Po­lice ar­rest five sus­pects in rash of rob­beries

The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS - BY PE­TER HER­MANN pe­ter.her­mann@wash­post.com

Thurs­day night, D.C. po­lice pur­sued a car into Mary­land and ar­rested five peo­ple who author­i­ties say are linked to a string of armed rob­beries, in­clud­ing sev­eral that oc­curred Wed­nes­day on Capi­tol Hill and in the Navy Yard area.

The sus­pects were be­ing charged in Prince Ge­orge’ s County and are ex­pected to be ex­tra­dited to the Dis­trict. Their names were not avail­able as of Satur­day.

Po­lice said that they re­cov­ered a gun from the ve­hi­cle and that the ar­rests were made af­ter a “lengthy ve­hi­cle and foot pur­suit.” Po­lice said they found a sec­ond gun near some of Wed­nes­day's rob­beries in the Dis­trict.

“We be­lieve th­ese sub­jects to be re­spon­si­ble for mul­ti­ple rob­beries in the city to in­clude sev­eral in the First Dis­trict area,” D.C. Po­lice Chief Cathy L. Lanier said in a mes­sage posted on the depart­ment’s In­ter­net bul­letin board. A spokesman said Lanier was re­fer­ring to sev­eral of the rob­beries on Capi­tol Hill.

The rob­beries on Capi­tol Hill and near the Navy Yard oc­curred within 40 min­utes of one an­other Wed­nes­day night, be­tween 8:50 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

All the vic­tims re­ported see­ing a hand­gun — three of them de­scribed it as black — though de­scrip­tions of the at­tack­ers were not de­tailed. Most of the at­tacks in­volved two or three young men or teens. All the vic­tims were ap­proached from be­hind.

The rob­beries were in ar­eas cov­ered by the po­lice depart­ment’ s First Dis­trict, which in­cludesneigh­bor­hoods along the H Street cor­ri­dor, East­ern Mar­ket, Capi­tol Hill, the water­front and up to Union Sta­tion. Un­armed rob­beries in the First Dis­trict have surged from 229 at this time last year to 280 so far this year, ac­cord­ing to po­lice statis­tics. Armed rob­beries have jumped from 86 to 110 over that same time pe­riod.

Po­lice said the first rob­bery oc­curred at Ninth and F streets NE, near the H Street cor­ri­dor. Po­lice said a man came up be­hind a vic­tim and asked, “You know what time it is ?” while two oth­ers ran up from across the street.

One of the vic­tims said Fri­day that she and her boyfriend were robbed in the at­tack and that one rob­ber pointed a gun at her. She said the cou­ple was walk­ing from a friend’s house and no­ticed young men wear­ing hood­ies, one of whom had his face cov­ered. The woman gave her ac­count on the con­di­tion she not be named.

She said the per­son with the cov­ered face threat­ened her with a gun while two oth­ers came from across the street and boxed in the cou­ple. Two robbed her boyfriend, and the other turned to her. “I took off my purse and gave it to him,” the woman said. “They were ask­ing, what about your phone. I said it’s in there,” re­fer­ring to the purse.

The next rob­bery hap­pened far­ther south, at Third and G streets SE, near Garfield Park ad­ja­cent to In­ter­state 695. Po­lice said a woman was talk­ing on a cell­phone when a man came up be­hind her and told her to be quiet. Po­lice said she dropped her purse and iPhone and the man picked them up and ran away. The woman said she saw the man who ap­proached her hold­ing a gun and that he was with two oth­ers, be­tween 15 and 19 years old. She had no other de­scrip­tion other than one was pos­si­bly wear­ing a gray jacket.

Po­lice were then called to the 1300 block of E Street SE, near Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue be­tween the East­ern Mar­ket and Po­tomac Av­enue Metro sta­tions. Po­lice said the vic­tim was talk­ing on a cell­phone when ap­proached from be­hind and pushed to the ground. Po­lice said one of the three men in­volved was hold­ing a black hand gun and took a ni Phone and a purse. This vic­tim re­ported that all three men were wear­ing ski masks.

The fi­nal two vic­tims re­ported be­ing robbed about 16 blocks from East­ern Mar­ket, near the Wash­ing­ton Navy Yard. Po­lice said two men pushed a vic­tim in the 100 block of L Street SE. One man pointed a black hand­gun at the vic­tim, po­lice said, and or­dered, “Take out what you have.” Po­lice said they took an iPhone and credit cards. Both men were wear­ing red puffy jack­ets, the vic­tim told po­lice.

One block away, a per­son told po­lice that one man wear­ing a blue jacket and black ski mask pointed a gun from be­hind and said, “Give me what you got,” and ran away with items.

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