Attempted Laptop Theft at Tynan Coffee (Columbia Heights) Sunday Night

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

“Dear PoP,

Just wanted to give a heads up that there was an attempted laptop theft at Tynan Cafe Sunday night. I was sitting with my friend with my laptop on the table next to me when a kid – probably around 16/17, black, pretty short – came up, grabbed it and bolted for the door. Fortunately Sunday’s dreary weather paid off and he slipped the moment he got outside which gave us time to catch up to him and wrestle it back. He had a friend with him who was waiting outside – a bit older and with dreads. The people at Tynan, which is a place I love and will always continue to go to, said that they had had a few incidents as of late. So, as a public please remember to keep your computer close and always keep an eye on it – especially if you are sitting near the door.

Also, lots of thanks to everyone who rushed out to give a hand. Cafe wifi users gotta stick together!”

Unfortunately this happened once before over the summer at the 14th and Irving St, NW location. Thanks to the writer for sending the word. Stay vigilant!

101 Comment

  • Something is missing from the story. Did you detain the churren while the police were called or were they allowed to run the streets to rob another day? Did you call the police to file a report and did they tell you there was no crime because you got your laptop back so they could do nothing?

    Just curious what happened after he slipped and you got the laptop back.

    • Whatever happened, I hope they revoked his Thieve’s Guild membership. Tsk tsk.

    • Did the two thieves get a beat down? Arrested? We want more details!

      Actually we want a beat down.

    • Guys, please please please go out and buy a laptop lock. Some are under $20 on Imagine putting these feral kids out of business because we took the extra 2 second to attach a lock to a table leg. That being said, I wouldn’t walk away from a locked laptop, but it will protect you from a snatch and grab.

      • Do you think they’d deter a burglarer as well, or would they be able to break the lock? My laptop was stolen from a locked house with an alarm system and bars on the windows. It’s sad to think I’d have to lock up my possessions in my own protected home, but I’ll do it if it helps prevent theft from happening again.

    • He and his pal took off. While I clutched my computer thankfully a few other cafe patrons took off after them but didn’t catch up. The staff at Tynan (who were incredibly apologetic and helpful) called the cops, who took my statement and info…but I can’t say I’m too hopeful anything will come it.

      Definitely going to buy a lock, but it was literally sitting next to me. I hadn’t gotten up for coffee or anything. He just came up, grabbed it and dashed for the door.

  • This is yet another example of why gentrification in DC can’t happen soon enough.

    • Right because random laptop snatchings dont occur in San Fran…

      As long as there are targets, there will be someone trying to be predators.

    • excuse me? the problem is not that blacks *exist* in this city, which is what you’ve implied. it’s that black youths in our cities are given so few opportunities — from day one — that they do not grow and thrive in the same way that white youths do. instead, they’re profiled, locked up, labeled as felons for petty crimes (often nonviolent drug crimes) and thereby kept unemployed, often for life.

      if you want to live in harmony (although you don’t actually seem to), there’s a need for more sensible distribution of resources: community centers and good schools should be placed in the underserved areas *first* — not only after we privileged, white residents are taken care of.

  • A lot of these crimes are opportunistic — don’t give them that opportunity. If you see someone that generally doesn’t fit in your surroundings, it pays to be that much more cautious.

    • what? are you saying that a 16 black kid cant go into Tynan Coffee?

      • people have poor reading comprehension, don’t they?
        read the words again and tell us where fd said that.

      • What is a 16 year old kid doing in a coffee shop alone anyway?

        Too young for coffee that is for sure. That is surely what FD meant by “crimes are opportunistic.”

        Yes I would look twice or three times at a kid, 16 year old or not, in a coffee shop alone – no matter what color.

  • AreaMan:

    Gentrification can never happen in Columbia Heights, it will always be this way. There is too much “project” housing in the high rises, it can never be rid so this is what Columbia Heights will always be. It is Alaska, people are moving in to bear territory because of the beautiful scenery. You will be attacked and eaten all the days of your lives. No way to change that but to trap and move the bears and that ain’t gonna happen, these bears vote.

    FD: Oddly interesting but ain’t it funny how some people look at that exact same common sense statement as “racial profiling” and to that somebody on this blog sill say it is not “racial” profiling it is “classicist” profiling. One could play devils advocate and say since DC is 70% black the two youths in question actually fit in where the victim did not. : )

    Blame the parents. The parents of hoodlums should be dragged into the street and beaten.

    • Oh please, the jails would never let you drag their parents out to be beaten. Get real.

    • the profiling doesn’t have to be racial, and i don’t think FD meant it that way either. i’m black, & i profile.
      if a bunch of rowdy kids come into my shop younger than say 16, i keep an eye on them.

      if a shady looking man or woman comes in smelling of hard liquor before noon, i keep an eye on them.

      no matter what color they are..

      like FD said you have to be cautious of your surroundings.
      & you should just be cautious in general; for instance the person who was robbed in georgetown leaving the apple store..or the shootings in friendship heights.

      i’ve probaly just opened a can of worms for you guys, but i hope you get the intended point.

      • a 16 year old at best buy? totally not out of context. a 16 year old at a coffee shop while his friend waits outside? yeah, a bit odd. and you’d be an idiot to not pay attention to that if you noticed.

      • What if I came into your shop smelling of hard liquor at 2pm? would I get a discount? Just trying to plan out my next binge.

        • Well, someone did say the 16 year old was short. Probably shouldn’t be drinking coffee. It stunted his growth and clearly affected his decision making.

        • I said “shady” looking.
          You know what I’m saying…

          & If you came in, you’d definitely get a discount..
          especially hammered drunk 😉

    • 70% is way above the last Census number which were around 54%. You should check your numbers before you preach.

      I remember a time about 20 years ago when a white person would “NEVER” even consider going to Columbia Heights much less finding a coffee shop there.

      Never say never Foxy. The Chocolate City has had it’s day.

      We are more like a latte now.

    • “No way to change that but to trap and move the bears and that ain’t gonna happen, these bears vote.”

      I LOVE bears!

  • I think this will be a really interesting dynamic at the new harris teeter and restaurants. People forget that Sursum Corda and another housing project are only 2 blocks to the west and its just east of the “homeless triangle” bounded by NY, 1st NW and Florida.

    • This incident happened at a different Tynan coffee, though.

    • next time anyone says that there isnt a bias among some/many toward certain areas and some are a bit blind to crime in CH, just remember this comment.

      This crime happened in CH, but the knee jerk reaction from Eric was that it happened in NOMA.

  • Makes me want to set up a sting, leaving a fake laptop unattended right by the door and MY friends waiting outside with baseball bats poised at knee-height. Maybe a life-long limp will remind the little bastards that stealing is wrong. (I know, I know, borderline entrapment and violence are also wrong, but this is my fantasy so I’m disregarding the inconsistency).

    • “I know, I know, borderline entrapment and violence are also wrong”

      But oh so satisfying!

    • Its not borderline entrapment. Its not even in the same category as entrapment.

      However you cant take someone’s knee cap out for picking up a laptop and trying to find the nearest police officer. Which, as soon as you beat the thief’s legs, would be his story.

  • AreaMan, I’m not sure that gentrification is a solution. If anything, it’s a problem. Building swanky shops & condos in these areas are creating an opportunity for crimes to happen. I understand the pros & cons to gentrification, don’t get me wrong.. I just think people should watch what they say about the matter. I’m not neccessarily gearing this towards you, but a lot of people use gentrification as a way to justify their racism.

    PS — Saturday at noon there will be an event about gentrification. It’s going to be at Everlasting Life Cafe, 2928 Georgia Ave..

    • If you mean that a lot of blacks use “gentrification” as an excuse to espouse bigotry against whites and occasionally commit crimes against whites, then yes – I agree with you.

      Gentrification is not the problem here. The problem is people who think that the rules of society don’t apply to them. What you’re saying is basically that all non-poor blacks should stay far away because, by living, working, or drinking coffee near poor blacks they’re causing the poor blacks to rob them.

      That is just – no.

      • well my dear, you brought up gentrification – i was only piggybacking off of that.

        i do agree, alot of black (& latinos for that matter) use gentrification as a way to blame “the white man” for all of their problems, etc; but that is not to be said about an entire race of people.

        i still believe that alot of other groups hide their racism behind gentrification. again, i am not referring to an entire group of people.

        also, i didn’t say anything that you mentioned above –
        i just think people should know what they’re getting themselves into. for example, i don’t walk from my house to georgia avenue(5-6 blocks) after the sun goes down.

        i’m a 22 year old, 115 lb, 5’1 female that’s probably not the best idea.

        didn’t mean to turn this into a racial thing, that’s not my style. i only wanted to voice my opinion..

        • I really don’t think that CH can be called “gentrified” – Target, Best Buy, Marshalls, Vitamin Shoppe, IHOP – hardly the retail of the “gentry”. The commericial offerings in our neighborhood are akin to those found at a middle/ working class, live-on-their-wages shopping centers found outside any urban area.

    • this does not make any sense

      “Building swanky shops & condos in these areas are creating an opportunity for crimes to happen.”

      these areas have had historically high crime. building stores and houses presents an opportunity for something other than crime, for a change.

      • what do you think is going to happen when you build nice things in an crime-ridden area? do you think the crime is just going to magically stop? no.

        i totally agree with what you’re saying, but sadly not everyone sees it that way.. & so, people’s laptops almost get stolen.

        & this is where my personal conflicts about gentrification come from:

        being a black person if you’re for gentrification, then you’re automatically an “uncle tom” etc;

        why should i be completely against it? we should be able to have nice shops in certain areas, without having to worrying about getting robbed, etc;

        • Grace, you seem to be an apologist for these thugs. Breaking the law is wrong. It’s not a racial issue. So what if the person pointed out that the thief was black? It’s a legit. observation. Things like what he looks like will help police catch him if he had gotten away. Should we not bring up skin color because certain Africa-American’s might get offended or lumped in the same category as the crooks? Then how should we identify him? By him being male? That sure lowers it down.

          And what would you suggest we do about the crime problem? Build another rec. center? I’m sure DC has enough of them already. Since you are so against DC building up formerly isolated and run down communities, should we just allow those who live in the projects to fend for themselves? Or should new stores and restaurants only be used by those of poorer income while those with higher income get their own spaces? We (pro-gent.) people don’t have a problem with lower income people using public places too, but heres the catch-DON’T BREAK THE LAW!!! STOP STEALING STUFF!!! Is that so hard for them to do?

          • I NEVER said that I was against gentrification.
            I am ambigious when it comes to the matter, because of personal conflict. & If you read some of my earlier posts (I went on a little rampage this morning), you’ll see that I am more for it, than against.

            & For the race issue, I was only saying that when describing the incident to a friend (not he police to file an official report) that there is no reason to say that they were little black kids. That’s just my personal opinion.

            This topic is really draining me, especially trying to type it all out. I am having a hard time articulating my full opinion on all of the issues.

            I am grateful that we have a blog like this where everyone can discuss what’s going on, & really voice their opinions without being attacked.

            And I am alittle apologetic to those kids.
            It’s really sad to see, especially as a black person –
            You don’t want to see younger children reinforcing negative sterotypes & all of that.

    • Grace is that the same rally that I have seen signs about on GA Ave that say “Keep DC a Chocolate City” “Stop the War on DC’s Black Community” ?

      • sure is. i’ll probably attend in order to gain more perspective on the matter. i hope others will too..

        i think the problem with most issues is that people fail to see from both sides.

        • yup.
          though with crime, there is one side.

        • Yep –

          You have to be carefully taught to hate – gain more perspective is like calling an overweight person “Bigged Boned.”

          Stop lying to yourself.

        • yeah, but if you (not you, Grace, I have no idea what connection you have to the group except that you plan to attend its event) set up a meeting called “Keep DC A Chocolate City” you’re not really going to get “both sides” of the issue.

          I think there are pros and cons to gentrification, and it’s a subject I try to learn about (reading, talking with lots of folks, etc). I think people define gentrification in a way that reinforces their own perspectives/biases. I live in a neighborhood that’s really mixed racially and income-wise (and has been for at least the past 40 years) but still has a lot of divides, and will change a lot more in the next decade or two. I don’t expect to be welcomed with open arms to a conversation about gentrification, but if the title of the event specifically says that people like me should stay out of the District and are harming a whole race of people by our very presence, well, you’d have to be bolder than me to just show up.

          • I have no connection to the group whatsoever.
            Personally, I think they are a little extreme.
            But, I will attend (like I said before, & will continue to say) in order gain perspective.

            I have more reasons in my head of why I should be FOR (since everyone on here thinks I’m against) gentrification.
            But as a Black person you are made to feel like you are betraying your race by being FOR it… so I just want to see what they are talking about.

      • I never realized how evil dog parks apparently are until I moved to D.C.!

      • yeah, and these organizers have kids being raised with a heavy dose of bigotry.

      • Foxy – I didnt know there were so many Africans that lived in DC.

        Obviously the writer of this has some serious issues comprehending reality. Sounds like LaRouche.

        • Yeah, it’s like the writer is just smart enough to string together sentences, but not a cogent argument. He mentions —

          “DC police use Gestapo-style tactics . . . For example, they constantly keep their police lights on while doing regular patrol around the city.”

          Reminds me of like Glenn Beck. Weird paranoid allusions that are perhaps code for something. When you break it down, there’s no substance.

    • while gentrification isn’t the answer nor is pissing about “racism”.
      both thoughts are equally unhelpful.

      • didn’t mean to cause a stir, but you can’t ignore it.
        notice that the intial report said “probably around 16/17, black, pretty short” — that made it about race immediately.

        “racism” is alive & well (unfortunately), & it’s definitely not one-sided.

        • NO – its identified the child’s color – nothing more.

          • all i’m saying is that if i was telling this story to a friend, i would’ve said a 16 year old kid. i wouldn’t have said a 16 year old white/black/asian.

            that’s just me.

          • Grace, the difference is that the person who sent the story into PoP wasn’t telling the story to a friend. He/she was describing what happened and warning others to be on the lookout for the same potential thieves. PoP’s readers should know as much as possible about them. (Of course, you should always be alert and protect your belongings from, well, everyone, but if someone fits the profile of a known thief, it might cause people to be extra-vigilant.)

        • I disagree. Providing the POS’s skin color is simply part of describing the criminal, it’s not making it about race. It’s as valid as height, weight and eye color. Conspicuously leaving out the F-er’s skin color would be a form of racial bias in itself.

          • “i would’ve said a 16 year old kid”

            Sounds like you are willing to practice age discrimination then. Would you identify their sex? Sexist pig.

            That’s bs. Observing someone’s skin color is not discrimination. You need to treat someone differently because of (race or sex or age) for it to be discrimination.

          • Thanks Kim! I clearly glossed over that part of the post, & went on a little rampage.

        • is that because you would expect the person you were talking to to know the criminal’s race

    • You are so right Grace, gentrification is the problem (I know, you said “a” problem, but I think you mean “a leading problem”). Let’s take your comment to it’s next logical step: the poor will never be able to learn societally acceptable values, so why try to mix them in with us civilized people? By all means, it’s racist, racist, RACIST to conceive of neighborhoods where everyone can live together in relative safety. When economically stable people (code for “white” since white people don’t work for what they have, they’re just given it, and non-whites could NEVER be part of neighborhood improvement…er, I mean racist gentrification), improve a community’s infrastructure–damn, there I go again–I mean, when racist, genocidal gentrification dares to build stores, homes, and repair the streets, and try to live alongside others, it fails. So we should just fence off the slums and projects, plant lovely trees around them to hide them from our delicate sensibilities, and create our own exclusive neighborhoods, leaving those ignorant savages that will never learn to stew in their own juice.

  • Same thing happened to me this summer at Meridian Pint. We caught the little bastard (not more than 14 years old) three blocks away. The waiter at Meridian Pint said he knew the kids and sees them casing the place a couple of times a day.

    Good luck all.

  • OK, I’ll ask it AGAIN: what happened after you caught the kid? I’d really like to know, please!

  • I think we should all ask ourselves: What would Sgt. Ellis Carver do for these little hoopers?

  • Gentrification isn’t the problem/solution.

    Laptop locks are the problem/solution.

  • i just read the website, what a bunch of racists. i am not going back to everlasting life cafe again.

    • I agree. They sound like ignorant kooks who are best ignored, but I, for my part, will choose to ignore Everlasting Life from now on. It’s too bad, because I was planning on checking out the place.

    • yeah it’s pretty amazing.

    • I dont know anything about this coffee shop or the presentation there – but its a bit harsh to write off a coffee shop because some whack jobs want to meet there and talk about stuff.

      Its not like the shop could prevent these people from assembling there…

      • Yes, they could. It’s now on my list of 3 places I won’t go in DC.

        • how? it sounds like its a group of 5 or 6 people who are going to get together and discuss something. Who cares where they do it? I disagree as much as anyone with them, but I would be just as disturbed by an establishment that told them they werent welcome based on what they think… same goes for the KKK and book clubs that read stupid books.

        • please tell me the other two…I bet one is Fuxion.

      • “In 2000, DC was 61% black and 34% white. Now, about
        54% of DC is Black and 40% is white. At the current pace,
        DC will cease being majority Black by 2020”

        They forgot: “in 1950 DC was 35% black”

        Short memory. Did someone steal DC from black people? Did they steal it from someone else in the 50’s and 60’s? Did black people sign a 100 year lease when it tipped over 50% sometime around 1960? Or is it just society evolving in ways that are not in anyone’s control?

        Anyway, there appear to be 5 people attending so far… but there are two maybes, too.

      • Keep DC a Choclate City!

        Let’s start by learning how to spell.

    • I do agree the group is extreme, but the shop itself isn’t. They have wonderful vegan/vegetarian fare! I’m pretty sure that they have no connection with the group because people rent out their space quite often.

  • so did you give the kid the beating he so richly deserved?

  • Surf the web at home…that is the moral. Coffee shop lingerers are obviously not comparable to thieves, but pretty damned annoying.

    • so, what IS acceptable coffeeshop behavior? Can I read the paper? If so, what is my time limit? Chat with friends? File my nails? All of these things take up space at the coffeeshop, so what’s the difference? How much time will you allot to each of these activities? Please disseminate the spreadsheet for all of us once you’ve created your matrix of coffeeshop activities mapped to the time you allow for them.

      And who made you the Time-to-Go-Home Boss anyway?

  • This is why I support laws/statues that hold parents accountable for what their kids do. Haul that little twirp into court with his parent(s)/guaridan(s) and hold them all accountable.

    I really hope the crime was reported. Not reporting helps no one (victim, criminal, neighbors or business owners).

    • Most certainly reported it. Picked up the police report tonight and gave a copy to the cafe just in case it might help them if these kids frequent it a lot.

  • as long as we are spending our money, energy and resources on bars, coffee shops and other playgrounds for the rich, and not spending our time, money, work, energy and resources on filling in the gaps where the schools, parents and everyone else have fallen down on the job, we will have rampant crime. the whole community needs to take an interest in the two and three year olds born into a broken culture right now and help raise them. I know that last statement comes with some controversy, but nothing else has or ever will work.

    • I am way behind on this, but the two aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, the more money we spend at bars, coffee shops, and “other playgrounds for the rich” within the District, the more tax revenue the city earns to spend on “filling in the gaps.”

  • Y’all are confusing gentrification, which is a class issue, with racism. It’s cute for latter-day hippies to think that gentrification will somehow be stopped; it won’t. Money pushes out no-money every time, no matter what the race of the pushers or the pushees. It happens all the time, and it’s never going to stop. I don’t think it should stop.

    The argument seems to be that we should preserve crappy neighborhoods with no services under the threat of violent crime if we don’t, and give the rotten neighborhood residents another 50 years to finally get the rusted-out car out of the front yard and fix the gutters. Ridiculous. It’s not my presence in a neighborhood that somehow makes it dangerous.

    It’s why I hated “Rent.” You either pay it, or you move. If it goes up, you’re priced out. It’s happened to me, and I am sure I have done it to others. God did not give anyone the right to live anywhere, whether it’s the East Village or Columbia Heights.

  • “Cafe wifi users gotta stick together!”

    Thanks for adding this at the end. I rolled my eyes so hard while laughing I think I popped a tendon. Ha!

  • 67 posts over an attempted laptop theft from a coffee shop? Seriously? Geesh!

  • What happened to the 16 yr old boy? Were you able to call the police to get the boy and his accomplice arrested or did they run away?

    I agree, laptop locks are a great solution, I try to use mine everytime I can, even if you leave your spot for 2 mins to go get a coffee or to the bathroom, it is long enough for someone to come and walk away with your laptop.

    It is a big risk one takes to leave their laptop unattended, specially if its your work laptop, if my work laptop get stolen from a starbucks, my employer would pretty much chop my balls off.

  • These kids regularly target Tynan Coffee. I was there on a Monday night about three weeks ago when a kid with the dreads came in (approx 16-17 yrs old). He bought a cookie and hung out by the window for 5-10 minutes. Didn’t think anything of it until I heard a girl scream at the other end of the coffee shop. The kid had ganked her laptop and took off through the rear exit by the bathrooms. The rear exit conveniently leads to a back alley and this kid knew it–hence it probably wasn’t his first time.

    While Tynan states they’ve “had a few incidents like this of late”, I believe this to be a frequent occurrence. I noticed the last time I was in Tynan a security camera was added facing the front door–so at least the coffee shop is taking some action.

  • If they do have a surveillance camera that faces the door, they should be willing to view the tapes and print out a picture of these thieves, keep the pictures near the register, and let them know that they are not welcome in the coffee shop. This also serves as a form of public humiliation. If the bulk of their customers refuse to patronize the establishment because of their refusal to do anything about the crime – their screwed.

  • they’re

  • At the Dupont Sweetgreen the other day, two kids came in and hovered for a bit. My guess was that one was about 14 and the other was a little younger. Their faces were covered (it was cold outside, but most people remove those things when they walk into a building), they were dressed in black, and they didn’t order anything. A few minutes later, a woman at the table behind us started yelling because one of them snatched her iPhone from off the table and ran away; the second guy lingered and she stared at him, asking, “Do you know him? He just took my phone!” and then the second kid ran out.

    I think the bottom line here is that no matter where you are, just be smart about your stuff. Don’t leave it on a table, especially if you’re near a door. And just because you ask someone to “watch your things” when you use a bathroom or order another coffee doesn’t mean it’s safe. Security cameras can be helpful, but only in hindsight — better to prevent the crime from happening in the first place by being mindful.

    It sucks to feel like you have to be on guard all the time, but hey. We can figure it out. Just be smart, especially when people hang around who are clearly not there to be a patron of whichever establishment you’re in.

  • DC is one of the most racist cities in the country right now….

    • In which direction?
      Racial tension comes from both sides pulling…

      My feelings of indignity come as a result of having been robbed and victimized repeatedly, to the tune of THOUSANDS of dollars, just this year. I think my desire for change is justified.

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