News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, March 29, 2010

This Week in Crime: Police Would Like You To Stop Forwarding E-Mails About the 'East Coast Rapist'

As stated here last week, police have not linked the series of creepy incidents on the paths in South Reston and the "East Coast Rapist." Now the head of the Reston division of the Fairfax County Police has issued a statement saying there is "absolutely no information" linking the Reston incidents.

In the past week and a half, there has been a malicious and erroneous e-mail circulating in our community which is causing undue alarm and hysteria. This e-mail has the subject line “Serial rapist spotted in Reston” and has many inaccuracies, false information and presumptions which have caused much concern in our community.

As a result of this e-mail being circulated to our schools, HOAs, other jurisdictions, etc. my office, our dispatch center, and the police Public Information Office have been inundated with calls and e-mails referencing the rapist loose on the Reston pathways.

The facts are that on Saturday morning March 13, we had two reports of a suspicious male on the pathway along Glade Drive between Soapstone Dr and Twin Branches Road. Based on these reports, I directed additional patrol and resources to the pathway in an attempt to identify the subject along with providing a sense of security to the users of the pathways. The subject did not commit any crime nor was there any physical contact made.

On Monday March 15, the Washington Post had a detailed report of an East Coast Serial Rapist. Based on this article, the circulating e-mail erroneously made the leap that our suspicious person report was somehow linked. First, let me state there is ABSOLUTELY no information which remotely ties the suspicious male/incident to the East Coast Rapist.
"If you receive such an e-mail, it would be best not to forward the information," the statement concludes.

41 comments:

  1. Women should not walk on the pathways alone. They should carry a cell phone and a defensive weapon, at least pepper spray. Children should never be out on the pathways alone.

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  2. Virginia is an open carry state. Just sayin'...

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  3. Open carry..right..because having everyone walk around with a loaded gun makes it a much safer place for all...
    Moronic NRA thinking like that gets kids shot. Just sayin'

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  4. Weekend mornings have usually light traffic on the paths. People sleep in late or go out to the grocery store.

    Woman in Lake Ridge attacked 9 am on Thursday

    "The attacker was described as an adult, wearing dark-colored sweatpants with a handkerchief or bandana in the back pocket. He was also wearing a dark-colored ski mask."

    http://www2.insidenova.com/isn/news/crime/article/woman_jogging_reports_knife_attack/54571/

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  5. Concealed carry permits are much more useful than open carry because they provide an element of surprise against any attacker. And, a concealed gun won't raise any concerns with anti-gun morons because they'll never know you're packing.

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  6. lol - how many insecurities are you compensating for with a CCW in RESTON? How do you know who to shoot and when? Shootout on the Reston walkways? I know you probably live for that stuff but it is a community, not Call of Duty...

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  7. Reston: Ground Zero in the 2010 East Coast/West Coast rape war.

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  8. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO): Soon-To-Be "Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin Woods"March 29, 2010 at 11:36 AM

    (Once again beating chest against those who think the trails are magically "better" than sidewalks!)

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  9. Sidewalks can't be built everywhere. You would need to build a street to run through the Glade Nature Area. There is a separate path on nearby Glade Drive that functions as a sidewalk. You seem to know very little about Reston.

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  10. Why carry a gun which could deter a crime without a shot even being fired when you could be a rape victim instead?

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  11. This "discussion" is worse than silly, it's useless, even counter-productive no matter what it is you're advocating.

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  12. Well, at least no one in particular is being vilified, unlike many of the "discussions" over the past several weeks.

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  13. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO): Soon-to-Be "Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin Woods"March 29, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Anonymous @ 11:47 AM: I live here, so it's humorous you say I know "very little" about Reston. Just because I have a grievance to air about planning in our community that may be contrary to your own personal convictions does not mean that I am ignorant. I see no reason why sidewalks, even narrow ones, can NOT be built directly along every roadway in Reston. Is this a minor issue? Yes. However, since I've moved here there have been NUMEROUS incidents of people saying they feel uncomfortable traversing the trails alone due to their isolated nature, and even I myself felt uneasy one night walking past a small group who stared at me, somewhat menacingly, as I passed. Sidewalks expose pedestrians to the line of sight of passing motorists (witnesses), which will help to discourage would-be criminals.

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  14. It's probably more common to see people walking on the side of the street between Winterthur Apts and Hunters Woods SC than taking the path that connects the two. I believe that's on the far east end of the same path where the incidents occurred. By and large, there are usually sidwalks or paths on one or both sides of most of Reston's road. The real problem is poor lighting which drivers can readily relate to. They're too few and too dim.

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  15. "Why carry a gun which could deter a crime without a shot even being fired when you could be a rape victim instead?"

    as the 'good guy' you forget that when the 'bad guy' is also carrying a gun one of you has to fire first. Chances are the 'bad guy' has actually fired a gun at a human being before. Chances are you as the 'good guy' haven't...your odds...they suck. Why carry a gun indeed.

    Gun advocates are too macho to ever see this though. Yes I know, you are stockpiling arms to make sure we are not overrun by a tyrant right? After all, not much has changed since 1791. That svelte black AR-15 is to keep burglars at bay...right?

    It's like arguing balls and strikes, or religion..pointless. Hope you never have to use it, or regret using it.

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  16. The police message really angers me - as they refer to the email as "malicious and erroneous". This implies that the sender was lying. The copy of the email I received had the senders name, title, email and phone number. She is a bonafide employee of Booz Allen and she claimed it was her mother who was one of the would-be victims. Furthermore, it seems to me that what is causing the mass hysteria is the absolutely creepy Post article. Not the emails. Leave it to a bunch of testosterone laden males to diminish these events. This message from the Fairfax County Police Department absolutely leaves me incensed as a woman and a mother. Clearly the Post article must be malicious and erroneous - and the rape and abuse of women is the result of malicious and erroneous lies.

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  17. Bob Simon's Metallic Alter-EgoMarch 29, 2010 at 10:21 PM

    Actually, the head of the Reston department is a woman. But she may be operating on the same assumptions as others in the PD.

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  18. Yea - I saw she was a woman after I made the comment. Shame on her. What says it all is her paragraph that her office was inundated with calls and emails! She was way off to call the poor woman who sent the email "malicious" - sounds to me like Burnett and her team are a bunch of lazy ignorant folks who don't want to answer phone calls, who have no concept of PR, and who are scared to death that Fairfax County Property Taxes will drop lest word of "crime" leaks out!!

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  19. The email is malicious due to the fact there's no proof that there's a serial rapist in Reston.

    All it proves is that Restonites are afraid of black folks.

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  20. The FCPD should know, like any organization that wants the citizenry to report unusual activity, that it will get a number, no, a huge number, of false reports. It is there job, not the citizens, to sort those out.

    And for the police to criticize the citizenry for being alert and sharing information--when the police have not--is a clear recipe for failure to prevent crime, erode support for police efforts, and assure increased crime in our neighborhoods.

    FCPD has not acquitted itself well in this circumstance. Don't blame concerned citizens for reporting and circulating information they have, investigate the information and tell the public what you discover. Don't blame the messenger.

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  21. I have one question: at what point does reasonable concern turn into hysteria and paranoia? Except for media reports of an "East Coast Rapist" and a couple of odd but harmless encounters with some strange male on the wooded paths, what exactly has happened.

    Before I get smacked with the "misogynist" label, I can understand women's concerns about their safety especially where rape is concerned. Caution would certainly be the watchword. But is whipping yourselves up into a frenzy every time you see a male behaving in an unexplainable manner (especially when there's usually an unseen reasonable explanation) can't be good for your mental health.

    As a male who occasionally wears a hoodie and sports gloves, I like to use the paths. I wear the hoodie not to hide my identity but because its still a little cool outside during late-winter and early-spring and I wear gloves because I pick up trash (garbage, not sluts) while walking. Of course, you would probably be less threatened by me now because I usually have the kids in tow -- it's never too early to teach them social responsibility. But 15 years ago before I had kids, I got the evil eye by more than one woman walking alone on the paths while all I was doing was picking up garbage.

    So, I ask the question again, when does reasonable concern turn into hysteria and paranoia? The FCPD position seems to be that we've crossed that line already.

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  22. It's one thing to go "Hey, I had some weird black guy acting odd on the pathways." and another to go "Hey, I saw a black guy acting weird on the pathways, he didn't do anything but, we have a serial rapist on the loose!!! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC!"

    You know now that you mention it, I saw a white guy open carrying a handgun the other day. He wasn't doing anything but he must be one of those Hutaree militia members I read about in the news.

    This paranoia is something I'd expect of Great Falls residents, not Reston.

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  23. You think that's something. For the last few weeks, our obviously Middle-Eastern postman has been saying afternoon prayers in the park. It wouldn't be such a big deal but he hides himself behind the postal van, as if he doesn't want people to know what he's doing. To make matters worse, when a plane flys overhead, he occassionally stares up at it. And on top of all of that, it started just before Sept. 11 of last year.

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  24. There you go again with your bigotry...

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  25. If by "panic, panic, panic" you mean circulating emails and calling the police station - then wow, I guess us women better just ignore suspicious behavior, lest we get categorized as hysterical. (Sounds sadly Victorian doesn't it.) The email in and of itself didn't concern me as much as the Wash. Post article (did anyone read it?) And, btw the concern has nothing to do with the race of the rapist or the man involved with the incidents on the Reston paths. If you'd read the article you'd know that the rapist isn't particular about the race or age of his victims. He's attacked white, black, and hispanic women - and teenage girls. Also, as someone who has over 20 years of public relations and corporate communications experience - as well as experience training others in how to deal with defense and assault, I can tell you that Captain Burnett needs to be fired or seriously reprimanded and their PR person fired for allowing that letter to go public. It totally dismisses the angst people are feeling, calls everyone who reported suspicious behavior hysterical (even if some of that behavior was legitimately suspicious) and tells us to quit calling the police department (what!!!???). Call this letter from Captain Burnett what it is - an ignorant attempt to demean legitimate concerns and an attempt to get out of the work that taxpayers are paying them to do!

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  26. I guess you can't tell the difference between bigotry and sarcasm, troll.

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  27. Channel 9 covers the spread of the e-mail

    http://www.wusa9.com/rss/local_article.aspx?storyid=99224&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Wusa9com-VirginiaNews+%28WUSA9.com+%7C+Virginia+News%29

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  28. If it was bigotry, I'm sure it would've made it to the subject line. We had a Hispanic serial rapist a couple of years ago and no one complained about race.

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  29. Race is a huge part of this because I can guarantee you if it was a white guy acting suspicious on the pathways, he wouldn't have been branded the "RESTON RAPIST"

    I seriously feel bad for any non-white male who might out be on the pathways of Reston because they're apparently "THE RESTON RAPIST" (tm)

    If anything, they should be called "THE RESTON CREEPY GUY WHO WALKS THE PATHS SCARING WHITE WOMEN" (tm)

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  30. There's a fine line between situational awareness and overreactive public hysteria. The timing of the Post article was unfortunate, and THAT is what fueled the hysteria.

    Convict -- I never even thought of a guy wearing gloves due to trash pick up. I really do appreciate that perspective. That said, some of his other behaviors in combination with the gloves is what made the guy unsettling.

    As a female, who has worked as a prosecutor AND a defense attorney, and who loves being able to go on the paths, and who (gasp) lets her children ride their bikes down there all the time, and who (gasp, gasp) lets her boys play with toy guns . . . I speak the truth in love when I say, GET A GRIP!

    I think we need to pull back a little and examine these TWO non-touching incidences for what they are . . . and let the police do their job. They ARE actively seeking the guy. They would LOVE to know who he is so they can throw off the cloak of suspicion that every black guy in South Reston is currently wearing. And if the guy is a creepy person with outstanding warrants, they can take care of that too.

    At this moment, NO CRIME HAS BEEN COMMITTED.

    If you choose to walk the path by yourself, or go running by yourself, with or without headphones on, there's a certain assumption of risk associated with that behavior. I know, it's hard to find someone who runs/walks/jogs at your pace. I know, you'd rather be by yourself. But assume the risk if you do so.

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  31. Dear Prosecutor/Defense Attorney - While I respect your opinion (and the fact that you let your kids play freely) the material point that I would like to make isn't that no crime has been committed. The point is that Captain Burnett issued an ignorant letter, basically calling anyone and everyone who has recently contacted the police dept. hysterical. And, she follows up her "malicious" and "hysteria" comments by complaining that her office has been bothered by too many phone calls from Reston citizens. No where did Captain Burnett provide recommendations on what to do if you see suspicious activity. No where did she console the public for the angst they are feeling. Instead she maligns and demeans some poor woman for having the temerity to share her mother's story and the the Post article in the same email. Unfortunately, Captain Burnett's email doesn't leave me with a lot of confidence regarding the Police department's supposed commitment to this case. Quite the opposite, it makes me feel that I shouldn't bother calling the department to support suspicious activity, lest I be dismissed as hysterical. Folks need to call out Captain Burnett's behavior for what it is - offensive and ignorant.

    And, for god's sake can folks get off the race issue. I am married to a man who is a minority; And Reston is not full of hysterical white women - that in and of itself detracts from and demeans the fear that every woman has for herself and her children - rape and abuse is serious and frightening - PERIOD - regardless of the race of the perpetrator. And those of you that want to use "race" to distract others from the issue of the way women - black, white, asian, and hispanic - are treated, then shame on you!!

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  32. As a follow-up, should we use "race" as a card against criticizing this horrendous video game called "RapeLay" issued by an Asian video game company? http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/03/30/japan.video.game.rape/index.html.

    Again - race IS NOT the issue here. The serial rapist is black. That is a fact. The man involved with the Reston pathway incidents happens to be black. Fact. The issue is that rape and abuse are serious horrific crimes - and the Fairfax County police department isn't dealing with a concerned public in an appropriate manner.

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  33. I don't think anyone is trying to minimize anybody's security concerns about this issue. Maybe Burnett was a bit impolitic in her statement. Still, nobody's been attacked by this reported person on the paths and, except for the Halloween attack in Dale City, there doesn't seem to be much reason to believe that the East Coast rapist is working our piece of paradise.

    Like I mentioned earlier, when does reasonable concern become hysteria and paranoia?

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  34. Don't believe the hype

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  35. I am concerned that the East Coast Rapist tends to drop a deuce at the scene of his attacks. Steaming piles of crap in south Reston could seriously raise our property values.

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  36. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonMarch 30, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    Part of the problem here may be that the Fairfax Police inadvertently let the issue spiral out of control in terms of handling the public information/public affairs aspect of this situation.

    The original police warning about the suspicious guy on the trails went out on March 16. Fairfax Police should have immediately put out a clarification and/or rebuttal as soon as they heard that an E-mail erroneously linking this individual to the East Coast rapist was circulating around Reston, and not waited until March 26. Captain Burnett's letter of March 26 in fact said this E-mail had been circulating "in the past week and a half".

    Anon 2:07 wrote: "No where did Captain Burnett provide recommendations on what to do if you see suspicious activity." There actually is a separate news releases on the homepage of the Reston District police station titled "When To Make A Police Report" that talks about reporting suspicious activity. That information should have been incorporated into Captain Burnett's March 26 letter.

    The most relevant part of that release about reporting suspicious activity is:

    "Suspicious activity is anything that you feel is not right. It could be a car, a person
    or any situation that does not look right to you. Everyone has a different view of suspicious activity and there is no right or wrong answer. The Fairfax County Police Department answers all calls for service received through our dispatch center no matter how trivial it may seem. The more information you give, the better the officer responding can locate the problem."

    Moral of this whole episode is that an organization needs to be pro-active and get ahead of the news cycle, not just react to it.

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  37. No, I think the moral of the story is that the Washington (com)Post is a terrible newspaper.

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  38. the Post is better than that Rev. Moon paper...

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  39. That's a paper? I thought it was just a large format comic book. Have you looked at the drivel called the Washington Examiner? It's always good for a laugh.

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  40. It doesn't matter if you're black. People are very nervous. You get long stares if you're walking the paths around 8 pm, right after dinner and news. There's no foot traffic on the paths or on the Lake Anne plaza. I happened to walk past a lone woman on a dock. She hurriedly ran off for her nearby house when she saw me.

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  41. I've got about a dozen registered sex offenders living within a mile of me in Less Desireable South Reston. They are of all different races and, judging by their addresses, a wide variety of economic statuses. One of them is someone I actually know and would never in a million years thought was capable of any type of violence--and he is not black.

    My theory is that the increased availability if pornography has brought this on. Psychopathic men with dysfunctional personal lives look at porno and then feel they have to act it all out using the nearest naive female who hasn't a clue about her surroundings. In the good old days, these men would be put in institutions for the rest of their lives if they were caught, but sometime in the latter half of the 20th century, the loony bin doors were opened, the places shut down, and those psychopaths are now amongst us, with no adequate mental health care to treat them.

    When I went away to college in the 1970s in a big city, the first thing we learned was self-defense, including how to poke a man's eyes out and which tasty morsels to bite off if we found ourselves close to being raped. That my school felt they had to teach us this stuff, even back then, speaks volumes about the kind of society we had allowed to develop.

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