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The following is based on selected Arlington Police Department logs from Feb. 6 through Feb. 12. No arrests were reported. Excerpts from the APD log:

Tuesday, Feb. 6

10:04 a.m. – Larceny over $1,200. Police received another report of “check washing.” An Arlington resident reported that a check he had mailed using a blue postal box by the Lexington town line (near Busa's Wine & Spirits) had been stolen, altered, processed by a bank and paid to an unknown person, to the tune of $8,000. As reported in an earlier edition of this column, there has been a rash of check washings, all currently under investigation, since December. Arlington Police Department spokesman Capt. Richard Flynn advises that all blue postal boxes in town are now risky to use and urges mailers to continue taking precautions -- such as using indelible pens to write checks -- before trusting them with their mail.

11:40 a.m. – Larceny under $1,200. A Ridge Street resident reported having received an email offering him money to display billboards on his car. After further communication, the resident agreed to a deal in which he would receive two checks totaling $1,000 as advance payment but would in return send a money order for $500 to a Florida address to pay for a large magnet to secure the billboards to his vehicle. The victim received the checks from the scammer as promised, but they turned out to be fraudulent and uncashable. The $500 is likely unrecoverable, Flynn said, and the victim should not hold his breath waiting for the promised magnets.

Wednesday, Feb. 7

4:52 p.m. – Identity Fraud. After receiving an email advertising a computer security package, a Mass. Ave. resident reportedly purchased three years of coverage for his laptop for $1,000. A week or so later, he got a message from a completely different company offering to upgrade that package for $500. Smelling a rat, the man not only declined that offer, but he also requested and got a refund from the first company, which he was pleasantly surprised to find turned out to be reputable. The man then decided to file a citizen report with police, not because he lost money himself but simply to alert the public.

6:40 p.m. – Suspicious Condition. An elderly Newman Way resident called police to report that three men had rapped aggressively on her basement apartment window and then promptly disappeared from sight. The woman later discovered apparent damage to the outside of the window. Police advised her to speak to the building manager about the window. This was not the woman's first report to police of unmannerly strangers knocking on her window after dark. The department has ordered extra patrols for the area.

10:26 p.m. – Accident with Injury. A woman and two minors were reportedly walking a dog along Pleasant Street when the dog pulled violently on its leash and lunged into the roadway, where it was struck by the side bumper of a moving gray Honda. After bounding away and briefly disappearing from sight, the dog was located by its owner and found to have blood under its left eye. One of the minors suffered ribcage lacerations from the yanked leash, but the walkers decided that he did not need immediate medical treatment. An animal officer urged taking the dog to a veterinarian for examination. Officers judged the motorist not at fault.

Thursday, Feb. 8

4:38 p.m. – Larceny under $1,200. A Forest Street resident called police to report that a pair of skis that she had owned for 22 years (originally worth $600) had been removed from her Chevy Equinox by an unknown party while the car was parked outside her home. Doing her own detective work, the woman said, she had later found the very same skis for sale on Facebook Marketplace (now priced at $75). She said she was positive that the ones she saw listed were hers because the skis were old and one had an easily recognized chip off its varnished surface. The woman told police that she had been reluctant to confront the seller herself and hoped that police would step in. An investigation is in progress.

6:52 p.m. – Accident with Injury. Arlington police arrived at the intersection of Lake and Cross streets only to find Belmont police already tending to a motorcyclist lying injured by the roadway following a collision with a car. The cyclist, a 43-year-old Somerville resident, had been proceeding south on Lake Street in fairly heavy traffic when he was struck by a black Nissan trying to make a left turn across his path onto Cross Street. The Nissan driver, a 23-year-old female from Belmont, had chosen what she thought was a gap in the traffic to make a quick turn onto Cross Street and failed to notice the cyclist, who she claimed “didn't have his lights on and was probably driving too fast.” Armstrong paramedics examined the cyclist, who said he had no memory of the crash and complained of ribcage pains and agreed to be taken to a local hospital. The Nissan driver, who was carrying four passengers, also complained of unspecified injuries and, after receiving a failure to yield citation, opted to go to the hospital for treatment as well. The vehicles were removed by a towing company. Flynn commented on the danger of making turns across fast-moving oncoming traffic because what the turning driver sees as a gap to dart through may contain a surprise, such as a motorcyclist, he said.

Friday, Feb. 9

9:09 p.m. – Identity Fraud. A 25-year-old Damon Park resident called police saying that she had received a phone call from a man claiming to be from the U.S. Treasury who warned that a thief had appropriated her identity and used it to smuggle drugs and to buy property in Texas. The man then counseled her that she could protect herself from any liability resulting from the criminal use of her name and personal information by enrolling in a special protection program he was authorized to offer for a $20,000 deposit by her into a “machine crypto account.” Following the man's instructions, the young woman made an initial deposit of $5,000, but, then, after starting to have doubts, reached out to the APD for help. Police confirmed that she had been scammed, and are investigating.

Saturday, Feb. 10

12:13 a.m. Customer Problem. Police were called to the 900 block of Mass. Ave. in response to a dispute between an Uber driver and a passenger. The passenger, a 47-year-old Arlington resident, protested that the driver had refused to take him all the way to his destination. The driver, a 64-year-old Revere resident, recounted that the passenger had been yelling over and over that he was dissatisfied with the service -- and that he, the driver, was tired of having that message shouted in his ear. The driver also said that the passenger had subsequently leaned against and damaged the passenger-side door post after exiting the vehicle. Officers stayed on the scene until the dispute abated. The police report stated that the damage to the car was “questionable.” Flynn commented that the acrimonious exchange between the two men was finally judged not to be a police matter.


Feb. 8, 2024: Police blotter Jan. 30-Feb. 5: Break-in confirmed, but perpetrator escapes; more ID frauds/scams


This column by YourArlington volunteer writer Chris Wilbur was published Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, based on information from Arlington Police Department daily logs, explanations from APD spokesman Capt. Richard Flynn and YourArlington's files.