Franconia Regional Crime Report
Period ending April 12, 2006

Police Officer Philip Edwards
Crime Prevention Unit
Fairfax County Police ~ Franconia Station
6121 Franconia Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22310-2508

Main Desk:

703.922.0889

Office:

703.922-8263

FAX:

703.719.6436

http://www.co.fairfax.va.us/ps/police ~ Fairfax County Police Department
http://www.vcpa.org~ Virginia Crime Prevention Association
Officer Edwards e-Mail: philip.edwards@fairfaxcounty.gov

The following information is authorized for release by the Fairfax County Police Department - Public Information Office (PIO). For questions concerning any portion of this report, please contact PIO at 703-246-2253.

Seniors Lose When They Think They’ve Won:
Help Protect the Senior in Your Life from Con Artists

Every day someone calls the financial crimes unit of the Fairfax County Police Department to complain about being the victim of a lottery scam. Elderly citizens are particularly vulnerable to unscrupulous callers who tell them they’ve won the lottery, but need to provide money for the taxes and registration fees. This is called “advance fee fraud.”

One victim called his son excitedly to come over to the house right away because his million dollar lottery winnings were about to be delivered. Of course, the winnings were never delivered and he was out thousands of dollars.

Unfortunately, this is rarely a crime that results in arrest. Most often the scam artists are calling from out of the country, and they use “drop” cell phones that are disposed of as soon as they collect the money or financial information they sought from the victim. So, not only are there few leads for detectives to follow, but these crimes are being perpetrated outside the victim’s jurisdiction.

The best method for combating these scams is not to be a victim of them, and if you have an elderly parent or friend, keep these tips in mind:

  • Talk to your parents about advance fee fraud, and ask them to tell you if they get any unusual calls saying they have won money or other items that require an upfront fee to collect.

  • Remind parents that there are many unscrupulous people around, and that some etiquette lessons they may have learned when young about being polite will not apply when on the phone with strangers, even friendly, persuasive and “nice” sounding people.

  • Tell parents it is okay to hang-up on people they don’t know who call them; practice it with them.

  • Persuade parents to limit the amount of credit that is available on credit cards or in bank accounts in case someone gets access to their account numbers.

  • Ask parents not to wire money or send money to anyone without talking with you first.

Most of these scams are conducted by phone, but scams can also come by mail or on the Internet, so discuss each possibility with your parents. To avoid being a victim of advance fee con artists, and to keep loved ones safe, keep this principle in mind and share it with others: True lottery winners do NOT have to pay any fees in advance; legitimate lottery operators deduct any necessary taxes from the payout. This same applies to other “free” gifts or awards. If the “giver” requires money in advance, it’s not legitimate.

CAC:

Our next regular CAC meeting will be held at the Franconia Government Center, 6121 Franconia Road, on Wednesday evening, April 19, 2006, in the Helen Wilson Community Room.  A Social Period begins at 7pm, and the General Meeting starts at 7:30pm.

MODIP: 

The Fairfax County Police Department offers residents 55 years of age and older enrollment in the Mature Operator’s Driver Improvement Program (MODIP). This eight hour course, which provides safe driving information, is sanctioned by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and is presented by certified Fairfax County Auxiliary Police Officers.  Upon completion of this course, drivers are eligible for the Virginia State-mandated insurance premium reduction (check with individual insurance carriers for the amount). The classes are normally held the second Saturday of each month at the Franconia District Station. The next seminar is scheduled at the Franconia District Station, located at 6121 Franconia Road, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on June 10, 2006. THERE WILL BE NO CLASS IN MAY.  Registration is required and can be done by contacting the MODIP reservations line at (703) 924-6588. The fee for this course is $10.00 per person for books and materials.

Weekly Incident Summary Report
April 06-12, 2006

INTERNET FRAUD

Fairfax County Crime Solvers is asking for the public’s assistance identifying the persons responsible for defrauding numerous people through Internet purchases. In December 2005, financial crimes detectives were alerted to an online purchase where merchandise was shipped to an address in Fairfax County and a counterfeit check was provided as payment. Detectives spoke to the victim and obtained cellular phone numbers used by the suspects; however, those numbers returned to untraceable, pre-paid cellular phones. In reviewing the cell phone records, detectives did find several more victims. Information from the victims led to another dead end. The e-mail accounts used by the suspects were operating under a software program that hides the true identity of the user. The suspects have defrauded the victims of approximately $80,000. Generally, the suspects bid on an item through eBay. After they win the auction, they correspond with the victim by cell phone and email. They convince the victim to ship the item via FedEx COD to a supposed home address; however the address is actually a business that ships packages. The suspects claim the item at the store and pass a counterfeit check as payment. The store then sends that payment to the seller. Detectives found at least three FedEx Kinko’s stores in Fairfax County that were used to obtain the items. They have obtained several high-dollar items over the Internet to include a diamond crucifix with princess cut diamonds set in white gold, an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Safari watch, a Game Boy system with games, Iraqi dinars, laptop computers, computer servers and more. The suspects have used the following names:  Jeremy Bowman, Joshua Bowman, Jack Thorn, Joshua Allens, Jason Belmont and Jeremy Swartz. They have used the following e-mail addresses: mrjeremybowman@yahoo.com, mrjoshuabowman@yahoo.com and jackthorn1@yahoo.com.  They have operated under the business name of "Digital Max Wholesale, LLC." At least two of the suspects used this business name to open a mail box. In doing so, they provided false identification to the store employees. It is unknown if the photo identifications actually depict the suspects. The counterfeit checks they are passing use the company name of "JP Morgan."

Man Dies in ATV Crash

Gunston Road, 9900 Block:  A 41-year-old Mason Neck-area man died on Friday, after running into a chain barrier with his all-terrain-vehicle.  Police were called to 9900 Gunston Road around 4:45 p.m. on April 7.  Family members directed the officers to an outside location on their property where they located the deceased, Darrin Bennett.  An investigation determined that Bennett ran into a chain barrier he recently erected on his property while riding alone outside.  In doing so, the chain struck him in his upper body, causing fatal injuries.

LARCENIES

Cherokee Avenue, 5500 Block

  Stereo stolen from vehicle.

Commercial Drive, 6800 Block

  Bag stolen from health club.

Franconia Road, 5800 Block

  Television, candy and sodas stolen from school.

Gunston Plaza, 7700 Block

  Wallet stolen from business.

Kalmia Street, 6500 Block

  Newspaper stolen from residence.

Kingstowne Boulevard, 5700 Block

  Clothing stolen from business.

Richmond Highway, 9400 Block

  Gasoline stolen from service station.

Rose Hill Drive, 6400 Block

  Cellular telephone stolen from playground.

Springfield Mall, 6500 Block

  CD player stolen from vehicle.

Springfield Mall, 6500 Block

  Money stolen from business.

Springfield Plaza, 6300 Block

  Batteries stolen from vehicle.

Springfield Plaza, 6400 Block

  Beer stolen from business.

Terminal Road, 8500 Block

  License plate stolen from vehicle.

VEHICLE THEFTS

No incidents reported.

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