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Herndon Man Charged In Connection with Prostitution Ring Operating in Sterling Home

A Herndon man was arrested in connection with a suspected prostitution ring operating out of a Sterling home.

According to a release by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Deputies office, Luis Bonilla-Hernandez, 32, of Sterling, and Eliazar Duran-Mota, 22, of Herndon, were charged on July 6 with two counts of felony receiving money from earnings of a female prostitute and two misdemeanor counts of using vehicles to promote prostitution.

The arrests came after a nearly yearlong investigation. Sheriff’s deputies received reports of a suspected prostitution ring operating in a home on the 600 block of W. Nettle Road in August 2017. Search warrants were obtained on Friday for the Sterling home and a home on Framingham Court in Herndon.

Local law enforcement officials believe adult females traveled from other states to meet Bonilla-Hernandez and Duran-Mota in Maryland. The men then took the women to different locations in Loudoun County, according to the release.

Both men were released from the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center on a $7,500 secured bond.

The investigation was conducted by the LCSO, the Fairfax County Police Department and the FBI’s child exploitation and human trafficking task force.

Photo via LCSO

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Gas Station Clerk Killed in Herndon Sunoco

A gas station clerk was killed in a possible robbery attempt in Herndon on Wednesday (July 4).

According to Fairfax County Police, Resham Bajgain, 40, of Herndon, was killed inside the Sunoco where he worked in the Franklin Farms Shopping Center (13348 Franklin Farm Road).

Police responded to the scene within three minutes of receiving the report at 1:15 a.m. Officers spotted a person matching the description of the suspect in the parking lot. Mohamed Abdullahi, 19, of Herndon, was arrested and charged with murder.

Police are seeking information about the incident, especially about the driver of a Pontiac GTO that was near the gas station around the time of the murder.

Abdullahi is being held at the adult detention center without bond.

Anyone with information should call the Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800 or text “TIP187” plus your message to 274637.

Photo via FCPD

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Reston Man Charged with Abusing Maryland Teen He Met Online

Police in Howard County, Md. have charged a 32-year-old man from Reston with sexually abused a 13-year-old boy in Ellicott City, Md.

Joseph Coffinberger of Royal Fern Court was charged with rape and sexual solicitation of a minor.

Investigators were made aware of the issue when the boy told a parent that Coffinberger drove from Virginia to have sex with him at least once a week since January.

The boy said Coffinberger would pick him up near his home and take him to a motel, police said. When Coffinberger arrived on May 22 to meet the teen, officers waited to arrest him.

Coffinberger met the teen through a live-streaming video app. He is being held without bond.

In a statement, Howard County police said they were concerned Coffinberger may have victimized other children in Maryland or Virginia.

Anyone with information is urged to call 410-313-2630 or email [email protected].

Photo via HCPD

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Former Langston Hughes Middle School Teacher Charged with Indecent Acts with a Child

(Updated May, 16 at 12:37 p.m. with a new photo) A former teacher in Reston who won educator of the year was charged with indecent acts with a child.

Timothy Threlkeld taught technology and engineering at Langston Hughes Middle School, according to the Washington Post, which broke the story this afternoon.

Search warrants obtained by The Post indicate that authorities began investigating Threlkeld in 2014. That same year, he was honored by the Virginia Technology and Engineering Education Association as its middle school teacher of the year. According to the association, he worked at the middle school for eight years.

One of his students told police that he gave her kisses and hugs. Additional interviews with the victim revealed that “put his hand down her pants and touched her private parts… [and] forced her to touch his penis,” according to The Post.

The teacher was arrested in November 2017, according to the report. No online notices of his arrest appear online. 

He will stand trial in August, according to the Post.

Photo via FCPD

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Crime Roundup: Thefts Around Reston

It’s been another relatively quiet week around Reston, with no arrests or stolen vehicles reported.

Police reported the following thefts around Reston between Tuesday, May 1 and Monday, May 7:

LARCENIES:

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, cell phone from business

2000 block of Capstone Circle, license plate from vehicle

500 block of Nalls Dairy Court, bag from vehicle

1600 block of Reston Parkway, leaf blower from vehicle

800 block of Seneca Road, wallet from residence

2300 block of Soapstone Drive, wallet from business

12100 block of Sunset Hills Road, cell phone from business

10500 block of Leesburg Pike, cell phone from business

2300 block of Colts Neck Road, property from business

11800 block of Spectrum Center, liquor from business

 

Anyone with information about any crimes reported by FCPD should call 703-691-2131 or 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), or text “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES(274637).

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Police Identify Man Found Dead Along Road in Fairfax Station

Local police have identified a man found dead in Fairfax Station on Wednesday as Michael Cooker, 30, of Herndon.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, Cooker was found on the 6500 block of Colchester Road around 6:49 a.m. on Wednesday. A passerby saw a man laying on the side of the road and alerted police.

Police are investigating the incident as a homicide. Cooker sustained upper body trauma. No weapons were found on the scene.

An autopsy, which will be conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, will determine the exact cause and manner of death.

Anyone with information should contact the Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800 or via text-a-tip by texting “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES (274637), by calling 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or 703-691-2131.

Photo via FCPD

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Crime Roundup: Police Catch ‘Suspicious’ Herndon Man In Woods

A 21-year-old Herndon resident was caught yelling racial slurs in front of a home on the 1500 block of Poplar Grove Drive Friday night.

Carrick Shannon was charged with destruction of property, disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice.

Local police responded to a report that a suspicious man was attempting to enter a home in the area around 9:57 p.m. on Friday.

When officers arrived, they saw Shannon standing outside the home. He was arrested after a foot pursuit in woods nearby the home.

Police said they also found security footage of Shannon yelling racial slurs in the security camera and damaging the camera.

In a separate incident, a burglary was reported at House of Mandarin (2303 Soapstone Drive) around 12:40 a.m. on Saturday. Staff of a neighboring business heard glass breaking next door.

A burglary was also reported at a local Exxon (12080 Glade Drive) on Thursday around 2:20 a.m.. Police believe someone broke into the business and stole cash.

The Fairfax County Police Department also reported the following incidents:

Larcenies:

1300 block of Blairstone Drive, packages from residence

1300 block of Browns Mill Court, laptop computer from vehicle

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, airbag from vehicle

11900 block of Market Street, wallet from business

1000 block of Pensive Lane, wallet from business

12000 block of Town Square Street, bicycles from business

1800 block of Town Center Parkway, wallet from business

1600 block of Waters Edge Lane, purse from vehicle

Stolen Vehicles:

2200 block of Chamblee Place, 2000 Toyota Corolla

Photo via FCPD

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2017 Crime Statistics Present Mixed Picture in Reston, Fairfax County

Overall crime in Fairfax County decreased 1.6 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to data released by the Fairfax County Police Department this week.

In a statement, Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said community engagement was critical to the reduction in crime.

“Community engagement, information sharing, accountability and public trust energize our partnerships that keep Fairfax County the safest jurisdiction of its size in the United States,” he said.

Crimes against persons rose three-point-eight percent in the county, compared to a four-point-six percent increase investigated by the Reston Police District Station. The county operates eight district stations.

Crimes against property, which include extortion, robbery, burglary and larcenies, decreased overall in every police district except McLean and Reston, where crimes against property increased from 2,292 to 2,429 incidents.

Overall in the county, crimes against society, which include offenses related to drugs, gambling, pornography and prostitution, rose by 9.6 percent. Reston saw a 4.2 percent decrease.

Two homicides — the murders of Scott Fricker and Buckley Kuhn-Fricker days before Christmas — occurred in Reston in 2017.

A complete breakdown of data in Reston for 2016 and 2017 is below.

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Crime Roundup: Herndon Man Charged with 10 Larceny-Related Counts

Flores Portillo, 18, of Herndon, was arrested on Sunday and charged in connection with a series of larcenies.

The Herndon Police Department arrested Portillo on the 500 block of Early Fall Court. He was charged with seven counts of felony larceny and three counts of misdemeanor larceny.

Police located him after they received a report from someone who had found property that was possibly stolen. Portillo is being held at the Fairfax Adult Detention Center without bond.

The Fairfax County Police Department also reported the following incidents in recent days:

Larcenies:

2500 Centreville Road, bicycle from business

2200 block of Hunters Woods Plaza, money from business.

12900 block of Highland Crossing Drive, alcohol from business.

1800 block of Michael Faraday Court, electronics from building.

1400 block of Northgate Square, tools from vehicle

1400 block of North Point Village Center, merchandise from business.

1800 block of Presidents Street, passport and money from vehicle.

1300 block of Rock Chapel Road, jewelry from residence

13700 block of Sayward Boulevard, wallet from vehicle

11400 South Lakes Drive (South Lakes HS), cell phone from the school.

11800 block of Spectrum Center, merchandise from business

11700 block of Sunset Hills Road, money from business

Stolen Vehicles: 

None reported

Anyone with information about any of the crimes reported by FCPD should call 703-691-2131 or 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), or text “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES(274637).

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How a Reston-based Technology Company is Helping Crack Cold Cases

The case of Roberta Walls, a 22-year-old library worker who was stabbed, raped and dumped in a baseball field in Virginia Beach, went cold in 1988. Local police collected DNA from 41 people with ties to Walls. But no one checked out.

More than 30 years later, the work of Parabon NanoLabs, a Reston-based company, is helping breath new life into the case.

The company uses DNA phenotyping to predict physical traits and ancestry from genetic material left at crime scenes. Genetic sleuths can track eye color, skin color, face shape and heritage, but not other traits like age, weight and hairstyle.

It’s a new way to look at DNA, which law enforcement agencies use by matching a suspect’s DNA to that found at a crime scene or cross-checking against government databases.

But at Parabon, staff see DNA as a blueprint, not a fingerprint, said Ellen Greytak, Parabon’s bioinformatics director. Forensic artists can use information from DNA phenotyping to develop a composite image, which investigators use to narrow suspect lists, sans witness descriptions. The method can also help further investigations about unidentified remains.

But the method has raised some concerns, including questions about accuracy, racial profiling and privacy infringement. The American Civil Liberties Union, for example, calls composites “science fiction.” The organization says DNA phenotyping should not advertise suspects to the public until the science is firmly proven and established.

“The actual suspect may look nothing look the speculative image, which could end up detouring or otherwise harming an investigation,” Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst, wrote.

Greytak said the company is simply providing the same service a witness would have provided from an “objective” perspective. Law enforcement officials are becoming more open to the technology after Parabon analyzes DNA samples provided by police.

“We’re a genetic witness providing a description of that person. The information should be and is used by investigators in the same way a witness description should be,” Greytak said.

Although the company has limited control over how law enforcement agencies use the information, Greytak said most  agencies understand the technology is not a panacea. The company cautions against running facial composites in facial recognition software.

“We always emphasize the composite is not a photograph of the person. We only have access to the DNA. It’s important to remember that two people with similar DNA could have a different appearance,” she said. “It’s not going to immediately solve every case but it’s always going to give you more information than what you have before.”

In the future, the company hopes to expand the number of predictable traits – especially age – and build up its database, which is used to build predict models. Currently, the database has information about DNA and physical appearance from volunteers.

Until then, Greytak said she finds the work especially worthwhile. Recently, the company began receiving handwritten thank you notes from loved ones whose cases Parabon is considering. For many, newfound hope in abandoned cases is uplifting, she said.

Photo via Parabon NanoLabs

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Crime Roundup: Herndon Man Arrested in Connection with CVS Pharmacy Robbery in Reston Town Center

A 25-year-old Herndon resident was arrested in connection with the robbery of the CVS Pharmacy in Reston Town Center last week.

Alexander Berman faces charges for robbery and the use of a firearm in commission of a felony, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. The department announced the arrest today.

Meanwhile, local police are searching for a suspect who robbed a 7-11 on 11501 Leesburg Pike in Herndon at 10:57 p.m. on Sunday.

Police believe a Hispanic man in dark clothing entered the store with a handgun and stole cash and cigarettes. No injuries were reported, police said.

FCPD also reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES: 

2200 block of Colts Neck Road, tools from business

1800 block of Discovery Street, bags from vehicle

11500 block of Leesburg Pike, beer from business

11900 block of Market Street, merchandise from business

1800 block of Presidents Street, medication from residence

2300 block of Rolling Fork Circle, airbags from vehicle

2400 Block of Pyrenees Court, electronics from a residence

11900 block of Killingsworth Avenue, wallet from business

12000 block of Town Square Street, merchandise from business

12600 block of Noble Victory Lane, wallet from vehicle.

13100 block of Fox Hunt Lane, parts from vehicle.

2300 block of Rolling Fork Circle, parts from vehicle.

13100 block of Fox Hunt Lane, parts from vehicle.

13100 block of Fox Hunt Lane, parts from vehicle.

2300 block of Rolling Fork Circle, parts from vehicle.

2300 block of Rolling Fork Circle, parts from vehicle.

13100 block of Fox Hunt Lane, parts from vehicle.

1200 block of Rolling Fork Circle, parts from vehicle.

13100 block of Fox Hunt Lane, parts from vehicle.

13100 block of Fox Hunt Lane, parts from vehicle.

2300 block of Rolling Fork Circle, parts from vehicle.

2300 block of Rolling Fork Circle, parts from vehicle.

13100 block of Fox Hunt Lane, parts from vehicle.

2300 block of Rolling Fork Circle, parts from vehicle.

2200 block of Halter Lane, personal items from a vehicle.

2300 block of Rolling Fork Circle, parts from vehicle.

12500 block of Fox View Way, laptop from vehicle.

13100 block of Fox Hunt Lane, parts from vehicle.

2300 block of Rolling Fork Circle, parts from vehicle.

2300 block of Cavesson Court, Wallet from vehicle.

2300 block of Darius Lane, GPS and money from vehicle.

12100 block of Sunset Hills Road, electronics from business.

11500 block of Embers Court, wallet from vehicle.

STOLEN VEHICLES: 

None reported.

In the above list, at least 17 incidents happened between Wednesday night and Thursday last week. As we reported yesterday, police haven’t indicated yet if the reports are connected.

Anyone with information about any of the crimes reported by FCPD should call 703-691-2131 or 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), or text “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES(274637).

Photo via FCPD

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Friday Morning Notes

Reston’s African American History Explored — “Rev. LaVerne Gill’s book profiles individuals who went through the struggles of early Reston and still love it and believe in it.” [The Connection]

Seven Black Athletes Making History at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics — Originally from Ghana, Reston-based Maame Biney “is the first black woman to make the Olympic speedskating team and the second-ever African-born athlete to represent the U.S. in the Winter Olympics.” [NBC News]

Metrorail is No Longer the Second-Busiest Rapid Transit System in the Country — “Metrorail’s ridership is clearly lower than that of legacy rapid transit systems, due to basic decisions made during the design of the system.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Search for Armed Man Who Robbed Gas Station Ongoing — The Fairfax County Police Department continues to seek the public’s help to identify a masked man who police believe robbed a gas station on 11410 North Shore Drive last month.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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Herndon Father of Five Killed by Taliban in Afghanistan

Rahim Barak, a 58-year-old father of five, was killed by Taliban insurgents during a chaotic siege at Kabul’s largest hotel last month. It was the first time the U.S. citizen, who lived in Herndon for the last 17 years, visited his home country in 30 years.

Three other U.S. citizens were killed in the Jan. 20 attack. Insurgents stormed the Intercontinental Hotel, a prominent hilltop hotel often visited by foreign guests and envoys. Barak was found with a single gunshot to the head. Others were found with burnt bodies and missing body parts. Hundreds of other guests spend the night hiding in rooms, unsure if they would survive the night.

Minutes before the incident, Barak had taken a photo with two friends as they dined at the hotel. The picture is the last possession his family has of him when he was alive.

Political turmoil and conflict caused by the Soviet Union’s invasion of the Afghanistan pushed Barak to flee from his home. He sought refuge in Peshawar, Pakistan and came to the United States in the late 1980s to build a new life for himself and his family.

Leaving behind his studies in law, Barak took up a motley of jobs at a pizza restaurant, Dulles International Airport, Marriott and a movie theater, working long hours and six days a week at one point. Family members and friends remember him for his loving personality and generous nature.

Barak later married his wife of 22 years and had five children. The youngest is six. Most recently, he worked as a cab driver and a travel agent.

His eldest son, Fawad Barak, 21, describes his father as a “people’s champ” who was always ready to offer a helping hand and sacrificed his life “for the betterment of his family, children, and loved ones.”

“There were very few moments where he was able to enjoy the fruits of his labor but most of his life, especially since the war in Afghanistan, he aimed to seek a better life for his family and children,” his son said. “I remember my father would always tell me that the sweat, toil and tears that he put in for his family will soon be relieved when his eldest child graduated from college and so forth with his other children following his footsteps.”

His father’s dream is now coming close to reality. His eldest son is wrapping up his junior year at George Mason University. In meantime, his son hopes to pass down the dreams and passions that drove his father’s hard work to his siblings.

“I am blessed and grateful to have been in a presence of such a beautiful human being, and most of all for him to be my father will be the greatest honor bestowed upon me while I’m on this earth,” he said.

Barak is survived by five children and his wife. Hundreds attended funeral services at All Dulles Area Muslim Society center in Herndon several weeks ago. He was known for regularly attending pre-dawn prayers at the mosque.

“The amount of love and support from the community we have received and the attendance at his funeral services displays a true testament of his character and who he truly was,” his son said.

A LaunchGood campaign for the family has raised $11,343 since it was launched on Feb. 1.

Photos via Fawad Barak

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Fairfax County Police: 20 Break-Ins in Herndon and Reston Could Be Connected

Fairfax County police are warning residents in Reston and Herndon about a string of robberies that happened between September and January.

Police said all 20 break-ins “appear to be similar in nature.” In each instance, robberies occurred at homes, town homes and apartments near a walking path or woods. Personal items were also taken.

The investigation is ongoing, police said.

A police spokesperson said the department is not releasing any further information, including how the incidents may be connected and if suspects have been identified.

File photo.

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Thursday Morning Notes

Suspect Involved in 10-Hour Weekend Barricade Receives Psychiatric Treatment – Anthony Moaf, 21, was released from the hospital after a suspected opioid overdose earlier this week. Police said he barricaded himself inside his home after threatening to kill family members and shoot at police officers. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Greater Reston Arts Center Issues Call for Submissions – Submit a proposal for new artwork in response to the prompt, “If you could do anything, what would it be?” Judges will select five artists to participate in the invitational. Entries are due by February 16. [Greater Reston Arts Center]

Man Robbed After Leaving Bus on Monday – Two suspects took personal belongings from a man after he got off a bus on Glade Drive near Millrace Lane between 7:45 and 8 p.m. The suspects then ran from the area, police said. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Board Governance Committee Meets Tonight – The committee, which is charged with planning, committee structure and board knowledge, will meet today from 6-8 p.m. at Reston Association Headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). [Reston Association]

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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