Reader Reports: “He came up behind me again and grabbed my purse, knocked me down, and punched me in the eye and head six times” Takoma Park PD Warns of “robberies involving carjacking and street robberies of lone female victims walking home or to or from their cars”


“Dear PoPville,

I was mugged today [Sunday] in the 800 block of Varnum Street, NW. The guy followed me all the way from Grant Circle (Webster and N. Hampshire) to Webster and 7th, where I stopped to look behind me. He walked in front of me and I went to the right down Varnum from 7th. He came up behind me again and grabbed my purse, knocked me down, and punched me in the eye and head six times. He then took the purse and walked away down the side of a house and through the back gate. I called the police, and had to go to the hospital and get a CAT scan.

It happened at 12:50 pm.

I talked to the guy who had been out on his porch with his dog when the assault took place (or he came out right afterward; I can’t remember), and he said he saw the guy, knew who he was, that the guy walked past there every day, usually wears either a navy jacket or a black jacket with a Batman symbol on the back, used to be a boxer (because when I told the witness that I thought he used to be a boxer because of the way he hit me … holding his punch, not breaking the bone, doing the exact amount of damage to make me let go of the purse) he said yes he heard the guy used to box back in the day. He is about 6’3″, some stubble on his face, dark-complexion, built like a boxer, and the witness told me he thinks the guy is late 40’s, and seems “slow” to him; not okay in the head. The witness said he would call the police when he saw the guy again. He said he kept trying to tell the police it was an older guy and they kept trying to insinuate it was a young guy. I had the same experience when the officer said in a voice of surprise “YOUNG?” and I insisted he was older, told how he held his punches, etc etc. The witness offered to ride with the police and try to identify the guy and they told him no.”

From the Takoma Park Police Department:

“During the last month or so we have seen a regional increase in robberies involving carjacking and street robberies of lone female victims walking home or to or from their cars. This recent one is the second carjacking in the City in the last month. The other one involved the victim’s Subaru being stolen and the next day, it was involved in an armed robbery in Prince George’s County and a resulting police chase and apprehension. We have had three street robberies in the City in the last month. All of these met the same general pattern; females walking from public transportation or from their cars. Montgomery County has had several of these robberies on the border of the City and the District of Columbia. The District of Columbia has been inundated with robberies along the borders and in the 4th and 5th Districts. In one of the District of Columbia cases, the victim resisted and was wounded. Prince George’s County has had numerous cases as well. Several of the gas station purse snatches are most likely related as well. Often times we see these cars carjacked and then “rented” to another criminal to commit other crimes. As cars are getting harder to steal, the back lash has been to directly take them from the owners.

We have been working very closely with the Prince George’s County Police and coordinating with the District of Columbia on these cases. I know there have been a number of arrests but the pattern has continued. I have requested a meeting with the border agencies for a coordinated response. I want to assure the residents that we have been involved with these cases prior to this event and will continue to do so.

One of your neighbors correctly posted that one should be aware of their surroundings. If you see something out of the ordinary or suspicious, call us immediately at 301-270-1100. We do recommend that if your phone happens to be stolen, that you keep it active for a period of time until the investigators can determine if it can be tracked. For example, in one recent case, officers stopped the suspect vehicle and called the stolen phone’s number. It rang in the driver’s pocket. I also recommend that one of the many Android, iPhone or Windows phone security software that lets you lock, track and erase your phone be installed. You can also encrypt many of your phones and prevent any data from being stolen.

We ask anyone who may have any information or may have seen anything related to these events to contact the Takoma Park Police Department at 301-270-1100.”

26 Comment

  • houseintherear

    And if you have ovaries, we recommend you stay in your house for the rest of time.

  • I live in Petworth and have seen a guy in his 40’s with a batman jacket (black, yellow logo) many many times. Usually up on Kansas just north of Sherman Circle or down on Georgia closer to the metro station. While I have not interacted directly with him, I also thought he was slow based on how he moved, etc. Hopefully he keeps wearing that jacket and they catch him quickly.

    • I’ve seen him up around the area of the attack as well. Don’t remember what the guy looked like but the jacket was hard to miss/forget.

      • I live right at Grant Circle and just recently saw Mr. Batman jacket guy. He freaked me out, creeepy. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for him too.

    • If we see him, is there a contact from the police (that took the report) that we should call? Or just call the police immediately. I want to make sure that we get in touch with the correct officer immediately if that is an option.

      • Call 911. I do a little work with the police as part of an ANC community committee and they do want you using 911. It is the best way to contact the police, emergency or just a tip.

      • The case has been assigned to Detective Savoy. He will be at his desk tomorrow morning at 7 AM. His number is 202-715-7506.

  • Is mace/pepper spray legal to carry in DC?

    • Yes it is. Technically you have to register it if purchased in DC, but you can buy it from out of state (or from Amazon) and legally have it shipped here without registration. Knives with up to 3″ blades are also legal here.

    • Yes, but it must be registered as a weapon with MPD. If you purchase it as a DC resident the seller will provide you with the form to register it. If you purchase in VA or MD and are a VA/MD resident who carries it into DC it may still be illegal – I have never been able to find clarifying information about this.

      Though I suspect that if you use the spray in self-defense against an attack the cops PROBABLY won’t be dicks enough to charge you for having an unregistered weapon. (But that’s just a PROBABLY.)

  • Thank you for posting your story and I do hope you will be okay with no after effects. These types of incidents put a chill through every woman. It angers me that we can’t walk alone without feeling like a target. Hope they catch this guy soon and send him away for a very long time.

    • I have to say, it’s not just women. Based on people I know who have been violently mugged (hit in the head), all three were male.

  • Where can I get more information on the recent Takoma Park incidents? I don’t see that bulletin on the TKPD webpage. Thanks.

  • So the question is with the large amount of robberies, muggings and assaults; what the hell are the police doing to stop this criminal behavior. It’s always the same areas. Same pockets. And it sounds like even in this case, they tried to talk the victim out of her description of the perpetrator. I mean, if this weren’t such a serious situation, it’s almost laughable. It’s either laziness or incompetence and nothing changes.

  • As a Petworth resident, I appreciate the frequent presence of the poilce and I would hope that they catch this guy quickly since he seems to be around a lot.

    That said, I would really appreicate it if they got out of their cars more (starting after this coming polar vortex leaves), walked around a bit and actually talked to people. I saw a couple of officers on Segways riding up 8th Street before Christmas, but that seems to have been a one time thing.

    • Agree. Riding around in a car isn’t policing. There are proactive techniques and strategies that other cities are using in “trouble spots.” In most instances, there have been significant impacts. I’ve heard some neighborhoods in DC have their own Task Force? This is what we need for CoHi and Petworth. It’s all happening within a few blocks of each other.

      • I was thinking about whether we could get a neighborhood watch/task force on the block while I was walking home tonight from the metro.

        As for the police presence in the neighborhood, lately there have been a lot of cops down by the metro station. What irks me, however, is that the only time I’ve seen the segway is when it’s parked outside Chez Billy….

  • “The witness offered to ride with the police and try to identify the guy and they told him no.”

    For the love of God, why? A witness says he can offer a positive ID on a mugger who recently left the scene, offers to ride along to help spot the perp who is at large and they won’t let him do a ride-along? I’d email your PSA commander about this. Seems like SOP needs to be changed.

    • EXACTLY. I encourage everyone to contact Muriel Bowser and Mayor Gray. Nothing will change unless people make their voices heard.

      • Nothing will change then either….welcome to 2014 America! Get a donation bundled and THEN they will pay attention!

  • i was robbed at the gas station on Farragut and Georgia. be alert when pumping gas. lock your door or take your bag with you….this has got to stop. I am scared to walk in my neighborhood and that has never been the case in other areas of DC I’ve lived…

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