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Vienna dance instructor busted for theft

Tom Jackman

"Born to Dance"? How about "Born to Steal"?

A dance instructor at the Vienna studio "Born to Dance" was arrested Thursday after allegedly taking a woman's wallet while she was dancing and using her credit cards to ring up $3,200 worth of quick purchases, including a large-screen TV and a Yorkshire-poodle puppy.

Police searched the man's home Thursday and seized the three-month-old puppy, Vienna, Sgt. Bill Murray said. The dog, alleged to be extremely cute, was being kept separate from other seized evidence, Murray said.

A woman who attended a class at Born to Dance, at 305 W. Maple Avenue, told police that her Louis Vuitton wallet was stolen on Sept. 8 while she was dancing, according to a search warrant affidavit by Detective Tina L. Elias. Records showed the cards were later used at the Fair Oaks Mall, a Wal-Mart in Fair Lakes and the Petland store in Fairfax City.

Among the purchases: A 42" TV from Wal-Mart, the Yorkie-poo puppy, plus puppy supplies from Petland, a tank of gas, numerous baseball hats, jeans and sneakers from Fair Oaks, plus cosmetics, perfume and more from the mall. Elias wrote that she watched surveillance videos of the purchases and identified Michael A. Stokes, 25, of Federalist Way in Fairfax, as the purchaser.

Elias found that Stokes lived in Fairfax with his fiancee, an instructor at Born to Dance, and that Stokes was driving his fiancee's car during the alleged buying spree.

Police searched the couple's apartment Thursday morning and recovered some of the property, including the puppy, Murray said. Stokes was charged with credit card theft, three counts of credit card fraud and two counts of credit card forgery.

The puppy's future had not been determined, Murray said.
-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  | September 24, 2010; 5:56 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax, Tom Jackman  
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What is one of the first rules of journalism? "Get the dog's name." So, what was this extremely cute puppy's name?

Posted by: rowinskidm | September 24, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

This is the result of dogged police work.

Posted by: JohnRice | September 24, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad I paid in cash there now.

Next time adopt a homeless pet from a no-kill shelter and you won't need to rob anyone to pay for it. Win-win!

Posted by: sarahabc | September 25, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Don't people know that any dog you buy from a pet store came from a puppy mill? Buy from a reputable breeder or rescue one from the animal shelter!

Posted by: markd301 | September 25, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

What is one of the first rules of journalism? "Get the dog's name." So, what was this extremely cute puppy's name?

Posted by: rowinskidm
ALLEGEDLY extremely cute.

Posted by: rw-c | September 25, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure about the first rule of journalism, re: dog's name, but the headline says a dance instructor was busted for theft. The article goes on to name the dance studio, the brand of the wallet, etc.

However, in paragraph 7 we discover that the only person charged with theft is the dance instructor's fiance. So how does that jibe with the headline and the inferences earlier in the story?

That kinda violates more rules of journalism than failing to get the pup's name, cute or no.

Posted by: mebmebnot | September 25, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I think the man arrested and his fiancee are both instructors at the dance studio.

Posted by: buffysummers | September 25, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Theft and crime in Vienna?
In Fairfax County?
In Virginia?


Posted by: morrisday1 | September 25, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Mike Stokes is an instructor at Born2Dance. Or rather, he WAS, as he's already been scrubbed from their instructor page, not that I blame them. (I'm a student at the studio.) His fiancee may also be an instructor, but since she's unnamed in the story I'm not sure. So I'd agree that there's some confusing wording in this story, but the headline does match the facts as they are known.

Posted by: tiffanyjoy | September 25, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

These days, "fiancee" usually means they haven't set a date, but ARE having sex.

Posted by: jbartelloni | September 26, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm a student there. I really love the studio. They did e-mail the enrolled students and told us what happened.

The studio had cubby holes in the dressing room. They were just open spaces. I never put anything valuable in them and I'm kind of glad about that. However, not carrying anything valuable requires some advance planning and that doesn't work for everyone, especially if they are coming directly from work or from other activities. They've just got more stuff with them.

The e-mail we got indicated that lockers would now be available. I think that will help a lot, especially for anyone who cannot travel light.

Like I said, I love the studio. I will happily continue to go there. I'm glad they sent a helpful e-mail.

Posted by: aaahsummer | September 27, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

@mebmebnot, The article does not name the fiance as a suspect, much less the actual culprit. It says they lived together and he drove her car. I saw the release on city of vienna police website, and he's the only one charged.

I take hip hop and Zumba classes at born 2 dance and I truly like it here. Its an unfortunate incident for the local dance community. I heard that 3 or 4 other studios where he also taught are doing their investigations (I think national ballet, theatrical dance school and joy of motions and another name that escapes me right now.)
But they have like 4 or 5 other hip hop teachers and they took over his classes and frankly theyre all pretty awesome teachers. I took hip hop in new york for many years and the teachers quality here is pretty high.
But man, what a waste of talent. He was really a good teacher but I guess he won't be leading a dance class anytime soon. I wish him the best thou. I'm a christian and i believe in forgiveness.

Posted by: lovetohiphop | September 29, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

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