Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Car stolen in Twinbrook area of Rockville

Montgomery County police are investigating the theft of a vehicle in the Twinbrook area of Rockville. The vehicle was parked along the street in the 13100 block of Ardennes Avenue, near Twinbrook Elementary School. It is believed that the vehicle was stolen sometime between 10:00 PM Sunday night, and 5:30 AM Monday morning.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Armed carjacking in Rockville

Rockville City police responded to a report of an armed carjacking late Sunday night, August 28, 2022. The carjacking was reported in the 5700 block of Fishers Lane at 11:33 PM Sunday. 

Photo courtesy RCPD

Ding Tea for sale in Rockville

Ding Tea,
a tea shop selling bubble tea, milk tea, macha and more at 785-C Rockville Pike, is being marketed for sale. The shop remains open, but according to the sale listing, the owner is moving out-of-state and would like to sell the business. Asking price is $650,000. The lease for the shop at the Ritchie Center has two years remaining on it, with a 5-year renewal option.

Ding Tea opened in January 2020, but managed to survive the pandemic lockdowns and downturn. Rent for the shop's space is currently $5100 a month, according to the sale listing.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Maryland governor candidate Wes Moore won't debate GOP rival Dan Cox at Morgan State University

Wes Moore, Democratic nominee for governor of Maryland, has declined a debate invitation from Morgan State University. MSU is the largest among the state's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox accepted the invitation, and said he will debate an empty chair representing Moore at MSU on September 27. According to The MSU Spokesman campus newspaper, which is hosting the debate, a Moore spokesperson provided the paper with a contradictory statement when asked why Moore would not accept the invite.

The Moore spokesperson said that the candidate would not debate Cox because Moore does not want to provide a platform "that amplifies his dangerous and decisive (sic) rhetoric." Yet, the spokesperson went on to say that Moore would debate "at the appropriate time and forum." Moore has so far declined at least two invitations by organizations that have invited him to debate Cox.

“The students at Morgan State University deserve inclusive treatment for their historic debate,” Cox said in a statement. "Moore should not discriminate against them, nor diminish the University’s leadership in political debates. Voters need to hear directly from their candidates, so they can make well-informed decisions on how to vote November 8th.” The Cox campaign said their candidate accepted the MSU invite "immediately."

Rockville police to host open house September 10, 2022

Rockville City police will host an Open House event at the police department's headquarters at 2 W. Montgomery Avenue on Saturday, September 10, 2022 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Attendees will have the chance to meet city police officers, get a close-up look at their vehicles and equipment, and watch K-9 demonstrations. The all-ages event will also feature activities for children, including a moon bounce, games, treats and a visit from McGruff the Crime Dog. Free parking for the free event will be available two blocks away at Rockville City Hall, at 111 Maryland Avenue.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Car stolen from Rockville parking lot

Montgomery County police are investigating the theft of a vehicle from a commercial parking lot in Rockville yesterday morning, August 27, 2022. The vehicle was reported stolen from a lot in the 12200 block of Rockville Pike at 8:45 AM Saturday. Items were also reported stolen from at least one other vehicle in the same parking lot.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Rockville police tout haul of more than 300 firearms at gun buyback event (Photos)

Rockville City police held a gun buyback event today at the police department's parking lot. About an hour after the event ended at 2:00 PM, the department announced it had bought over 300 guns from the public. Gun owners waited in lines to get in to the drive-up sale, which was offering $100 gift cards for handguns, rifles and shotguns, and $200 cards for assault weapons and ghost guns. The sales were anonymous, with "no questions asked."

Photos via Rockville City Police Department

Friday, August 26, 2022

Assault at Rockville Town Square

Rockville City police responded to a report of a simple assault at a restaurant at Rockville Town Square yesterday morning. The assault was reported at a restaurant in the unit block of Maryland Avenue at 5:39 AM Thursday. In Maryland, a simple assault charge covers any unwanted physical contact with a victim.

Women attacked, one by gang of 5 men, in latest assaults at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

The summer's eighth and ninth assaults at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda this week targeted women, according to people familiar with the incidents. A 2nd-degree assault reported to Montgomery County police at the mall this past Sunday evening resulted in a female victim being transported to the hospital with serious injuries, including a concussion. On Tuesday night, August 23, 2022 at 8:02 PM, a mall worker called 911 after witnessing a group of five male teenagers or young men attacking a woman on the top level of a mall parking garage. 

In a separate incident, a customer of the currency exchange kiosk at the mall reported that he was being watched by three teenagers as he counted the foreign currency he received at the counter. The male teens followed the customer throughout the mall. When he finally exited the mall, they began to close in on him. They fled only after the customer shouted at them, and began taking their pictures using his phone.

Montgomery County's elected officials and police chief have not publicly spoken about the trend of violent assaults at the mall this summer, nor provided more details about the incidents, which began May 18. The issue is clearly on their radar, and the mall operator's, as the police department has announced plans to open a "resource room" at the mall.

Mall patrons, particularly if shopping alone, should be aware of their surroundings. If what you see prompts concern about your safety in a given situation, contact mall security or the information desk, and request an escort to your vehicle. Call 911 if it is an emergency or immediate threat.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Marc Elrich victory confirmed as Montgomery County Executive election results are certified

The Montgomery County Board of Elections certified the results of the July 19, 2022 gubernatorial primary election yesterday. A full recount in the Democratic Montgomery County Executive primary race confirmed the victory of incumbent Marc Elrich over second-place finisher David Blair. Final results showed Elrich with 55,504 votes, and Blair with 55,472 votes, a difference of only 32 votes.

Elrich will face Republican Reardon Sullivan in the November general election. While the lengthy counting and recount provided a final result more than a month after the primary, the small change in votes produced by the recount does help to boost confidence in the integrity of the vote-counting process in Montgomery County.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

President Joe Biden to speak at rally in Rockville on Thursday, August 25

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will appear at a Maryland Democratic Party rally on Thursday, August 25, 2022 in Rockville at Richard Montgomery High School, located at 250 Richard Montgomery Drive. The rally, which will also feature Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore and Maryland comptroller nominee Brooke Lierman, will run from 4:00 to 8:00 PM. Doors will open at 4:00 PM, and the official event page says attendees should be there no later than that time for an orderly check-in. 

Biden will arrive in Rockville tomorrow with a full head of steam politically. Over the past few weeks, the strong belief by many pundits that Republicans would gain full control of Congress in November's election has appeared increasingly doubtful, particularly in the Senate. Whether the President was responsible for gas prices falling or not, the issue of fuel costs is no longer a daily topic in the mainstream media. Biden scored one legislative victory after another this summer, steamrolling over seemingly-prone Republicans in Congress, and then took out an al-Qaeda leader for good measure. Polls within the last 24 hours show Biden's previously-dismal approval rating is rising from the mid-30s to the low-to-mid 40s, with plenty of runway ahead between now and Election Day.

Maryland supporters of President Donald Trump and Maryland GOP gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox appear to have more energy than the Republicans in Congress. They announced they will hold a "Freedom Rally" outside the Rockville Biden event tomorrow, and are asking fellow supporters to bring "flags and yard signs" to wave. "Show Joe Biden and Wes Moore that Maryland is a FREE state," the event flyer reads.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Car stolen from home in Rockville

Montgomery County police are investigating the theft of a vehicle from outside of a home in Rockville. The vehicle was reported stolen at 8:27 PM Sunday night, August 21, 2022. It was parked in the 4400 block of Muncaster Mill Road, near Norbeck Road.

Office work, transit use aren't recovering in Montgomery County, new data show

New Google Mobility data for Montgomery County show that transit use has only picked up by 1% since spring 2022, and that fewer workers are toiling in on-site offices than were this past spring. The data use a five-week period just before the pandemic hit the United States, January 3 - February 6, 2020, as the baseline. In reports I've posted over the last two years, numbers for office and transit use have been poor, as expected. But we've also seen some surprising shifts in behavior, which continue in the latest period examined here, from June 23 - August 4, 2022.

For starters, with the overwhelming message from governments and the media being to drop precautions and go back to business as usual, it's intriguing that there's been no significant increase in transit use in Montgomery County since President Joe Biden's State of the Union address. And would you have expected that the number of residents going into an office in Montgomery would actually decline by 12 percentage points since then, as well? Time spent in offices of employment in spring 2022 was 30% less than the pre-pandemic period; this summer it was 42% less than early 2020. The return of vacation travel may have been a factor - but not entirely, as summer 2021 office use was only 2 percentage points higher at 44% below the pre-pandemic period.

Use of public parks in Montgomery County has bounced back since spring. This summer, residents were 19% more likely to be in a park than they were during the pre-pandemic period of 2020. Shopping in stores and supermarkets has picked up since spring, too. The percentage of people going into retail stores compared to this past spring has doubled, but still remains 16% below pre-pandemic shopping levels. Residents' patronage of grocery stores is up 5% from spring 2022, but is 1% less than the pre-pandemic period. 

Montgomery County residents this summer are spending 10% more time at home than they did in the January-February 2020 period, the new data show. The data collected by Google is limited to those users who have opted in to allowing the tech giant to track their phone's location. It measures both the frequency of visits, and the amount of time those users stay in the places categorized in the results, such as grocery stores, transit stations and parks.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Assault at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, 8th reported there since May 18

Once again, Montgomery County police were called to Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, after another 2nd-degree assault was reported there last night, August 21, 2022. The assault was reported at the mall at 6:37 PM Sunday. This was the eighth 2nd-degree assault at the mall since May 18. The Montgomery County Police Department announced earlier this month that it would be establishing a "resource room" at the popular retail destination.

Assault at Twinbrook Metro station in Rockville

Rockville City police were called to the Twinbrook Metro station on Saturday afternoon, August 20, 2022, after an individual reported being the victim of a 2nd-degree assault there. The assault was reported at 3:00 PM Saturday.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Burglary, assault at Rockville home

Rockville City police responded to a report of a burglary at a home in the Rockcrest neighborhood early Friday morning, August 19, 2022. One or more suspects entered the home, and at least one person was the victim of a 2nd-degree assault during the incident. The burglary was reported at a home in the 1100 block of Highwood Road at 12:16 AM Friday.

Playful Pack doggie daycare to open in Rockville

Playful Pack
, a daycare and boarding facility chain for dogs, will open a Rockville location. It will be on Frederick Road in the Derwood area, between 7-Eleven and Atlantic Guns. A central goal of Playful Pack, beyond the services it provides for dogs, is to assist rescue dogs in finding new homes. To that end, they board foster dogs at their own expense, so that they can gain social skills by playing with the other dogs at the facility. 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Armed robbers burst into AT&T store in Rockville

Montgomery County police responded to a report of an armed robbery at the AT&T store at 12023 Rockville Pike in the Montrose Crossing shopping center Thursday night, August 18, 2022. The robbery was reported at 8:59 PM. @CordellTraffic on Twitter reported that three armed suspects fled the scene with merchandise.

Friday, August 19, 2022

7th assault since May 18 reported at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a 2nd-degree assault at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda Wednesday night, August 17, 2022. The assault was reported at 7:49 PM. This was the seventh 2nd-degree assault reported at the mall since May 18. The Montgomery County Police Department recently announced it would be opening a "resource room" at the property.

Convicted January 6 attendee to host event at Montgomery County Executive Building in Rockville

Conservative influencer Brandon Straka, founder of the #WalkAway campaign that encourages voters to abandon the Democratic Party, will hold an event discussing what happened at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 at the Montgomery County Executive Office Building in Rockville on September 11, 2022. Straka himself attended the January 6 rally supporting President Donald Trump, but later pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge, for verbally egging-on rioters during the siege of the Capitol that followed. 

Straka says he will screen "never-seen-before footage" of the riot he claims has been withheld from the public by authorities, host a panel discussion about the events of January 6, and speak about his own experiences on and after that day. Then the floor will be opened to questions from the audience. The event will begin at 6:45 PM on September 11, and is scheduled to end at 10:00 PM.

Attendees will be charged $15-35, and tickets are now being sold online. On the event page, Straka promises "light refreshments (and hopefully lighter hearts at the end)." Straka himself is described on the page as "America's favorite Super Patriot." The event is sure to be controversial, not least because it is being held in the headquarters of Montgomery County's government at 101 Monroe Street, in a county where all elected officials are Democrats.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Maryland governor candidate Dan Cox visits Montgomery County Fair

Dan Cox
, the Republican nominee for governor of Maryland, stopped by the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair in Gaithersburg. The candidate met and spoke with voters, toured the exhibits and attractions, and visited the Montgomery County Republican Party tent. One stop of particular interest to the gubernatorial hopeful was the 4-H Sheep & Swine Club booth, where he participated in the 4-H raffle. Cox was a Champion sheep (Shropshire) showman and shepherd in Maryland 4-H from 1986-1991. 

Photo via Dan Cox for Governor

Thieves return to Rockville street, take car this time

A day after items including a credit card were stolen out of a parked car on a residential street in the Lynfield neighborhood of Rockville, one or more thieves struck the same block again, this time simply taking a whole car. The vehicle was parked in the 600 block of W. Lynfield Drive. It was reported stolen at 7:43 AM yesterday, August 17, 2022. Rockville City police are investigating.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The B12 Store "coming soon" at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda


"Coming soon" signage has appeared at the future location of The B12 Store at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. A variation on the new fad of IV bars, at The B12 Store you can buy or be injected with a variety of vitamins and minerals. All doctors, nurses and other staff are licensed and certified to administer the injections, the chain advises. 

The B12 Store is rapidly expanding at malls across the continental U.S., as well as in Puerto Rico. Here at Montgomery Mall, look for The B12 Store on Level 1, next to Haagen Dazs.

Car stolen from Rockville apartment complex

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a stolen vehicle at a Rockville apartment complex Monday afternoon, August 15, 2022. The vehicle was parked in the residential parking lot in the 10100 block of Reprise Drive, and was reported stolen at 12:00 PM Monday. That is a development right on the border with Gaithersburg, just south of Downtown Crown.

Credit card stolen from vehicle in Rockville

Montgomery County police are investigating the theft of property, including at least one credit card, from a vehicle parked on the street in the Lynfield neighborhood of Rockville yesterday. The theft was reported in the 600 block of W. Lynfield Drive at 8:47 AM Tuesday. Someone later attempted to use the stolen credit card at a business.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Jolly Yolly Kids "coming soon" to Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

Jolly Yolly Kids
will soon open a location at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, according to "coming soon" signage posted across their future storefront. An indoor gym, playground and learning center for children, Jolly Yolly can also host birthday parties. Look for Jolly Yolly on Level 1 next to The Cheesecake Factory, in the Old Navy wing of the mall.

Naz's Halal opens in Rockville

Naz's Halal
is now open at 1040 Rockville Pike, in the Edmonston Crossing shopping center. The restaurant began as a food truck in Queens, New York, and has now expanded into bricks-and-mortar operations in California, Maryland, New York, and Rhode Island. This Rockville location is so new, it doesn't even appear on the locations section of their website yet - but, you can order from the Rockville restaurant through the website.

The menu features gyros, sandwiches, platters showcasing various meats or falafel over rice, and chicken wings. One of the specialties they are known for is their fried fish gyro, based on one of the founders' grandmother's recipe. Look for Naz's Halal next to Shiseido at Edmonston Crossing.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Rockville LensCrafters moves to new Pike & Rose location (Photos)

The new LensCrafters store at 901 Rose Avenue at Pike & Rose in Rockville isn't entirely new. It is actually the new location of the existing LensCrafters shop at 1060 Rockville Pike at Edmonston Crossing. That location has now been cleared out.

Assault in parking lot of Rockville apartment building

An assault in the parking lot of an apartment building Saturday night prompted a response from Rockville City police. The assault was reported in the 500 block of Blandford Street at 9:54 PM. A suspect was further accused of obstructing and resisting an officer.

Pickpocket strikes at Rockville restaurant

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a pickpocket incident at a restaurant at Rockville Town Square late Saturday night, August 13, 2022. The theft was reported at a restaurant in the 100 block of Gibbs Street at 11:59 AM. An attempt to use a stolen credit card from the wallet was detected following the incident. Watch your wallet!

Derwood home burglarized

One or more suspects broke into a home in Derwood early Sunday morning, August 14, 2022. Montgomery County police were called to the scene in the unit block of Beauvoir Court at 1:06 AM. Officers found evidence of forced entry at the home. 

Victim assaulted at Rockville bar

Rockville City police were called to a bar at Rockville Town Square early yesterday morning after an assault was reported there. The assault was reported at a bar in the 100 block of Gibbs Street at 1:30 AM.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Elrich finishes first in Montgomery County Executive election results, Blair-requested recount pending

After canvassers counted the 102 missing ballots that election workers discovered Thursday, Marc Elrich held onto his narrow lead over David Blair in the Democratic race for Montgomery County Executive yesterday. Blair did manage to cut Elrich's lead from 42 votes down to 35. That number could change again in the coming days and weeks, as Blair is requesting a full recount. But as of this morning, Elrich has 55,497 votes (39.20%) to Blair's 55,462 votes (39.17%).

Police called after assault at community center in Rockville

Rockville City police responded to a report of a 2nd-degree assault at a community center in the Montrose neighborhood late Friday night, August 12, 2022. The assault was reported at a facility in the 1600 block of Martha Terrace at 11:11 PM. The Rollins Congressional Club is on that block.

Greek Aroma Mediterranean Grill to open at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

Greek Aroma Mediterranean Grill
is expanding from Frederick to Montgomery County. Their new location will be in the Dining Terrace food court at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. All meats served at Greek Aroma are halal. They will compete with Cava and Grill Kabob in the food court at the mall.

Logo courtesy Greek Aroma

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Toys R Us at Macy's opens at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda (Photos)

The Toys R Us at Macy's era is upon us at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Does it live up to the hype? Not entirely yet. Perhaps they are still getting organized here, but will otherwise have difficulty competing with the new FYE Alex Baby & Toys, which is delivering something closer to the Toys R Us experience in the Old Navy wing of the mall.

As I mentioned when the plan for the holiday pop-up shops was announced, one of the fundamental problems is that the Toys R Us experience can't be duplicated in a small format. Toys R Us was essentially a big-box store, a cavernous warehouse with aisle after aisle of toys. Even Target and Walmart can't match that with their toy sections. At the same time, the TV and movie-licensed products most popular at Toys R Us don't exactly fit the image of a Macy's department store, where you'd expect high end German teddy bears as a toy display.

The vibe right now is somewhere between Big Lots and Ross. Shelves are less than full in spots, and the displays could be more neatly presented in some cases, as you can see in the photos here. There isn't much that screams, "Toys R Us," besides the Geoffrey stand-ups. The overall aesthetic is going to require a bit more attention and juice before Black Friday to create a holiday atmosphere.

I'm beginning to wonder if the pop-up idea is simply an effort to prop up the value of the Toys R Us trademark by the new owners, to be able to resell or repurpose it down the road. The plan has gotten a lot of media attention for the brand name. But what does that brand name stand for? This is a nice and convenient way to pick up holiday gifts while doing your usual shopping at Macy's, but it is definitely not reproducing the Toys R Us experience for people who have actually been inside a real Toys R Us.