Winchester Police Investigate Breaking and Entering

The Winchester Police Department is investigating a breaking and entering that happened on January 28th in the 300 block of Avon Court. Between 8 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. someone broke into a townhome and stole the following items:

  • 3 televisions
  • A gaming system and games
  • Money
  • Jewelry
  • A cell phone
  • A tablet

The items are valued at a total of more than $3,000.

Detectives are hoping someone saw these items being taken from this area. Anyone with information on this incident is asked call the Crime Solvers HOTLINE at 540-665-TIPS. Individuals who are able to provide information that leads to an arrest in the case could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Help Identify Suspect in Shoplifting

The Winchester Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect in a felony shoplifting that happened on January 19th. Officers responded to Kohl’s located in the 2100 block of South Pleasant Valley Road around 5:30 p.m. in reference to a shoplifting. A white female could be seen on surveillance cameras taking around $300 worth of jewelry and then leaving the store. She left in a grey four door sedan with a West Virginia license plate.Kohls Shoplifting Suspect

Anyone with information on the suspect in this case is asked call the Crime Solvers HOTLINE at 540-665-TIPS. Individuals who are able to provide information that leads to an arrest in the case could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Don’t Break the Law, Brake for Buses

The Winchester Police Department and Winchester Public Schools are teaming up on a campaign to remind drivers they have to stop when a school bus’s lights are flashing, even if they’re driving in the opposite direction unless there is a median. The campaign focuses on the safety of our children who get on and off school buses on a daily basis.Don't Break the Law, Brake for Buses Flyer

Drivers are reminded that whether you’re driving toward a stopped school bus or following behind one, you must stop when the bus’s flashing lights are on. When you are travelling on a four lane road without a divided highway and a school bus comes to a stop, you must also stop. Examples of these roads in the City of Winchester are Valley Avenue (Route 11) and Pleasant Valley Road.

Those in violation of the law will be charged with reckless driving, a class 1 misdemeanor that is punishable with up to one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.

The campaign’s message is Don’t Break the Law, Brake for Buses. During the week of January 20th officers will be stepping up patrols to ensure drivers are stopping when a bus’s red lights are flashing.

Children often forget to look both ways when they are getting on or off the bus, and these traffic laws are in place to prevent an accident involving a school bus or the bus riders. Your cooperation can help ensure that our children get to school and back home safely every day.

Code of Virginia § 46.2-859. Passing a stopped school bus; prima facie evidence.

A person driving a motor vehicle shall stop such vehicle when approaching, from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children, the elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons, and shall remain stopped until all the persons are clear of the highway, private road or school driveway and the bus is put in motion; any person violating the foregoing is guilty of reckless driving. The driver of a vehicle, however, need not stop when approaching a school bus if the school bus is stopped on the other roadway of a divided highway, on an access road, or on a driveway when the other roadway, access road, or driveway is separated from the roadway on which he is driving by a physical barrier or an unpaved area. The driver of a vehicle also need not stop when approaching a school bus which is loading or discharging passengers from or onto property immediately adjacent to a school if the driver is directed by a law-enforcement officer or other duly authorized uniformed school crossing guard to pass the school bus. This section shall apply to school buses which are equipped with warning devices prescribed in § 46.2-1090 and are painted yellow with the words “School Bus” in black letters at least eight inches high on the front and rear thereof. Only school buses which are painted yellow and equipped with the required lettering and warning devices shall be identified as school buses.

The testimony of the school bus driver, the supervisor of school buses or a law-enforcement officer that the vehicle was yellow, conspicuously marked as a school bus, and equipped with warning devices as prescribed in § 46.2-1090 is prima facie evidence that the vehicle is a school bus.

Update on Items Taken From Storage Units

The Winchester Police Department wants to update the public on items that were taken out of storage units at All Points Self Storage. The following items have been identified as stolen:

  • Honda Dirt Bike – red and white in color
  • 32 inch Vizio television
  • Gibson Acoustic Guitar
  • Fender Telecaster Guitar
  • 2 guitar amps

On January 11th around 10:45 a.m. officers responded to the business in the 3000 block of Shawnee Drive for reports of storage units being broken into. It was discovered that several locks had been cut off of the units. The incident happened during the overnight hours between January 10th and 11th.

Anyone with information on these incidents or the items taken is asked to call the Crime Solvers HOTLINE at 540-665-TIPS. Individuals who are able to provide information that leads to an arrest in the case could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Update on Fatal Crash Involving Bicyclist

The victim of a fatal crash that happened Friday night is 59-year-old Kevin Patrick Doherty of Winchester. Doherty was traveling westbound on Handley Boulevard on his bike when he was hit by an SUV that was turning eastbound on Handley Boulevard from Stewart Street. He was taken to Winchester Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The driver of the SUV was charged with reckless driving for failing to yield to the right of way of the bicyclist.

The Winchester Police Department sends its condolences to both families involved in this tragic crash.

Fatal Crash Under Investigation

The Winchester Police Department is investigating a fatal crash involving a man on a bike. Around 7 p.m. officers responded to the intersection of Handley Boulevard and South Stewart Street for a pedestrian struck. An SUV was turning eastbound on Handley Boulevard from Stewart Street when it struck a male on a bicycle who was traveling westbound on Handley Boulevard. The male was struck in the middle of the intersection. He was taken to Winchester Medical Center where he died. The victim is a 59-year-old from Winchester whose identity will not be released until next-of-kin are notified. Martha Gaines, 68, of Frederick County is charged with reckless driving.

The incident remains under investigation.

Additional information regarding this incident will be released once it is available.

Ring in the New Year Safely

Start off your New Year with a plan to arrive home safely after the celebrations. If you know your plans include drinking, be sure to designate a sober drive before you leave home. The Winchester Police Department will have extra patrols out tomorrow night and early into Thursday morning and officers will be on the lookout for impaired drivers. The Winchester Police Department has a no tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving.Happy New Year

The following streets will be closed beginning at the noted times on New Year’s Eve for First Night Winchester:

4 p.m.             Boscawen Street from Braddock Street to Kent Street

East Lane from Woodstock Lane to Cork Street

10:45 p.m.      Cameron Street from Cork Street to Piccadilly Street

11:45 p.m.       Kent Street from Cork Street to Piccadilly Street

  • Vehicles will be allowed to travel south on Kent Street from Piccadilly Street to access the George Washington Autopark only, but will not be allowed to travel south of that location after the designated time that Kent Street is closed. Vehicles may also access the Court Square Autopark by traveling north on Kent Street from Cork Street, but will not be allowed past that location.

The streets will reopen at the conclusion of the fireworks once pedestrian traffic has had a chance to clear out of the area. This normally occurs around 12:30 a.m.

We wish everyone a safe and happy New Year!

Man Posing as Clarke County Deputy Scams Local Residents

A man who is claiming to be a Clarke County Deputy is scamming local residents out of money. The Winchester Police Department has received two reports of a male calling local residents and claiming to be “Michael or Mike Crawford” from the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office. He tells the victim that she missed federal jury duty and that if she loads money on a prepaid card he can get rid of the warrant for her arrest. The first victim, a 44-year-old from Winchester, loaded $100 onto a card and gave the suspect the card information over the phone. The second victim, a 57-year-old from Bluemont, loaded $489 onto the card and gave the suspect the numbers on the card.Phone Scam Pic

There are hundreds of scams circulating that involve requests for money to be wired or loaded onto a prepaid card. Winchester Police remind residents to be suspicious of any request for you to wire money or load money onto a prepaid card. You should never wire or send money to someone you don’t know. If someone calls you and claims to be a local law enforcement officer, hang up and call the agency directly.

If you believe you have been a victim of this phone scam contact the police department to make a report.

Business Donates Hundreds of Items to Help Area Families in Need

Greenbay Packaging

Major Kelly Rice presents Lori Bassler and Frank Hetzel with a Certificate of Appreciation

For the second year in a row employees at a local business have gathered hundreds of items to ensure local families aren’t going without this holiday season. On Thursday, Green Bay Packaging donated more than 770 cans of food, 500 warm clothing items, and 200 toys to the Timbrook Food and Toy Drive. The employees at the packaging company gathered the donations and held competitions amongst the various shifts. “We took a vote and the Timbrook Fund seems to touch people because it helps not only children, but families as a whole,” says Customer Service Manager Lori Bassler. Dave Denson who is on the third shift was one of the biggest donors and brought in a number of canned goods.

Shipping Technician Frank Hetzel also got support from Stateline Exxon, Dollar Saver, and Walmart.

More than 35 Winchester families will benefit from this year’s drive.

All of the items that have been donated to the Timbrook Food and Toy Drive will be sorted on Friday, December 12, 2014 at 11 a.m. The items will be delivered on Saturday around 8 a.m.

A Healthy Resolution: Make Mental Health a Top Priority

On average, the Winchester Police Department responds to assist a person with a mental health crisis every other day. While many New Year’s resolutions focus on changing our outward appearances by losing weight or hitting the gym, the Winchester Police Department encourages residents to also consider making their mental health a priority as we head into a new year.Mental Health

The holidays can cause people to feel stressed, depressed, or overwhelmed. This is a good time of year to be reminded of the importance of maintaining good mental health and taking the time to check on those around us who may be experiencing mental health crises.

A number of officers with the Winchester Police Department have received crisis intervention training which has become a critical tool for law enforcement agencies. The CIT program, facilitated by Northwestern Community Services, educates and prepares first responders on how to recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness. The program trains officers on strategies to safely maneuver through situations involving the mentally ill, including deescalating tense situations, and then compassionately directing individuals into treatment. Crisis intervention teams (CIT) have been shown to reduce unnecessary restraint and incarceration of people with mental illness.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis call the Concern Hotline 24 hours a day at 540-667-0145. Northwestern Community Services also has a Crisis Response Therapist on duty Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Crisis Response Center can be reached by calling 540-635-4804 and choosing option one. When a therapist is not on duty, the line will roll over to the Concern Hotline.

As you ring in the New Year make a healthy resolution to make your mental health care top-of-mind.