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No arrests were reported from Feb. 27 through March 4.

Fraud update: Readers of this column who might wonder why it reports so much fraud might want to take a look at the Arlington community crime map. Fraud currently outnumbers all other crimes put together by roughly a 2-to-1 ratio.

"Check-washing" update. Four more instances of Arlingtonians victimized by this fraud were reported this week. Until blue postal boxes are secured, residents are urged to avoid using them to send mail, especially mail containing checks. One suggestion: place outgoing mail into the home mailbox just before the mail carrier's usual delivery time. 

The following is based on selected Arlington Police Department logs:

Tuesday, Feb. 27

7:57 a.m. – Identity Fraud. A Rublee Street resident reported that a man contacted her online about purchasing something that she had placed for sale on Facebook Market and suggested they meet in person at a local address so he could give her $10 for shipping costs. When the woman later checked out the address, she discovered that it was the site of a complex still under construction. After “staying up all night” worrying about it,” she decided to go to the APD. Police there told her to have no further dealings with the man and assured her that the department would add extra surveillance checks to her street. APD spokesman Capt. Richard Flynn noted that the APD station itself can function as a little-advertised “safe zone” at which people who don't know each other can meet to complete minor transactions.

10:47 a.m. – Larceny Under $250 by False Pretenses. A Summit Street woman reportedly experiencing trouble with her smartphone found herself in conversation with someone on Facebook who offered her a “$500 recovery card” that would enable her to talk with “friendly” technicians who could address all her device problems. She was then told that in order to get the card she would first need to purchase Target and Nordstrom gift cards. As soon as she heard those store names, though, she knew she was dealing with a scammer; wisely, she immediately cut off contact.

4:26 p.m. – Bicycle Crash. An Arlington woman struck an eastbound bicyclist on Mass. Ave. near Pond Lane when she pulled her Hyundai Tucson out of a parking place directly into a U-turn. The cyclist made contact with the car's flank but had been able to slow down enough to avoid serious damage or injury. The motorist  told officers that she “didn't see anyone” and was duly issued a failure-to-yield citation. Flynn commented that there is basically no safe place on Mass. Ave. to do a U-turn and that drivers who get into trouble while trying them will usually be held responsible for whatever mischance ensues.

8:24 p.m. – Stolen Registration Plates. A Colonial Village Drive resident called police to report that the rear plate on his pickup truck, which he assured them had been securely attached, had apparently been pilfered within the previous 48 hours. The old plate number has been flagged and the owner advised to get his pickup a new registration. Flynn commented that stealing a plate is a serious crime, almost on a par with lifting a whole vehicle. 

11:39 p.m. – Accident with Injury. Police and Fire units sped to the Lake Street scene of a serious one-car crash. They found two young Cambridge men lying on the sidewalk in obvious pain, with apparent head, neck and back injuries. Their 2010 Mitsubishi, its front end wrapped around a tree, stood nearby with a smoking engine. Based on witness reports, the car appeared to be going at least 10 mph over the 25 mph speed limit. Officers soon noticed that one of the car's wheels was a temporary spare “donut.” Although both front air bags had deployed, neither occupant had been wearing a seat belt. Conditions at the time, including darkness, strong wind gusts and rain, called for caution rather than speed. All of the above added up to multiple citations for negligence, speeding and not wearing a seat belt, The report did not state whether either of the men needed or received hospital treatment.

Thursday, Feb. 29

5:33 p.m. – Accident without Injury. How can a three-car accident be a complete non event? Officers found out when they arrived on Park Avenue. Witnesses told the officers that a car had leapt ahead suddenly, striking the rear bumper of the car in front of it, which in turn had jolted forward, tapping the bumper of the car in front of it. According to witnesses, the rearmost vehicle was not traveling excessively fast. Rather, the rear driver admitted to having mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake. After assessing the situation, the officers concluded that with no injuries and no appreciable damage even to the bumpers, nothing there called for a citation. Thus did a three-car crash turn out to be a nothing, or as much of a nothing as a three-car crash can be.

Friday, March 1

11:03 a.m. – Malicious Destruction of Property. A 72-year-old Drake Road resident left her apartment to drive somewhere, only to make the cheerless discovery that the driver-side front door of her 2002 Nissan Sentra had been keyed. Police arrived and inspected the area without finding immediate clues as to the vandal's identity. The woman could name no suspects, saying, “I can't imagine who would want\ to do this to me,” Police will continue to investigate, checking the street for possible witnesses and film.

7:46 p.m. – Extortion by Threat of Injury. A 21-year-old Charlton Street resident called police to report receiving threats after an online exchange he had had with an Instagram follower went south. The purportedly female follower had engaged the young man in a relationship that led to his dispatching compromising pictures of himself to a provided address. Not long after sending the photos, he received a phone call from a man gruffly threatening to publish the photos if he did not immediately send him cards and money, angrily concluding, “Do it. Or else!” The young man told police he had no idea how the caller had gotten his phone number. He then mentioned that he had canceled his Instagram account. Police urged him to ignore further contact and send no money. Flynn commented that, in general, it's a good idea not to send photos of yourself to someone you have not met in person.

7:51 p.m. – Accident with Injury. Two automobiles performed a kind of dance maneuver at the intersection of Grove Street and Mass. Ave., making simultaneous left turns such that each car struck the other more or less equally. A white Honda CRV driven by a 25-year-old Arlington woman made a left turn from Mass. Ave. onto Grove Street at the same time as a Hyundai Santa Fe driven by a 74- year-old woman, also from Arlington, was trying to make a left turn from Grove Street onto Mass. Ave. The younger driver told officers that she had tried to apply her horn “but it didn't seem to affect anything.”. Officers pieced together what happened from witness reports and decided that it was what. Flynn called a “jump ball,” meaning no citations were issued. The older driver complained of neck pain following the crash, but it was unclear from the report whether she needed medical treatment.

Sunday, March 3

3:36 p.m. – Accident without Injury. A two-car crash occurred at Florence and Park avenues when an orange Kia driven by a 36-year-old male from Pakistan, holding an international license, went through a red light and struck a gray Subaru driven by a 60-year-old Arlington woman. Both cars sustained front-end damage, but the drivers were uninjured. According to the report, the Kia driver graciously admitted fault and received a citation.

Feb. 29, 2024: Police blotter Feb. 2026: 2 arrested on suspicion of OUI, plus 'check-washing' update

This column by YourArlington volunteer writer Chris Wilbur was published Thursday, March 7, 2024, based on information from Arlington Police Department daily logs, explanations from APD spokesman Capt. Richard Flynn and YourArlington's files.