by Fatimah Waseem March 6, 2018 at 1:30 pm 4 Comments

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:


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).

by Fatimah Waseem February 14, 2018 at 7:00 am 1 Comment

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

by Fatimah Waseem February 13, 2018 at 3:00 pm 4 Comments

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:


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.


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

by RestonNow.com February 9, 2018 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

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

by Fatimah Waseem February 6, 2018 at 11:15 am 10 Comments

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

by Fatimah Waseem February 2, 2018 at 10:00 am 20 Comments

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.

by Fatimah Waseem February 1, 2018 at 9:00 am 0

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

by Fatimah Waseem January 30, 2018 at 1:30 pm 6 Comments

The Fairfax County Police Department is seeking the public’s help to identify a masked man who police believe robbed a Chevron gas station (11410 North Shore Drive) last week.

The man entered the business on Wednesday around 8:30 p.m. He picked an item off the shelf and approached the counter before pulling a gun and demanding money, police said.

The suspect left the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was injured and police arrived on the scene within two minutes of the call. A helicopter-assisted search proved unsuccessful, police said.

Contact Detective D. McAuliffe at 703-246-7800 if you have information. Tips can be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by visiting http://www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org, or calling 1-866-411-TIPS.

They can also be sent in via text by texting “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES (274637).

Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1000 if their information leads to an arrest.

Photo and Footage via Fairfax County Police Department

by Fatimah Waseem January 30, 2018 at 9:30 am 35 Comments

An assistant principal at Hunters Woods Elementary School has been placed on leave after she was arrested for shoplifting at a Target in Reston, according a spokesman for the Fairfax County Public Schools System.

Melissa Tochterman, 47, of Herndon, was arrested and charged with grand larceny last Thursday evening.

Tochterman left the store with a cart full of unpaid items. Video footage showed she left with $690 worth of merchandise, police said.

Police released information about the incident Monday evening.

This story was updated at 12:33 p.m. to include information on Tochterman’s employment status.

Photo via FCPD

by Fatimah Waseem January 28, 2018 at 10:41 am 2 Comments

A 10-hour barricade on Ladybank Lane ended today following the surrender of Anthony Moaf, 21.

At around 4 a.m. today, police arrived on the scene after receiving a report that an armed man was threatening to kill family members in the 13200 block of Ladybank Lane.

Moaf is being taken for a medical evaluation. He also faces charges for reckless handling of a firearm, police said.

Earlier in the day, the Fairfax County Police Department asked people to stay away from Ladybank Lane in Herndon due to ongoing safety concerns.

All family members are safe, but the man threatened to shoot responding officers. At around 6 a.m., police heard at least one gunshot. “It was not directed at anyone or at police,” according to the police department.

Police are attempting to resolve the situation peacefully and urge residents to avoid the area. They have made contact with the man over the phone and are continuing negotiations.

For the latest updates, visit the department’s Twitter feed. This story will be updated.

This post was updated at 3:38 p.m.

Photo via FCPD

by Fatimah Waseem January 19, 2018 at 5:30 pm 0

A 17-year-old Lorton teenager suspected of murdering a Reston couple in late December was served petitions earlier this morning, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

The suspect, who has not been identified by police due to his age, has been charged as a juvenile with two counts of murder after an investigation determined he killed Scott Fricker, 48,  and his 43-year-old wife, Buckley Kuhn-Fricker on the 2600 block of Black Fir Court on Dec. 22, police said.

The teen then shot himself and has remained in a local hospital since the incident.

by Fatimah Waseem January 19, 2018 at 11:45 am 24 Comments

The Herndon Police Department is seeking the public’s help to identify a man involved in an indecent exposure incident.

At around 4:15 p.m. yesterday, a girl walked past a silver Toyota Scion as she got off the school bus at the intersection of Crest Drive and Old Hunt Way.

The man in the car asked her for directions. When she came close to the car, she realized he had no pants on and was exposing himself.

The suspect was described as a white male between 20 and 25 years old with a long beard. He was wearing only a gray hooded sweatshirt.

If you have any information or were in the area at that time, contact Detective Jeffrey Lange at 703-435-6846 or [email protected].

Photos via Herndon Police Department

by RestonNow.com January 5, 2018 at 3:00 pm 4 Comments

Before we head off into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

The following articles were the five most-clicked links on Reston Now this past week.

  1. M & S Grill in Reston Town Center Closes
  2. New Details Surface in the Murder of Reston Couple
  3. Memorial Service Set for Couple Murdered in Reston
  4. Longtime Business Leaves Reston Town Center
  5. Fannie Mae Eyes Move to Reston’s Core

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally. Have a great weekend!

by Fatimah Waseem December 29, 2017 at 11:00 am 33 Comments

On Saturday, a memorial service will be held for Scott Fricker, 48, and Buckley Kuhn-Fricker, 43, the Reston couple who were shot and killed in their own home last week.

The service will begin at 10 a.m. at Herndon’s Trinity Presbyterian Church.

The couple was shot in their home on Friday, Dec. 22. Police believe a 17-year-old Lorton boy, whose identity has not been released, shot the couple and turned the gun on himself. He remains in the hospital with life threatening injuries.

One family member believes the teenage boyfriend of the couple’s daughter killed them after they learned of his Nazi views and encouraged their daughter to break up with him. The shooting took place on the 2600 block of Black Fir Court.

Fricker had a Ph.D from the University of Maryland and worked for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Kuhn-Fricker specialized in estate planning and elder law.

Police are investigating the suspect’s alleged Neo-Nazi connections.

by Fatimah Waseem December 28, 2017 at 9:20 am 14 Comments

(Editor’s Note: This post was updated at 3 p.m. to include new information).

A man allegedly assaulted a child, carjacked a pick-up truck and led police on a chase that culminated with a car crash that sent eight people to the hospital late Wednesday night. The suspect, a woman and five children remain in the hospital.

Brendan Stefon Vinson, 28, of Adelphi, faces multiple charges, including carjacking, speed to elude, two assaults on police officers and receiving stolen property. Police were called for back-up at the hospital as the suspect attempted to wrestle out of his handcuffs.

The incident began when the Fairfax County Police Department  responded to a report about a child being assaulted on the 6100 block of Early Autumn Drive at around 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday. They learned a man randomly knocked on the door of a home and hit a young child who was at the door, police said. The suspect fled the area in a stolen car that police believe was taken from Hyattsville around 6 p.m.

A flurry of events continued as the suspect crashed into a pick-up truck at Stone Road and Lee Highway and carjacked the driver.  Police believe he then stole a trailer and attached it to the pick-up truck. When police began chasing the vehicle, the suspect ran a red light at the intersection of Centreville Road and Frying Pan Road. He then rammed into a mini van in the intersection, sending five children and a woman to the hospital. One child was ejected from the car and flown to the hospital. The child remains in critical condition.

The suspect attempted to escape by foot at the intersection. As police caught the man, he injured two police officers in an attempt to ward off police. Both victims who were assaulted by the suspect also sustained minor injuries.

Police said they are still investigating multiple scenes relating to this incident. Police officers injured in the incident are recovering and expected to return to work, police said.


Photos via FCPD


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