Robber Hits Sun Trust at Safeway Hunters Woods

by Karen Goff December 16, 2014 at 10:50 am 5,475 48 Comments

Bank robbery at Sun Trust inside Hunters Woods Safeway/Credit: Tim Boone

Fairfax County Police are searching for a suspect who robbed the Sun Trust Branch inside a crowded Safeway store on Monday afternoon.

The man got away from Safeway at Hunters Woods Village Center with an undisclosed amount of money just after 5 p.m. — during the busy late afternoon shopping time, said FCPD public information officer Don Gotthardt.

Police cars descended on the shopping center, as did the FCPD helicopter as it searched for the suspect by air.

The suspect was described as a black man, in his mid-20s, wearing a red jacket with black stripes.

This is the third Reston bank robbery in the last month.

Last week, the Wells Fargo branch at Reston Town Center was robbed. The suspect told the teller he has a weapon and demanded money. In late November, the Presidential Bank at Reston Parkway and Baron Cameron was robbed.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation says bank robberies rise in December. The FBI says 17 bank robberies occurred in Northern Virginia in December 2013. Thirteen of suspects in the incidents were apprehended.

Police are investigating to see whether the Hunters Woods robbery is related to the other Reston robberies.

Photo by Tim Boone

  • Paulette Lincoln-Baker

    We definitely need a big police presence in Hunters Woods now. I think we must demand it.

    • Rational Reston

      Hunter’s Woods needs a big police presence because it sees 50% of the bank robberies as Reston Town Center and its immediate vicinity?

      • JoAnne Norton

        it does not have 50 per cent. The Wells Fargo bank was at Town Center. Be careful about labelling Hunters Woods badly. More crime incidents seem to happen at Town Center. There is a police presence at Hunters Woods Plaza.

        • Rational Reston

          I agree with you, I was being tounge-in-cheek with regards to the post above. In the last couple of weeks there were 2 bank robberies at RTC and the Home Depot Center, though I don’t see the good folks of Reston calling for increased police presence there. RTC, Lake Anne both seem to have more troubles than Hunter’s Woods.

          I’ve lived near Hunter’s Woods for over 13 years, I have never felt threatened or anything while in or near the center. Though I may look at different people differently than others.

          • Richard

            I have definitely felt threatened at Hunter’s Woods. It was 1980. I was 11. It’s been decades since threatening individuals hung out there. Even then, they were mostly teenagers picking on kids. These days there are some low income, homeless and immigrant individual who often hang out around the plaza. Only a threat in the minds of the most prejudiced among us. The police say crime hasn’t been a problem.

    • John Walker

      Lived in Reston for 43 years and frequent RCC. Hunters woods has always needed an increased police presence.

  • swvalady


  • Full Metal

    Liberals’ war against our Constitution and our Bill of Rights must cease.

  • novatom

    Wow, that takes some balls to rob a branch inside a Safeway where there are a lot more witnesses.

    • Mike M

      Sometimes it’s less about “balls” than lack of brains.

      Hey, didn’t the local police just declare there isn’t a crime problem in that neighborhood?

      • JoAnne Norton

        Look up the stats and see where the crime is happening. Through the years people have always characterized Hunters woods as “dangerous”. I think we all have to think about that and stop condemning the plaza for no reason.

        • Mike M

          Tell me if you have the info. And then go walking around there at night. I am certain most of the crime goes unreported. I’ve seen shoplifting at the Safeway and the employees just shrug.

          • Will Lipford

            I am not a small guy, nor do I look like I am a push over. I can’t even count the amount of times I have been approached or harassed in that shopping complex. Once the sun goes down, its super sketchy. There is not many places in Reston I feel unsafe at night but Hunters Woods is for sure on the list.

          • Adam Petersen

            I agree. Of all the shopping centers in Reston that one is the worst. A lot of the issues come out of the apartment complex that backs to it. That complex has been a problem since at least the late 90s. I used to frequent that shopping center when Hollywood video was still there. I saw cops responding to calls in hunters woods and the apartment complex regularly. It has been so bad they had to redo the parking lot, add lights, and remove trees cause it provided cover for criminals. They also had to put a strict towing policy in place.

          • Greg

            That’s strange. I’ve lived in Reston 16 years and go to Hunters Woods frequently at all times of the day/evening. I’ve never once felt unsafe or threatened. And I’m not a big guy. I guess I just don’t see danger around every corner.

          • Mike M

            Will, I think you are just looking objectively at the situation. Too bad others can’t. I think their problem is racism in that they hold others to a lower standard because of their race.

  • RestonRed

    There was a murder just a block down the street from Hunter Woods Center in 2012. The guy who opened the Dunkin Donuts was murdered and his body tossed just off Colts Neck near one of the apt complexes. I lived just 2 blocks away when that happened. That shopping center never felt safe to me, but I would say crime in general seems up in all of Reston, as well.

    • Karen Goff

      To be fair, that murder was a domestic dispute and not random crime.

      • Will Lipford

        to be fair there has been around a dozen murders in that area in past 9 years.

        • Karen Goff

          That is incorrect. Assaults, yes. Murders, no.

          • Will Lipford

            How is this incorrect? I know specifically of 5 from 2005-2010 as I lived on Colts neck. So there has been at least 5-7 more since 2010. 2 that I know of just this year.

            There is 48 violent crimes a year in Reston as a whole.

            I am not saying Reston is a violent city by any means, just pointing out the fact that Hunters Woods is and always has been a high crime area.

          • Karen Goff

            Will, I don’t have time to go back and forth with you. I have been covering Reston since 2010. There have not been 5-7 murders near Hunters Woods in the last five years. There is the 2012 incident and possibly one more. I will go back and research when I have time. There have not been two murders near Hunters Woods this year. I check FCPD stats often, so unless you have some secret info they don’t, your info is incorrect.

          • Karen Goff

            Here are some stats from earlier this year -https://www.restonnow.com/2014/05/08/police-leaders-have-stepped-up-safety-plans-for-hunters-woods-village-center/

          • Will Lipford

            Neither do I, but I have lived and been in Reston for over 30 years. Here is the victim list I was able to get with only looking for 5 minutes and only back to 2009.

            Bharat P. Patel – 6/2012
            Dr. Ruth Hamilton Allen – 10/2012
            Jennifer Lynne Pearson – 2/2013
            Karen Deck – 3/2010
            Jose Aguilar – 2009
            Colvin Morris – 2012
            Evan Gargiulo – 2010
            Jose Luis Ordones Aguilar – 2009

          • Karen Goff

            First of all, you said “that area.” Those cases are throughout Reston, not just Hunters Woods. Second, those first three (most recent) are 100 percent domestic in which they knew the suspect. Not random crime. It is hard to label a place “dangerous” when a husband kills a wife (Pearson) or brother kills a sister (Allen). That is a totally different situation.

          • Will Lipford

            I didn’t map quest all of the crimes, but majority had South Reston address and in the “area”. Why do you insist on defending this high crime area. I really could care less if its labeled “domestic”. This shopping center is a dump and police need to do something about it is my point. Hunters Square where I owned a home was constantly getting gang members, drug dealers, drunks, vagabonds. Assaults, Rapes and robberies were on the rise and at least 1 murder a year if not more. People can read my comment and take this as they see it.

          • Rational Reston

            I googled one of your “South Reston” victims (Jennifer Lynne Pearson) and it happened north of Baron Cameron Avenue.

            I don’t think ‘facts’ are going to help your straw man much. HW isn’t the best shopping center in the world, but it gets a much worse rap from those who are generally fearful of skin color (not pointing at you here).

          • Karen Goff

            Ruth Allen also lived in a big, nice single family house on Durand Drive. South Reston yes, but not Hunters Woods. Her mentally ill brother killed her.

          • Reston GOP

            I think his point is that there needs to be more police presence in that shopping center. Skin color has nothing to do with it. Crimes in or near this center is fairly regular occurrence and the ghetto bird is always flying above.

          • Will Lipford

            Siobhan L. Russell – 2010
            2 Victimes – double homicide names not released Freetown Court 10/2008
            Ronald K. Giguere – 2008
            Siobhan Russell – 2009
            Zaida Alvarez Rodriguez – 2009

          • Richard

            That Siobhan Russell is one unlucky dude. Got killed twice.

          • Greg

            He named Jose Aguilar twice, too.

          • TheLadyEbony

            Freetown Court isn’t Hunters Woods Plaza. It’s across Reston Parkway (lived here long enough that I remember when it was Reston Avenue and was only 2 lanes)

          • Karen Goff

            Siobhan Russell also killed by her boyfriend. Do you see a trend here? Not random crime.

          • Ignoranceisbliss

            Yup, I sure as hell do.

          • TheLadyEbony

            I’ve lived in Reston since 1972; it has not always been a high crime area. When I was 10-11 years old my Mom would let me ride my bike to Hunters Woods from our house. Trust me, if she had heard of anything happening she would not have let me near the place.

          • Richard

            It’s still not a high-crime area. There’s no reason why kids shouldn’t ride there today.

  • onlyplaceilikedwasdairyqueen

    sorry, but that shopping center is a dump. we used to live in a condo across from south lakes shopping center and miss it much. although we moved to a beautiful single family home on a beautiful street in a beautiful neighborhood near Hunter’s Woods School, that shopping center just feels like a black eye on our decision. It’s like each aspect is a downgrade: Instead of CVS you get Rite Aid, instead of Cafe Sano, you get Ledo Pizza, instead of a herd of after high schoolers you get a cluster of drunken crumb bums listening to their boombox on the benches just outside of the laundromat. It’s the kind of place where my wife and I have already discussed that as our daughter gets older she will not be allowed to cross Glade.

    That’s not to say there weren’t bank robberies at south lakes, there were, and there are in every type of bank in every type of neighborhood, and those occurring at banks located in grocery stores are apparently on the rise. Just wanted to use the opportunity to vent and take some cheap shots at HWSC. Thanks for listening. 🙂

  • Kerrie Wilson

    For close to one year, tenants, residents, organizations and individuals living and working in the Hunters Woods Plaza area have been meeting together to identify and address real and perceived issues of concern from safety to public nuisance, plaza and trail lighting and improvements, prevention and community engagement, as well as the many assets of HWP. Fairfax County Police, Supervisor Hudgins office, Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, Reston Community Center, Fellowship Square Foundation and Cornerstones are all contributing, with better communication and positive results to build on and share. That’s the prescence and discussion that builds stronger neighborhoods.

  • Melissa Silverman

    It’s very sad, we live across the street and have noticed a lot more “activity” in the past 8 months than ever before…..and I’ve lived in Reston for over 14 years now and grew up on the Reston side of Vienna often frequenting Reston the first 20ish years of my life. In general, since the metro, I have noticed an increase, and in speaking to several Fairfax County officers located in Reston, they too have noticed the increase. It’s all a part of the growth. You have to take the good with the bad.

  • Leila Gordon

    People have not stopped coming to RCC to recreate, enjoy performances, have their special occasions, meet or otherwise “build community;” to the contrary, more and more people participate in our programs. Bad behavior comes in all sizes, shapes, and ages and it arises from all types of circumstances. Our neighborhood is filled with positive people and lots of wonderful things to do. Yes, there are some people who make problems–but by working together, we have made good changes and have excellent support from our partners in public safety, property management, AND human services to address problems (that exist in so many neighborhoods). We welcome people to RCC and Hunters Woods and as someone who has come back and forth from the parking lot to stores in the plaza to my work for more than thirty years, I can say without reservation that this neighborhood has always felt like a second home to me–and a very safe one.

  • OpenReston

    Other banks in the area are being hit so no reason to single out HW center as the problem. Unless you really just don’t like HW center..I do prefer South Lakes for the shops and even if the Safeway gets robbed there, I would continue to visit.

  • RestonLyons

    It is sad that when the old center was razed what we have now replaced it. It has no character. The Reston Community Center should have been one of the focal points with public art by a Restonian in front. Handicap access to the Reston Community Center is terrible. The only handicapped parking is in the big parking area. That is a long way to travel in snowy and rainy weather in your scooter or wheelchair.

    There is nothing wrong with a Rite Aid or the other stores. There is competition near by where the Giant is.

  • On Guard! Mosin Nagant

    Each of us has the natural right to defend our person, our family, and our property.

  • Mr. Billckston

    Unfortunately, violence knows no bounds.

  • Pastor Phil Carl

    As the pastor of the Lutheran church in this shopping center and as a member of our Hunters Wood Neighbors Coalition I am proud of the progress we’ve made over the past couple of years. Crime is down. Activity is up. Community spirit is WAY up. Did I mention that the police report to us that crime is down? Way down. It is unfortunate and discouraging to have an incident like this, but I hope and pray that residents, visitors, and shoppers will continue to treat Hunters Woods as one of Reston’s most vibrant village centers. Oh, and crime is down.

  • Azurra

    I live right behind Hunters Woods. I walk through the plaza everyday, to get to and from the bus stops, and go to the Safeway, the dry-cleaners and a few of the restaurants. I walk though there after sunset when I’m on my way home from work. I am a young woman and have never felt threatened or unsafe in the plaza area. I appreciate the diversity of people and the activity- public spaces are meant for gathering. I do wish Hunters Woods felt a little less like a strip-mall but the businesses there are great and super convenient. Mayuri is some of the best Indian food I’ve had outside India!

  • clambj

    Of course it’s racial code. Just look at the non-reasoning. Certain people “demand” more police presence, even though the police say this isn’t a high crime area. To back this up, they cite “facts” that only disprove their assertions. The only logical reasoning is that they see people with different skin color and feel threatened. Look, if you guys want me to, I’ll personally walk you back to your car next time your in the area. Bunch of babies.


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