Mugging in Mt. Pleasant/Adams Morgan Friday Afternoon

Photo by PoPville flickr user Vileinist

“Dear PoP,

Just wanted to give you and the readers a heads up. I was mugged Friday while walking back from the Mt. Pleasant Interim Library at the intersection of Argonne and Harvard, two streets I walk on a daily basis and I’ve considered to be a fairly safe area. The mugger was in his late teens or early twenties, black and seemed to have been on drugs. He blocked me from walking down the street and asked me what I was doing on the block. I tried to keep walking but he ended up chasing me halfway down the street where I stopped and surrendered my tote bag. Fortunately, all I had in the bag was a book and some DVDs I checked out from the library. After I gave him the bag and ran up the street back onto Harvard (in front of the Pica Taco) he actually followed me back up after awhile and then crossed the street and walked down Mt. Pleasant. I was able to recover my bag and all of my belongings except for the one dollar he stole from the bag. This was around noon, so it was in broad daylight. I have filed a police report.

This seemed to have been a random event but just a reminder for everyone to be cautious and to always let them have the bag!”

I always here MPD echo the same advice – always let the mugger have the bag or wallet or phone etc. But I often hear readers say they prefer to run and/or fight. Obviously I think it depends if a weapon is involved, where you are and other factors but I strongly agree with the reader and MPD’s advice – it is always smarter to “hand over the bag” rather than risk injury or worse for replaceable items.

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39 Comment

  • OP you a female? Just wondering if your gender had something to do with it.

    • Be careful of that line of thinking. I’m female and as such, I think like a cautious female.

      In my friends and fam’ it’s the men who’ve been mugged.

  • Never argue with a man on drugs.

    Incidentally, I just got my “basic pistol” shooting certificate. As soon as I can get a minute, I’m stocking up on home defense products!

  • Adams Morgan has the most armed robberies of any neighborhood in the city, which I learned after being robbed at gunpoint back in 2002. Be careful and alert, no matter how safe you think a street feels. It’s not — Adams Morgan averages 30 armed robberies a month. And give up whatever you are holding, it’s not worth the risk.

    • @Anon You are not correct. Making statements like “Adams Morgan has the most armed robberies of any neighborhood in the city” is not only false,but a little silly given citywide figures. Please, are you trying to hurt the indie owners’ business in Adams Morgan? Robberies have gone DOWN here in the last year, averages maybe 27 a year, about 2 per month.
      ===From 3-21-09 to 3-21-10 (29 Robberies with a gun)
      ===From 3-21-10 to 3-21-11 (24 Robberies with a gun)

  • Should have run into Pica Taco. Mexican food so bad, even muggers won’t go in.

  • That’s the first time I’ve heard about muggers stealing books. I guess Chris Rock was wrong.

  • I’m glad that you are okay, and I’m sorry that you were subjected to such criminal behavior.

    However, to “always let them have the bag,” ought not to be, I believe, an absolute standard.

    Some would consider it prudent, whereas others an act of cowardice. So, whether to surrender your property or not, seems to be an individual’s prerogative at that moment in time.

    To refuse to surrender your property and to stand against criminal behavior can be the right thing to do.

    • Question: Your wife/daughter/son is living in DC and will be walking the streets alone many times. Do you tell them that surrendering their property may not always be the right thing to do? I understand that sometimes they may be able to fight the person off or teach them a lesson, but all it takes is one time for the person to be carrying a knife or gun and you’ve lost one of your most beloved family members forever. I’m sure that’s how your loved ones feel about you. I understand your point on principle, but just imagine what a dumb way to go that would be if it went badly.

      • there are other options other than giving up your bag, running, or fighting. A. It all depends on the situation. If said person is twitching, very tweeked out, or generally aggressive it might be wise to just give up what you got and move on. However, in my and my friends experience in these matters, cold hard cash tends to be all they look for. So if you give up the cash and keep the ID, the cards, and any other extra posession, its not a problem. But again, in my instances of being mug, it has been just a, relatively, calm kid trying to get a quick buck.

        • My advice would be to give them the cash. As they look at the cash I would concentrate on their hands. If they use two hands to count the money. Immediately with your two hands put your hands behind their neck in a Muay Thai Plum position and reign down knees. Then as they fall to the ground with all your might step on their neck. Then do a kung fu scream like Bruce Lee in “Enter the Dragon”

      • I always told myself that if I was ever mugged I would give up my bag. After all, being a rational person, I know that the contents of my purse are not worth dying for. Unfortunately, when four kids jumped me back in late November, sheer shock and panic did not allow me to think rationally. After getting punched in the face the kids pushed me down onto my stomach and on top of my purse. Everything happened so fast that all I remember is trying to protect myself and scream. The strap on my bag eventually broke and the kids just gave up.

        My point is simply this: You never know how you will react until you are in this type of situation. I was very lucky that I did not get that badly hurt and they did not get my bag. (Forget my Ipod, cell phone, and wallet, the most valuable thing in my purse at the time were my study materials for my last MA final MA that had taken me weeks to compile.) I cannot stress enough how important it is to always be aware of your surroundings and not to be complacent even in your neighborhood. However, I think it is also important to remember that even the most vigilant person can be in the wrong place at the wrong time and we should never blame to victim.

  • I think it really depends. If we do as demanded, our society will surely turn into one where low life controls the world.

    I have been robbed once in Miami–although the three black men took my baggage, I pushed one to the gound and had a good kick in his face. If we all do the same when no weapon is involved, I believe those people will not so much dare to come close to us in broad daylights.

    Once I was riding a bike and passed a group of black teenages and out of no reason, one of them threw his basket ball at me. I stared at him for a minute, but rode away. I still regretted that I did not give him a good beating. I may get hurt, but I just cannot stand the idea of having to be chicken in front of these stupid, foul-mouthed dirtbags living on my tax dollars.

    BTW, I am a male and only 5’8″.

    • I’m 6’2″, and in decent shape, but I would have still kept riding too. Size has nothing to do with it when you’re outnumbered by a group of teens.

      I was riding my bike through the PJs in New York many years ago (The Gowanus houses) when a gallon of milk exploded right next to me. I looked up, and there were a bunch of teens throwing crap at whiteys. I’m sure I could have beat each one of their asses one-on-one, but I stood no chance with a group.

      Plus, it was likely a “Tower of Death” a la Bruce Lee’s ill-fated Game of Death movie. I would have had to ascend 5-6 floors, each one protected by a different foe (crackheads, pitbulls, welfare moms with rolling pins, dealers) before I was able to tackle the 12-headed teen-Cerebus.

      I did once stop when a group of two teens shot me with a pump water “shotgun” from behind a fence; I jumped over, grabbed the water cannon, unloaded it in his face and then broke it over my knee… but honestly, there were only two of them. Had there been more, I would have just kept moving and likely told the nearest cop (who probably couldn’t have cared less).

    • Please tell us more about your desires to beat African-American children.

      • Since the vast majority of DC thuggery are black… your comment stinks. I’ve beat the shit out of many a white boy in my day as well.

        • Spot on.
          I, for one, am tired of tip-toeing around this fact.
          Deal with it…it’s the truth.

          • Its true, in DC its young black males who are committing the violent crime, and i’ve spent time with DYRS and during my time they had one white kid committed to the city compared to over 400 plus african american youth. Race and class are highly correlated in DC……welcome,,,,

    • The inclusion of the race of the assailants doesn’t really add anything to Clark’s message, besides triggering extra PoP race-baiting.

      While no one wants to look like a wimp, fighting back when you’re outnumbered 3 to 1 may be a really dumb idea. What if you just pissed them off by inflicting some injury? All you need is for two guys to hold you down while the other pummels you for giving him a black eye/bloody nose. Sounds like a hospital/death wish to me.

    • Blithe

      Um, and just HOW do you know that they’re living on YOUR tax dollars? I’m in no way condoning feral behavior. But if you’re equating “black teenagers” with “living on tax dollars” — then that’s a pretty big and potentially harmful assumption.

      • I think it’s more “thieves and/or kids who pick fights with strangers” = “more likely to be low income”. A reasonable assumption.

  • Here’s a story about a man from Fairfax County who’s killed after he gave away his wallet:

    He planned to have a job interview with Google the next morning.

  • Hey Clark,

    What does their being black, as you repeated numerous times, have to do with it? Would you have specified if they were white…or Asian?

    • Black is just an adjective he used just like stupid, foul-mouthed dirtbags.

      If white was the proper adjective you’d be ok with that – yes?

    • When I use black, I am just describing a fact–the teenage who throw the ball at me happens to be black; the men who robbed me happen to be black just as the Fairfax guy happens to be killed by a black man.

  • Unless I see a gun,

    “Someone is going to the boneyard and ain’t me!”

    • I feel you Frankie. I walk the streets with the same mentality. Unless you flash a piece or knife. I’m going to punch you in the throat, gauge out one of your eyeballs, kick you in the back, and run away screaming “I’m a Hemophiliac”.

    • What an awesome rag tag bunch of scrappers you guys’d make. Very Northwest Side Story.

  • I witnessed a woman and her child being robbed in Adams Morgan on the corner of Ontario and Adams Mill about 3 weeks ago at 2pm on a Saturday. The guy took off immediately through an alley as I was driving down the street. I stopped and asked the woman if she needed help or if she wanted me to stay while she filed a police report and she told me she was on the phone with her husband. I have since spoken to a police officer about this and he said it is always important to look at someone’s shoes if you are being robbed because a robber can change his clothes quickly, but they never will change their shoes.

    • interseting! That never would have occurred to me, and depending on how freaked out/pissed off I am if it ever happens to me, I probably will completely forget to do that…

  • How did the OP get his/her bag back? Did the mugger drop it after realizing there was no money in it? After the police report was filed? or did the victim take it back? Did they catch the mugger?

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