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At-Large Burglar Suspect with 'Sharp Object' Prompts School Security Measures in Vienna

Suspect in his 20s escaped after injuring woman Tuesday at her home in the 500 block of Orchard Street in Vienna.

Area schools and businesses in Vienna went into lockdown mode after a burglar injured a woman at her home with "a sharp object" and fled. Patch file photo
Area schools and businesses in Vienna went into lockdown mode after a burglar injured a woman at her home with "a sharp object" and fled. Patch file photo
A woman who was injured in her home Tuesday by a burglar prompted a shutdown of three public schools in Vienna, according to police, when the unknown man fled. The man was still at large Tuesday night.

The woman, whose injuries are not life-threatening, called 911 at about 11 a.m. after the man fled from the home, in the 500 block of Orchard Street. The incident prompted a lockdown of nearby schools Tuesday for nearly two hours. Madison High School, Flint Hill Elementary and Archer Elementary lifted their "secure the building" status at about 1:10 p.m., according to an FCPS spokesman.

The incident also prompted a shut down of other area schools and retail establishments.

"It looks like what we had was a burglary, an attempted burglary," said Vienna Police spokesman MPO Gary Lose. "The homeowner came home and surprised the subject."

The burglar, described by the woman as a black man in his 20s, injured her with a "sharp object," after she returned home Tuesday morning to find the man at her home, Lose said. The woman called 911 after he fled.

Investigators were interviewing the woman at an area hospital Tuesday afternoon, according to Lose. "They're still interviewing her, that's why we don't have a whole lot right now."

Fairfax County Police assisted with the investigation. Police may release a sketch of the suspect, Lose said.

Messages sent out by Madison High School Tuesday:
Parents and Guardians:   

We have been advised of Police Activity in our area, and as a precaution we have secured the building.  This means that no one will be allowed to either enter or leave the building until further notice.  

Mark A. Merrell

A message from Madison High School sent out at about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday read: 
"Fairfax County Police have advised us that we can return to our Normal Operations, therefore the building is no longer secured. Students and Parents are now allowed to enter and exit the building as normal."

Later Tuesday, the principal of Madison High School released this letter:
Dear Parents and Guardians,

This message is to inform you that earlier today, at the request of the FCPS Office of Safety and Security, James Madison High School was in “Secure the Building” status for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.  This precautionary step was taken because of police activity in the surrounding areas.  At no time was anyone on school property in any danger.  “Secure the Building” requires us to cancel outdoor activities and keep exterior doors locked.  Staff and students were free to move about inside the building during this time. 

We are very proud of our students and staff members for the excellent way in which they handled this situation. As always, the students’ safety is our most important responsibility.  Thank you for your support and assistance.

Sincerely,

Mark A. Merrell

Lose said more information will likely be available from police on Wednesday.

John Sweeney February 11, 2014 at 01:21 PM
Any update on what the police activity was all about? Thanks.
Mary Ann Barton (Editor) February 11, 2014 at 01:23 PM
We have a call in to Vienna Police and will update as soon as we know.
John Sweeney February 11, 2014 at 01:25 PM
Thank you.

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