From the Forum – A Suspicious SUV Casing Neighborhood Vehicles

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jim Havard

A Suspicious SUV Casing Neighborhood Vehicles:

“I wanted to report some seemingly suspicious activity to the Popville community. I live on Kennedy Street NW, and the following took place on the 1300 block around 2:30 AM last Sunday.

Realizing I’d left my phone in my car, I went to retrieve it. I brought along my super-duper heavy-duty flashlight, as I typically do if I have to go out to my car late at night.
On the south side of Kennedy Street, next to the bus stop, was an idling black Cadillac Escalade, a gigantic SUV. Although I think it had DC plates, I didn’t observe closely enough to be certain, and I didn’t think much of it. I went to my car, retrieved my phone, and started back to my building. As I walked along the north side of Kennedy, this SUV started slowly moving along the cars on the south side of the street.

I looked at the driver as they drove past me; I couldn’t see anything beyond them likely being a male with closely-cropped hair, but they were definitely scrutinizing something as they drove down the street (cars? street addresses?). When I returned to my building’s front door, the vehicle did a u-turn and started down the other side of the street, again moving very slowly. There was parking to be had, so I assume they were not looking for parking. I observed from inside the lobby that the SUV then parked in the bus zone in front of my building, and idled there.

I went up to the building’s roof deck to observe them for a bit. After they sat there for a few minutes, I decided to shine my flashlight on their vehicle. They did not visibly react. Then I shone it on cars and the sidewalk around the vehicle, and on Colorado west of 14th Street (it’s a very powerful light; you can’t even look at it directly), and let it rest again on the SUV in a really deliberate, obvious way. While I can’t know for sure that they were reacting to me, the second time I let the beam linger on the SUV, it took off in a hurry, driving west to 16th Street NW at maybe 35-40 mph, and then drove north.

So, maybe it was suspicious, or maybe I was just being a bit paranoid, but it seemed hinky to me. Maybe it was nothing, or perhaps they were casing cars, looking for an address, or even waiting for an employee of an escort service. I’ll also note that somebody entered my car on this same street earlier this fall, and I don’t know exactly how they did so. They went through my glove compartment, and didn’t appear to steal anything. As they always say, don’t leave anything in your car! Be vigilant!”

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24 Comment

  • Honestly that sounds like the repo man, scouting for a specific car.

  • sounds like an uber waiting for a fare and giving up after being harassed via flashlight

  • pcat

    If you thought this was someone “casing” the neighborhood, why didn’t you call the police?

    • Every “suspicious” post is the same, they never call the cops! Sure, they may do nothing, but at worst you’ll be in the same position.

      • They’re also all the same in that they are written without any concern for whether the details of their story are relevant. I always feel like I’m reading one of those puzzlers where a lot of extraneous details or phrases are being thrown in to throw me off track.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          I don’t know what you are talking about. It is very important to know that an Escalade is a gigantic SUV in case you had never seen one in the 15+ years of its existence. Plus, if it was just some small SUV, this behavior would be much less suspicious.

    • Call the police and wait hours for them to show up? If this is a non-emergency and the police are busy with “shots fired” you are not going to see them for a long time.

      • Sure there’s a chance of that, but it not like that’s any worse than not calling the police.

      • I called the police to make a report on a package theft from my house and they were there within 10 minutes. This is the Ledroit Park.

  • My first thought also was that it was an Uber. Repo also makes sense, but in an Escalade? I need to switch professions.

  • Blithe

    What you’ve described is pretty close to what I would do if I were trying to find an address in an unfamiliar neighborhood — where it’s not always easy to see the house numbers, including idling in the bus zone to check a map or the address. And if somebody targeted me by shining a blinding light in my eyes, I would definitely leave, stat. And depending on the neighborhood, my first thought would likely be that in this rapidly changing city, I do not want to get shot because of someone’s paranoia.

    • I’m always surprised by how many houses there are whose house numbers are impossible to see from the street.

    • That’s what I would probably do also, but the late hour does make it seem a little odd.

      Most likely scenario, imho, is someone was keeping their Uber driving waiting. I have a friend who drives Uber who recently mentioned that he often has to wait up to 10 minutes after arriving at a destination for the person (usually a young woman, he said) to come out of their house. That would be so frustrating!

  • Definitely sounds like an Uber. No one is casing neighborhoods in a Cadillac. Sometimes when a customer let’s the GPS select their location on the uber app, the driver has trouble finding which Street they are on.

  • Waiting to pick up an escort from a job sounds right.

  • I’d take off too if someone kept shining a light in my car!

  • if someone shined their flashlight on my car like that i’d take off and call the cops.

  • It sounds like it could have been someone waiting, or someone suspicious. Even so, what would the cops do? Even when they do respond to such things, what can they do besides ask to see license and registration? That’s all they ever did on my block in Brooklyn when there was a line or cars double parked with engines running in in front of the building that sold heroin and halfway up the block. (Not that I ever called, I’d just see them out there doing that all the time on my way to the subway.)

    Funny story – in another major city, my sister once saw a guy in a car parked in the alley outside her kitchen windows all day – she though it was odd after many hours, and called the cops. They came, and the guy flashed them some federal badge – like FBI or ATF or something – he was casing the alley and nearby buildings, waiting for someone he wanted to find! She watched it happen, and then the local cops told her that’s what it was.

  • Uber SUV would have been my guesses 1, 2 and 3.

    If you log into uber and look at the map you can see where drivers tend to wait for fares–I often notice them coming from that area when I book a ride from my house (on Taylor).

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