Body found in Vienna leads to murder charge
Fairfax County police have charged a suspect with murder in the death of a young Gainesville man whose body was discovered in Vienna.
Police said they were called to investigate a death in a vehicle at around 7 p.m. Dec. 28 when an officer came across a minivan that had crashed into a barrier at the end of a service road off Cain Bridge Road, near Glengyle Drive. The officer called for rescue and determined that the driver was dead. Police said evidence suggested that the driver’s injuries may not have been caused by the crash; detectives and crime scene investigators responded to the scene.
Police later identified the body as Zavier O. Stringfellow, 19, of Gainesville, and said he had been stabbed to death in the upper body.
Johnny E. Bonilla, 22, also of Gainesville, was charged with Stringfellow’s murder on Dec. 29. Members of the U.S. Marshals Service joined Prince William County and Fairfax County officers in arresting Bonilla at his home.
Police said the two men did not know each other prior to the evening of the incident, but that they had planned to meet on the evening of Friday, Dec. 28, for some undisclosed reason. Police said they met, there was a struggle, and Stringfellow was stabbed.
Police did not disclose where the two men had planned to meet, or why Stringfellow’s body was discovered in Vienna.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.
Bomb squad responds to report of grenade
At approximately 7:15 a.m. Jan. 2, the Vienna Police Department said it was alerted to the presence of a grenade outside the main entrance to the Merchant Tire located at 141 Maple Avenue. Police said officers responded to the scene and located the grenade, which they thought may have been live ordinance.
To protect residents from a potential blast zone, Maple Avenue was shut down from Center Street to Lawyers Road and all traffic was diverted onto side streets for more than two hours.
Members of the Fairfax County Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit responded to the scene to aid Vienna police and removed the grenade.
Upon its examination, police said that although the grenade was real, its internal components had been removed, making it inoperable. The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Vienna Police Department at 703- 255-6366.
Police charge man with raping two women
Fairfax County police have charged a 24-year-old Woodbridge man with two counts of armed robbery and two counts of forcible rape following an incident at a Springfield area hotel on New Year’s Day.
Police said they responded to the Extended Stay Hotel, 6800 Metropolitan Center Drive, for a report of a man brandishing a gun at around 6 p.m. Jan. 1.
Police said the man tried to elude police, but officers tracked him down, apprehended him and took him into custody.
According to police, Joshua T. Franklin, of the 14700 block of Alabama Ave., reportedly met two women at the hotel after arranging the meeting through an online service.
Police said that when the women would not comply with his demands, Franklin allegedly produced a gun, ordered them to engage in sex acts with each other and then forcibly raped them both.
Police said the women, ages 18 and 25, did not require medical attention.
Police are investigating whether similar cases in other jurisdictions may be linked.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.
Centreville man dies in Route 28 crash
County police are investigating a fatal crash that occurred Dec. 31 on Route 28 on the Interstate 66 overpass.
According to police, around 1:45 a.m., a 27-year-old man driving a 2007 Chevy Avalanche pickup truck struck the rear of a tractor-trailer that was stopped at a red light on Route 28.
Police said the pickup truck erupted into flames and the driver, George Tabash of Centreville, died at the scene of the crash.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 44-year-old Pennsylvania man, was not injured.
Detectives have not yet determined whether speed or alcohol are factors in the crash, and the investigation is continuing.
Car crash in Springfield takes three lives
A fatal two-car accident in Springfield on Dec. 27 took the lives of three Pennsylvania residents who were all related and on their way to a funeral.
Virginia State Police said they still are investigating the cause of a two-vehicle fatal crash at the Springfield Interchange.
According to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller, at 7:03 p.m. that evening, State Trooper C.R. Francis was called to the scene just east of the Van Dorn Exit 173 on the I-495 westbound flyover ramp leading to I-95 south.
A tractor-trailer in the travel lane was stopped in traffic when it was rear-ended by a 2003 Ford Ranger pickup truck. Police said all three occupants of the pickup truck died at the scene. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured in the crash.
The driver of the pickup truck was Peter Stesney Jr, 87, of Allentown, Pa. The two passengers were Bernice Supinski, 85, of Bath, Penn., and Laura Kordelski, 51, of Allentown, Pa.
Geller said all three were related and traveling to Florida to attend a relative’s funeral.
Thieves target cars in parks
Fairfax County Police detectives say they are investigating an apparent series of credit card thefts from vehicles parked at area parks.
Police said many of the crimes have taken place at Burke Lake Park, but some were at the Wakefield and South Run recreation centers.
Detectives from the West Springfield Police District Criminal Investigation Section are working collaboratively with the Financial Crimes Unit to apprehend suspects on over two dozen cases, with six of the most recent incidents having taken place at Burke Lake Park since Thanksgiving.
Police said they believe suspects are observing drivers as they prepare to exercise, then entering the vehicles — both unlocked and locked — and stealing cards from wallets that victims have attempted to hide in the car’s console, under a seat or elsewhere in their vehicles.
Police said suspects then immediately take the cards to the Apple Store, Best Buy, WalMart, Target and other stores that sell expensive electronics, and fraudulently purchase thousands of dollars in goods. In some cases, police say that since only a card or two was taken from a wallet, people may not realize they’ve been victimized until several days later.
Large amount of khat nabbed at Dulles airport
On Dec. 21, Customs and Border Protection officers seized almost 214 pounds of the illegal stimulant khat at Dulles International Airport.
Khat is a plant typically grown in the Arabian peninsula whose leaves are chewed for stimulant effect.
Officials said the shipment of the drug was shipped as air freight from Doha, Qatar, to Dulles.
CPB officers said they found the khat as part of a routine of inspection of freight manifested as coffee tables. The shipment has a street value of $30,000. It was shipped by a woodworking company in Kenya to a furniture store in Washington, D.C.
Khat, which the Drug Enforcement Administration classifies as a Schedule 1 narcotic, is legal in some African countries. It is primarily used in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Yemen, according to the DEA. CPB officials said prosecution was declined, and the drug was destroyed.
Eleven pounds of heroin seized at Dulles airport
A Ghanaian woman is facing federal narcotics smuggling charges after Customs and Border Protection officers on Dec. 24 found more than 11 pounds of heroin hidden in her suitcase’s lining at Washington Dulles International Airport.
Nana Tweneboah, 68, is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
According to court documents, CBP officers noticed that Tweneboah’s black suitcase remained unusually heavy despite being emptied of its contents.
A CBP officer inspected the lining of the suitcase and discovered a large package concealed within the bottom lining of the suitcase. That package allegedly contained a brown, powdery substance, a sample of which field-tested positive for heroin.
The substance weighed 11 pounds, 6.8 ounces. It had a street value of approximately $365,000.
CBP officers turned Tweneboah and the suspected heroin over to Homeland Security Investigations agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
CBP officers placed a detainer on Tweneboah for her to be returned to CBP upon adjudication of her charges. CPB officials said she arrived from Ghana via Amsterdam, the Netherlands, shortly after 3 p.m. Christmas Eve. She was reportedly destined to an address in Alexandria to visit her son and daughter.