Tales From The Front Lines: Crime (???) in Vienna


I read with great amusement Gene Weingarten’s column in this Sundays Washington Post magazine titled, “Soft Boiled Detectives, A suburban police blotter”  which featured excerpts from the weekly Vienna VA police reports.  (link below)  Ripped from the headlines were stories about a dispute between a landlord and his tenant over which toilet each should use (they shared the house) and another about an intoxicated individual with sushi in his pants.

The Vienna police reports are emailed out Friday to those interested.  I get a copy and can tell you these stories are true.  I have a friend in town who also gets these reports and it is often a race to the phone to see who can call first to laugh over the week’s goofiest “criminal.”

Let me say, that I, as a citizen of the town, am happy to have Mr. Weingarten write an article where the mock up of a Vienna police badge states “Honor, Integrity, Boredom.”  Yes, there is crime in the town.  We have had more than what I think is our fair share of bank robberies. But as far as citizen safety is concerned, Vienna is a great place to live.  I am perfectly content to reside in a town where the police have to deal with restaurant patrons upset at the pace of service at an all you can eat steak promotion instead of having police faced with an abundance of property crimes, assualts, murders and rapes.

Mr. Weingarten  missed one other story.  In the September 30 police report was an entry that read, “An alert citizen reported a suspicious male subject near an unoccupied home.  PFC Ruddy located the individual and learned that he was…”    Let me save the end of that report for a little later.    For now, know that the alert citizen was me.

Here is the story behind the story.  On Friday, September 23, my wife and I had just returned home a dinner celebrating our wedding anniversary.   It was a warm night and the kitchen window was open.   Our neighbors on that side of the house were away for the weekend so we were a little alarmed when we heard someone at the top of their driveway talking into a cell phone.  We listened and a man kept saying,  “RD3283.”  There would be some silence and then we would hear it again , “RD3283.”  We heard this repeated at least a dozen times.

I went outside to look around and saw this disheveled guy probably in his mid 20s at the top of the neighbor’s driveway on a cell phone.  I looked for a car, assuming that he was calling a towing company or giving someone a license plate number but I did not see a vehicle.  Thinking that perhaps this guy was a little deranged, I went back into the house and called the police suggesting they send a patrol car around particularly since the neighbor’s house was vacant.

Then shortly after hanging up the phone, my wife called out, “He just went into our back yard and hopped over the fence into the creek.”

I again called the police and relayed this updated info suggesting to them that perhaps he was on his way to the homes on the other side of the creek.  Within about 4 minutes we saw flashlights in our backyard.  We had not even heard the police approach.  From our family room window, we saw them pull this guy out of the creek, put him up against the fence and frisk him.  With their flashlights shining into his eyes, they interrogated him for some time and he was visibly shaken.

An officer came to our front door to ask if we were the ones who called in the complaint and we said we were.  She told us that he was not drunk or under the influence and that there was no worry.  He was part of an online hide and seek game and the “RD3283” was a location code that others could use to find him.  She wanted to know if we wanted to have trespassing charges filed and, of course, we said no.

Well, in my 23 years of living here, that is the only time I had to call the police and I hope it stays that way.

On a more serious note, here is the 2011 Town of Vienna Annual Police Report. You will see that crimes against people,  property crimes and misc “group B” offenses were all down in 2011.  Up?  Traffic citations and parking tickets.  If that has you concerned and you would like to find a home where you can walk to the wonderful shops and restaurants of Vienna, give me a call and I will be happy to help.

Click here to read Gene Weingarten’s column.

Photo credit:  Simon Howden





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