Morning Crime Roundup – More Shots Fired, Carjacking, Muggings

A reader writes:

“Around 12:30 last night 6 shots were fired between the fourth and fifth block of K st. NE. Police taped off the area for a bit to collect shell casings.”

Another reader writes:

“As if the shooting on Riggs weren’t enough violent crime in the neighborhood tonight, there was a robbery earlier in the evening just up 13th St. I was the one who called 911 when the victim was running down 13th St. yelling for someone to call the police because his phone was stolen while chasing another man. As I understand it, two men attacked the victim and tried to choke him before taking his phone. I also understand that MPD has made one arrest in connection with the incident.”

From @DCPoliceDept:

Carjacking at 2100 hrs in the 1200 blk of North Capitol St. NW. LOF: blue Hyundai Sonata NY tag GBV3531 /7239″

iPhone snatchin' fool

Another reader writes:

“Mugged at 15th and Rhode Island NW 4/22

I am writing for two reasons: to share a cautionary tale and to rant.

Yesterday, April 22, I was walking North on 15th Street NW at Rhode Island Ave listening to Pandora on my iPhone 5s. My bulky work tote was on my right arm. My iPhone in my left hand attached to the trademark white Apple ear buds dangling down the front of my fuchsia trench coat.

Suddenly, I felt a firm grip on my upper left arm, then on my left wrist, and then my iPhone was ripped from my left hand, abruptly separated from it’s ear bud attachment. Maybe it was the fear of losing the 1,000 pictures of my yorkie or the devastating moment that I realized I’d be cut off from communication for an unknown amount of time that made me turn around and chase the thief. I chased him South on 15th Street, crossing Rhode Island Ave, and sprinting into an ally. From behind, I could tell he was a young kid, about 15 years old, wearing white K Swiss sneakers, khaki pants, a black golf jacket, and a black canvas backpack. He was about six feet tall.

Let me take a minute to gloat. I am twice this perpetrators age and a mere five foot four inches. In this moment, I realized that my daily jaunts at Balance gym have actually been me training for this exact scenario. I never let that winded M-F-er out of my site.

When I ran back into the ally, I realized there was no outlet and the kiddo was hiding. No one was around and I felt concerned that he’d jump out and hurt me. So I surrendered the pursuit and the 1,000 photos of my handsome photogenic boy. I asked a kind woman if I could use her phone to call the police, she handed me her iPhone, and the building manager of the apartment building I was standing in back of came running outside. He had watched the epic chase on his security cameras and rushed my to aid. He said he caught it all on video and we could use the footage to catch the perp. DC police asked the standard questions including a description, if I was hurt, if I needed an ambulance…. I didn’t. They assured me they were in route to my location.

One yerba matte and one hour later, DC police still had not shown. Even though the police would not recover my device, I would have liked to file a police report in case I needed to submit one to insurance or I woke up this morning and my wrist was more hurt than I realized. Neighbors, take note: spring has sprung in DC, the iPhone snatches are abound, and our neighborhoods are void of law enforcement. Hide your phones. And unless your incident is violent or will produce revenue in the form of a traffic fine don’t expect the assistance of law enforcement.”

62 Comment

  • Oh my god this story has everything, from yorkies to yerba matte I am so glad I read this.

  • The police aren’t kidding when they say to not make yourself a victim. Because they have proven time and time again that they won’t help you.

    • They actually legally dont have any duty to protect you. Mpd actually won a court case in the 1979s that stated that.

      • Do you have a link? I wish my taxes were an option.

        • read Warren v. District of Columbia ( and be prepared to be very sad. This doctrine of no “duty to rescue” has been upheld in DC on several occasions when police or ambulance showed up late or not at all, or who offered substandard care when they did arrive. In some recent cases, there have been dissents urging the DC Council to change the law and impose a duty to rescue. But that would cost DC and its taxpayers a lot of money, since people could win lawsuits when emergency services didn’t work well.

  • Normally I read the crime stories and finish sad and concerned. Today, I felt empowered and eager to read the sequel. Great writing, OP. I would take your tales of urban pursuit and yorkie love over a Pelacanos novel any day.

  • Sorry that happened to you but that was a pretty funny read.

  • Props to the apartment building manager who was proactive, offered security camera footage, and sprang into action.

    Minus-one for running after the perp–you have *no idea* what weapons he might have on him, and your precious iPhone isn’t worth it (plus, your photos should be backed-up to the iCloud or whatever they call it).

    • Moreover, it’s super easy to erase it remotely now and prevent anyone from re-registering it. For this reason, you don’t hear about thefts that often (as opposed to a couple of years back when it was THE crime on Metro). I don’t even understand why thieves bother when they’ve only stolen an expensive brick.

  • After the thousands upon thousands of times in this town people have gotten their phone stolen right out of their hand while not paying attention to their surroundings (whether it be in the metro or on the street), I will never, for the LIFE of me understand why people still insist on making themselves such a target by walking down the street, phone in hand, buds in ear?

    Its like throwing food on your front porch, then wondering why you have a rodent problem.

    • +1. I had my phone stolen from my hands a couple of years ago while taking a photo, in the middle of the day, with people around. I never, ever keep my phone out now, and only use an old ipod to listen to music (couldn’t really care less if they stole that).

      That being said, it sucks to lose your phone and have to fork over $ for a replacement, even with insurance.

  • Can I use the iPhone theft story for next month’s J. Peterman catalogue?

  • I was mugged at 8:15 pm on Monday, April 6 at 18th & R St NW. Was a gorgeous night with tons of people walking home after dinner. I screamed non-stop and chased the two young perpetrators (not smart looking back but somehow my first instinct). Multiple witnesses called the police immediately and the police response was incredible and thorough. One witness (whoever you are, you are amazing) also started chasing the perpetrator sprinting with my work bag to the point that he flung my bag into the street and both hooligans sprinted away. I did get my stuff back thanks to awesome dude but was left with scratches and a pretty beat up ankle. Be very alert – even in “safe” areas and during early evening hours.

    • That’s crazy. Besides being a “safe” area, police of multiple forces transit through there on R all the time, especially MPD 3rd District coming straight down 17th and turning on R. Crazy or gutsy move on the part of the thief, really sorry you had to go through that.

  • I’m sorry you got mugged and I’m glad no one was hurt. With that said, people need to stop walking around with their phones out. I live near H street and it blows my mind seeing new transplants listening to music and staring at their phones late at night at intersections like 8th and H. Wise up!

    • Yeah, I see knew arrivals walking around with their headphones on, browsing their phones and I think “where do you think you are?”

    • Ditto to “I’m sorry you got mugged and I’m glad no one was hurt. With that said, people need to stop walking around with their phones out.” Having your phone out makes you a target.

  • I’m not sure why it is so difficult for us to hire more police in this city. I keep hearing Lanier say she has a shortage. Send some recruiters out nationally and fill those spots.

    • it’s not about hiring them. it’s about paying them. and their health insurance and their pensions and squad cars and uniforms and guns.

    • She has a hiring theory in place around community policing- they want guys/girls from DC to be police officers and live in the city. Its harder to do that than you think when you factor in all of the boxes you need to be an officer here..

  • I’m really sorry this happened to you but good for you for keeping your humor in a sucky situation.

  • Anyone who knows me knows I’m Ms. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings…however…WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS TOWN?!?!?!?

    Of all things? A cell phone? Not like you’re walking around with a $5,000 camera! It’s a cell phone. Sorry but it kinda grinds my gears that ordinary people just minding their business can now be targets of this type of theft in broad daylight and the cops are too busy shooting the breeze to be bothered.

    Sorry this happened to you, OP.

    • People getting mugged for their smartphones is not exactly a new phenomenon in D.C., nor are reports of these incidents on PoPville. They might not be $5,000 cameras, but it’s not exactly surprising that small, highly portable items that retail for up to several hundred dollars would make tempting targets.

    • you do realize that not too long ago, if you were white and a police officer saw you in this area they would stop you and ask you if you were lost…right?

      • By “not too long ago” do you mean 20 years ago? Because when I moved to DC in 2000 the area of 15th and RI was already well on its way to gentrification and when I used to go to that area no one ever stopped me and asked if I was lost.

        Actually, as a white person who as been to probably nearly every single neighborhood in DC for one reason or another I have never had a police officer ask me if I was lost.

  • Just a thought here, but it’s possible that the delay in response originated further up the chain, as in somewhere in the dispatch process. If a police officer gets sent to a priority assignment, he or she will go there with lights and sirens, and will drive there quickly. Obviously there was still a problem in this case, but it could have been somewhere other than with the patrol officer.

    • Also, keep in mind that when you call 911, you aren’t being connected directly with the police; you’re being connected with the Office of Unified Communications. So the delay might have been MPD’s fault… but it might also have been a screwup on the part of OUC.

  • Use the Dropbox app, it automatically backs up ur iPhone photos!!!!!!

  • And I thought Petworth was bad lately… Where is Bowser on this? MPD was supposed to submit a long term plan, but its been several weeks and crime is still rampant. And Im not even talking about car break-ins, property damage and street harassment. Its robberies, assaults, shots and house burglary. Where is Bowser?
    I get the feeling Mayor Bowser tried to sweep over all this crime and acts like this is acceptable. Am I wrong?

    • Remember who you voted for- Catania was too mean and called people out on their bullshit…and that’s why he didnt get elected…

      • +1. People keep asking “Where’s Bowser?” and “What’s Bowser doing to help?” and the answer is: Probably not a lot. I didn’t vote for her, and this is pretty much the exact reason. Given her history, she never seemed all that concerned with doing anything.

        • west_egg

          Keep pressing and maybe she’ll ask somebody to do a “top to bottom review,” after which there will be a community meeting, after which there will be a study, after which there will be a top to bottom review of the study, after which everyone will be brought to the table, at which point…wait, what were we trying to accomplish?

      • And mean ol’David didn’t stand a chance against a Muriel Bowser offered everyone an Alice Deal school (whatever that means) and kittens and puppies and a city that’s better because ___.

        Such a compelling platform; we’re really seeing that substance brought to life now.

  • Unrelated, but another tip is when out dining anywhere, do NOT leave your phone on the table. I have seen twice now someone sitting out on a patio eating or drinking and some kid walks by, snags the phone and takes off running. By the time the person realizes their phone was jacked, the kid is long gone.

    This kid above is clearly a public high school or charter school student based on the uniform. You should contact the local schools and provide them with the photo and see if they can identify him. Start with the nearest schools to where you were mugged.

    This is going to continue happening so long as there are zero consequences for it. Stop victim blaming. No one should have to walk around like a drone out of fear someone is going to swoop in from nowhere and take what doesn’t belong to them.

    • “[W]hen out dining anywhere, do NOT leave your phone on the table.” — Yeah, this was one of the tips mentioned in the Crime Prevention/Neighborhood Watch training I went to last month at the Fourth District headquarters.

    • Hanging purses and bags on the backs of chairs is also a bad idea – whether you’re inside or out.

  • Sadly, I’m not surprised at this. I stopped by the 4th district station on Georgia Ave. to get a temporary pass for my car. The 4 employees in the office right behind the counter couldn’t be bothered to get up from their desks for at least 3 minutes to assist me. One was on the phone on a business call, and finally asked if I had been helped, whereupon another female finally stopped her internet browsing to saunter up to help me. Another officer continued playing on his cell phone.

    Additionally, the woman “assisting me” kept not paying attention to me as I gave her my information (someone was interacting with the “entry” officer behind me. I had to repeat things several times to ensure she got the information right since she wasn’t listening.

    Frustrating experience, and lucky for me it wasn’t an emergency. The lack of motivation just made me shake my head.

  • Im 6’2″ 235 lbs- built pretty imposingly. My bike was stolen from a local gym. I saw the guy riding it while I was walking my dog one day. I confronted the guy who was terrified that he would actually run into the person he wronged- and would not surrender the bike- my options were 1.) wait for the police 2.) beat the hell out of the guy 3.) detain him more. I had my dog- and no phone; the police in our area are frequent passersby . I let the guy go(I worked in Risk for a while…the calculator was going in my head). The police officer that I came across first said “look man, Im not saying you wouldnt have put him in a world of hurt, he could have had a knife, a gun and the ability to press charges on you after you went vigilante. Best recourse is to either call for an officer or dial 911 and say its an emergency- dont ever fight with people that are already in your eyes guilty of a crime. They have nothing to loose.” Dont be a hero- but do defend yourself.

  • I’m rather intrigued how you came to that conclusion based on what I wrote. I was simply noting an extreme gentrifier coming face-to-face with a decidedly non-gentrifier in a battle royale.

    I didn’t think at any point it justified the crime. The author just seems like quite the character and I’m sure the kid was shocked to see him not only giving chase but running him down.

    • Well, that was supposed to be way up thread under the first comment. I don’t understand why this system does that sometimes.

  • if only the kid had access to Balance gym and yerba matte tea everything would have been cool. can you blame him for being jealous?

  • Recently had my phone stolen as well. Two pieces of advice:

    Make sure you backup your phone’s content!
    Make sure you have a phone security system installed and active!!!!!

    At a bare minimum, you security system should have the features to:
    1) remotely track the device
    2) change the password remotely (in case the mugger asks for the password)
    3) remotely erase all the content on your phone (forget about the photos. With access to your email and all sorts of apps that store personal information, your phone is a major tool for identify theft.)

    Some of the better ones are capable of remotely :
    1) setting off alarms
    2) using the camera/video to take a “thiefy.”
    3) the ability to hide/password protect the security app, so the thief can’t deactivate it.

    Google has a free “remote lock and erase.” But, it is pretty weak. I wouldn’t rely on it. It has to be manually activated and can easily be deactivated by the thief. Not sure about iPhones, they probably have better security.

    The are tons of security apps out there. Cerberus makes a good one, with a onetime fee for only $5.

  • ANC 2F and the office of CM Evans have been in touch with MPD regarding the recent reports of shots fired around the Logan Circle area. MPD currently does not have information that connects the recent incidents near 14th & Riggs and the 1400 block of V. These areas are known to have gang activity and MPD’s intel unit is working to identify any new issues and patrols have been increased in the area.

    Regarding the robbery near 15th and RI Ave, I’d very much like for the victim to get in touch with me to discuss the response.

    Charlie Bengel
    ANC Commissioner, 2F06
    Chair, ANC 2F Public Safety Cmte

  • Beautiful story though. Kinda like the dirty realism of Raymond Carver-reincarnated-as-a-female-millennial.

  • Maybe we should bring fanny packs back? Phone in the fanny pack, secured to our midsections and all I’d have to do is to curl into a ball to avoid having the crap stolen!

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