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Crime

News
Tip Leading to Alleged Rapist Arrest Came From Md.

Prince William County, Va. –– At least 12 rape cases have been linked to the man police call the East Coast Rapist.

One of those cases the suspect is linked to, believed to be the most recent case, happened in Dale City on Halloween night 2009.

Police say Aaron H. Thomas, now 39, approached three female teenagers while they were walking home from a night of trick-or-treating.

Thomas used a gun forced them into a wooded area and then raped two 17-year-old girls while a 16-year-old girl watched helplessly.

The 16-year-old used her phone to summon help, police said. By the time police arrived that night, the suspect had fled the area, said police.

Late last month, police put up billboards with sketches of the suspect and launched a website will details on each of the 17 cases the East Coast Rapist is suspected to have carried out.

Last Monday, a tip came into police from Prince Georges County, Md. – the place where police say Thomas took his first victim in 1997 – identifying Thomas as the suspect, police said.

Thomas, now in Connecticut, was followed by investigators and DNA from a cigarette later matched DNA collected in 12 of the reported rapes, police said.

Thomas was arrested at his home in New Haven, Conn. on Friday.

Police in Prince William County have charged him with two counts of Rape, three counts of abduction, and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, police said Monday at a press conference in Manassas.

According to records, Thomas lived on Bonita Court in Dale City from 2000 to 2007.

DNA evidence has tied Thomas to the following cases, police say:
Feb. 19, 1997        Forestville, MD
Aug. 20, 1997        Suitland, MD
July 3, 1998        Temple Hills, MD
Jun.19, 1999        Alexandria, VA
Jan. 13, 2000        Alexandria, VA
Nov. 20, 2000        Alexandria, VA
May 24, 2001        Leesburg, VA
Aug. 16, 2001        Temple Hills, MD
Dec. 28, 2001        Alexandria, VA
Nov. 28, 2006        Cranston, RI
Jan. 10, 2007        New Haven, CT
Oct. 31, 2009        Woodbridge, VA

News
Arrests Made in Playground Fire

Lorton, Va. –– Fairfax investigators say they now know who burned a playground in Lorton to the ground.

Four juveniles have been charged in connection to the Feb. 19 fire set at the Levelle Dupelle Community Park in the 6800 block of Newington Road.

All four have been charged with destruction of property, and two teens face additional charges of vehicle tampering, police said.

Additionally, one of the juveniles was also charged with grand larceny.

Three of the juveniles live in the Hayfield area of Fairfax County and one was from Virginia Beach.

News
Accused Rapist Lived in Dale City

Update 10:30 a.m. Saturday
The man arrested and charged in the case of the East Coast Rapist used to live in Dale City.

Rental records show 49-year-old Aaron H. Thomas lived on Bonita Court, off Brooke Drive in the Birchdale section of Dale City from 2000 until 2007.

Records also show he attended school in Prince Georges County, and The Washington Post reported Friday Thomas still has family who live in the Berryville, Va. area.

Thomas was arrested Friday afternoon in Connecticut after an investigator observed him smoking a cigarette. Suspicious, police picked up that cigarette but and swabbed it for DNA, the Post reported.

That same DNA was later matched to DNA collected at some of the 17 rapes Thomas has been connected to.

Original Post 4:20 p.m.
TBD reports a suspect in the East Coast Rapist case has been arrested in Connecticut.

The suspect’s name has not been released, but he  was taken into custody about 3 p.m. Friday, TBD.com reports.

Word of the arrest come the same week as authorities launched a digital billboard campaign looking for clues into the case.

Investigators also launched a website detailing each attack the tied to the suspected rapist over the past 14 years.

The latest attack was reported on Halloween night 2009, when three teenage girls were walking home from a night of trick-or-treating when a man approached them with a gun, raped two of them while the other looked on.

Police have tied the rapist to 17 attacks on women along the east coast.

The attacks began in Maryland in 1997.

News
Police: Man Traded Sexual Messages with Girl

Olajide Kola Koyi, 23, is charged with taking indecent liberties with a child, police say.

Woodbridge, Va. –– A Maryland man has been charged with taking indecent liberties with a child.

Police say a 13-year-old girl in Woodbridge exchanged messages via computer and cell phone with an adult male from Greenbelt, Md.

Olajide Kola Koyi, 23, is charged with taking indecent liberties with a child, possessing child pornography and with using communication systems to facilitate offenses involving children, said Price William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

He was held without bond, his court date was not released.

News
3 Wanted in Fairfax

Fairfax County police are looking for three people they say did not appear on their scheduled court dates. Now they’re asking for the public’s help to find them.

Jose Arnoldo Guzman, 41, is wanted for failing to appear in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, and on three charges of violation of a protective order, police said.

He is described as 5 feet 4 inches tall, 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Marie Crystal Carter, 29, is wanted for failing to appear in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on February 16, police said. She is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, 130 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Authorities say Anderson was driving in the area of Braddock and Burke Lake roads on December 4 when she was charged.

She is described as 5 feet 1 inch tall, 135 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of these individuals should contact Fairfax County Crime Solvers.

News
Prior to Shooting Death, Victim Beaten With Pipe

 

Stafford, Va. –– The man who was shot and killed inside a Stafford County home Tuesday was brutally beaten there last year.

Sheriff’s authorities today said 49-year-old Samih Mustafa Sowan was beaten with a metal pipe on May 27 at the basement apartment he rented at 35 Fife Street.

Sowan was found shot to death inside that same home and now investigators are looking for the shooter.

No charges were ever filed in last year’s beating incident, and so far investigators have released little information in the way of possible suspects in Sowan’s death.

Those who knew Sowan said he once worked at a Subway restaurant at Aquia Towne Center.

“Samih gave my son his very first job working at Subway in Aquia Harbour. He was like a mentor to my son, taking him under his wing and being a father figure in his life. He taught my son the core values of a good work ethic and expressed to him how hard work could produce a great reward. He had a way about him that the young people who worked for him grew to respect as a man and as a boss,” stated Jenny, who did not give her last name.

A manager at that same restaurant this morning said Sowan had few family members in the area, but added the victim’s immediate family has now come here to begin funeral arrangements.

Sowan was found dead about 7:53 p.m. Tuesday after his roommate heard gunshots inside house.

Sowan’s roommate, the homeowner, found the body and called 911, said the Stafford sheriff’s office.

News
Assault Trial Continues Today

Reginald “Neli” Latson, 18, faces charges of assaulting a police officer.

Stafford, Va. –– The assault trail of an autistic man will continue in Stafford County today.

Reginald “Nelli” Latson was 19-year-old last May when sheriff’s deputies were called to investigate a suspicious person near North Stafford High School.

After they arrived, sheriff’s deputies identified Latson as the suspicious person and said he repeatedly refused to identify himself.

When a deputy confronted him, Latson attacked him, said a Stafford sheriff’s spokesman.

Latson was later caught and arrested, but the attack on the deputy ended 33-year law enforcement career, Fredericksburg.com reports.

The trial continues today at 10 a.m. Latson faces charges of assault and battery of a law enforcement officer.

News
Two Seen Fleeing Scene of Shooting

A man was found shot to death inside a home in North Stafford on Tuesday night, Stafford sheriffs authorities say. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Correction – An incorrect version of this story earlier reported the shooting stemmed from a domestic dispute. Authorities do say their investigation indicates the neighborhood is secure.

Update 3:30 p.m. Wednesday

Following a shooting in the Austin Ridge community Tuesday night, the home owners association office has received some phone calls.

“I’ve gotten a handful of calls asking if they have any suspects, if anyone has been arrested, and calls from people who just wanted an update about what was going on,” said HOA manager Kay Stevens.

The HOA will post any new information it receives from authorities onto their website, but that site is for residents only.

Update 10:50 a.m. Wednesday
Investigators are looking for two men witnesses said fled the scene of fatal shooting last night in Stafford’s Austin Ridge neighborhood.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to 35 Fife Street at 7:53 p.m. Tuesday after the homeowner there reported hearing gunshots, and then finding the body of 49-year-old Samih Mustafa Sowan.

Sowan died of an apparent gunshot wound, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

The victim had been renting the basement of the home.

Witnesses told detectives they saw two men running from the home following the shooting, fleeing the scene in a 4-door, light-colored small or mid-sized sedan.

The car was last seen on nearby Courthouse Road, said Kennedy.

Investigators have encouraged anyone who may information on the case to call Stafford County Crime Solvers.

We’ll have more on this as it develops.

Update 11:30 p.m.
Sheriff’s authorities cordoned off 35 Fife Street with crime scene tape Tuesday night after a man was found shot to death inside the home, Stafford sheriff’s authorities said.

Investigators said two men were inside their home about 7:45 p.m. when one of them whom was on the second floor heard what sounded like three gunshots.

The man went to the basement and found the second man, his roommate, shot to death, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Investigators have not released the victim’s name or age.

Following the shooting, authorities blocked off a portion of Wheelwright Lane and Fife Street as detectives canvassed the neighborhood questioning possible witnesses.

One man who lives across from the victim’s home said the shooting unnerved him, and then went back inside his home after giving authorities a statement.

Sheriff’s authorities say they plan to release more information about the incident Wednesday.

Original Post
North Stafford, Va. ––
One man is dead of an apparent gunshot wound tonight in North Stafford.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to a home on Fife Street, off Austin Ridge Drive in the Austin Ridge neighborhood, about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday.

According to the Stafford sheriff’s office, one man was on the second floor of the home and reported hearing gunshots.

When he went downstairs, he found his male roommate had been shot to death, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Investigators have not released the age or name of the victim.

Kennedy said investigators are looking into whether the two men were the only ones home at the time of the shooting.

We’ll have more on this as this develops.

News
Prince William School Bus Driver Charged

Vera Elizabeth Hull, 40, is charged with DUI, police say.

Woodbridge, Va. –– A Prince William County Schools bus driver has been charged with driving under the influence.

Police say they stopped the woman in the 13300 block of Gordon Boulevard in Woodbridge at 1 a.m. Saturday.

The woman was not driving a bus or working at the time of the arrest, police say.

Vera Elizabeth Hull, 40, of Bayside Avenue in Woodbridge, is charged with DUI, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Her court date and bond information was not available Tuesday morning.

News
East Coast Rapist’s Face Now on Billboards

Police have turned to digital billboard technology to catch the East Coast Rapist.

Authorities in Fairfax and Prince William counties in a partnership with the FBI and other police agencies have posted sketches on digital billboards in states where the rapist is believed to have struck – in Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia.

The most recent attack is believed to have happened Oct. 31, 2009 in Dale City, when three female teenagers were approached and two raped as they were walking home from a night of trick-or-treating.

The attack happened behind Glendale Plaza, as a man approached the victim’s –– two of the girls were age 16 and the other 17 –– from behind with a gun.

He led them into a clearing in a wooded ravine and raped the two 17-year-olds while the 16-year-old looked on, police say.

The 16-year-old was able to use her cell phone to text her mother for help, but as police closed in the man was able to get away, police said.

Following the attack, the two 17-year-old girls were treated at a local hospital and the 16-year-old was not injured.

In all, the serial rapist has been tied to 12 attacks that began in February 1997.

“These billboards give each local police department, and the FBI, an added edge to identifying, locating and apprehending the subject,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Division, Ronald Hosko. “The public is the most important tool law enforcement has for solving crime.”

The billboard’s come after authorities launched a new website aimed at reaching out to the public to get more information about the serial rapist’s whereabouts.

His victims have been black, white or Hispanic females, and he generally approaches victims on foot and threatens them with a knife or handgun, asks for money to give the impression he is robbing the victim. The serial rapist has never been known to take anything from his victims, however.

In the earliest assaults, the man approached his victims on bicycles, authorities said.

He’s been known to wear a black mask or hooded sweatshirt to conceal his face.

News
Rape, Incest Charges Filed

Lake Ridge, Va. –– Police obtained arrest warrants for a Lake Ridge man now accused of raping an 18-year-old female.

Prince William police say their investigation into the alleged rape began Nov. 15.

On Tuesday, investigators obtained warrants for 44-year-old Rene Martinez Romero, 44, of Mohican Road.

Police say he is a family member of the victim and has been charged with rape and incest.

Romero was held without bond.

News
Helicopter Search Ends with Two Charged

Update 11:30 a.m. Friday
Stafford County officials this morning announced charges to the one man who was apparently injured during a breaking and entering in North Stafford on Thursday.

Mark Tyler Lewis, 19, is charged with breaking and entering, conspiracy to commit grand larceny and vandalism, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Police arrested him at his home Thursday afternoon after a massive search involving a Virginia State Police helicopter, not one from Fairfax County as officials had earlier stated.

Lewis has been tied to a breaking and entering at a home on Flewellen Drive in the Park Ridge neighborhood.

He’s also been charged in another breaking and entering that occurred on the same street February 17.

Original Post
North Stafford, Va. ––
Authorities called in the help of a police helicopter from Fairfax County to help find a 19-year-old man who allegedly broke into a home and eluded sheriff’s deputies on Thursday.

Sheriff’s deputies were called at 10:21 a.m. to a home on Flewellen Drive in the Park Ridge neighborhood in North Stafford after a neighbor called 911 and said she witnessed suspicious activity happening the neighborhood.

When deputies arrived, neighbors told them a house had been broken into and then pointed at two men neighbors say they saw break into the house, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

The deputies chased the two men and were able to apprehend one of them, but the other got away.

A search perimeter was set up and a helicopter was called in to search for the second man, who was eventually located at his home more than four hours later, said Kennedy.

The man who sheriff’s deputies say fled the scene suffered a minor injury presumably during the home break in, said Kennedy.

He was treated at a local hospital and is expected to be released.

His name is Mark Tyler Lewis, 19, of Knowlside Court in North Stafford, and will be formally charged when he is released from the hospital.

The second man, Joey Earl Wilkins, 19, of 125 Shenandoah Lane in North Stafford, is charged with breaking and entering, conspiracy to commit grand larceny, underage possession of alcohol, vandalism and with one count of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, said Kennedy.

Authorities say the suspects in this case were not armed, but officials did use electronic means of communication to alert residents to the search for the man.

Stafford’s E-911 system was not working at the time of the search, said Kennedy.

News
54 Counts of Child Porn Possession Filed

Stafford County, Va. –– Two men face child pornography charges in Stafford County.

One of the men, 38-year-old Mark Andrew Corpora, of 6 Belmont Court in Stafford, was already being held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail on pornography charges out of Spotsylvania County when Stafford officials charged him with 40 counts of child pornography possession with the intent to distribute, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

Corpora was indicted by a grand jury February 7.

Stafford authorities searched his home and found child pornography on his computer, said Kennedy.

Sheriff’s deputies also found child pornography on a computer in a home at 27 Easter Drive, near Wapole Street on Tuesday, authorities said.

A Stafford County investigator working on a tip he received last spring collected evidence and obtained arrest warrants for 31-year-old Nathan Ryan Miller.

He was indicted by a grand jury and was arrested without incident on Tuesday and is now charged with 14 counts of possession and reproduction of child pornography, said Kennedy.

The two incidents are not related.

The arrests come less than a week after another man was arrested in Stafford County and charged with three counts of possession of child pornography.

Authorities said 50-year-old Michael Michaud initially eluded authorities, but he later taken into custody at his home on Arrowhead Road in the Rockhill section of the county.

News
Sex Offender, Former Pastor, Charged Again

Jason Bolton, 33, a registered sex offender, is charged with stalking.Dumfries, Va. –– A former pastor is in trouble with the law again just weeks after being sentenced as a sex offender.

Police say 33-year-old Jason Roy Bolton stalked a 17-year-old girl at her work on Prince William Parkway and again at her home.

Police were called on Friday to investigate her claims, and afterward obtained arrest warrants for Bolton’s arrest.

He is now charged with stalking, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Bolton lives in the 4800 block of Benicia Lane in Dumfries, and was sentenced Jan. 28 to probation after he admitted in October 2010 to having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl while he was a pastor at a Baptist church in Woodbridge.

Bolton since has resigned from the church and now appears on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry.

News
Abduction Suspect in Custody

Stuart Michael Shapiro, 35, is charged with abduction and is considered to be armed and dangeorus.

Update 3:45 p.m.
Prince William police say they’ve arrested 35-year-old Stuart Michael Shapiro in connection with a domestic assault this morning with his wife.

Shapiro was taken into custody about 2 p.m. by authorities in Spotsylvania County.

He is charged with Charged with abduction, the use of a firearm in commission of a felony and domestic assault and battery, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Woodbridge, Va. – Police in Prince William County say they are looking for a man who held his wife at gunpoint Wednesday morning, and then fled the scene.

Officers were called to the 4800 block of Cavallo Way in Woodbridge, near the Prince William County Government Center on Prince William Parkway, after a 34-year-old woman had escaped from her own home and called police.

Investigators say she was held against her will by her husband, 35-year-old Stuart Michael Shapiro.

He fled the scene in a 2001 blue 2-door Acura RSX with Virginia tags 2756SF, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

He is considered to be armed and dangerous, and is described as white, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 178 pounds, with brown hair, green eyes, and is wanted for abduction, said Perok.

Police said they did not have information as to whether the couple was married or lived in the same home on Cavallo Way.

News
Police: 2 Girls Not Enticed

Dumfries, Va. –– It turns out two female students in Dumfries were never in danger after claims a strange man tried to pick them up before school, police say.

Prince William County Police say they have identified the man they put a look out for last week – the same man two girls, whose ages were not released, drove up to their separate schools bus stops on Graham Park Road Feb 14. and asked them if they wanted a ride.

The two girls are students at Graham Park Middle School.

No charges have been filed the case.

News
Playground Burned to Ground

Lorton, Va. –– A fire at a playground in Lorton is under investigation.

Fire and rescue crews were called to the Levelle Dupelle Community Park in the 6800 block of Newington Road about 3:10 a.m. Tuesday for a report of a fire.

When they got there they saw a fire had fully engulfed a playground at the park, said a Fairfax County police spokesman.

Crews worked to extinguish the blaze, which caused an estimated $15,000 in damage.

Investigators say the blaze was started on composite safety flooring at the playground.

The playground is a total loss and police say they are looking for the person who started the fire.

News
School Buses Vandalized

Woodbridge, Va. –– Several school buses parked at Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge were vandalized on Friday.

Police say six buses were damaged in the incident – some had exterior lights broken and some were broken into and had radio equipment removed.

The damage to the buses is estimated to be about $7,000, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

News
Homeless Man Charged in Fire

A brush fire raged on I-95 in Prince William County on Saturday. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Prince William County, Va. –– Fire officials in Prince William County say it was their busiest day in more than 30 years.

Massive brush fires spread across the county Saturday as wind gust of more than 50 mph prevailed across the region.

One man faces charges in a fire that broke out in Dale City: A 29-year-old homeless man is charged with carelessly spreading fire in the brush fire that prompted the temporary closure of a portion of Interstate 95.

Prince William Department of Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin J. McGee

The unidentified man lives in a homeless encampment behind a K-Mart store in Dale City. Sources say the man dropped a lit cigar onto the ground that ignited the dry brush.

There were a total of six brush fries in Prince William on Saturday that scorched 300 acres of land.

In the Occoquan Forest neighborhood near Manassas, a brush fire destroyed one home and damaged at least two others after a tree fell onto a power line.

At least 60 residents from the neighborhood were evacuated to a nearby fire station while more than 50 fire and rescue units worked to battle the blaze.

“This was the busiest day I have experienced in my 31-year career with Prince William County,” said Prince William Department of Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin McGee. “We had the support of so many people on this from Chief Hickerson of the Dale City Volunteer Fire Department recalling off-duty volunteers and available fire and rescue units to Prince William County Police working traffic issues and road closures. We also had support from our colleagues in Fairfax County, Arlington County, and the City of Alexandria. I am especially proud of all the men and women who were able to bring these fires under control with no loss of life and minimal structural damage.”

A large amount of water was used to battle the blaze, and that forced water pressure in the area to drop.

Residents who were allowed to return home have been ordered boil their water and then to let it cool before consuming it until further notice.

Back in Woodbridge, another fire that sent rescue crews scrambling after propane tanks began exploding – near the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Smoketown Road.

Fire crews said a homeless encampment behind the shopping plaza was left in shambles after a brush fire ravaged 25 acres of land there.

News
Neighbors called shooting victim ‘kind’

Update 3:30 p.m.
The victim in this morning’s deadly shooting in Woodbridge has been identified as 48-year-old Alice Jenkins Everette, of Dumfries.

Neighbors say she was a kind woman with wonderful children, and say they are saddened by her tragic loss.

Her husband, 52-year-old Daniel Lunie Everette, of Burke, is charged with murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

He was arrested following the shooting and is being held without bond, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok. (more…)

News
2 sought in dollar store robbery

Woodbridge, Va. –– Police released surveillance photos in the robbery of a dollar store in Woodbridge.

Investigators said a man walked into the Dollar City Plus at 13817 Foulger Square, showed handguns, demanded everyone get on the floor and then took an undisclosed amount of cash.

The men also tool a store employee’s cell phone, but no one was injured, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

The dollar store sits in the same shopping plaza as Home Depot and Kohls. (more…)

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