Park Police Sgt. David Scholsser said in a news conference the man was found at about 1:30 a.m. in the Arlington National Cemetery, located near the Pentagon. He was first caught by the Ft. Myers police but then ran into adjacent Arlington National Cemetery, where he was apprehended by the military. When questioned, Melaku was uncooperative but then took the police to his car.
Melaku was arrested last month for smashing windows and stealing valuables from 27 cars in Leesburg, Va. He was charged with four counts of grand larceny although the police did not find any discernible ideological motive.
A man by the same name and birth month was also arrested in Fairfax County for reckless driving and failure to stop. He pleaded guilty and paid a $200 fine for the former charge and $30 for the second charge.
One of the Melakus' neighbors told reporters the young man's father worked as a taxi driver and that he was friendly but quiet.
"He's a pretty normal person," said Dagnachew Bizuwerk, an 11-year-old Ethiopian boy who lives across the street from Melaku's family. "He was a person that doesn't really talk a lot, a quiet man, doesn't say much."
ABC News' Howard Price, Lee Ferran, Steven Portnoy and Jake Tapper contributed to this report