Sunday, April 30, 2023

Over 20 car windows smashed in theft rampage at Rockville apartment complex (Photos)

One or more thieves smashed windows on over 20 vehicles at a Rockville apartment complex early yesterday morning, April 29, 2023. Residents of Halpine View on Twinbrook Parkway say that the cars were broken into between 1:00 and 4:00 AM Saturday. The most common item stolen from the vandalized cars was the vehicle's airbag. Honda Civics were the primary target in the theft spree, which resembles a similar rampage at a Bethesda condo earlier this month.

Given that thieves are willing to break the windows even if you've locked your car, how can you keep your airbag from being stolen? Police and insurance industry experts recommend installing an anti-theft device on your steering wheel, such as The Club. Thieves who see such a device attached are likely to move on to the next car.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Rockville apartment broken into

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a burglary at an apartment building in Rockville yesterday morning, April 28, 2023. The burglary was reported at an apartment on Upper Rock Circle, off of Shady Grove Road, at 8:26 AM Friday. Officers responded to the scene found evidence of forced entry at the apartment.

LaserAway opens in Rockville

has opened at 926 Rose Avenue, in the ground floor of the Canopy by Hilton hotel at Pike & Rose. This was previously the location of Taylor Gourmet.  LaserAway is a laser hair removal practice with locations in 24 states and the District of Columbia. It also offers botox treatments, tattoo removal, photofacials, dermal fillers, Thermage skin tightening, Coolsculpting fat removal, Clear + Brilliant laser treatments and other skincare services. 

Friday, April 28, 2023

RASA Indian restaurant opens in Rockville

, a fast-casual Indian restaurant, has opened at 12033 Rockville Pike in the Montrose Crossing shopping center. The local chain's founders are natives of Montgomery County, but this is their first Maryland location. It replaces Slapfish at the Federal Realty development. RASA is open from 10:30 AM to 10:00 PM seven days a week.

Montgomery County now collecting durable medical equipment at Shady Grove Transfer Station

Do you have medical equipment you no longer need, and is just taking up space in your home? Now it can be put to use for less-fortunate residents in need of it. Montgomery County is now collecting durable medical equipment at the Shady Grove Transfer Station at 16101 Frederick Road (MD 355) in Derwood. "Gently-used" wheelchairs, canes, shower chairs, and other commonly-used medical equipment will be accepted, and will be refurbished and donated to residents who need it. The new initiative has been made possible by the Montgomery County Department of the Environment's entry into the Maryland Department of Aging’s Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Re-Use program.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich

“There is an ongoing need for medical equipment in our County,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said in a statement. “Many of us have medical equipment in our basements, garages or attics that is no longer used, but is too good to throw away. This program helps our County’s efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle, while providing critical assistance to those in need. I encourage everyone to donate if they have any equipment that can still be used. This program isn’t just helping our planet—it is also helping our neighbors.”

Technicians from Maryland DME Re-Use take the donated equipment to a 56,000-square-foot facility located in Cheltenham in Prince George's County. There, it is sanitized, repaired and stored for future distribution. Equipment that is beyond repair will be broken down for parts that are saved and later used, rather than going into the trash.

To find out more about Maryland DME Re-Use, including collection site locations, acceptable donations or how to apply to receive durable medical equipment, go to, call 240-230-8000 or email

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Lush opens temporary location at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

The tenant musical chairs game continues at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Lush has opened a temporary store location at the mall. The cruelty-free and ethically-sourced bath, bodycare, skincare and haircare boutique will be here while construction is completed on its new space. It looks pretty posh for a pop-up shop. Find the temporary Lush store next to 2 the 9s, on Level 2 of the mall.

Nordstrom reducing window displays "to lessen our environmental impact" at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda says it is increasing its efforts to be more environmentally-sensitive. One step it is now taking "to lessen our environmental impact" is to reduce the number of window displays. At one window inside the mall, trash is now part of the display. "This display was partially sourced from our store's recyclable waste," a sign explains. 

This is apparently such a new development that there has not even been any company-wide announcement or press release about it yet. The window display initiative does not appear on the chain's environmental sustainability webpage. It's certainly an unusual tack for an upscale department store.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

New details on The Grove restaurant, opening soon at Cabin John Village in Potomac

I have some more information on The Grove, the new restaurant concept from the Common Plate Hospitality Group opening soon at 7747 Tuckerman Lane, at Cabin John Village in Potomac. The Grove's cuisine will be Belgian-inspired. The team opening the restaurant includes the partners behind the popular Mason Social in Alexandria, Chad Sparrow and Larry Walston, Jr. 

Common Plate and Guapo's veteran Jorge Figueredo will be The Grove's general manager. The Grove's operating hours will be 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM Sunday - Thursday, and 11:00 AM to 2:00 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Lahinch Tavern and Grill was the previous tenant in the 4473-square-foot space.

Giant limiting self-checkout to 20 items or less, due to "a significant increase in crime"

The other shoe has dropped in Giant's changes to its self-checkout system, and it's landed directly on the shopper's head. Self-checkout will now be limited to 20 items or less, due to "a significant increase in crime and theft that we and many other retailers are experiencing across our market area," Giant President Ira Kress said in a message to customers. He said the new limit, along with the weighing scale recently added to the self-checkout units, will "mitigate the impact of theft to our business."

Under the new system, parents shopping for large families, or anyone who prefers to get their shopping out of the way once a week, will essentially be forced to go through the traditional checkout lines. However, Giant has tended to shut those down as the evening goes on, angering customers who were averse to self-checkout machines. Kress did not specify if Giant will now keep cashiers at the old checkout lines until closing at stores. But he did acknowledge what will be a major impact on many Giant customers.

"We know that these changes may cause some inconvenience or be disruptive to the experience you are used to," Kress said, "and I assure you we are making these changes out of necessity to prioritize the safety of our associates and customers." A shoplifter was recently caught on video assaulting a security guard at the Bethesda Row Giant store. Corporate policy appeared to limit the guard's ability to escalate his response; even after being struck in the face, he could only plaintively continue to ask the shoplifter to show him a receipt. 

Once again, we see how the failure of our elected officials to respond to increasing crime - one of the most basic responsibilities of their offices - creates negative impacts for the law-abiding residents of our community. It's interesting that business leaders will admit crime is increasing, and is a major problem, before our elected officials will.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Spicy McNuggets, Spicy McCrispy return; Strawberry Shortcake McFlurry debuts at McDonald's in Rockville

has new, limited-time only menu items in Montgomery County, whether you are seeking something hot or cold. The fast food chain's popular Spicy Chicken McNuggets return for a third time. Also back for an encore are the Spicy McCrispy and Spicy Deluxe McCrispy chicken sandwiches. And for the first time, McDonald's is offering a Strawberry Shortcake McFlurry. It combines vanilla soft-serve ice cream with "strawberry flavored clusters," and shortbread cookies. 

Maryland taxpayers to sink $166M into Baltimore Harborplace scheme

It's deja vu all over again in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. A great gem - a doorstep to the city, if you will! - has somehow fallen into disrepair. But it's not up to the property owner, nor the elected officials who've run the city it's the doorstep to the whole time, to sacrifice for a solution. No, it's you, the hardworking taxpayer of Maryland who must step in, and share your hard-earned dollars with very wealthy developers. Stop me if you've heard this before. 

Are we talking about Union Station in Washington, D.C.? No, it's the Harborplace development in Baltimore. But both now share a special pedigree. These properties have failed...twice. And each time, the taxpayer has involuntarily-volunteered to pick up the tab for "renewal" and "rejuvenation." 

You can't entirely blame the political machines of Charm City and the District of Columbia. They know both cities are more transient than most in America. And both are rapidly gentrifying African-American residents out of their homes and neighborhoods, to make room for more luxury condos for rich, white people. Why, you probably haven't lived here long enough to realize this isn't the first time the city's gemstone was tarnished.

Except, some of us have. I remember when Union Station and the Inner Harbor were said to be in desperate need of revitalization. Some years, and many more taxpayer dollars later, we were told the effort was successful. Shops! Restaurants! Gleaming and new!

Three decades pass.

And suddenly, it's happened again.

Union Station and Harborplace are derelict! They're outdated and have fallen behind the times! Nobody goes there anymore! Wealthy development firms are standing by to save the day, but...they're going to need your help. So they're going to cut us in on the deal? We'll earn a dividend for the tax dollars we're putting up, just like the other investors?

Oh, no. And your investment is not optional. We just rammed it through in Annapolis. The taxpayers of Maryland - yes, even you in the hinterlands, are going to fork over $166 million. And Baltimore City residents, many of whom are living paycheck to paycheck, get to hand over an additional $1 million.

Why are Union Station and Harborplace "derelict and underperforming?" The tenants! Well, wait a minute. Union Station has Shake Shack, Pret-a-Manger, Au Bon Pain and CAVA, names about as hip as train station commercial retail can get. Tourist-driven Harborplace has tourist traps like UNO Chicago Grill, Johnny Rockets and Hooters - it even has The Cheesecake Factory, for Pete's sake! What else would you want to eat by the water? 

Want local, small businesses instead? Charge a rent they can afford for the empty storefronts. 

Well, it's not the tenants or the times, you see. Why don't people want to go to Harborplace or Union Station?

It's that the D.C. government let crime and the homeless take over Union Station. Columbus Circle at sunrise can resemble a giant bedroom, as the least-fortunate of Washington awake from slumber among scurrying rats and trash. Baltimore City let crime run rampant in the Inner Harbor, with tourists often the target. At some point, elected officials have to be held accountable. This is a novel idea in Washington and Baltimore.

$166 million? You could put 415 homeless people into permanent homes in the D.C. area, and even more in Baltimore, for that amount. It could be a not-insubstantial down payment on building the Red Line, especially the Dollar General version of the Red Line pols are cynically trying to pass off on West Baltimore these days. "By the time the buses start running, those voters will have been gentrified out of there, anyway," elected officials must figure. Imagine the parks you could build. Or schools that actually have air conditioning!!

But a better recipient than the general public has been found - wealthy and well-financed developers. The public involuntarily gives generously. Buildings are demolished. New ones rise in their place. The property is sold. Profits are made. Elected officials fail to execute their basic functions to provide a strong business climate, maintain city infrastructure and ensure public safety. 

And the cycle starts over again. We've seen this here in Montgomery County, where a greedy mall buyer along with County officials allowing crime to get out of control led to the demise of Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg. As long as our elected officials get away with directing our money to their developer sugar daddies, we'll see it again.

Inner Harbor crime:

"Inner Harbor Mayhem"

"Death at Baltimore's Inner Harbor"

"Dangerous at night"

"3 people robbed at gunpoint in Inner Harbor"

"New Jersey family attacked at Baltimore's Inner Harbor"

"If this is what a Saturday night at the Harbor is going to be like, we will not be going there"

Monday, April 24, 2023

Assault at Rockville store

Rockville City police were called to a store in the 1700 block of Rockville Pike at 11:39 PM on Saturday, April 22, 2023. At least one person at the store was accused of shoplifting, causing property damage, and committing a 2nd degree assault in the incident.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Sneak peek: Capo Deli opening soon in Potomac (Photos)

Another day means another look at yet one more great dining addition to Cabin John Village in Potomac. Today, we're taking a sneak peek inside Capo Deli, opening soon at 7731 Tuckerman Lane. Founded by former Brickside Food & Drink co-owners Brian Vasile and Andy Seligman, the local Italian deli chain now has three locations in the region: Shaw and Western Market in Washington, D.C., and Tysons. 

Capo came to most people's attention via mass media coverage of its adult Capri Sun "Fauci Pouchy" cocktail early in the pandemic lockdown of 2020. It's still on the cocktail menu. A modest list of classic Italian dishes join an extensive selection of sandwiches - and, yes, cannoli is on the dessert menu.

Assault in West End neighborhood of Rockville

Montgomery County police were called to a residential street in the West End neighborhood of Rockville late last night to investigate an assault reported there. The assault was reported in the 700 block of Wilson Avenue at 11:17 PM Saturday, April 22, 2023.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Pickpocket strikes at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

Watch your wallet at the mall. Montgomery County police were called to Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda the evening of April 18, 2023, after a pickpocketing incident there. The theft was reported at 9:47 PM at the mall.

Assault reported at Rockville nursing home

Rockville City police responded to a report of a 2nd-degree assault at a nursing home yesterday afternoon, April 21, 2023. The assault was reported at a nursing home in the 1200 block of Potomac Valley Road at 1:31 PM Friday.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Liljenquist & Beckstead to relocate inside Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

Liljenquist & Beckstead
will be relocating inside Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda this summer. It's a move that will be measured in inches, as their new location will be right next to their current one on Level 2. Store manager Mohammad Khan says it will be a brand new showroom, not an expansion of the existing one. Renderings of the new showroom have just been posted on the future storefront. 

Liljenquist & Beckstead was founded in 1978 by Tom Liljenquist, President, and Sidney Beckstead, Vice President. It has four locations in the region, including their flagship store in Tysons. Liljenquist & Beckstead is an authorized retailer for Rolex sales and repairs, as well as several other luxury watch brands.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Rockville armed carjacking suspects arrested

Mateo Paredes-Vincent

Montgomery County police announced this morning that two suspects have been located and arrested in the November 23, 2021 attempted armed carjacking in Rockville. Mateo Paredes-Vincent, 19, of Washington, D.C. and Havanna Holland-Miller, 20,  of Southbridge, Massachusetts will face attempted armed carjacking charges in the incident that occurred at 5:30 PM that day, at an apartment complex in the 100 block of Talbott Street. 

Havanna Holland-Miller

Paredes-Vincent was located by detectives in an Alachua, Florida jail, where is he currently imprisoned on unrelated charges in that jurisdiction. Holland-Millar has been arrested by the Southbridge Police Department in Massachusetts. Both are in custody and awaiting extradition to Montgomery County, Maryland.

Ốc & Crab Seafood Restaurant opens in Rockville

Ốc & Crab Seafood Restaurant
has opened at 765-F Rockville Pike in the Ritchie Center. It is a Vietnamese seafood restaurant, located next to Gama Korean Chicken. Delivery and takeout orders can be placed on their website. Operating hours are 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM Monday to Friday, and 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

Rockville Amazon Fresh store canceled on Shady Grove Road (Photos)

The long-anticipated Amazon Fresh store at the 270 Center on Shady Grove Road will not come to fruition. All signage has been removed from the building in stages, over the last 48 hours. This is a reversal of not only Amazon's strategy of using bricks-and-mortar stores to expand its warehousing capacity for same-day deliveries, but also of CEO Andy Jassy's recent bullish remarks that the e-commerce giant would "go big" on physical grocery stores in 2023.

Canceling the Shady Grove Road store, which is on the border between Rockville and Gaithersburg, represents a major financial loss for the company. The store was fully built-out inside as of late summer 2022, and it has sat empty with bare shelves since. That has been the case with several other Amazon Fresh stores that were on the verge of opening around the country.

Now the question would be, will Amazon use its lease of the former office supply store for another grocery or retail concept, or will it break its lease at 270 Center at further cost? Jassy said the firm had settled on a format they want to "go big" with, but he did not say if "Amazon Fresh" was that format. Montgomery County has two existing Amazon Fresh concept stores, at the Collection at Chevy Chase and Chevy Chase Lake.

Damaged Amazon Fresh sign as it
appeared April 13, 2023

The cancellation of this store is the latest retrenchment move by Amazon. It recently laid off a substantial number of employees, and has "paused" construction of several projects at its HQ2 property in Arlington, Virginia, including the centerpiece Helix building that was scheduled for a 2025 delivery. 

Bulbs exposed behind damaged area
April 13, 2023

Just a week ago, the main sign that has been lit on the front of the store was damaged. Green shards of the lower part of the logo lay on the sidewalk below the sign. The bulbs that had been hidden behind them glowed in the night, as empty shelves and navigational aisle signage remained visible inside the store. It was unclear if the sign had been vandalized, or if the damage was sustained during the recent high wind event.

Sign debris on sidewalk below on April 13

Bare shelves inside store

Signage for navigating aisles and
merchandise visible inside store