Mall abductions: Fairfax County police said yesterday that they think that the same man is responsible for two abductions from Springfield Mall in which women were robbed and sexually assaulted, and they released a composite sketch of the suspect.
The two victims were abducted at gunpoint from nearly the same places: the parking lot outside Ruby Tuesday's at the mall Jan. 24, and the parking lot of the Target store on Frontier Drive on Feb. 22. In both cases, the gunman forced the women to drive to an automated teller machine and withdraw cash, then ordered them to drive to Prince George's County, where they were sexually assaulted.
Fairfax police initially were hesitant to link the cases because they did not have a description of the suspect in the second case. The composite drawing, of a black man believed to be in his twenties, about 5-foot-11 and weighing about 150 pounds, was made from information provided by the first victim. Police would not say why they now think the same man is responsible in both attacks.
Money stolen from accounts: Someone with the means to duplicate ATM bank cards and their personal identification numbers has stolen more than $80,000 from the bank accounts of 20 people in Fairfax County since late December, Fairfax police said yesterday, even though the victims never lost their cards.
After victims began noticing large, sometimes account-emptying, withdrawals they had not made, they notified Fairfax police. Officer Shelley Broderick said financial crimes investigators found a common thread: All of the victims had used the same, stand-alone cash machine at Fair Oaks Mall between Nov. 30 and Dec. 18. The unauthorized withdrawals were made between Dec. 23 and Jan. 16 at other ATMs in Northern Virginia.
Investigators examined the Fair Oaks ATM and found no faults, Broderick said. Police theorize that the suspect may have been able to lift bank account numbers from the machine and also capture individuals' personal identification numbers, then make another card or cards to gain access to victims' accounts. Fairfax County Crime Solvers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. Tipsters can call 703-691-8888.
Death investigated: A 74-year-old Oxon Hill man was found dead on his front stoop by a neighbor about 4:40 p.m. yesterday, and Prince George's County police are investigating the case as a homicide.
The man, whose name was not immediately released, died after suffering unspecified trauma to the body, said Cpl. Joe Merkel, a police spokesman.
Police think an altercation may have started inside the home in the 7400 block of River Hill Road and spilled outside. A dark-colored sport-utility vehicle with Maryland license plates and three men inside was seen leaving the area about 3 p.m., but investigators did not know whether the men might be connected to the death.
Charges in scam: Four Prince George's County men have been charged with running an elaborate scam that involved creating fake businesses to defraud banks of as much as $1 million in bogus credit card charges, federal authorities announced yesterday.
A federal grand jury indictment, unsealed in Greenbelt, alleged that the men ran stolen credit card numbers through fictitious companies, which were reimbursed by merchant banks, said Michael Stenger, special agent in charge of the Washington field office of the Secret Service .
The indictment named Andra Hawkins, 35, of Laurel; Mark Anthony Wade, 35, of Upper Marlboro; and Charles Tilghman, 38, and Dexter Bond, 38, both of Bladensburg.
Compiled from reports by staff writers.