Nine area residents, who in several incidents took action that led to the arrests of eight persons on various criminal charges, were honored for heroism last month by the Fairfax County Police Department.
The nine either provided information that led to a person's arrest or physically apprehended a suspect who was subsequently charged with a crime, police said. The charges ranged from attempted rape, robbery and burglary to traffic violations and fraud.
Honored were Mary Jane Schoen, Tom Fife Jr., Jim McAuley and Jerry Weysan, all of Herndon, John W. Whitney of Vienna, David C. Yorck of Arlington, Sandra White of Alexandria, Peter Flora of Reston, and Frieda C. Katrivanos of Alexandria.
According to police, Schoen was walking past a deserted field near Herndon when she heard the terrified screams of a woman being attacked. She stepped into the street and flagged down a car occupied by Fife, McAuley and Weysan.
Almost simultaneously a woman raced from the field, shouting that a man had just attempted to rape her. The three men, spotting the suspect fleeing across the field, leaped out of the car and chased him on foot until they were able to catch and hold him until police arrived.
Whitney, a teacher at Falls Church High School, spotted two suspected robbers fleeing from the school. He chased them from the school grounds toward Arlington Boulevard where they eluded him in heavy traffic.
Whitney shouted for help and Yorck, who was driving past the scene, heard the summons. He jumped out of his car and began chasing one of the suspected robbers, nabbing and holding him until police arrived. The second suspect was apprehended later and both were charged with robbery, police said.
White helped police catch suspected lawbreakers in two separate events. In the first instance, she spotted a suspicious person lurking near a neighbor's house and summoned police, who discovered a burglary in progress.
In the second instance, she called police when she spotted another man attempting to elude police. As a result of information she supplied, a 37-year-old man was arrested and charged with the attempted rape of a 13-year-old girl.
Flora observed a hit-and-run accident and tailed the vehicle that left the scene. He jotted down its license number and a description of the driver. The driver was later arrested and charged with several traffic violations. Flora also testified in court against the driver.
Katrivanos aided police in trapping a "flimflam" artist by posing as a decoy victim. Police said her role helped them arrest two persons who had victimized several area residents.
"The actions of these fine people exemplify the spirit of community involvement that the police department has striven for through such programs as Neighorhood Watch," said Police Chief Carroll D. Buracker.