Crime History, Nov. 26, 1965: Arlo Guthrie arrest leads to anti-war song, ‘Alice’s Restaurant’

On this day, Nov. 26, in 1965, Arlo Guthrie was arrested in Stockbridge, Mass., for dumping some trash following a Thanksgiving feast at a restaurant run by Alice Brock.

Guthrie, the oldest son of the legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie, wrote a 15-minute song about the event that became a Thanksgiving folk classic, “Alice’s Restaurant.”

Arlo Guthrie

Arlo Guthrie

Guthrie, 18, dumped the half-ton of garbage on the side of cliff after learning that the town dump was closed for the holiday.

He was the next morning arrested after Police Officer William Obanhein — Officer Obie in the 15-minute long song — found an envelope with his name on it. He was fined $50 and ordered to pick up the garbage.

The singer was deemed unsuitable for military service after he told his draft board of the arrest.

Guthrie turned the experience into the 1967 anti-war hit “Alice’s Restaurant,” that was also made into a movie by the same name. Obanhein played himself in the movie, saying making himself look like a fool was preferable than someone else doing it.

— Scott McCabe

D.C. police deploy ‘block the box,’ crosswalk cameras

The Metropolitan Police Department announced today the deployment of several new types of automated traffic enforcement, including to ticket drivers for ‘blocking the box’ and running stop signs.

The D.C. Street Safe campaign begins Saturday.

The D.C. Street Safe campaign begins Saturday.

The new photo enforcement technologies will start Saturday to combat aggressive and dangerous driving habits that endanger pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicle drivers and passengers.  The traffic safety enforcement will be placed in areas where it could be dangerous or impractical for police officers to pull over vehicles for violations. Here’s a map where the cameras locations.

D.C. Street Safe campaign will be comprised of the following new technologies:

•  Gridlock enforcement units that will improve traffic flow by targeting “blocking the box” at intersections;

•  Portable stop sign enforcement units to reduce violations in residential neighborhoods ;

•  Portable crosswalk enforcement units that will enhance pedestrian safety at crosswalks near schools, parks, and recreation centers;

•  Speed enforcement units that will focus on intersections with known speeding problems;

• Units that will enforce rules on oversized and overweight commercial vehicles to reduce infrastructure damage and enhance quality of life in our neighborhoods.

The locations for the automated devices were selected based on a variety of criteria, including sites with crashes and injuries, calls for service, high speed volume, near schools, or in zones prohibited for use by certain commercial vehicles.

Cameras will issue warnings to vehicles for violations until Dec. 29. Beginning Monday, Dec. 30, cameras at new locations will issue fines for violations.

For more information about the new technology, the locations of all automated enforcement units, and DC Street Safe videos, please visit

Crime History, Nov. 22, 1994: Gunman kills three law enforcement officers in D.C. police headquarters

On this day, Nov. 22, in 1994, Bennie Lee Lawson Jr., shot and killed three law enforcement officers and wounded another inside the D.C. police headquarters.

Sgt. Hank Daly

Sgt. Hank Daly

At 3:15 p.m., Lawson walked into the building at 300 Indiana Ave., NW, with a MAC-11 semiautomatic assault weapon. He intended to shoot a detective investigating him in a triple homicide. Instead, Lawson, 25, wound up in the third-floor offices of the cold case squad. Lawson probably never realized he was in the room office.

Sgt. Henry J. “Hank” Daly, a 28-year veteran who headed up the unit, asked Lawson if he needed help. Lawson pulled the weapon out of his jacket, mumbled something like,  “”This is what it’s about.” He shot Daly, 51, in the head and face, killing him. Lawson then opened fire, killing FBI agent Michael John Miller, 36.

FBI agent Martha Martinez

FBI agent Martha Martinez

FBI agent Martha Dixon Martinez, 35, managed to shoot Lawson, but he had shot her, too, and she dropped her weapon.

He picked up her gun, fatally shot her in the head, and then turned the gun on himself.

Another agent, John Kuchta, was shot five times and survived.

A note in Lawson’s belongings said: “Wanted dead, Captain Hennessy & staff,” referring to the head of the homicide detectives, who had interviewed Lawson four weeks earlier for a triple-killing in Petworth that left dead an 89-year-old retired federal worker, the man’s granddaughter and a neighbor.

FBI agent Mike Miller

FBI agent Mike Miller

In 1996, the city changed the name of the headquarters to the Henry J. Daly Building and placed a bronze likeness of Daly in the building’s lobby.

— Scott McCabe

The Crime Scene: Subpoena of Petraeus denied in socialite murder; arrest in strip club killing; and who keeps stolen Renoir?

This  .380 semi-auto handgun was recovered in the 2300 block of Hartford Street in D.C. Wednesday night.

This .380 semi-auto handgun was recovered in the 2300 block of Hartford Street in D.C. Wednesday night.

We round up the top crime stories because you need to get out of Dodge.

Hearing set to determine ownership of stolen Renoir (Baltimore Sun)

MPD wants stronger penalties for hurting D.C. police dogs (WAMU)

Md. police identify victim in 1986 slaying (Associated Press)

Armed kidnapping suspect eludes authorities (D.C. Crime Stories)

Update: Armed kidnapping suspect captured in southeast D.C.

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown

UPDATE: Friday, Nov. 22

The Fugitive Task Force arrested Jeff Brown at an apartment in Elvans Road, in Southeast, Washington, DC, without incident. This was not a result of a readers tip.

By Scott McCabe

The U.S. Marshals are on the hunt for an area man wanted in an armed kidnapping in D.C. last month, and they are asking the public for information to help track him down.

A warrant for 26-year-old Jeff Brown were issued out of D.C. Superior Court in October, and marshals deputies say they’ve been aggressively searching for him escape. Deputies have caught up o Brown on a couple occasions but he was able to escape, once on foot and once in a vehicle.

He was last seen in Capital Heights in a silver Audi with black rims. Marshals are turning to the public to help find him down before someone gets hurt.

“Brown is desperate and willing to go to extremes to evade capture. He is receiving help from friends and does not want to go back to jail,” said Matt Burke, supervisory inspector for the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force. “We want the public’s help in sending this dangerous fugitive back to jail before he hurts someone.”

Brown has a history of arrests for narcotics and firearms violations. He should be considered armed and dangerous.

Brown is listed as 6-feet-tall and 150 pounds, with tattoos of writing on his left neck, chest and upper right arm.

Brown has lived and frequented the areas of Capital Heights and Greenbelt, and Southeast and Northwest Washington.

Anyone with information should contact the task force at 301-489-1717.

Crime History, Nov. 21, 1986: Oliver North, Fawn Hall begin shredding Iran-Contra evidence

During the Congressional hearings, Lt. Col. Oliver North admitted that he had lied to Congress.

During the Congressional hearings, Lt. Col. Oliver North admitted that he had lied to Congress.

On this day, Nov. 21, in 1986, National Security Council staff member Lt. Col. Oliver North and his secretary, Fawn Hall, started shredding documents that would have exposed his participation in what became known as Iran-Contra.

Fawn Hall

Fawn Hall

When it became apparent that the illegal operation was about to be revealed, Hall and North began a frantic “shredding party,” stuffing a nearly two-foot stack of documents through an electric shredder. Hall also removed sensitive documents from the White House by hiding them in her undergarments.

The details came to light in the summer of 1987 during the must-see televised Congressional Iran-Contra hearings.

North admitted to being involved in the illegal sale of weapons to Iran and the diversion of the money to support the Contra rebel groups in Nicaragua. North said the entire Reagan administration had known about the plan. President Reagan and Vice President Bush said they did not know about the scheme.

North was found guilty of shredding documents, obstruction of justice and illegally receiving a security fence for his own residence. The conviction was overturned because some of the evidence came from testimony that was immunized by Congress.

– Scott McCabe

The Crime Scene: Feds took reporter’s notes from evidence room; ATF agent, wife killed; and head of D.C. FBI opens up


We round up the top crime stories because there’s a lot of journalism being committed out there.

Parents, baby killed in Frederick County shooting (WTOP)

A day in the life of head of Washington FBI (WUSA)

Congresswoman mugged near Capitol Hill (D.C. Crime Stories)

Congressman admits to cocaine charge, sentenced to probation (D.C. Crime Stories)

• Feds took reporter’s notes from evidence room (Washington Times)

Virginia man drives up $200,000 tab on Dulles toll road (NBC4)

ATF agent, wife found dead in shootings at Chantilly home (CBSDC)

• Site of mass shooting becomes a marker for D.C. resurgence (Washington Post)

Report of bat inside of Arlington home turned out to be sweatband (Washington Post)

Officer charged with lying to get search warrant (Baltimore Sun)

Metro D.C. sees increases in unclaimed remains (NBC4)

Man shot while sitting in car in Riverdale (NBC4)

Andres Cortez: Convicted under new gang law

Andres Cortez: Convicted under new gang law

Man convicted in sexual assault is also first convicted under new law targeting gangs (WAMU)

Two boys fall from moving school bus (NBC4)

D.C. fire department may encrypt scanner traffic after Navy Yard shooting (DCist)

Did mental health laws fail Sen. Deeds’ family? (WTOP)

D.C.’s automated traffic enforcement campaign kicks off (NBC4)

26 indicted in Texas-to-D.C. heroin trafficking ring (D.C. Crime Stories)

Congresswoman attacked, robbed near Capitol Hill

A Congresswoman was attacked and robbed near Capitol Hill Tuesday evening, authorities said.Grace Meng

Grace Meng, D-New York, was struck on her head near 6th Street SE and Pennsylania Avenue around 8:30 p.m. after having dinner at a restaurant, according to a statement from her office. The mugger swiped her Gucci handbag and fled, according to police.

Police found her disoriented, with injuries to her hand and face.

“While this was a frightening ordeal, I fortunately was not seriously injured,” Meng said in a statement. “Obviously, things could have been much worse. I thank the U.S. Capitol Police and the District of Columbia Police for responding quickly and professionally.”

She was taken to a hospital where she underwent a CAT scan, according to her office. She was back at work Wednesday.

Meng, 38, is a freshman from Queens, N.Y., and the first Asian American elected to Congress from New York. 

26 charged in Texas-to-D.C. heroin ring

Police said a drug ring moved heroin from South Texas to the D.C. area.

Police said a drug ring moved heroin from South Texas to the D.C. area.

Twenty-six people have been charged in a sweeping indictment of a drug ring that trafficked heroin, cocaine and marijuana from Texas to the District of Columbia, authorities said.

More than 200 federal and local law enforcement officials raided 17 locations around the capital region, resulting in the arrest of 17 people and the recovery of 18 guns, heroin, PCP and cash.

The drug ring operated in D.C., Maryland and Texas.

“We will not tolerate drug dealers who attempt to root their network within our communities and afflict our neighborhoods with their illegal trade,” said Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

In addition to the arrests today, two defendants already were in custody. Seven others were apprehended earlier this week in McAllen, Texas, near the Mexican border.

Those arrested in the D.C. area include several members of one family: Juan Floyd, 45, of Temple Hills, an alleged leader of the enterprise; his brother, John Floyd, 51, of Washington, and his daughter, Juanita N. Culbreth, 27, of Oxon Hill.

Others arrested today include: Lisa Adona, 50, of Fort Washington; Rodney Kirk Carter, 50, of Washington; Derek L. Gadsden, 54, of Washington; Donald Johnson, 51, of Washington; Mike Johnson, 30, of Deale, Md.; Albert P. Jones, 44, of Temple Hill; Vincent J. Jones, 45, of Washington; Roxanne Matthews-Baker, 47, of Washington; Maurice P. Mercer, 38, of Washington; Lawrence E. Proctor, 54, of Washington, D.C.; Darnell S. Rogers, 50, of Fort Washington.; Bruce Settles, 48, of Washington; Delshawn A. Wrice, 53, of D.C., and Jeri Wright, 60, of Suitland.

Crime History, Nov. 20, 1969: Native Americans begin 19-month takeover of Alcatraz Island

Native Americans takeover of Alcatraz Island helped end the U.S. policy of tribal assimilation.

Native Americans takeover of Alcatraz Island helped end the U.S. policy of tribal assimilation.

On this day, Nov. 20, in 1969, a group of about 80 Native Americans began a 19-month occupation of Alcatraz Island to call attention to the government’s treatment of Indians.

Alcatraz, known as “The Rock,” had been home to the country’s most notorious criminals for decades, but was closed  six years earlier. The San Francisco Bay island was considered surplus property.

Richard Oakes, a Mohawk Indian, and a group of other young Indian college students took a boat to the island and claimed “The Rock” for Indian people. The government warned the occupiers to leave, and for three days the U.S. Coast Guard tried to blockade the island, but more Indians and supplies from non-Indians began to arrive.

The group called themselves Indians of All Tribes, and demanded a center of Native American studies, a spiritual center and a museum.

They offered to buy the island for $24 in beads and cloth.

The takeover captured the attention of media around the world. Indians began to arrive from all across the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America.  One of the occupiers was a teenager, Benjamin Bratt, who would go on to “Law & Order” television fame. His mother was a Quechua native from Peru.

President Nixon acknowledged centuries of injustice toward the Indian people, and moved to honor treaties that had been ignored for years.

Historians call the Alcatraz occupation the turning point toward modern Native American advancements. Each year, Indians of all tribes return to Alcatraz Island on Thanksgiving Day to to commemorate the occupation.