“Mugging in Broad Daylight – with the car moving and me being dragged for about half a block”

“Dear PoPville,

Just wanted to share an experience I had yesterday morning and maybe see if anyone else had something similar happen to them recently and remind everyone to always be aware of their surroundings.

I was walking down Elm st NW by Ledroit park at 10:30 AM and a car slowed down right by me. I thought the four guys who were in the car were looking for a parking spot and thought nothing of it. The car sped off in a hurry. Then suddenly, a block later, the car stopped right by me, a man in a ski mask jumped out and grabbed my bag. Since it was cross body bag, he essentially pulled me with him to the car, and I was trying to pull it back, with the car moving and me being dragged for about half a block. Finally my bag broke and I fell and they drove off. I did hit my face on the pavement but am generally fine, albeit shaken up about the incident.

On the bright side, immediately I had about eight people around me calling 911, bringing me ice for my face, and generally trying to help calm me down and take the right steps. Police were there in less than five minutes, as was the EMT. DCPS MPD has been really great about giving me updates on the case. It turns out the car had been stolen (two people got the license plate as it drove off) the night before and I wasn’t the first person they robbed Sunday morning. They have arrested one of the guys and are questioning him about the other three.

So, here is a happy reminder to always be aware of your surroundings. I’ve walked down Elm about a hundred times before, and feel very comfortable in the neighborhood. I’m sure this was a random act and I’m 100% sure these four boys do not live in Bloomingdale/LeDroit park. Big ups to all the wonderful people who DO live in the area (and stayed with me for the two hours I had to deal with cops/ EMT) and DCPS. There are a lot of crappy people in the world but there is definitely more good than bad.”

23 Comment

  • Major props to the people who thought quickly enough to remember the license plate number! It’s one of those things that we always wish we remember to do but rarely have the presence of mind to do in the moment.

  • I’m so sorry that this happened to you, it sounds terrifying. I often wear crossbody bags, so this was particularly unsettling for me to think about.

  • Just terrible – so glad it wasn’t worth and there were neighbors there to see and help! I love this area, but it’s crazy how many random muggings/break-ins lately. I appreciate that I see cop cars enough, but I just don’t understand how this is going to get better?

  • why would DC public schools (DCPS) be involved here? a little confused..

  • Yikes, how scary. I’m glad you are OK and that the neighbors were so great.

  • west_egg

    I’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t wear your bag across your body for precisely this reason. How about people shouldn’t steal things that aren’t theirs?

    • I’ve heard this advice, but mostly in countries where theft by people on motorbikes is common. I think a more practical solution is to wear the bag portion on the side of your body furthest from the street. Straps across the chest are very awkward to grab onto.

      It does require shifting your bag when you cross the street and stuff, if you’re really that concerned. I definitely do it when walking in, say, Manila, because I don’t fancy being dragged by a motorbike.

    • And I’ve heard that you should wear a crossbody bag BECAUSE it is harder to grab and go. Pickpockets go after the easy targets, and the ones who aren’t idiots are less likely to even try to grab them.

      • Yep, my mom drilled that into me when I was a teenager, so I’ve always thought crossbody bags were safer. This is very frightening.

        • It depends on your goal. I’d you don’t want someone to get your bag, wear it across your chest since its harder to grab that way. If you would rather they just take the damned bag and not drag you along or strangle you in the process, then wear a bag that will go really without you. It’s nice that we have choices, isn’t it?

  • I guess the silver lining is that helpful and caring bystanders outnumbered thieves in this case.

  • Heard the yelling, but went out back because that’s where it seemed like it was coming form. Once I came out front, I saw the fallout. Glad to know that you are OK and that they were able to catch the a**holes. Elm St. has a really good group of folks that live on it so its no surprise all the help you were able to get. Unfortunately we tend to see an uptick in crime around big Howard Univ events due to ,what I attribute to, an increase in new unsuspecting people in the area being prayed on by crooks trolling these events.

  • I used to go there each week to drop off compost at the community farm/garden. I often felt unsafe there.

  • Oh man, I’m sorry to hear this. I’m so glad that there were people around and did the right thing by helping you and trying to catch those that did this. Ugh, I hate that this happened in our city. I hate when people say to me “I can’t believe you walk around alone in DC’ and while that comment makes me laugh because of course I do. All other people have to do is read this story and think our whole city is overrun with criminals. Glad you’re ok!

  • So sorry this happened to you- it sounds awful. But i also have to applaud the you have such a great attitude about it. Please take care of yourself, and kudos to MPD and your neighbors.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Yikes! That’ scary to be dragged along. I am no longer wearing well constructed bags across my body.

  • topscallop

    I saw something similar last fall on New Jersey and R St, where a black car drove by me, dragging a man alongside. He was on the opposite side of the car from where I was walking so I couldn’t tell if the person on the passenger side was holding him, or if they had grabbed something that he was holding on to the car to try to get back. They dragged him up 4th for about a block and turned on to New Jersey Ave, where he either let go or was flung off. His knees were all scraped up and he looked very dazed, but he got to the gas station by the time the police arrived. I gave my statement but never heard what had happened, or if they caught the guys and I was only able to get a partial plate so I don’t know how helpful that was. Scary stuff! I’m glad you’re okay, and that the police and your neighbors were so helpful.

  • That sounds like a nightmare!

  • That is very frightening!

    That is literally around the corner from my place in LeDroit!

    Glad you’re ok!

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