The week in review
Latest abduction: Mark L. Weiner, 52, of Barboursville, is charged after allegedly giving a ride from Charlottesville to Pantops to an adult female early December 13 and taking her against her will to a remote location off of Richmond Road. At the December 17 bond hearing, Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford said the last thing the woman remembered was Weiner putting a cloth over her face, Ted Strong reports in the Progress. Weiner, a manager at the Branchlands Drive Food Lion, was denied bond and will be back in court January 3.
Latest in Fashion Square alleged attempted abduction: James Kevin Key is released from jail December 12 on a $25,000 bond, Henry Graff at NBC29 reports. He's required to be with a family member at all times. His attorney says he suffered from a complex partial seizure when he picked up the two-year-old that led to the attempted abduction charge.
Latest roadblock to the Western 29 Bypass: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to analyze alternatives before it issues VDOT a permit, Charlottesville Tomorrow reports. The project is already waiting on something called “finding of no significant impact” from the Federal Highway Administration.
Most puzzling charge: Ernest Allen, 51, a 27-year-veteran with the Albemarle County Police Department and special operations lieutenant, is charged with embezzlement of public funds, a Class 4 felony, for allegedly removing $380 from petty cash, according to a release. Allen repays the money and resigns December 10.
Biggest embezzlement charge: Mary P. Anderson, 40, is accused of taking $27,024.56 from the Lafayette School and Treatment Center on Fontaine Avenue, where she was director between 2008 and 2011, according to a release. The school's new director discovered the discrepancy and contacted police. Anderson is charged with one count of embezzlement.
Worst samauri sword stabbing: Evan Zimberg, 37, is charged with unlawful wounding in Waynesboro after his 33-year-old brother is hospitalized late December 14, according to the News Leader.
Worst time to have the lights go out: Fashion Square goes dark on holiday shoppers the evening of December 16 and the mall is evacuated, the Newsplex reports.
Biggest antique-store heists: Factory Antique Mall in Verona and Antique Mall in Ruckersville are hit within a couple hours early December 16, and have stolen $10,000 and $75,000 worth of jewelry respectively, NBC29 reports. The thief, whose face was covered on surveillance cameras, smashed entrances and jewelry cases in both places. Factory Antique is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction.
Biggest change of heart: Senator Mark Warner reverses his support of assault weapons following the horrific December 14 massacre of elementary school children at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
Driest: The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issues a drought watch for the James River basin, which includes Charlottesville and the rest of the Rivanna River basin, Charlottesville Tomorrow reports. Earlysville recorded about a half-inch of rain in November.
Most lucrative visit: The Dalai Lama's October 11 stint in Charlottesville generated revenue of nearly $380,000, the Daily Progress reports. Of that, $95K will be distributed to 11 local charitable organizations.
Most simulating: UVA Med School's Daniel Cox develops driving simulators that can test those on medications for ADHD, or people who have diabetes, without risking the lives of DMV officials. His two devices are being tested in DMV offices at Pantops and in Fairfax.
Newest Meriwether Lewis gig: The Albemarle native turns up in a game called Meriwether, now under development by a company called Sortasoft, which allows the player to explore the Louisiana Territory to the Pacific Northwest– without sci-fi or fantasy elements aded. The Atlantic has the story.
Best time to fill 'er up: AAA Mid-Atlantic says gas prices have fallen an average 17 cents in Virginia in the past week to $3.03. Locally, some prices have been spotted below $3.