Dear PoP – Suspicious Gov’t Vehicles Edition

DSCN6522, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

“For the last three days there have been suspicious, government-issue cars sitting around 18th. sunday morning there were three champagne colored chevy impalas and two black suburbans just idling at the corner of Kilbourne and 18th. this suspicious activity has not subsided though the cars have changed. we were just wondering if you knew what was up, as we can find no info elsewhere….”

Hmm, I was hesitant to post this question as I don’t want to expose a vast government conspiracy. But my guess is that perhaps you live near an important government official in the Obama administration. Or it’s possible this could just be a regular stakeout though I’m pretty sure the black suburbans are used to escort government officials. Lastly, it’s possible that this is a secluded area that’s a good spot for a coffee break. Any other folks live around this area notice lots of gov’t vehicles lately? I’d say it’s all good until you start seeing helicopters…

42 Comment

  • Vonstallin

    Big Brother and his Ghetto Bird is watching….

  • I live near that corner have noticed the cars as well. It’s weird because the cars are always turned on and have people in them. I am glad someone brought it up because it was starting to feel a little creepy.

  • This is actually their second longterm appearance at that corner. I repeat 2d hand info from wife of someone who claims to have spoken to the officers: protective detail for “prominent Justice Dept” official. Prosecutor or the like?

  • That level of protective detail would only be accorded to a principal or, possibly, a deputy. My guess is that it’s Eric Holder–the timing of when the vehicles showed up fits (he was only just confirmed a few weeks ago, and he wouldn’t have received a detail until after his confirmation), and he’s a resident of DC.

    Just an educated guess from someone who knows a thing or two about this kind of issue.

  • If you’re really curious and have the next few days free, try walking up to them and start taking photos. I’ll pretty much guarantee they’ll identify themselves and/or show you the holding cell of whatever respective federal agency they’re affiliated with.

    Just kidding… kinda. Seriously though – a little discretion would be a good idea. I remember when MPD was doing surveillance on the 18th & Monroe drug crew and they pretty much had to abandon the job because neighbors kept walking up and asking who the hell they were. It’s nice that folks are aware of their neighborhood, but a little discouraging that residents were more concerned about the presence of an unmarked police vehicle than a very long-running drug house.

  • these cars have been around longer than a few weeks. At first I just assumed somebody “important” lived near there. I moved here from woodley park where steven hadley lives. There were big black SUVs in the alley all the time. These cars seem to be at least trying to be more discrete though. so maybe they are trying to keep tabs on one of the drug houses in the area? im just spurprised noboday has an answer yet. If its a VIP in the neighborhood that is public information. if its an investigation thats another story

  • as far as helicopters go I think its fair to say that mtp is a helicopter fly zone. I think this is because its close to the park? I heard once there was a number you could call to complain about TOO frequent helicopter traffic.

  • Really – you’re going to complain about helicopter noise? First off, nine times out of ten you’re seeing/hearing helicopters that are federal/military or medevac. When it IS mpd’s helicopter they’re often assisting officers in cruisers or on foot chasing/searching for folks who have just committed violent felonies [carjackings, etc]. You’re really going to complain about police response? What next, ambulance & fire apparatus sirens being too loud?

  • Seems like it would look a bit too obvious to actually be a drug bust…

  • I know what this is about and it’s best to just let them do their job and not publicize this. It doesn’t have anything to do with you and calling attention to them will not serve the cause of justice.

  • MPD doesn’t own any helicopters anymore. You’re only seeing DEA, Marine One, Marine Two and Medevacs.

  • ontario- if these were all tracking down carjackers than ill be damned if there isnt a carjacking every few hours on adams mill road…

    neener- you can keep it top secret all you want but just to state the obvious. if everyone in the neighborhood knows these cars are on a stakeout. dont you think the people they are surveiling know too?

  • Of course the best way to put an issue at rest is to tell people “I know but I’m not telling.”

  • MPD does have at least one helicopter w/tail# N911DC. Their air unit was reactivated in ’01. That’s a picture of it above, and here:

    I’ve been on the helipad next to it, so I’m pretty sure it exists, but like I said, most of what you see around here is fed/mil or medivac helicopters.

  • I saw the birght yellow helicopter that occasionally flies overhead on the helipad at Children’s Hospital

  • MPD has 2 helicopters, ‘Falcon1’ and ‘Falcon2’. They fly from the helipad on South Capitol Street next to the Douglass bridge. I went for a ride-along last year.

  • Don’t forget the US Park Police has a couple as well as the US Coast Guard wasting JP5 on “Homeland Security Partols” with thier HH-65 Dolphins.

  • neener was clearly one of those know-it-all kids you hated in elementary school who never really knew what he was talking about.

  • The small yellow one is MedSTAR:

    They primarily transport patients to Washington Hospital Center.

  • 10:56: and you ran and hid from me and wondered how I got all the girls.

    Jim Graham told me Williams sold the MPD helicopters when I dealt with this issue 10 years ago, but clearly I’m wrong and I apologize. As OR suggests, they were reactivated in 2001.

    As far as the stakeout is concerned, you all are hurting elderly people in the neighborhood by talking about it and I hope you feel smug.

  • OR- I have only seen Orange medevac copters in NW- Don’t want to get all trainspotting- and thought those might have been coast guard coming off of the Falls and headed to Washington Hospital Center.

    but just to PO the anonymous fraidycats, I once sat in a “black helicopter” just to say I did.

  • neener-you really are an idiot. who is trying to feel smug here? add to the know-it-all title that you must have been one of those annoying kids who went around “i have a secret but im not telling…” And no I didnt run from kids like you I beat you up. But thanks for the decade old info on the helicopters. and keep dropping hints about your no doubt missinformation on the stakeout.

  • I find it hard to believe that some bigwig is living in Mount Pleasant of all neighborhoods.

  • DG- have you been to mount pleasant? seen some of the mansions there? you think common folk live in those?

  • I can see these vehicles from my living room window — my best guess is that they are providing protection for one of my neighbors (I have seen a woman come out of a house and talk to them on two occassions, one of those times she got into a car with three of them and they all drove away). They are very conspicuous and do not appear to be trying to hide their presence at all — at one point four of their vehicles were idling in the middle of my street in a row while they all stood talking on the sidewalk.

  • a friend and I were commenting the otherday that the whole “west side of the park” will soon change to west side of 16th street. mount pleasant is changing fast in terms of demorgraphics. though you wouldnt know it from mtp street itself. but that is mostly due to the fact that businesses cater to the latino community. the homes in mtp are mostly owned by yuppies from what i can tell walking my dog. these businesses are starting to fold as a result of both the influx of yuppies and loss of business to target. and unfortunatly staying vacant due to a small population of nimbys that drive away business and landlords that want to charge adams morgan like rents. But to me this just means that MTP streets rise will be fast. Landlords will eventually be forced to ask reasonable rents as more and more inventory comes on the market and the changing demographic means the new retail will likely start catering to the yuppie residents with disposable income. Adams morgan and mtp are the sketchiest areas west of 16th and something tells me neither will be very sketch in a few years.

  • im gonna guess witness protection. whoever they are keeping an eye on is probably testifying against someone in an upcoming trial

  • 11:19,

    I am completely sure we did not know each other in elementary school, but keep living in your online fantasy world. Do you have unicorns there? Did you allude to threatening to beat me up? How real elementary school culture must seem to you. I’m guessing that was what, 5 years ago for you?

  • DC_Chica (and others) as the original inquirer into this issue, I appreciate your comments. This hardly seems a covert thing… I wouldn’t have brought it up had I thought that this was something uber secretive, or a matter of neighborhood safety from criminal activity – we’re talking five or six cars at any given moment just hanging out in the space of half a block. If anything, it’s comically unsubtle.

  • Speaking of Eric Holder, I saw him at the mall the other day.

  • Neener- by all means. keep posting. there might still be one person out there who doesnt think you are a retard. you need to remove the doubt from their mind.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Let’s try and avoid personal attacks please. Thanks.

  • 12:17,

    I’d like to think so. Also remember that a great deal of foot traffic in Mt Pleasant came from the large apartment building that caught fire last year. Three businesses that served the immigrant community, such as a phone booth and internet “Store” closed within a few months of that fire. There are 6 vacant store fronts that are charging, AFAIK (and anonymous users, don’t beat me up for not knowing the exact specifics) the same rents that were offered in Columbia Heights. I was given the rent info by this woman who opened a shoe store on Park Rd, but not in Mt Pleasant because of the costs and lack of foot traffic.

    The Mt Pleasant houses are almost all in the $600k-1.2 million category. Condos in the $300-400s. It’s not really a sketchy neighborhood anymore and hasn’t been for years. There are people who have been moving up the ladder of success who bought condos and are keeping their apartments and they seem to still frequent the same old joints. I love Ercilias, Haydees, Don Juans, Hellers, Best Way, Adam Express and Burritos Fast and other local places, but wouldn’t miss the loss of just about any other store.

  • the old supermarket on mtp thats vacant recently had some foot traffic in it. Im assuming potential investors? There is a big parking lot with it so I was hoping that it would be a trader joes but yeah i know im dreaming. I think it would make a great restaurant with a buildout over the part of the parking lot facing MTP street. unfortunately the old speedywash that closed is going to be yet another laundrymat. that im guessing will be vacant yet again 6 months after opening. I mean it really does beg the question. when is SOMETHING cool gonna open on MTP. The last interesting thing to happen was Radius Pizza. which I could do without. why they went for ny style pizza ill never know. this is not a ny pizza town. we have taste for cryin out loud. why would we eat that crap.

  • I live on Kilbourne too and first saw the cars months ago. They were around for a few weeks and then disappeared, only to come back a few weeks ago. I actually went up to one of them a few days after they first showed up to see what the deal was since at that time it was not clear at all that they were law enforcement. The guys were nice and acknowledged that they were law enforcement, a fact which was reinforced by the body armor I noticed in the back seat of their car with “US Marshall” written on the back. Whoever said they aren’t trying to blend in is absolutely right! My fiancee and I have joked about sending them takeout from radius. They don’t bother me much since they’re careful not to take up parking spaces (they park illegally on the corners) and they certainly make it safe to walk around at night.

  • saf

    Anon 1:24 – you mean the building south of the 7-11, across, uh, is that Kenyon or Kilbourne, there?

    That used to be a Church’s, then a Payless, then the grocery. I’d like to see it torn down and something not-horrid put there myself.

  • saf – yes, that’s the spot anon was talking about. I have to think that the shell of the burned-out apartment building across the street from it has to be a disincentive for anyone to set up shop there. But I have been noticing lights on inside the place after dark so someone has been doing something in there lately.
    And I swear that I don’t spend alot of time staring out my front window, but I figured out this morning who the men (U.S. Marshals?) are protecting although I haven’t figured out the specifics of why yet.

  • DC_Chica:

    You figured it out? Is it just a “regular” neighbor or someone of political importance? I’m sort of fascinated about who is living in our midst (I live on that block of Kilbourne).

  • Not political from what I can tell (I’ve identified one of the women I’ve seen coming in and out of the house, not sure about the other one) — the security detail is most likely connected to a court case. btw, I think our block rocks!

  • DC_Chica I think you need to give us more hints….like a url or something 🙂

  • Sorry, I have no desire to give out any identifying information about someone who may have been the recipient of death threats. Seriously, people?

  • UPDATE: For anyone who still remembers this from a few months ago, the Post wrote an article about my neighbor which talks about why she was under protection (those who threatened her and her son have been apprehended, thankfully):

Comments are closed.