A Manassas City resident arrived home Friday to find his home vandalized and a note left at the residence—the latest incident in an odd chain of criminal behavior.
At least 10 notes, the majority of them threatening physical violence, have been left at Manassas area homes since Dec. 4. None of the notes were written to the residents of the homes, who have no idea why these notes are left at their doors. The top of the notes are addressed to a man who lives in the Manassas area of Prince William County and also has no idea why anyone would write these things.
"He can't think of anything, anyone who's had any problems with him," said Sgt. Lowell Nevill, a spokesman for the Manassas City Police Department. "Why his name and address are appearing on these notes is a mystery to him."
The latest incident took place Friday at a home on the 8500 block of Braxted Lane. A resident came home around 11 p.m. and found his glass storm door broken, and a note left, that was similar to the notes left at other homes. This note did not threaten violence.
That brings the total number of reported events to 15; some of the criminal activity did not involve a note. The total number may be less, since some incidents were reported separately but may have occurred at the same time.
Four of the incidents took place in the Prince William County Police jurisdiction. Many occurred in the Sumner Lake community and in a neighborhood near Byrd Park.
The incidents have frightened the people who receive the notes, but there's no reason to believe the man will harm them in any way, Nevill said. The victims appear to be randomly targeted and the notes have never been addressed to them. Sometimes the suspect bangs on the door or rings the bell before running off. He has never returned to harm the victims.
Witnesses have described the perpetrator as Hispanic or Middle Eastern, 20-25 years old, about 5'10", with a thin build. He was wearing a dark jacket and dark jeans. He usually strikes between 7:30 and 11 p.m.
Police continue to investigate the incident. They are reaching out to homeowners associations and neighborhood watches to encourage people to be alert for behavior in their neighborhood that is out of the ordinary.
"We’re hoping that somebody sees somebody who stands out or doesn’t belong there," Nevill said.
Police ask anyone who has experienced a similar incident, or who may have information, to contact the Investigative Services Division at 703-257-8092, or the Crime Solvers’ anonymous tip line at 703-330-0330. Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest.
Nevill had advice for people who notice something odd in their neighborhood.
"Be alert and trust your instincts," he said. "Call us if something doesn't seem right."
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