Victim Searching for Discarded Items from Armed Robbery on 13th and Irving

“Dear PoPville,

I was walking home from dinner with friends Wednesday night in Columbia Heights around 10:30pm when I was robbed about one block from the Columbia Heights metro. The incident occurred by the metro bus stop right by the intersection of 13th and Irving. I passed the CVS on 14th on Irving and noticed a group of teenagers. After passing them I heard whispering and had the feeling I was being followed by the group. I stopped hearing footsteps half way down the block and figured I was ok until I was grabbed by my jacket and forced at gun point to hand over my valuables.

I know it’s a long shot but if anyone comes across a red Michael Kors Purse, a pink wallet (containing credit cards, DC license,etc.) and most importantly car keys with a keyless entry remote at the top (both sets were in my purse) in the neighborhood it would be great if they could let me know. Replacing my car keys is going to cost me quite a bit of money so it would be great if I could get at least one set back.

I really want people that live in the neighborhood to make sure they are being alert because it happened right by the intersection of 13th and irving (a busy road and people were around).”

62 Comment

  • I’m sorry that this happened to you, but glad you are ok. Sound like a pretty brazen robbery. The thieves may try to sell the purse online. You could keep an eye out on Craigslist and Ebay. As for the keys and wallet, have you walked around the sidestreets and alleys near where you were robbed? They may have ditched the rest of your possessions in the area. You could also carefully look in the trashcans and dumpsters around there, depending on how much trash-diving you can stand.
    What did the police have to say?

    • +1. You may also ask the police for tips on places to look for anything they may have ditched. When I had a package theft recently, the officer I spoke to said he would check the places he knows thieves ditch items they don’t want or can’t sell.

    • +1 to all of your advice.
      Grab some gloves and start looking around the top section of inside garbage cans. Parts of CoHi have their trash collected today (such as my house), so time is of the essence.

    • And you may have done this already, but you should probably get your locks changed if you home keys were stolen too.

    • I once found a large purse in my trash bin when I went to pull it in after a trash day. Tracked down the owner and it had been stolen from her car. Still, looking through trash bins may be a needle-in-haystack type thing.

  • Wow-very scary! I live on Lamont and 11th so I’ll keep an eye out. I agree with the poster above that walking around to see if they tossed the stuff they think is worthless is a good idea.

  • Sucks. Sorry that happened to you.

  • I live literally right across the street, and this is unnerving – I’m really sorry. We’ll certainly keep an eye out for your things.

  • Andie302

    So sorry this happened to you! If you have a spare set of keys you may want to consider moving your car away from where you live (if it’s not secure). I had a friend get robbed on a Friday night, and then the people came back (because they had his address and keys) and stole his car the next night. They knew what street it would be on, and they just used the keyless entry to lock/unlock until they could find it and drive away. I hope you get some of your things back, and am glad you weren’t hurt. Take care

  • So sorry this happened to you! Alleys are a common dumping ground for items that can’t be sold immediately. I’ll keep an eye out in mine.

    Be aware of your car – a couple years ago my roommate was mugged and her car keys taken. A few nights later they came back (they had her ID and so her address…) and used the keyless entry to find the vehicle. They jumped the fence, drove it through our locked gate and started using it on a crime spree.

    • +1 on looking in alleys — I’m always reading about backpacks, bags, etc. dumped in alleys.
      Sorry that this happened to you. I hope that you get as much of your stuff back as possible.

  • PS – car key replacement is such a racket. How much is cost of replacement? I heard that all the new cars with smart chip keys cost around $500 per key to replace. Insane.

    • PS – cost of replacing this stuff should be covered by any decent homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policy.

      • I was going to post the same exact thing. You’d be surprised what’s covered by renter/homeowner policies. I know theft is.

    • Some chip keys can be duplicated at Ace hardware for less than $100. It depends if they are able to do the cutting. They couldn’t cut my key, because it’s the kind that has the channel in the middle, and they don’t have a machine to do that. It’s worth looking into though, if your key has the teeth on the outside.
      Much worse, and it sounds like this may have happened to the OP, is losing all of the keys. If you don’t have a key left for the dealer (or Ace) to copy, they have to replace the whole computer in the car, which can cost thousands of dollars.

  • Tangent question, I think I read somewhere that phone thefts have gone down because the new iPhone can be bricked remotely? Is this accurate? I have an elderly android so I’ve never given it much thought. But if true, I hope we can look forward to similar measures from all manufacturers.

    • Tangent to a tangent: is bricking a phone necessary if it’s already locked with a password? I assume bricking wipes all of the data, but if it’s locked, they could get to that anyway… right? Sigh. The sheer volume of things I don’t understand about technology could fill the Mall.

    • With Android, get the app Cerberus. There’s a boat load you can do with it remotely from your computer (or anywhere with a browser) like remote wipe, lock, take a picture, make it ring etc. Track where it’s been, calls/texts sent. Two things that make it worthless are: a) your batter dies and b) it’s turned off. You can also have it hidden from your app drawer and only pulled up if you dial a PIN in your phone dialer. I love it, and hope I never have to use it. 🙂

  • Anonynon

    That is scary….I walk by there all the time (its not a very pleasant area to be in). It seems like a hot bed for shady activity in general…Hope you are able to recover some of your items

    • Those of us that live here actually find it a very pleasant area to be in, with crimes like this, terrible as it was, fortunately rare.

      However, the housing block between 13th & 14th there is a problem, as criminals can quickly run back there and disappear into the warrens. Police officers don’t patrol there and the private “security guards” are worse than worthless.

      I’m sorry you were a victim and hope you get your stuff back, as well as your confidence. And good advice about trusting your instincts. I know that anyone feeling threatened in that area could go up to any house and ring the doorbell for help. It’s hard to know what might deter criminals – especially groups of teens with guns who know there is no chance of getting caught or punished – but it might be enough of a distraction to make them think twice about attacking just there and then.

      • Anonynon

        I am sure 99% of the time living there is fine, i didn’t mean to say its not a nice area like that. But as someone who lives a little south of there on 14th, Walking around in that general area at night frequently by myself….makes me uncomfortable, at least noticeably more than walking around almost anywhere else in the city. It also seems like every other week something is ‘going down’ in that area (which starts to make you feel uncomfortable when you remember hearing that someone was robber in certain locations), its sad that a few bad seeds can make people feel uncomfortable in their own neighborhood.

  • That alley has a long, sad history. I could tell you many stories of muggings and/or random violence in which the perps either came from or escaped into that alley.

  • Not many people know about this service, but DC Victim Assistance is really good if you think you are someone who could benefit from the financial or counseling supports resulting from a reported crime.

  • I’m so sorry this happened to you. Sending good vibes.

  • It’s completely crazy that this still happens. The clearance rate for robberies in DC is something like 8% so these kids know they are virtually guaranteed to get away with it. MPD is an embarrassment. It would be nice to have an administration that actually wants to do something about it.

  • Check with both Buffalo Exchange locations and Crossroads for the purse. If you have a police report, let them know. If it’s something they purchased (which they shouldn’t if they suspect it’s stolen, but it has happened) they will have captured the seller’s ID information. (I used to be a manager at Buffalo and this kind of stuff was an unfortunate regular occurrence, but it is a good lead to getting to the suspects).

  • OP: Description of the teens? What did they look like, what were they wearing? There was another robbery last night around 13th and Monroe – heard the description of them were young black teens – one was wearing a red coat.

  • Just a heads up but my wife and I were walking home last night from
    Red Rocks and we’ve noticed the larger police presence around that
    area since the murder.

    As we were passing 2 officers standing on the corner chatting, a
    latino man ran up to the officers (13th and Monroe) speaking in broken
    English/mostly Spanish that he was threatened with a gun and “they”
    tried to rob him. We overheard it was 4 young African Americans.

    We decided to wait there since he was pointing to Monroe and Holmead
    as to where the incident occurred (and that’s where we were walking

    Then, about a minute later, another latino man with his young son ran up
    to the officers and said they too were just threatened with a gun and
    took off running since they saw the cops.

    I will say kudos to the officers who didn’t speak Spanish but called
    in for backup and a Spanish speaking officer – they were very calm,
    acted quickly, etc. Within another minute or two, there were 3 cop
    cars rushing to their location and from there sped off looking for the
    suspects once they got a brief description.

    Sadly, I didn’t see anything on the @DCPoliceDept twitter account for
    a “look out”.

    • Crud. About what time was this? I’ve walked my dog past that intersection every night for about two years now, and while it’s off the beaten track, it’s always seemed reasonably safe with enough other pedestrians so you’re not “alone”–that’s why we walk that way. I never carry anything (except an empty, then full, poop bag; my building is secure and on a busy, well-lit intersection, so I don’t even take my keys), but jeez, that’s scary.
      Here’s a question: should I carry *something*? Like a five or ten dollar bill? If I get held up and don’t have anything to offer but poop, would that escalate the situation or would they just move on?

  • Very sorry this happened to you. Glad to hear you were not hurt.

    • On last comment…. Be aware of your surroundings (not saying this poster wasn’t). Notice who is noticing you. If you see a group of teenagers, couple of teenagers, hanging out, and it seems out of place… it probably is. STAY OFF your phone… keep your head on a swivel and walk with confidence. If you see a person/ people following you… cross the street, if you need to…. walk down the middle of the street.
      STAY OFF OF YOUR PHONE. Don’t walk down the sidewalk staring into your phone.

      • I’d politely disagree. If you see them following you GET ON YOUR PHONE and CALL 911 immediately

        • Obviously! If you think you are about to be robbed, call 911…. Yell fire! I think it was pretty obvious I was talking about the 99% of people we all see walking around staring at their phones and not paying attention to their surroundings.

  • This may be anecdotal, but there almost always seems to be a group of people, sometimes gorked out of their minds, hanging around on the brick benches outside of the CVS at 14th and Irving. DC doesn’t have anti-loitering laws, but it seems that if the police could better control the folks that hang out there and the ones who loiter outside the Five Guys Metro area that crime would drop off.

    • That area next to the CVS on the Irving St. side is the free shuttle pickup for the Washington Hospital Center, National Rehabilitation Hospital, and Children’s Hospital. Some of those people “gorked out” are patients who need a ride.

      • and others are thugs looking to rob people. what’s your point?

      • I live on this block… that’s obviously true about the shuttles, but it’s not helpful to pretend that both sides of Irving along 14th don’t usually have their share of shady characters hanging out. It’s necessary to pay a lot of attention to your surroundings.

  • I am so sorry this happened to you. The same thing happened to me in PG county by my work. Now I don’t carry all my makeup, medications and gift cards with me anymore. My stuff was never found, but fortunately everything can be replaced. Thinking of you.

  • Never walk down Irving between 13th and 14th.

  • never, ever walk past a group of teenagers on a street in DC. turn and take another block. having been jumped twice (once robbed, once just beaten) I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.

  • Check the alleyway behind 1300 Shepherd St., NW (between Upshur and shepherd). I saw a bag and some belongings near 13th st. This was on Wednesday. Not sure if it was still there.

  • That’s terrible. So sorry to hear it. Although some people on this comment chain are being more than a little alarmist (never walk down Irving? lol), certainly there is cause for concern. I live on the same block and love it. But violence like this is unacceptable. I’ve reached out to Commander Kishter and Council member Nadeau. Both have been responsive. But the Nadeau has simply directed me to get involved with community-based organizations. That is worthwhile advice, undoubtedly, but it is insufficient. What can we do to get law enforcement and city council to treat this as an emergency? With the significant economic interests at stake there must be a way to increase the pressure for a robust response from the city.

    I don’t understand how local businesses and the city haven’t done more to make the area around the Metro cleaner and safer.

    What are our options to address this?

    • Never walk down Irving between 13th and 14th is what I said. Particularly after dark. If you don’t know that you don’t live in the neighborhood.

      • Wow @TahoeTweezer, I was sure that comment was meant as a troll. If you literally “never walk down Irving between 13th and 14th” AND live in CH, do you just live in constant fear? Do you have a car service drive you around to avoid the metro? I get that it can *sometimes* be dangerous, but entirely avoiding a block that is fine 99% of the time seems a bit much.

      • I live on that block. It gets dark at 6:00. I’m gonna have a hell of a time getting home from the Metro after work. Never mind if I want to have dinner and get home at 9:00. As the owner of the best handle – ever – said, you’re being a little alarmist.

        • Thanks @dcd! Can’t tell if @TahoeTweezer is a troll or not. But obviously thousands of people use that block at all hours of the day and night without incident, myself included. But that’s one reason why this incident is so disturbing. I’m meeting with MPD next week to discuss ways to address the problem. We can work to improve things without overreacting or living in fear.

  • I am very sorry for the horrifying attack & robbery. It is absolutely sickening.

    My friend was also robbed of her purse: keys, id, etc. The thieves returned to her home that night, used the remote (also in her purse) to open her garage and drove away in her car.
    If your car is anywhere near your home I would recommend park it elsewhere for a long time or pay ?hundreds to change those locks too.

    Good luck.

    • And if you can’t get the car locks changed right away, buy a Club (or a new Club, if you have an existing Club and the thieves have the key to it) for the meantime.

  • Was the pink wallet a kids/cartoon character wallet ? If so, I spotted it this morning near 10th and Spring. Reply back if so, and I’ll see if it’s three.

    • Nope, no cartoon characters on it. My license was in front and it had a compartment in the back. Thank you though!

      • Please share your story with Councilmember Brianne Nadeau. I encourage you to call her office and ask to speak with her in person (rather than just email). She needs to know these violent crimes are happening to her constituents.

  • She might advocate for more affordable housing in the area

  • Was there a crab on the keychain?

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