Category Archives: Crime

Random Thoughts on the UVA Lacrosse Murder

Rachel DePompa – bio | email

It’s been more than a week since I sat outside Yeardley Love’s apartment in Charlottesville wondering what happened. I finally felt comfortable sitting down today to process my thoughts. I’ve covered a lot of tragedies and murders over the last decade, and for some reason the acts of violence on college campuses hit me hardest. Maybe it’s because I still yearn for the days of being a carefree student at the University of Maryland. Maybe it’s because covering the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, left an undefinable hole in my heart. Maybe it’s because college kids are literally on the cusp of adulthood. Whatever the reason, my drive to Charlottesville last Monday was sad.

At the time, I knew that a student athlete was dead. I had no idea it was a woman; that she played lacrosse; that she was a fourth year, three weeks from graduation. I had no idea her ex-boyfriend was in custody. I had no idea he too played lacrosse, was a fourth year just weeks from graduation. All of that information makes the story all the  more heartbreaking; but it also shines a great big light on a topic people often whisper about, gossip about, but don’t always take seriously. Domestic violence issues in young relationships are now in the limelight. And if that’s the one thing that helps us make sense of this terrible tragedy, so be it.


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Filed under Crime, UVA Lacrosse Death

Crazy Arrest and other Richmond Business…

Rachel DePompa – bio | email  

Sorry for the gap between posts, but May sweeps is fast approaching and I’m working on several special stories for you guys. Stay tuned!

Arrested While Going to Court:

I’ll never, ever, ever understand why someone going to court would bring something illegal. You KNOW you are going before a judge AND that you have to pass through metal detectors and sheriff’s deputies. YOU KNOW THIS! I’ll never forgot when I worked for the ABC station in little Harrisonburg, Virginia. I was standing in line, waiting to go through security and into the courthouse. The deputies asked the man in front of me to empty his pockets before he went through the metal detector. The man takes a bag of pot out of his pocket and sets it on the deputy’s tray. (ARE YOU KIDDING ME????) The man was arrested on the spot. I was a one-man-band reporter at the time. Meaning, I had a camera with me and got the whole thing on tape for the evening news.

It’s happened here in Richmond. Here’s an excerpt from a press release we got from the Richmond Sheriff’s Office…. 

On Friday, April 16, 2010, at 11:50 a.m., LaRhonda A. Richardson, age 21, was scheduled to appear in Richmond General District Court Traffic Division for an unrelated traffic offense. After receiving initial clearance to enter the courthouse, she underwent a routine pat down for weapons.  It was then discovered that Ms. Richardson had drugs hidden in her right front pants pocket.

She was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. Please remember if you are going to court to see a judge…. Don’t do anything illegal on your way through the front door.

New City Attorney:

Richmond’s new city Attorney will be sworn in on Monday May 3rd. The City Council has appointed Allen L. Jackson to the job. Jackson comes to Richmond from Newport News. Jackson had worked in the Newport News city attorney’s office since 1988. The swearing-in will happen at City Hall in the city clerk’s office at 10:00 am.

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Filed under Covering Court, Crime

Thieves Think AC Units are Cool

Rachel DePompa – bio | email    

North Richmond homeowners keep a close eye on your property. Thieves are stealing the air conditioning compressors right out of backyards. I’m talking about the big boxes in the backyard… you might also call them heat pumps. Apparently, the parts are big money and there’s a bonus… many units also have copper inside! (Copper is still a big seller these days at salvage yards) Today, I visited a house on Edgewood Avenue, where the thieves got on their hands and knees and crawled under the home to steal the goods. Yep! They broke in through the crawl space. Creepy… and crazy at how desperate people are becoming. The crime is mostly happening at homes that are “for sale”, “for rent” or under renovation. So, watch out for your neighbors. Thieves are apparently watching neighborhoods in Battery Park, Ginter Park, Highland Park and Laburnum, looking for opportunities.


Filed under Crime, Richmond

Richmond Round-Up 07/31

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

It’s been a slow week! You always know that is the case when I start looking for story ideas in a folder on my desk called “evergreens”. I did a few of them this week.

If you’re looking for city hall gossip there really isn’t any this week. All’s quiet with the Mayor. Maybe too quiet. We need a little spice around here!

Child Death Investigation:

I do have an update today on the state investigation into the death of a toddler at a Richmond Day Care. (13 month old Andrew Johnson was left inside a  day care van for 7 hours in 84 degree weather.) The Department of Social Services wrapped up its investigation late yesterday and held a press conference today. The state is recommending the Day Care lose its license to operate. The owner of the Yellow Brick Road Day Care is vowing to fight. And several sources tell me there will be more updates to this story very soon. I’ll keep you posted.

I’m on-call this weekend and really hoping for nothing to happen. Wish me luck!

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Filed under City Hall Talk, Crime

Richmond Roundup: Ukrop’s, Ukrop’s, Ukrop’s

Style Weekly Photo

Style Weekly Photo

Rachel DePompa – bio | email 

I’ve decided to try something new. Starting today, every Friday I plan to post a round up of the week. Random thoughts, Random events. Let’s see how this goes and how long it lasts….


First, if you’ve come to this blog looking for the latest on the Ukrop’s saga, I don’t have anything new to say. (Other than my blog has had more hits in the last three days than it’s had all year.) I was tempted to just write a blog entry that went something like this…

Ukrop’s is for sale. Ukrop’s has a buyer. Ukrop’s Urkop’s Urkop’s, Harris Teeter, Ukrop’s. Bobby Ukrop’s letter to employees, Ukrop’s speculation. Ukrop’s blog. Ukrop’s is not for sale. Ukrop’s Ukrop’s Ukrop’s  (All of these phrases and 20 more were searched on google just today.) 

No really, there’s nothing new to report. But, believe me, If I can dig anything up on this story YOU WILL KNOW! 

Police Cars: (If I was Style Weekly this would be a -20 score)

Not a good week for Richmond Police cruisers. First, Mayor Dwight Jones changes the police take-home car policy. Officers now have to live in the city to take a car home after hours. But, we learned on Tuesday, city cop cars don’t fair too well in city limits. Just ask the 4th precinct this week. One of its cruisers was set on fire in North Barton Heights.  Someone slammed a brick through the windshield and lit it up.

And then we learned, even new police cars can give the city trouble.  In 2007, the Wilder Administration bought 40 police cars. Sheehy Ford got the contract, but Crossroad’s Ford in Prince George County blew the whistle. Calling out the deal as shady. That dealership’s complaint may have led to a City-wide investigation. Not a good week to have flashing blue and red above your head. 

Cameras in town:

And finally, if you see a lot of camera crews around town this weekend. Don’t be alarmed. There’s a 48 hour film festival with 30 teams trying to make movies. You will see them filming all weekend long. Have a good weekend.



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Filed under Crime, Richmond, Ukrop's

Sick of Sad Stories

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

Sorry for the delay but I was enjoying the long holiday weekend. Coming back to work is never fun after a long break, but this time it was especially difficult. It appears I’m destined to cover sad and unusual deaths this week. Yesterday, Eric Driver was indicted on a second degree murder charge. He’s the college student who shot and killed a man breaking into his girlfriend’s car. We went back to Union Hill Monday to the intersection where the shooting happened. Folks in the neighborhood have very strong opinions on his indictment. And there seems to be no middle ground here either. People either believe Driver was in the right or they don’t.  It’s going to be interesting to see what a jury of his peers decides if this case gets that far.

Today I have the misfortune of reporting on a terrible tragedy. A 13 month old boy was left in his day care van and died. The driver’s been charged with felony child neglect. I can’t imagine what the little boy’s family is going through. They trusted the facility to care for their son. And then to think of the man who left the child in the van. He must be heartbroken. I covered a story like this when I worked in Blacksburg, VA. A mother thought she had dropped her child off at daycare and went to work. She never took the child inside and when she returned to her car after work, her child was dead in the back seat. So terrible. Sometimes the bad news just gets to you. Hoping for a much lighter day tomorrow.

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Filed under Crime

New Crime Wave, New Hire, Old Problem

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

New Crime Wave: When Kitchen Utensils Go Bad…

So, I have to call Richmond Police today to ask about an assault case. Two women fought in North Richmond. One had a frying pan, the other? A steak knife. This comes one week after a man was beaten with a meat tenderizer. Too many cooks in the kitchen? (Thank you! Thank you! I’ll be here all night taking requests.)

New Hire:

Mayor Dwight Jones is certainly helping the city’s employment rate this week. He’s made another hire. This time for Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Economic and Community Development. He’s hired Peter Chapman who starts July 13th. Chapman comes to Richmond from Denver, Colorado where he serves as the director of a national community development organization.

Old problem:

Baseball, baseball baseball. I hear the city could announce a new team in three weeks. There’s also a new push to renovate The Diamond. Opening Day Partners out of Maryland (Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson and businessman Peter Kirk) have a 28 million dollar plan to upgrade the facility and keep it open year round with other events. The Richmond Metropolitan Authority (which controls The Diamond) has stopped short of endorsing the plan but says it would be a good way to make a new team successful on the Boulevard.  Old problem, same discussion, nothing new here.  


Filed under Baseball, Crime, Dwight Jones