“Flash Mob” Stole and Vandalized at Brookland’s YES! Organic Market Sunday July 15th


Shared on the Brookland listserv from MPD:

“I promised you that I would get back with you in reference to an incident that took place at the Yes! Organic Market (3809 12th St. NE) last Sunday, July 14, 2013. At approximately 12:49 pm, a “flash mob” of about 10 juveniles stormed the market, vandalized and stole items within. When approached by the manager, he was threatened to have his “head bashed in.” The juveniles fled the location south on 12th Street, making good their escape. They were not apprehended and no one was hurt.”

88 Comment

  • And this is why we can’t have nice things.

  • What race were all of these teens?

    • Why does race matter?

      • You can’t be on the look for trouble you don’t know what it looks like. My guess is it looks black from head to toe.

        • brookland_rez

          I don’t know. Given that it was the organic grocery store, I think it was a bunch of white yuppie’s children. They just can’t get enough of that Kashi cereal and Amy’s organic frozen foods.

      • John must be one of them math-ers.

      • Over the last month this is the number of times certain initials were used on the MPD twitter feed:

        B/M = 191 Instances
        W/M = 1 Instance
        H/M = 1 instance
        B/F = 2 Instances
        W/F = 1 Instance
        H/F = 1 instance

        Why does race matter?

        • Really? Knowing the kids’ race is going help you “keep a lookout”? I’d hate to see the result of that lookout…

          You are correct that most crimes in the city are committed by black males. However, the probability that an INDIVIDUAL YOUNG BLACK MAN is a criminal is still very, very low.

          For example, take your statistics — there are approximately 150,000 black men in the city, That means the proportion of black men committing crimes generating a “lookout” by MPD in the last month was 0.1 percent, assuming these were all separate individuals.

          Save your “lookouts” and your racism, and let the police handle it.

          Your statistics lesson of the day. QED.

          • Also, by “You are correct that most crimes in the city are committed by black males. “, I meant to say, “most violent and/or property crimes”. I can only imagine how much white collar crime there is in this city, and who is committing it.

          • Pointing out numbers is racism?

            Who said anything about a lookout?

          • I’m sorry, I thought that’s what “you can’t be on the lookout for trouble if you don’t know what trouble looks like”, implying that knowing their race would help you in that regard.

            If you read my math, you will realize why it is racist, or at least — to use a less charged term — statistically insane to imply that knowing the race of these kids will help you ascertain whether individuals you run into are “trouble”.

          • Anonymous 1:58: a “lookout” is a police description of a suspect, i.e the person to “look out” for.

          • @anonymous 2:09, I am referring to Anonymous 1:12’s comment suggesting race will help him/her “look out” (notice the space — verb not noun) for trouble. Anonymous 1:33 then provided recent “lookouts” (noun) from the MPD suggesting that race would in fact be helpful.

            I am pointing out that there are lots of black men — and black youths — in the city, and knowing the race of the individuals in question — even combined with the information that black men are more likely to commit violent crimes in the city — does not, in fact, provide ANY statistically useful information to help one “look out” for trouble, as anonymous 1:12 expressed interest in doing.

          • I know what a lookout is.

            I’m not even going to respond to your accusation of racism again.

            This city, and all the communities in it, don’t do a good enough job to prevent these crimes from happening. For whatever reason, there are a larger number of b/m’s committing these crimes then any other demographic. Why is that the case, and what can the communities do to help curb this?

            Getting teens involved in the community can go a long way.

          • And I am arguing that providing information about race when it cannot actually help identify the perpetrators exacerbates these issues and contributes to an environment of race-based fear.

          • brookland_rez

            I agree. I know a lot of the young kids on my block and they’re all very respectful. They all refer to me as “Mr.” (my name). It’s not fair to profile every young kid as a potential thug.

          • a) 191 instances of b/m probably doesn’t account for how many to been on the look out for from any of those given MPD tweets. Typically it’s 2 b/m, in this case 10…?

            b) race is just one aspect of be on the look out, while race alone may not be helpful, combined typically with a white tank top and jeans etc… could help people identify the suspects before they change clothes.

        • because cops target certain people. done and done. and if you don’t understand this, you’re a moron.

          • Do you honestly believe that the reason so many black guys in DC are charged with crimes is because the cops are racist?

            This implies that if the cops werent racist, there would be a lot more white people arrested that are currently getting off scott free.

            This is a sincere question, so please answer it sincerely, do you think there are a lot of white people robbing, assaulting, and shooting people in DC that are not being apprehended and black people are just being targeted for this crimes?

          • There is evidence of this. For example, there is evidence that black men are arrested more often than others for marijuana possession, even though black men do not use marijuana at a higher rate.

            That said, I think in this city, race pro

          • Woops — pressed enter too soon.

            Anyway, I was saying, I think that race proxies for socio-economic condition in a really unproductive way in these conversations.

      • I guess it does. Although the neighborhood has changed the majority population is still black. The majority of the crime in the city is associated with the black community. When was the last time you heard of indian or chinese american community behaving in this manner? Just saying…

        • It is problematic that you think the black “community” behaves in this manner, when in fact, crime is perpetrated by individuals.

    • John knew full well what the answer would be before he posed the question.
      It’s time for a national conversation on race, but please, let’s have more soul-searching and less sh1t-stirring.

  • Did they get any usable security footage? Also, what’s the street resale value for tempeh and goat’s milk?

    • Agreed. It seems this was done just for the hell of it. Kale chips, Amy’s line of vegetarian defrostables and a box of Puffins cereal don’t strike me as highly coveted by the youth market. Destruction for destruction’s sake.

      • destruction of what gentrifiers like for desruction’s sake…

        • Truly useless marginalization with throwing that term out there. This all boils down to people hurting people. I don’t care the race, class or age of anyone involved…it was an unnecessary and destructive act committed by people against people.

  • And people are still having bidding wars over $750k houses to live there?

    • what are you implying? i sense some sort of under handed comment…..

    • brookland_rez

      Right, because other even more expensive neighborhoods like Logan Circle and Columbia Heights don’t ever have crime.

    • are you forgetting that there was a series of flash mobs in germantown, maryland with youths robbing stores?

  • Time to pay for an off duty police officer to do security. Sad to see these are the times we live in.

    • This Yes! even has a community policing station in it. There is a table set up in the front of the store with placards and signs and there is often an on duty cop there. Obviously no cop was there at this time, but that somehow makes it worse.

  • Can they all be charged with conspiracy to rob so that the total of the items stolen (and the verbal threat, which turns this into strong arm robbery) can be applied to each suspect?

    Step two is effective alternative sentencing: put them in a youth facility and they’ll come out hardened. Have them do community service and get their GEDs and you might save some of their lives (and, by extension, the lives of any victim they may accidentally kill when one of their schemes goes bad)

    • Yes, effective intervention (and probably some sort of intervention into their home life) is key. We should put quite a few resources into researching and implementing the most evidence-based way of saving both these kids and their potential victims.

      And if they do go on to commit unprovoked violence, then we should be ready to lock them up and throw away the key.

      • Thank You

      • Community service? A GED? Seriously? You think those things are are going to transform these kids into good, productive citizens? Clearly I’ve been in DC too long (and been mugged and injured) because that sounds utterly ridiculous to me. People need to be protected from these little piece-of-sh*t predators, end of story. They need to be slammed down hard before they really hurt someone (and whose to say they haven’t already?). But this won’t happen in DC, of course, as we all know too well. They’re under 18, I’m sure, so at most they’ll get a meaningless slap on the wrist. This sort of thing will keep on happening until these useless street thugs face legal ramifications based on their actions, not their age.

        • No guarantee that community service or a GED would make them productive citizens… but it couldn’t hurt, right?

          • it can by wasting our tax dollars….

          • Anonymous 4:13 pm — Incarcerating people tends to be pretty expensive. If the District can find evidence-based programs that work to prevent “at-risk” kids from becoming hooligans in the first place, it would be money well spent.

        • George? Is that you?

          • yeah you did it. You win. Take a serious situation, then compare it to the overblown news, there fore making people afraid to express their concerns and feelings about a major community problem!

        • Yes, community service, and a GED and whatever else there is evidence for. Saving a kid is worth a lot, and vandalizing/robbing a store and saying some stupid threat should not mean the end of a kid’s life. And, contrary to your position, the evidence shows that “slamming kids down hard” does not lead to a positive outcome. Neither does calling them “little piece of sh*t predators.”

          But you are right that DC laws are too soft on unprovoked violence. Once someone crosses the line and commits unprovoked physical violence, you can’t take the risk of trying too hard to rehabilitate them – you have to be able to lock them up and throw away the key in order to protect society.

          We are much better off though if we are smart about intervening before then. And that does not just mean harsh punishments.

    • Thank You

  • We need to stop calling these “flash mobs”. Flash mobs, which I’m not a fan of, are groups of people who congregate and do something for fun. These are just large groups of thugs who are comitting robbery and vandalism.

    • Emmaleigh504


    • Disagree. Nothing about the term “flash mob” that indicates the nature of the activity.

    • Yeah! And when I was in a gang, we would stand on the corner and sing doo wop songs!

      • [email protected] it Frank, eating your drinks? That is genius!

  • Very lame the kids would threaten such violence. Bash your head in, really?

  • It is not being reported but when I get a free moment I will do it myself. But Wednesday night (I too don’t like “flash mob”) a group of teenagers, some looked extremely young, to late teens jumped and attacked a guy on his bicycle at the corner of 10th and Kearney St. in Brookland. I would like to hope this is the same group of kids that did this at YES. Possibly the same group of kids that beat up the guy on the MBT trail, possibly the same group of kids that attacked the biker crossing the Franklin Street Bridge. I personally chased after the kids while calling 911 after they attacked the guy. (Locked up in my car so don’t go there) I saw all of them and would love to see the surveillance footage from Yes.

    If there happens to be more than one group of kids doing this, that is a bigger problem than it already is. I was told directly to the face by the police that night to call the police anytime I saw kids in a group fitting the description (young to older teenage males, black, ranging in heights some only around 5 foot 6 id guess. I saw them all with their shirts off. This, I can only think, was an attempt to not be ID’s by the shirts they had been wearing the time they committed the crime. Because Wednesday was quite cool.

    The police are not reporting the problems to the neighborhood as they should. The Yes incident was recorded as attempted robbery as well as the assault on Wednesday night. What was left out was theywere barely robberies, more sick DC youth committing crimes because they can. Each incident involved roughly 10 boys, threatened violence, or actually physical violence that could have resulted in serious injury. If the police don’t report the crimes as is how are the citizens supposed to notice, report, avoid groups of kids like this.

    This is completely unacceptable. Although I have received flack for my reaction I do not stand for a neighbor being terrorized by a group of teenagers. Many have choseb to tell me, “this is life in the city.” Absolutely NOT. Innocent citizens getting jumped, hard working business like YES all fall to groups of kids!

    Disgusting. Brookland is a great neighborhood where this crime happens not by those who live there but in its surroundings. Brookland is not policed heavily, there is much less walking and street traffic giving groups like this kids a pass to walk around and cause terror. If you think terror is a bit too strong of a word, you have not had this group tell you they will bash your head in. Close line you off your bicycle, etc.

  • ugh, when are we going to institute year-round school already?

    • I just can’t even imagine having the sack to do this as a teenager. Beyond the fear of the law, these kids don’t even fear being seen by people that may know them (family, school teachers, friends of family) it just unreal. I’m also a bit tired of this [email protected] passing, like it’s normal/ok that teenagers can act like this. I’m not promoting vigilant citizenry but I fear that if these incidents are not addressed, someone is going to beat the living hell out of 13 year kid and that’s not going to be good for anyone.

      • What the hell are you talking about? Nobody is posing that this behavior is remotely normal. It’s obvious that these kids’ parents are either unable or unwilling to properly raise their kids.

      • wait till they rob some store owner who keeps a gun behind the counter, they get shot, and all hell breaks loose…I don’t think anything will change till that happens.

    • This would actually be a really good solution. And give them their long breaks during the winter (they’ll never leave the house – seriously).

  • if the security photos are good enough they should post there faces in every business in the city with thief written below it in giant red letters

  • Summer vacation = Kids with loads of free time = idle minds that can be coerced into situations like these by the few bad eggs. You’d think MPD would have their shit figured out by now to step up foot/bike patrol to prevent incidents like this from happening.
    What good has ever come from teenagers with shirts off loitering around on the corner doing “nothing”. All MPD has to do is have two or more officers patrolling – not texting or on their phones or sitting in air conditioned cars or “hollering” at women walking by.

    This city needs a police dept overhaul in my opinion. Protect and Serve not respond and barely react. Bunch of bums.
    I know I am generalizing here but overall you can’t say you are happy with the way MPD lacks meaningful patrol in areas where incidents like this happen frequently.

  • If I was there I would have sent at least one or two of them through the plate glass windows in front.

  • What bothers me most is the number involved, not to mention the ages. Fort Totten, as well as other areas have had these issues.

  • This is another set of proof that this is one of the most racist places in the country. And that goes all ways- white against black, black against white, black against black, and the list goes on. How very sad it always “has to go there.”

    • Amen. You summed up my thoughts perfectly.

    • you know what I think is sad. crime, criminals, and such, get a pass because of race and we can’t even state facts without the fear of being called a racist. I am not black so I can’t speak specifically to the experience of being a good black teenager in this city. But let me tell you when I get accused of being something (white gentrifier, vigilante cyclist, frat bro, jock, whatever) its extremely aggravating, but I don’t get pissed at the people that assumed that. I get mad at those that created that stereotype in the first place.

      I can image how it must be terrible to hear from your teenage son he was questioned by the police, accused of something because of his race. This must be a terrible feeling for the parents and child. In Brookland these mobs of kids that are causing havoc happen to be young black males. Listen, people don’t want to profile, in fact I would say they are almost afraid to do so, but you have to call a spade a spade sometimes. Be mad at the kids/people creating the stereotype, not the ones that are afraid of it. Because they just may have had a gun put to their chest, jumped while riding a bike, robbed, even just heckled at.

  • OK, couldn’t be bothered ready all the silly comments, so maybe somebody asked/answered this already–but, shouldn’t the store have video??? And if not, then they are just asking for never knowing who committed this crime (black or white–who gives a shit, throw the shits in jail!).

  • This is awful! I shop at this store 2-3 times a week. I hope this is not the new trend across DC.

  • OK…..enough is enough!

    Instead of creating more drama than needed. Let me ask any of you……Where where you when it was time to solicit the DC government to find summer jobs for the kids; or when rec centers or the boys and girl clubs were being closed? So…… we are not going to agree on anything to do with race. I’m listening to you – Are you spewing this kind of insensitive talk with your kids, your neighbors that look like you, and others under your influence?

    Let’s get it together people! Stop the back and forth and use your intellegience (and time) to fix the problem; not throw mud on it. This race thing is not going to go away. ..and every now and then it raises its ugly head. We all know this.

    So any of you want to come together to fix the problem? I’m ready..Use your brain to do aomething worthwhile; or do you just want to continue to profile, anniliate and marginalize, and HATE.

    Who’s game to make a change? Let me know!

  • WoW…I had been thinking about heading over there at that very time and decided to finish watching a movie instead. Glad I didn’t. Hate to say this but knowing this is happening and if they don’t catch them( and I doubt they will) probably won’t be using this Yes Organic any more.

  • Situations like this make me sick. Parents could probably care less.

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