News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This Week in Crime: The Not-So-Cold Case Unit

Hey, remember that time that a series of burglaries in Reston and elsewhere were targeting homes with Indian religious symbols, only the police called them "Middle Eastern" symbols and then no one was sure how many homes were actually involved?

Yeah, that was awesome. Well, turns out people aren't happy about how the case has been handled, and things remain about as clear as mud.

According to both Fairfax County government and police officials, large caseloads and insufficient staffing may be responsible for an investigation in which the facts given to the public seem to routinely change, and in which the use of federal resources is being questioned.

On Aug. 26, nearly 100 people attended a community meeting hosted by Del. Tim Hugo (R-Centreville) at Colin Powell Elementary School in Centreville. The meeting was held to address a series of burglaries that have seemingly targeted members of the Indian community in Fairfax County for the last eight months.

At an earlier August meeting in Reston hosted by Del. Tom Rust (R-Herndon), police initially said that since January, there had been 20 residential break-ins throughout Fairfax County in which jewelry or electronics were stolen.

“I’ve been living here about 30 years and I haven’t even locked my house. Now it is not safe,” Rajesh Varkhedkar, a McNair Farms resident, said after that meeting.

Varkhedkar arrived at his house around noon June 4 to find someone breaking into his basement door. The would-be thieves got away, but Varkhedkar was able to provide a description to the police. He described the vehicle that he saw suspects escape in as a Silver Toyota RAV4.

Shortly after the Reston meeting, police said they were looking for a young woman and two men who were linked to 16 daytime burglaries. “They seem to be targeting gold jewelry, along with passports, electronics and other personal documents,” said police spokeswoman Tawny Wright at the time.

At the Aug. 26 meeting in Centreville, Detective Paul Mitchell of the county’s Criminal Investigations Bureau said there were actually “only 10 incidents that may be related” and that police were looking for a white Jeep Cherokee.

When meeting attendees asked Mitchell for other specific details on the burglaries, he responded that he did not have his notes with him. “I wasn’t surprised. When he first came up, he said he had 58 active cases and didn’t have a lot of time to address this one,” Centreville resident Joseph Fusari later said.
Apparently, because passports have been taken in some of the burglaries, the FBI might be interested in pursuing the case. Also, people are forming their own e-mail network to share details about the crimes. We'd say more, but we don't have our notes with us.


  1. From the Uplands of RestonSeptember 2, 2009 at 4:22 PM

    Crime went down in 2008 Prince William County when immigration status was checked in the jails and upon arrest. Crime went up in Fairfax County in 2008-9 after numerous individuals moved from PWC to Fairfax County.
    Why is Fairfax County not following this common-sense approach? Catching criminals retrospectively with the police is so inefficient. Can't Fairfax County have a lower crime rate than PWC?

  2. FCPD has better things to do than chase crooks.

  3. Burglars are posing as Hispanic maintenance workers so as to blend in. As fall approaches, residents are warned to be on the lookout for criminal types disguised as lawn care professionals. If they're carrying a leaf blower in one hand and a rake in the other, people should become immediately suspicious and contact their local law enforcement professionals.

  4. The Bloke From Charter OakSeptember 3, 2009 at 1:07 PM

    Hey, as long as our crime rate is lower than that of Prince George's County I'm a happy camper! LOL! :-)

  5. The Convict in the South Reston GulagSeptember 4, 2009 at 1:49 PM

    Anybody's crime rate is lower than PeeGee, except for maybe DCPS.


(If you don't see comments for some reason, click here).