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Smash and grab: Ellerbe charged in a string of robberies in Woodbridge

From police: 

Strong Armed Robberies *ARREST – On December 27, detectives with the Robbery Unit identified the suspect involved in a series of “snatch and grab” robberies which have occurred in the eastern part of Prince William within the last several months. Following the investigation, detectives obtained a warrant for the arrest of the suspect, identified as Ricky Alphonso ELLERBE. Detectives with the Street Crimes Unit and Robbery Unit arrested the accused without incident at his residence later that afternoon. A search warrant was subsequently executed at the residence.  Additional charges are pending. The investigation continues.

                Arrested on December 27:

                Ricky Alphonso ELLERBE, 34, of 2200 Valor Way, Apt 3112, in Woodbridge

Charged with 4 counts of robbery

                Court Date: February 27, 2017 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond


Strong Armed Robbery [Previously Released] – On December 24 at 10:12AM, officers responded to the Tropical Smoothie Cafe located at 2966 Prince William Pkwy in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a robbery. An employee reported to police that an unknown man entered the business and approached the counter to order food. When the employee opened the register to complete the transaction, the man struck the employee in the face knocking her to the ground. The suspect then grabbed a handful of money from the register before fleeing the business. No injuries were reported and no weapon was seen. The investigation continues. (more…)

Competitive Edge gives girls in sports an edge

  • Competitive Edge Athletic Performance Center
  • Address: 14849 Persistence Dr. – Featherstone Industrial Park Woodbridge, VA 22191
  • Phone: 571-398-2813
  • Website:

Laila Jewett may only be an 8th grader, but she has big plans. Jewett wants to be a professional basketball player in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Jewett’s hard work and dedication has landed her on Christ Chapel Academy’s high school varsity team. In addition, Jewett plays for an AAU travel basketball team that competes locally and nationally. These teams are incredibly competitive, with college scouts watching the progress of these players. Jewett recently played in the Next Sports Phenom’s She Got Game Middle School Classic and received the “Most Outstanding Player Award.” Jewett said “You always have to play your best.” She does exactly that, with help from her training sessions at Competitive Edge Athletic Performance Center.

Sports Performance Training

Jewett has been a member of Competitive Edge for approximately 11 months. Competitive Edge believes in developing the complete athlete. Their mission is to encourage youth to keep their edge strong in both athletics and academics. Competitive Edge athletes see benefits in enhanced speed, strength, increased endurance, as well as improved flexibility and coordination.

Jewett takes part in their Sports Performance Training program. She works on perfecting fluidity in her movements through drills developed specifically for her age and skill level. Sessions can include agility ladder footwork, speed endurance drills and working with resistance bands to build strength and explosiveness, i.e Vertimax jump training. Jewett also attends Competitive Edge’s Sports Flex sessions, which is their version of Yoga where they encourage the athletes to partake in to increase flexibility and injury prevention.

The training sessions consist of both boys and girls. The performance trainers demonstrate drills for the groups, showing them the correct form to use. Once the athletes begin their work out, the trainers encourage them to complete all the drills.

“You can start again if you make mistakes,” Jewett said. “The coaches are really nice. They make sure I’m doing the moves right so I don’t injure myself, even if that means going slow.” When Jewett was asked about working out in a mixed group, she said, “I don’t think there’s much difference between boys and girls in sports, except boys are more physical. They are faster and stronger.” Jewett gives girls in sports simple advice. “Be in the gym as much as you possibly can, because that’s how you get better.”

Girls and Sports

Competitive Edge creates a supportive environment in which young women can be in training and work on their sports goals next to young men. In 1972, Title IX was enacted, changing the landscape of women’s sports, especially in high schools and universities, throughout the United States.

Mother Jones reported in 2012 that at the time Title IX was enacted, just under 295,000 girls participated in high school sports. In 40 years, this number has increased dramatically, to nearly 3.2 million. Yet the opportunities afforded boys for sports still top the number of girl’s opportunities. also reports that, despite this, there are more women playing collegiate sports than ever before. NCAA schools have increased female sports participation from less than 30,000 to over 193,000 since 1972.

Girls with big sports goals like Lailah Jewett are reaping the benefits. She is growing up with boys and girls being equal in sports, making it, as she said, “no big deal.” Competitive Edge knows it is a big deal. They know that providing training that benefits the success of both boys and girls can help build positive attitudes and other life habits that are essential to the development of youth athletes, such as fostering new friendships and encouraging academic success and improved self-esteem.

For more information on Competitive Edge, visit

Sweeto Burrito adding two new locations in Prince William

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — Sweeto Burrito will expand in Prince William County.

Two new locations — one at Dillingham Square in Lake Ridge and the second at Potomac Festival in Woodbridge, across from Potomac Mills mall — should be open by February, said Sweeto Burrito Virginia Director of Operations Micheal Wetherill.

The new restaurants will be the second and third locations in Virginia. The fast-food chain opened its first store at Staples Mill shopping center at the intersection of Minnieville and Spriggs roads in 2015.

The company plans to open as many as 26 locations across the state within the next 10 years but doesn’t expect to open more in Prince William after February, according to Wetherill.

The Lake Ridge location will open where a Jerry’s Subs and Pizza was located. The Woodbridge location will open in a space once occupied by Golden Tech Computers, which relocated next to Outback Steakhouse. 

The North Dakota-based company began as a food truck in 2011 before franchise rights to the business were sold. Burritos on the menu feature meats like beef, chicken, steak, and bacon, and other ingredients like eggs, tater tots, onion rings, and siracha sauce.

The most popular item on the menu in Dale City is the Carnivore, a burrito with steak, chicken, bacon, pepper jack cheese, white rice, cilantro ranch, and siracha sauce, said Wetherill.


Wetherill called us Thursday and told us the company could open more locations in Prince William County following the opening of its new stores in Lake Ridge and Woodbridge. 

Man, 27, dies after crash on Token Valley Road on Christmas Eve

From police:

Fatal Crash Investigation – On December 24 at 3:09PM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Token Valley Rd near Gandall Ct in Manassas (20112) to investigate a single vehicle crash. The investigation revealed that the driver of a 1995 Acura Legend was traveling northbound on Token Valley Rd in the above area at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control of the vehicle. The Legend then veered off the roadway and struck a utility pole. The driver and only passenger of the Legend were flown to an area hospital where the passenger later died as a result of his injuries on December 27. The driver was released with minor injuries and charged with reckless driving. It is unknown at this time if alcohol and drugs are a factor. Additional charges may be pending. The investigation continues.

Arrested on December 24: [No Photo Available]

Jesse James WYRICK, 31, of 9711 Henderson St in Manassas Park

Charges with reckless driving

Court date: February 21, 2017 | Bond: Released on a Traffic Summons


The passenger of the 1995 Acura Legend was identified as Joshua Lee ROOP, 27, of Manassas

Car slams into house on Horner Road in Woodbridge



December 28, 2016- At 12:11 a.m., Fire and Rescue units from the Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department, Dale City Volunteer Fire Department, Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue and Prince William County Police responded to a report of a vehicle into a home at 1501 Horner Road in Woodbridge.

The first arriving units reported that one vehicle was into the front corner of the house. All occupants of the home were evacuated and evaluated. There were no reported injuries. Teams worked quickly to stabilize the building and the vehicle. Once the vehicle was removed, the scene was turned over to the Building Inspector.

The occupants of the home were allowed to return to the unaffected parts of the home.   

Manassas Health and Rehab Center turns 10, celebrates

Manassas Health and Rehab Center turned 10 years old. The staff held a thank you celebration for residents earlier this month.


To celebrate we hosted all patients, residents, families, and staff on December 7 to a formal dining experience here in our renovated dining room. Staff assisted our patients and residents with getting dressed in their best to come out and celebrate. 

Our chef and his team prepared a delicious meal and the staff served the families and residents. This celebration was to recognize our patients and residents and thank them for choosing us as their center to receive care and reside. The Center hired a band which included a live singer who sang during the event while we raffled off gift baskets and prizes.

Be a part of great community journalism

We continue our community conversations in 2017

Before any great journalism is made, a publisher must listen to his community. 

As we prepare to ring in 2017, we’re also preparing for another year of producing great, quality journalism that is worth your time and attention.

Covering our communities in and around Prince William County has been our mission since we started in 2010.

You play a crucial role in helping us reach this goal. So, that’s why I’ll be at the One Degree Room, located at 204 Commerce Street in Occoquan, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 from 10 a.m. to noon. 

Later in the week, I’ll be at Jirani Coffeehouse, located at 9425 West Street in Manassas on Wednesday, Jan. 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

During both sessions, you can chat with me, tell us what’s on your mind, and about what stories you think we should be covering. 

Just as I was last month when we met here, I’m open to talking about any issue in our community from roads, traffic, transit, schools, parks, local government, business development, shopping, entertainment, etc.

Got a pothole on your street that’s been ignored? Know of a special person in our community deserving of recognition? Just want to say hello and drink a cup of coffee? 

All of these are great reasons to visit.

See you soon. Happy New Year. 

Beer thief hits Catholic school in Gainesville

From police: 

Burglary to a School – On December 26 at 1:48PM, officers responded to the Holy Family Academy located at 10580 Pineview Rd in Gainesville (20111) to investigate a burglary. School staff reported to police that the burglary occurred sometime between 7:00PM on December 21 and 2:00PM on December 24. The investigation revealed entry was made into the building through a rear window which was found open. Minor damage was observed inside the center. Several bottles of beer were reported missing.

Multiple Christmastime robberies reported in Prince William

From police: 

Armed Robbery | Malicious Wounding – On December 26 at 5:44PM, officers responded to Ventura Gold which is inside of the B Thrifty store located at 13412 Jefferson Davis Hwy in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a robbery. An employee reported to police that an unknown man approached the counter and began taking jewelry from a glass display case without permission. When an employee attempted to stop the suspect, the suspect brandished an unknown blunt object and smashed the glass case. At some point, the suspect struck the employee in the head with the blunt object. The suspect then fled the business with the jewelry. The employee, a 64-year-old man of Woodbridge, was transported to an area hospital with serious, non-life threatening injuries. The investigation continues.
Suspect Description:
Black male, between 20 & 30 years of age, with a dark complexion
Last seen wearing all black clothing

Armed Robbery – On December 24 at 5:57PM, officers responded to the Check into Cash located at 16697 River Ridge Blvd in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a robbery. An employee reported to police that an unknown man entered the store then passed a note implying he had a bomb and demanded money. The suspect took an undisclosed amount of money before fleeing the area on foot. No injuries were reported. A police K-9 was used to search for the suspect who was not located. The investigation continues.
Suspect Description:
Black male, between 18 & 25 years of age, 6’03’’, 250lbs with a heavy build
Last seen wearing a mask, black hoodie sweater, black boots, and black gloves

Armed Robbery – On December 23 at 9:24PM, officers responded to the 4700 block of Kirkdale Dr in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a robbery. The victim, a 29-year-old man of Woodbridge, reported to police that he was getting out of his vehicle when he was approached from behind by two unknown men brandishing a handgun and a knife. During the encounter, the suspects took a cell phone and car keys from the victim before fleeing on foot. No injuries were reported. A police K-9 was used to search for the suspects who were not located.
Suspect Descriptions:
Hispanic male, between 16 & 20 years of age, 5’05”, 125lbs with a thin build
Last seen wearing a grey hoodie and blue jeans

Hispanic male, between 20 & 22 years of age, 5’08”, 170lbs with a medium build
Last seen wearing all black clothing

Strong Armed Robbery – On December 24 at 10:12AM, officers responded to the Tropical Smoothie Cafe located at 2966 Prince William Pkwy in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a robbery. An employee reported to police that an unknown man entered the business and approached the counter to order food. When the employee opened the register to complete the transaction, the man struck the employee in the face knocking her to the ground. The suspect then grabbed a handful of money from the register before fleeing the business. No injuries were reported and no weapon was seen. The investigation continues.

Suspect Description:

Black male, between 25 & 35 years of age, 5’10”, 170lbs with black hair and brown eyes

Last seen wearing a brown beanie hat, black shirt, and grey sweat pants

Strong Armed Robbery – On December 24 at 12:12AM, officers responded to the 18200 block of Kilmer Ln in Triangle (22172) to investigate a robbery. The victim, a 46-year-old man of Triangle, reported to police that he was in the above area when he was approached by three unknown black men. During the encounter, the men assaulted the victim knocking him to the ground. The suspects then took the victim’s wallet before fleeing the area on foot. Minor injuries were reported. The victim was unable to provide suspect description.