News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This Week in Crime: Serial Hamburglar Continues Reign of Annoyance, Plus Trail Incident Sparks New Round of Rumors

robble.jpegThe Fairfax County Hamburglar continues his reign of terror annoyance, now responsible for a whopping 123 incidents across Fairfax and Prince William counties.

Fairfax police say the burglar has not been positively identified by anyone in any of the incidents that have plagued residents since early August.

Police addressed the rash of burglaries at a community meeting Oct. 14 in Great Falls, sponsored by the Great Falls Citizens Association.

There, Capt. Deborah Burnett, commander of the Reston District station that includes Great Falls, told audience members that police do not have any description to go on.

"When we catch this guy, it will be because of a tip from someone who saw something and alerted police," said Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville), who attended the meeting.

"You're not giving us much to be able to help you with," answered Great Falls resident Rick VandeHouten.

"We are not hiding information," Burnett said. "We just have none to give you. We have no description; no car information; no one has seen this individual at their residence, no one."
Police have also posted a complete list of incidents, including the following ones in the Reston precinct, which includes much of the fancy that surrounds our beloved beige community. Here they are, from most recent to oldest:
10/12/10 5 10300 Saddle View Ct
10/12/10 5 10300 Saddle View Ct
10/12/10 5 10300 Saddle View Ct
10/12/10 5 10300 Saddle View Ct
10/12/10 5 1800 Horseback Trl.
10/12/10 5 10000 Tamarack Dr
9/18/10 5 9400 Meadow Shire Ln
9/18/10 5 9500 Locust Hill Dr
9/18/10 5 9500 Locust Hill Dr
9/18/10 5 9500 Locust Hill Dr
9/16/10 5 9200 Wood Glade Dr
9/13/10 5 11400 Woolington Road
9/7/10 5 300 Walker Rd
9/7/10 5 300 Walker Rd
Pretty unsettling. By chance, did anyone make a vaguely sexist joke during that community meeting to help lighten the mood?
"At least we know it's a man," said Great Falls resident Elizabeth Simpson. "If it were a woman she would be keeping the purses."
That'll do.

Meanwhile, police have confirmed the suspicious incident that took place on a South Reston trail earlier this month.
Here is the statement from Captain Deborah Burnett, Fairfax County Police, Reston District Office, who says her officers patrol the trails, which are generally safe.

“Based on the facts the case was classified as a suspicious person. We
checked the area and no one was found.

Although the pathways in Reston are very safe, one using the pathways could encounter intoxicated subjects, emotionally disturbed individuals, etc. Our units patrol the pathways. However with the extensive trail system in Reston we encourage citizens to be vigilant to any suspicious
persons and activity such as what occurred on Friday and call us immediately to investigate. Carrying a cell phone when in isolated portion of the pathways is strongly encouraged as well."
With a succinct explanation like this, you'd think the rumors that started circulating last spring wouldn't start back up again. Ha ha, no, you'd be wrong.


  1. That area near the Steeplechase playground intersection with the trail has poor cell phone coverage. I have had to hike up the hill (parts of the trail have a "below sea level" feel to them) simply to get to the road in order to place a phone call. I point this out only because, in the pamphlet referenced in this post, the police suggest that the humble cell phone can be used to ward off predators. If that is so, may I humbly suggest a phone with a built-in taser.

    Also in the helpful pamphlet: I have my doubts that the police regularly patrol these trails. I have never seen a police officer on the Glade trails. (Has anyone? Please let me know.) Staking out speeders at the Soapstone campfire ring does not count, although I appreciate that service. I have high confidence that police officers can get into the trails quickly, but the claim that they regularly patrol there? Overstated, if not untrue. Given the low crime rate, I am not suggesting that they begin patrols, but creating a false sense of security by stating faleshoods is not a tool for improving police-citizenry communications and trust.

  2. ...pull my finger.

  3. "And when you get the next email thread, take a deep breath and consider what it is saying. It might not be as scary as you think." (The end of the Reston Patch article.)

    OHHHH, Silly Me, worrying my tiny brain about this! What a hysterical, hand-wringing little girl I am... of course, why should I be at all bothered by some poor guy on the trail who is probably just trying to give me a *compliment*?! Why, Ms. Goff, you're right; now that I've taken a deep breath, and a vicodin, I feel much better about the whole thing.


  4. I bike and walk the trails regularly. Including after dark. (The creeper wasn't me, unless she was chased by an elderly white guy.) 5 of the last 10 years I actually biked to work. I have never seen a bike or foot patrol on Reston paths.

    Anon 11:53 is correct. The Glade paths are dead to cell phones. There was supposed to be a cell tower on St. John's property, but it never happened.

  5. I'm not on the trails much (wish I had more free time because I love them) but I did see an officer on a bike this past Spring. He was on a trail near that child care facility on Soapstone.

  6. I have seen officers on bikes near the 7-11 and on occasion, near the Winterthur apartments. Hmm...wonder why they pick those particular locations?

    I agree with the first comment - a taser is much more likely to be useful than a cell phone on the trails. Of course, someone could use it on you...

    And I think Elizabeth Simpson of Great Falls is BRILLIANT! Let's do a write-in to elect her instead of HUDGINS!

  7. Anonymous - I never said you had a tiny brain. But now that you point it out - you're right.
    Glad the vicodin is working.
    Ms. Goff

  8. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonOctober 20, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    In 12 years (75 to 100 times annually) of using the Reston trails,chiefly the Glade Stream trail anywhere from near Reston Parkway to Twin Branches, I have never once seen any law enforcement presence. The only uniformed presence I have ever seen there, in fact, is when the German military is conducting one of its runs.

  9. so, is he just going after WASPy neighborhoods with two word street, excuse me, road names?

    if so, I'm liking my decision to stay in the part of Herndon where it feels like Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Tehran, and San Salvador have decided to merge into one town

  10. Ms. Goff:

    If you don't like sarcastic witty comments, stick to the Patch. If you don't mind a little banter, then welcome aboard.

    -anonymous because I am too lazy to think of a witty screen name.

  11. How about 'Dumass'?

  12. Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin WoodsOctober 24, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    Since I'm in the process of moving out-of-state I possibly shouldn't even bring this up, but I will say that cell phone coverage overall in Reston is very hit-or-miss. Some new towers would be a welcome investment. I can even be talking on my phone (AT&T) while walking around in my parking lot in the Uplands and lose my signal.


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