cruel.

  3. Let's looks like an elephant, so the thief must obviously be a Democrat. Oh no, has Rod Blagojevich escaped from jail?

  4. Scribe of Fairfax NorthAugust 11, 2009 at 10:05 PM

    This story about the chain of burglaries — I don't know where it comes from, but I can guess — has some glaring inaccuracies. I only know this because an area genius, who may or may not be me, recently wrote an article on the subject for an Oak Hill/Herndon-area paper.

    The victims, who also live in West Springfield and Loudoun, in addition to the districts named in the story, are not Middle Eastern. Ganesh is not a Muslim god. As we all know, Islam is a monotheistic religion, with only one god, whose image is forbidden from being depicted. Ganesh is a Hindu god, and the victims of these burglaries have all been of Indian descent. It is thought that Indian-Americans are being targeted not for being heretics but because they tend to have large collections of gold jewelry. Indian gold is almost always 24-karat, and gold is selling for about twice what it was a few years ago.

    The burglars apparently go straight to the master bedroom in search of the jewelry collection, often grabbing any electronic devices they may encounter, as they feel time allows.

    And only a few of the 16 to 20 homes that fit the pattern have had a representation of Ganesh over their doors.

    Also, the burglars have been spotted on several occasions and are described as a "chubby" Hispanic female in her mid-20s with red-tinted hair and two Hispanic males in their mid-20s to mid-30s wearing blue jumpsuits in an apparent attempt to resemble workmen, so that neighbors will not call the police when they see the men jimmying open doors and windows at the backs of people's houses. They drive a white or light silver SUV, and the girl often knocks on the front door to ascertain that no one is home and that the booty sits unguarded.

    A warrant was obtained in late June for someone suspected of being one of the men, but, to my knowledge, he still has not been arrested.

  5. I think we all owe a vote of thanks to the above Scribe of Fairfax North for his/her information about this series of burglaries, and even more so, for the detailed description of the burglars. It's ironic that this account has far more information than is available from the August 7 Fairfax County Police Department news release on these crimes( That news release gave absolutely no description of the burglars. Thanks to the Scribe, we now know what to keep an eye out for -- the perps, their vehicle, and their modus operandi.

    So the next time someone posts here to whine "what good is this blog", "you're not part of the solution", etc., I suggest you double your daily dose of Metamucil and think about the information on crime in our community that you found out here on this "filthy Web-log run by non-professional journalists."

  6. What good is this blog? You're not part of the solution. This is just a filthy weblog run by non-professional journalists.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get my second dose of Metamucil.

  7. Scribe of Fairfax NorthAugust 14, 2009 at 3:16 PM

    I would just remind readers that I am a professional journalist. Support your local papers. All you have to do is read them and then admit to it.


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