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.

Suspects in Smash in Grabs Behind Bars

Two suspects in a rash of smashed window incidents are now behind bars. Christopher Michael Hess and Felicia Ann Somers, both 23 of Martinsburg, were arrested in Mineral County, West Virginia on outstanding warrants from Winchester. The warrants relate to eight reports of windows being busted out and purses being stolen from vehicles between November 3rd and November 22nd. Hess is charged with 10 felony counts of credit card larceny, eight counts of destruction of property, four counts of petty larceny, and three counts of grand larceny. Somers is charged with one felony count of credit card larceny, two counts of vandalism, and two counts of grand larceny. They’re being held at Potomac Highlands Regional Jail.

The Winchester Police Department thanks the public for its help in identifying the suspects when surveillance video of the suspect’s vehicle was released.

Christopher Hess

Christopher Hess

Felicia Ann Somers

Felicia Ann Somers


Winchester Police Charge Man with Attempted Second Degree Murder

The Winchester Police Department has charged a city resident with attempted second degree murder following an incident Tuesday morning. Officers responded to the 2300 block of Valley Avenue at 5:22 a.m. in reference to a domestic situation. Officers were informed by a female that a male had held a gun to her head and pulled the trigger, but the firearm did not fire. Jonathan Lee Long, Sr., 51, was charged with domestic violence, brandishing a firearm, and reckless handling of a firearm. Officers also served Long with warrants for attempted second degree murder and felony child neglect. He is being held without bond at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center. The incident remains under investigation.

Jonathan Lee Long, Sr.

Jonathan Lee Long, Sr.

The Search is on for Suspect in Smash and Grabs

The Winchester Police Department has obtained 25 warrants for a suspect in a rash of smashed window incidents. Within minutes of posting the information on social media, the public helped identify the owner of a vehicle seen on surveillance video during the incidents. Christopher Michael Hess, 23, of Martinsburg is now facing 10 felony counts of credit card larceny, eight counts of destruction of property, four counts of petty larceny, and three counts of grand larceny. The charges stem from eight reports of windows being busted out and purses being stolen from vehicles between November 3rd and November 22nd. Additional charges are pending.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Christopher Michael Hess is asked to call the Crime Solvers HOTLINE at 540-665-TIPS.

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.

Road to Recovery Website Provides Addiction Resources

Heroin Overdose Deaths Rise to 30

WINCHESTER – The number of people in the Northern Shenandoah Valley who have died from a heroin overdose this year has risen to 30. The Addiction Action Committee continues to work to find solutions for an epidemic that is impacting families across our region. The Addiction Action Committee recently launched a website,, that includes awareness and education initiatives to inform the community about the disease of addiction, promote prevention, and offer helpful resources, locally and beyond. The website provides information for those struggling with addiction, family members of individuals living with addiction, parents, and community members.R2R Banner

The website provides information on the following ways the community can get involved:

  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of drug use, dependence, and addiction.
  • Seek help for your loved ones living with addiction.
  • Clean out your medicine cabinet and remove unwanted or expired medications. Take your unwanted medications to a drug collection unit like the one in front of the Timbrook Public Safety Center at 231 East Piccadilly Street, Winchester.
  • Lock up your prescription medications at home.
  • Report information on drug activity in your community by contacting the Northwest VA Regional Drug Task Force at 540-535-0304 or

The website includes the number for Concern Hotline, 540-667-0145, where callers can speak to a person 24 hours a day. It is our hope that local individuals who need help will use the website as a tool to find the resources and information they need to put their lives on the road to recovery.


Street Closures for the Old Town Christmas Parade

The holiday season officially kicks off in Winchester on Monday, December 1st with the annual Old Town Christmas Parade. A number of street closures will be in place to allow the bands, floats, and of course Santa Claus to make their way through the city. The following streets will be shut down at 6 p.m. and will reopen immediately following the parade.WPD Badge


  • Cameron Street from Fairfax Lane to Monmouth Street
  • Piccadilly Street from Cameron Street to Braddock Street
  • Braddock Street from Piccadilly Street to Cork Street
  • Cork Street from Braddock Street to Kent Street
  • Boscawen Street from Braddock Street to Kent Street
  • Indian Alley from Piccadilly Street to Cork Street


Traffic will be diverted one block from each of the closures. Parking restrictions go into effect at 4 p.m. in areas marked with “No Parking” signs.

The parade gets underway at 7 p.m. Parking is available for $5 at any of the four downtown autoparks:

  • George Washington & Court Square (on Cameron St) – Use Kent Street entrance/exit only
  • Braddock Street Autopark – No exit allowed until parade in finished
  • Loudoun Autopark – No access restrictions

The Winchester Police Department’s Honor Guard, K9 Kota, and police officers along with their children will be participating in this year’s parade. We hope to see you there and we wish you a safe holiday season!

Car Caught on Camera in Smashed Window Incidents

The Winchester Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying the owner of a car that is seen on surveillance video during local smash and grabs. Detectives are investigating eight reports of windows being busted out and purses being stolen from vehicles. The incidents happened between November 3rd and November 22nd. Five of the incidents occurred in parking lots located in the 100 block of Tevis Street. The three other incidents happened in the 200 block of Featherbed Lane, the 2400 block of South Pleasant Valley Road, and the 1st block of Weems Lane.Suspect Vehicle Driver Side

The suspect’s vehicle is described as an older model dark green 4 door sedan with a spoiler on the back. The vehicle appears to be a Chevrolet. The vehicle has a bright smaller sticker on the driver’s side rear door vent glass. It also appears the vehicle does not have any rear hubcaps.

Anyone with information on the owner of the vehicle is asked to call the Crime Solvers HOTLINE at 540-665-TIPS.
Suspect Vehicle Passenger Side

Donations Being Collected for the 15th Annual Timbrook Food and Toy Drive

The Ricky Timbrook Food and Toy Drive has been an annual tradition for the past 15 years. This year more than 35 Winchester families will benefit from the donations given by local residents. The drive provides less fortunate families in the city with gifts and meals around the holidays. The food and toy drive has been held every year since Ricky Timbrook was killed in the line of duty in 1999. Sergeant Timbrook had a passion for giving back to the community and his family, along with the Winchester Police Department, continues to carry on his legacy.

2013 Timbrook Food & Toy Drive

2013 Timbrook Food & Toy Drive

The Department of Social Services provides the list of families who will benefit from the annual drive. Toys are being collected for children who are 18 and under. Monetary donations are also being accepted. Those wishing to make a monetary donation can make checks payable to the Ricky Timbrook Memorial Foundation. Checks can be dropped off or mailed to the Winchester Police Department. The drive also includes non-perishable food items. The items will be collected until December 12th and will be delivered to the families on December 13th.

Collection boxes have been placed at seven locations throughout Winchester including:

  • Timbrook Public Safety Center, Piccadilly Street
  • War Memorial Building in Jim Barnett Park
  • Joint Judicial Center, North Kent Street
  • Rouss City Hall, North Cameron Street
  • Daniel Morgan Middle School
  • Handley High School
  • Youth Development Center (YDC), Battaile Drive

The Winchester Police Department would like to thank the public for helping out local community members who are in need this holiday season.


Three Juveniles, One Adult Charged in Overnight Incident

Winchester Police Officers responded to the 2300 block of South Pleasant Valley Road around 3:15 a.m. for the report of a weapon being brandished. An investigation at the scene revealed that three juveniles and an 18-year-old had broken into Church of Christ at Mountain View on Narrow Lane in Frederick County, and had stolen items out of unlocked vehicles in Winchester. A gun was one of the items taken from the unlocked cars. Alexander Michael Ritter, 18, of Winchester, called police after he became concerned about the juveniles having a gun inside of a vehicle in a parking lot on South Pleasant Valley Road. Officers made contact with the juveniles and recovered the firearm. Ritter is charged with grand larceny, three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, possession of marijuana, and breaking and entering out of Frederick County. He was taken to the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center and held without bond.

Alexander Michael Ritter

Alexander Michael Ritter

The three juveniles are a 14-year-old male from Winchester, a 15-year-old male from Winchester, and a 16-year-old male from Powhatan, VA. Officers have filed for a juvenile petition for grand larceny against each of them. Other charges against the juveniles are pending. They were all taken to the Northwestern Regional Juvenile Detention Center. It is still being determined how many cars were broken into.