Disturbing Early Morning Encounter in Columbia Heights


“Dear PoPville,

Just wanted to share two things that happened to me this morning in Columbia Heights. I came out around 5:30am on 14th and Irving to walk my dog and about half way down Irving (going toward 13th) and I find a bunch of clothes strewn about. It took me a minute to realize that this wasn’t a pile of things set by the street by someone trying to get rid of them, but was instead a dumping ground for what appeared to be the remnants of a robbery.

So, being 5:30 in the morning, I didn’t want to just stand there by it while I waited for police to show up, so I quickly scooped everything back into the bag and continued on my walk. About 7 minutes later, and on the other side of the road, I noticed a man coming up behind me. I had stopped at a tree right before the CVS for my dog to go to the bathroom and turned to face the oncoming person so I didn’t have my back to him while I was bent over cleaning up after my dog. As I was standing back up, I realized the man had stopped and was standing directly in front of me. He stared me dead in the face with crazy eyes and as I tried to move around him I said “hey” hoping that he would move along but he instead starts yelling “WHAT THE F**K are you doing??? Picking up dog poop???”

So I respond, “Yes, dogs poop and you have to pick it up… That’s how this goes. I am doing what I’m supposed to.” So he then steps toward me and starts screaming “YOU LOOK STUPID!!! YOU LOOK SO F*****G STUPID RIGHT NOW, YOU STUPID B***H!” At this point I have to reach into my pocket to grab my pepper spray and wave it at him and scream for him to go on and get out of my face. He started to move back at this point, so I took that opportunity to dart across the street. He followed along with me as I ran up the other side of the street, still screaming obscenities at me until I was able to get into my complex.

I am certain he was on drugs, but what also alarmed me is he appeared very normal looking aside from his insane eyes. No dirty clothes or bad hygiene or drug user look to him. His hair was done in twists and he looked to be maybe in his late 20s/early 30s. I’m still very perplexed over why anyone would be so infuriated by me cleaning up after my dog, so can I only assume he was on one of the new synthetic drugs. Just be very aware of your surroundings, neighbors. I hate to think what might have happened to me if I didn’t see him coming or was without my pepper spray.

Long story short, I immediately called MPD and reported the man and also turned in the bag I found. I included the pictures below and hope it finds its owner.”

109 Comment

  • Yikes- this is super scary. Glad to hear the OP wasn’t hurt. Also wondering what kind of dog he or she had. If it was a larger dog, I’d think he or she would be in attack/defense mode with this kind of altercation going on. If it was a little dog, I’d be afraid of getting away from this maniac while also protecting my small dog. Regardless, this is VERY troubling. Hope this doesn’t happen to this person again.

    • My wife was attacked like this while walking our dog one evening. We have a large dog. The guy who tried to shove her to the ground wasn’t even intimidated in the least bit by our dog. Of course our dog is really friendly too so she didn’t attack the guy. Fortunately my wife got away and now needs some mace to carry.

      • Sorry to hear of your wife’s attack. Perhaps this is sometimes breed-specific or dog-specific. I just remember when walking our family Great Dane, the dog, though normally very friendly, was incredibly tense when a strange man came near me on a walk once. If the guy had meant me harm, I’m not sure what would have happened. I think my dog sensed that I was a vulnerable person (correct), and she was feeling very defensive and agitated. I’m also guessing Rottweilers, Doberman, and Pitts might be more likely to defend compared with, say, Labs, Goldens, and poodles. Regardless, it’s a scary situation- one that you, your family, or your dog shouldn’t have to be in!

    • just going to put this out there that just because you have a big dog does not mean “they go into attack mode”. it’s usually smaller dogs that are feisty and guarding.

  • Sorry this happened. It was very nice of you to collect the contents of the bag and report it. I swear, it seems like 14th Street in CH is a magnet for crazies. There are always scary characters lurking about in that area.

    • Agreed. Even during the daytime. I don’t like having anything in my hands just in case something weird happens and I need to call police/defend myself somehow. Actually, I ended up going to Target to buy a shoe rack the other day, and stood at the bus stop holding it glad that it was really heavy so that I could just whack someone in the face if I needed to…. :[

    • I really hate 14th St between Columbia and Irving. The CVS is in shambles, the main Metro entrance is just begging to be a crime scene (with it under construction [AGAIN] there is no visibility), it always smells like urine and pot, and there are typically so many people moving through the area you can’t keep a strong sense of what’s going on around you. I’m glad the OP wasn’t hurt, but I’ve gotta say, I avoid that location like it’s my job (even though I live 2 blocks from there and use that station every day).

  • samanda_bynes

    jesus. that’s freaky. glad you’re ok. 14th and Iriving is such a nightmare.

  • Sorry that happened. You did the right thing. Hard to believe synthetic marijuana is causing so many crime issues nationwide, but when you look at the anecdotal evidence like this it’s really scary. Hopefully the return of the MPD Vice unit will help get the city back under control.

    • Who said synthetic drugs were to blame? Why not good ol’ fashioned PCP or bath salts? Beware of making unfounded assumptions, and beware of taking someone else’s unfounded assumptions and running with them as fact. Crazy is crazy–high or sober.

      See: “Red Herring.”

      • Drugs make you do and say things that can be more crazy than you normally would be. Also, synthetic pot, PCP and bath salts (also, Flocka) are really scary. People have no idea what they’re doing when they’re on it.

      • Fair enough Dan, but the OP said synthetic drugs, and the District of Columbia along with quite a few other major metro areas have pointed to synthetic marijuana (aka Spice, etc.) as a major contributing factor in the rising rate of violent crime plaguing the nation this summer.

  • You just waved your pepper spray? This guy probably needed a full blast in the face.

    • No no no. 1,000 times no. Please do not escalate if not necessary. End the cycle of violence. This is not “stand your ground.” This is not the wild west. You are not a cowboy. If you can escape the danger, escape. Be done with it. Do not escalate.

      • So if a person is high and acting irrational and yelling in this person’s face and then chasing him/her and you deem that situation “not necessary” for using pepper spray- what type of situation would you deem necessary to use it?
        I also think that as a man you don’t really have any right to tell a woman being threatened by a presumably larger, psychotic, irrational man on an empty street at 530am when it is and isn’t right to use pepper spray.

        • Blithe

          As a woman, the last thing that I would want to face is a larger, crazy, potentially violent man who is now even more enraged because I’ve just sprayed him with pepper spray. My goal for using something like pepper spray would be to grab the few seconds of distraction to get away. If I thought I could get away in the first place, that would be my primary goal. I’m glad that the OP was able to stay safe in a nasty, unpredictable situation.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Getting away is virtually always a better option. If you try to escalate the situation and fail, you now have a larger and possibly avoidable situation on your hands. Depending what drugs the guy was on, the pepper spray might not have had the desired effect. If you are actively under attack and need to fight back in order to make it possible to get away, then do what you gotta do. If you can just get away, however, just get away.

          • Sure of course getting away is a better option. My point was that Dan seemed to be victim blaming (in this hypothetical situation) someone for using pepper spray and escalating a situation thus continuing this “cycle of violence” when I don’t think he really has any right to critique anyone’s use of it.

          • I don’t think Dan was blaming anyone in this instance — just countering Petworth Dude, who seemed to be questioning why the OP had just waved the pepper spray rather than actually using it.
            If anyone’s blaming anyone, it sounds more like Petworth Dude is blaming the OP, or at least questioning her judgment.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Cut the crap about “victim blaming.” He certainly wasn’t blaming the OP – he was basically affirming that she exercised good judgment here. If anything he was blaming a hypothetical victim for taking a hypothetical action that the OP did not take. And regardless of whether Dan or I have any right to critique the hypothetical actions of a hypothetical person under hypothetical circumstances, I would still advise said hypothetical person to get the F* out of there if at all possible without escalating things for no other reason that because escalating things often ends badly.

          • I think the problem with also anon’s interpretation of Dan’s comment is that Dan was responding to a “dude” who was urging the OP to use the pepper spray apparently just for the sake of using the pepper spray. I don’t read Dan as victim blaming at all. If anything, Petworth Dude’s comment almost reads to me like calling the OP out for not being “man enough” to use the spray, which sounds an awful lot like mansplaining how to handle that situation to a woman who just successfully handled it.

        • To answer u when u have no way out i read nothing where . The person was harm in any way.other then being scare u need not think of this also . Just because the so call crazy never pulled out anything do not mean he did nit have something his self ,a good run is better then a bad stand anyday pepper spray not shit to a GUN.think about it.

      • Ha, pepper spraying a dangerous person is ‘escalating violence’. Sorry woman being raped, don’t do anything because you’ll just keep the circle of violence going!

        So the perp learns a lesson. I can come *this* close to possibly committing bodily harm/theft in DC, and all that will happen is the person will run away from me. While I’m glad the encounter ended without OP being hurt or mugged, the perp 100% deserves his comeuppance, whether it’s pepper spray or some other form of non-lethal response. Lethal response is only necessary *and lawful* when your life or the life of someone else is in imminent danger. This is a free society based on the rule of law. Criminals are not the ones who should feel safe when committing crimes.

        Make the report to the authorities, and be on the lookout for him next time you’re walking your dog. This time, have that pepper spray ready to go.

        • I think also anon and Nope are missing Dan’s point. The OP said that the guy backed off after she waved the pepper spray. Going after him to actually use the spray at that point would have been an escalation no matter if the guy deserved a comeuppance or not. And as Dan said, in the OP’s situation, it would not have been necessary. Arguing that Dan’s comment is the same as saying people can’t do anything to stop a dangerous person is not a fair interpretation. The OP had effectively warned the guy off, i.e. already used the appropriate show of force to diffuse the situation. I think Dan’s point – in response to the “dude” who urged her to be more aggressive with the pepper spray – was that once the waving of the pepper spray gave her the opportunity to get away, doing so was the prudent thing to do. It has nothing to do with Dan telling the OP when she has the right to feel threatened. Sticking around to use the pepper spray would not have been without its risks.

        • Yes, of course it is escalating violence. It is cranking up the intensity of the situaiton, by a lot. And if you screw up and spray yourself, or miss, or the spray doesn’t incapacitate the crazy dude, then what? Now he’s still crazy, and even angrier.
          You aren’t Dirty Harry and your pepper spray isn’t a .44 Magnum. If, like the OP, you can get away without using pepper spray, then that’s a much better choice.

      • I support Dan. If you don’t have to use your spray, don’t. I’m not saying she should have waited for him to touch her or anything, but she was able to escape without using it — good for her.

      • Totally disagree, I would have blasted that guy back to whatever hole he crawled out of. I have mace, and I would absolutely use it if this happened to me.

        • Disagree. I was witness of a situation where someone used mace instead of walking away. The mace got in their eyes, but did not stop the perp. Worse of all, the whole thing became racial (this was in S. America: well do to Spanish descendant white lady vs poor indigenous person) and all the sudden there was a mob after the girl.
          If you decide to escalate, the stakes can quickly become life vs. death. Your method better be foolproof. In most circumstances it is better to swallow your pride and walk away.

      • Do not escalate? Met with aggression you would rather run or be pursued? The exact particulars of the situation ate unclear, but presenting a POS an immediate awareness that their actions will and do have repercussions is needed. This is the perfect moment for a small light weight .22.

      • +100 thank you, sensible Dan

    • I came to say the same thing. I would have pressed the button and unleashed the pain.

      • And what if it sprayed back in your face? Or it didn’t incapacitate him and just made him angry and violent? She got away unharmed. THAT’S what matters. I’m sure if the guy had lunged at her she would’ve pressed the button, but at this point, the risk of negative repercussions was far greater than the likelihood of this bringing an end to the altercation.

    • Putting aside whether or not you should use it, pepper spray will likely get you more than a few seconds of distraction. That stuff is devastating.

      • HaileUnlikely

        One BIG caveat, though: the OP suspected that this guy was on some sort of drugs, and obviously did not know what. Some drugs cause people to exhibit atypical response, or no response, to physical pain. If the drugs this guy was on were those drugs, pepper spraying him might be more “devastating” for you than for him.

        • Depends on the chemical. OC pepper spray is *not* dependent on pain response, which is why it can be so effective against attackers who are drunk/high/have a diminished pain response.

        • If you’ve never been pepper or OC sprayed, stop commenting like you know what it does or doesn’t to. Your misinformed input doesn’t help. I have been sprayed and it’s awful. You can’t see and your face burns and everything sucks. She was more than justified in using it and it wouldn’t have escalated the situation. The guy escalated it!! It would have just given her more time to escape, which is its purpose. People, if you think you need to use it, use it.

          I would caveat that there is a very small percentage of people that OC doesn’t affect and secondly someone can still hurt you on OC if they are close enough to grab you. Spray it at their face and run, then call 911 and give a description. Hopefully he will still be nearby and affected by the OC when the cops show up.

          • It’s clear “…” has also been sprayed. Listen to him he knows what he’s talking about.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I’ve never used PCP. I hope neither of us knows what it is like to be pepper sprayed while on PCP.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Also, “justified” and “helpful” are different concepts altogether.

          • Haile, it’s great that she got away. In this case she didn’t need to use it; however someone else may not be so lucky. But it may be helpful if someone else encounters a similar case because after getting sprayed the aggressor wouldn’t be able to pursue her. He didn’t in this insyance, but I don’t see how she could have known it at the time (if she used it immediately wen the crazy person appeared as a threat). Also, this guy would have been more likely to be picked up by the police if she called it in immediately after and he was still writhing in pain from the OC. What would happen after that I can’t tell you, maybe nothing, but it’s possible it could prevent that person from harming someone else. There’s two things I’ve named that could make it helpful. Oh and of course I’ve never been sprayed on PCP, but someone on PCP still has tear ducts and they don’t become immune to the extract of peppers causing them to go into overdrive. Again,

          • HaileUnlikely

            Multiple posters above have cited instances that they have witnessed firsthand of people pepper-spraying somebody, failing to incapacitate them, and ending up facing an even angrier aggressor. I rest my case.

          • I’ve worked with police for over 20 years. I’ve personally deployed various pepper sprays and have been sprayed myself as part of a particularly nasty “training” class. Any time I’ve discharged various products, I’ve nearly always been affected by the “overspray” of mist that swirls around the nozzle when it’s used outside – and for the untrained this might be disorienting enough to let an attacker get the upper hand. Furthemore, I’ve also personally witnessed drugged-up people being sprayed in the face and for whatever reason the chemical having no effect. Let me assure you, if the threat of spray distracts the attacker long enough for the victim to leave, that is the best possible outcome. If you’re not a cop, you don’t need to be a tough-guy superhero.

  • Terrifying. You did the right thing by getting out of there quickly. Happy you did not have to use the spray–it’s nasty stuff.

    I would caution not to make assumptions about what drugs someone’s on. A man who yells at you on drugs will yell at you sober.

    • That’s two strikes for stupid comments Dan. One more and you’re not allowed to have opinions.

      • agreed w/ markus. your unsolicited advice and logic is terrible, dan.

        • HaileUnlikely

          What kind of drugs are you people on. I think Dan, OP, Blythe, and Carmie are the only people here with 2 pesos worth of sense.

        • Which part of Dan’s comment was so horrible? The part where he felt that the OP, who successfully escaped the situation without harm, used good judgment in getting away? Or was it the part where he felt that the assumption that the perp was on synthetic drugs was speculative? I could debate the nuances, but neither one seems wholly off base.

        • A+ for trolling, markus and laura.

    • Whoa guys, this is an open forum. Dan can say (almost) whatever he wants. Chill.

  • Man…I’m so sorry this happened. Insane!

    I guess I should have my pepper spray in my pocket when I walk my dog too. I got it, but usually forget it at home.

  • Don’t try and understand someone who was either high or mentally disturbed or you will end up on something or mentally disturbed. You obviously triggered something in him that only he seem to know.

  • 14th Street in Ward 1 and Ward 4 is a bad place right now. And not much is being done about it… Glad the OP is ok. This type of situation happens all too often in this area – assaults, pedestrian intimidation, public drunkeness and drugs, catcalling etc.

    • You are absolutely correct!
      Those of us in Columbia Heights are collectively counting the days until the next election.
      We Can Do This!

  • Curious if those of you with pepper spray have actually registered it?

    • I don’t carry pepper spray, but I definitely would like to start. Do you have to get permission/a registration before you can purchase it, or do you purchase it and then register it after the fact?

    • I did a bunch of research on pepper spray after getting attacked in June.

      I bought legal pepper spray at Logan Hardware on 14th. They have several varieties, all which comply with DC law. They also have registration forms on site. As you make your purchase, you fill out the form. They submit one copy to the police, you keep one for your own records. I carry the registration in my bag all the time.

    • Registration is not needed if purchased out of the District. Most hardware stores, surplus stores and gun shops in the suburbs all sell it.

      • washington20009

        The purchaser does not need to register pepper spray. It is the seller (and only if located in DC) who is required to complete a registration and send it to MPD.

        • Correct. The obligation is on the seller. From the MPD website:

          Mace, Pepper Spray and Self-Defense Sprays

          It is legal for a person over the age of 18 to possess self-defense sprays in the District of Columbia, such as mace or pepper spray.

          However, under D.C. Official Code § 7-2502.12, the only legal types of self-defense sprays are “a mixture of a lacrimator including chloroacetophenone, alphacloracetophenone, phenylchloromethylketone, orthochlorobenazalm-alononitrile or oleoresin capsicum.” Additionally, the self-defense spray must be propelled from an aerosol container, labeled with clearly written instructions for use, and dated with its anticipated useful life.

          If a person purchases a self-defense spray from a person or business located in the District, the seller will provide a registration form to be completed by the purchaser. The seller is then required to forward this registration form to the MPD Firearms Registration Section.

          A person may use a self-defense spray only as reasonable force to defend themselves or their property and only if the self-defense spray meets the requirements above.

          For further information, please visit the MPD Firearms Registration Section, 300 Indiana Avenue, NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20001 or contact them at (202) 727-4275.


      • I think if you purchase outside the District, you then have to register at the police station.

  • I’m sorry that happened to you and am glad that you are OK. The standard thinking in these situations is to not lead him directly back to where you live, but it was so early in the morning that I’m not sure what would have been a better option and I am sure you were scared and just wanted to be safe at home. I hope you don’t run into him again!

  • This is the third post this week that mentions “synthetic drugs.” While I don’t doubt the veracity of claims that cheap imported drugs are increasingly popular, I’m surprised by the complete absence of skepticism toward the established narrative. “These kids today and their newfangled Snapchats and “spice,” who knows what they’re up to?!” Goodness, you’ve even uncritically adopted the Official Language – “synthetic drugs.”(!) I mean, er… you know a good number of the drugs that have been in the USA for decades are also “synthetic,” right?

    I’m also having problem squaring away the increase in “synthetic” drug use immediately following the legalization of what is hands-down the most popular drug (marijuana) in America. What, teenagers and young men just aren’t interested in smoking weed anymore, now that the cops can’t arrest them for it?

    Something stinks in this whole “synthetic marijuana” panic, and it isn’t necessarily the spice.

    • Marijuana doesn’t usually cause that kind of erratic behavior, especially for experienced users.

      • I’m not blaming marijuana, I’m saying the OP has no clue whether the assailant was on “synthetic drugs.”

        • It’s a reasonable guess that the assailant was on synthetic marijuana, PCP, or “bath salts.” Apparently the compositions of synthetic marijuana have changed recently (I think this year) in such a way that hospitals and law enforcement are now seeing the type of crazy behavior that previously had been associated only with PCP and “bath salts.”

          • From http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/25/health/surge-in-hospital-visits-linked-to-a-drug-called-spice-alarms-health-officials.html?_r=0 :
            ‘Mr. Ryan [Mark Ryan, director of the Louisiana Poison Center] said his Louisiana call center had fielded fewer calls in the past several years partly because emergency-room doctors had begun to recognize the effects of certain variations of spice and knew how to handle those cases themselves, leaving most of the calls from worried individuals. The tenor of recent calls has been different, he said.
            ‘ “It’s been more than 90 percent hospitals this year,” Mr. Ryan said. “It’s not, ‘Hey, I smoked this thing and I don’t feel well.’ It’s, ‘This guy’s trying to tear up the E.R. and we have him locked down in restraints. We don’t know what he’s taken. What do we do?’ ” ‘

    • Synthetic marijuana is apparently much, much cheaper than the real thing.
      The problem isn’t that the drugs are synthetic per se. It’s what’s in them — often including adulterants/contaminants.
      From a New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/25/health/surge-in-hospital-visits-linked-to-a-drug-called-spice-alarms-health-officials.html?_r=0 ) :

      “[S]ynthetic cannabinoids [are] substances that look like marijuana that are sprayed with a hallucinogenic chemical and then smoked.
      “Those chemicals, typically imported from China by American distributors, come in hundreds of varieties; new formulations appear monthly, with molecules subtly tweaked to try to skirt the D.E.A.’s list of illegal drugs as well as drug-detecting urine tests.
      “Although the entire class of drugs is illegal because of the psychological effects, each new variety can present distinct health risks caused by its underlying chemistry or contaminants in renegade manufacturing facilities.
      “Experts warn that the popular term ‘synthetic marijuana’ is a misnomer, as the substances merely resemble marijuana but can be 100 times as potent.”

      • From http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/magazine/spike-nation.html :
        “Although the active ingredients primarily come from China, where commercial labs manufacture them to order like any other chemical, spike itself is produced domestically. Traffickers spray the chemicals on dried plant material and seal the results in foil pouches; these are then sold on the Internet or distributed to stores across the country, which sell them sometimes under the counter, as in Syracuse, or sometimes right by the cash register, depending on local laws. Unlike marijuana, cocaine and other naturally occurring drugs, synthetic cannabinoids can be tweaked on a molecular level to create novel, and arguably legal, drugs.”

        • Ffrom the same article on “spike” in Syracuse:
          ” ‘Pop-top’’ is slang for the local spike sold in resealable pouches, the cheapest of the cheap. ‘You don’t know where it’s been, who did what with it,’ Tyson said. [. . .] Tyson said he’d seen a pop-top operation once, in a dingy basement on Syracuse’s north side. Potpourri was spread atop silk screens on Ping-Pong tables, then doused with unknown chemicals from a spray bottle. What pop-top manufacturers lacked in quality control, they made up for in marketing talent. Their spike was even cheaper than the store-bought variety, and new brands hit the street every month. They also produced clever knockoffs, stuffing their inferior spike into pouches identical to popular store brands. ‘That’s the name of the game right now, dude,’ Tyson said. ‘Who can have the best-looking bag.’ “

      • I see: I’d been assuming that most spice users are former marijuana users, but I realize I have no reason to think that, other than the words “synthetic marijuana.” It seems more likely that spice users are either a new cohort of drug users (kids?) or are switching from a different cheap drug (crack?).
        Regardless, seems like folks living in the gentrifying green line corridor might be in for a bumpy ride until this problem is under control.

      • Thanks for the updates Textdoc! I didn’t know anything about these things, only that synthetic mj was not even remotely related to mj.
        Being from Florida I just assume everyone is on bath salts all the time and try to avoid everyone ever.

  • Someone was trying to break into cars last night in the alley between Kenyon and Irving, between 14th and 13th. I called the police at 11:30 at night to report him, after he looked into several car windows with a flashlight. Unclear if they every actually came. He walked out the end of the alley onto Irving near the intersection with 14th. I wouldn’t be surprised if he broke into a car after leaving the alley and stole the bag, before dumping the contents he didn’t want on the sidewalk of 14th. The guy I called police on also matched the description you gave of the individual you ran into on 14th, but that could easily be a coincidence.

  • How scary. I’m glad the OP was able to get away safely.

  • Thanks for all the kind words and support everyone. I also was a little disappointed in my pup this morning- he didn’t start getting upset until we were safe inside the house and could really see how rattled I was. He’s a medium sized Blue Heeler/German Shorthaired Pointer mix and is usually very protective and alert… I think he was just confused and I hope if the man would have actually touched me he would have kicked it into high gear.

    Sorry for the synthetic drug comment- it’s everyone’s go-to right now and I fell into the trap haha. He may or may not have been high, but he was definitely not normal! It’s especially concerning that he wasn’t even afraid to approach me with my dog being there.

    In hindsight of course, picking up the bag wasn’t the smartest choice I’ve ever made, along with being out at 5:30am… but you don’t think these things will happen to you. Also- to answer why I didn’t actually spray- I wanted to, and was 3 seconds away from hitting the trigger, but wanted to try getting away first. I actually just found out last night from another article on here that pepper spray needs to be registered and I hadn’t gotten online to do it yet. My brother was just cautioning me to do it ASAP for fear if I ever need to spray someone they could come back and try to sue me. Just didn’t realize I would literally need it 12 hours later. Very scary stuff.

    • Your dog probably just wanted to take a poo in peace 🙂

    • I am very glad you are OK and I definitely don’t want to make light of your experience, but the part of your tale re: the bag and clothes brought back my own similar memory, except I was both the victim and the finder. I had spent Thanksgiving in DC with the family and driving back to NYC, I decided to stop and see some friends in Center City Philly. BUT, I left my duffle bag in the car, in full view, and when I got back, the window was broken and the bag was gone. Rattled, I ended up spending the night with my friends and the next day, as we were going about the city, I started noticing something in the gutters – MY CLOTHES. It became clear that the thief had been going through my bag, and as he walked he was dropping stuff he didn’t want. So my friends and I spent the morning following the trail, picking up my clothes, that were now grimy from the street and the sleety November rain. Clearly the thief didn’t care for my taste as we recovered the majority of my clothes, but it was a nastiest scavenger hunt I’ve ever been in, and it did cost me the price of the window repair.
      So I appreciate your impulse to pick the stuff up, and if the owner sees your post, I am sure s/he will appreciate it too. I’m just sorry that you had to go through the interaction with Mr. Crazy Eyes.

    • phl2dc

      Except you kinda do think these things might happen to you, otherwise you wouldn’t have the spray to begin with. I’m glad you’re ok, it sounds like a terrifying experience.

    • I am very glad that you did not suffer any physical harm, but that must have been very frightening. Rest assured, you do not need to register the spray. The obligation is on the seller. From the MPD website:

      Mace, Pepper Spray and Self-Defense Sprays

      It is legal for a person over the age of 18 to possess self-defense sprays in the District of Columbia, such as mace or pepper spray.

      However, under D.C. Official Code § 7-2502.12, the only legal types of self-defense sprays are “a mixture of a lacrimator including chloroacetophenone, alphacloracetophenone, phenylchloromethylketone, orthochlorobenazalm-alononitrile or oleoresin capsicum.” Additionally, the self-defense spray must be propelled from an aerosol container, labeled with clearly written instructions for use, and dated with its anticipated useful life.

      If a person purchases a self-defense spray from a person or business located in the District, the seller will provide a registration form to be completed by the purchaser. The seller is then required to forward this registration form to the MPD Firearms Registration Section.

      A person may use a self-defense spray only as reasonable force to defend themselves or their property and only if the self-defense spray meets the requirements above.

      For further information, please visit the MPD Firearms Registration Section, 300 Indiana Avenue, NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20001 or contact them at (202) 727-4275.

  • Egad

    Last weekend I was at Target in the book section when I heard someone yelling and screaming. A shirtless dude obviously jacked up on something and enraged kept throwing things and yelling, “Where are the f*cking Sonys! I don’t want a motherf*cking LG! Where are the f*cking Sonys!” I stayed where I was until things quieted down, assuming he had been escorted out but sure enough 15 mins when I was leaving, I saw the same guy hanging out near the checkouts talking to poles, leaning on shelves, karate chopping the air and acting erratically. He then walked out and got on the escalator standing backwards with one foot up on the hand railing. I was absolutely shocked that even though the guy was acting violently, screaming and obviously messed up on something, Target Security didn’t call the cops or escort him out. They let him wander around the store for 15 mins after the outburst even though he was acting crazy. The problem is that so many people just turn a blind eye to the sh*tshow that has been happening on this corner. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for many years now. There were always crime and druggies in the area, but the type of stuff that has been happening is becoming more and more brazen.

    • phl2dc

      I actually CAN believe that security didn’t call the cops because there are SO many useless security guards out there. And I guess no one else in the store called the cops because they figured security would take care of that… womp womp.

  • I’m so glad I’m not constrained by my job or lifestyle to be out at 5:30 am. There’s just not enough foot traffic at that hour to make me feel safe. If the dogs need to go out that early, they go in the backyard!

    • Yep, a couple days a week I need to be up and around Columbia Heights at 4:30. It’s generally sooo quiet, but weird people are often about. Watched a guy stealing a bike from out from of Room 11 the other day. Ironically, where I work and had keys to get into the building but waited from afar until he was gone.

  • We live at 11th and Harvard (our parking lot is connected to the alley) and we’ve found two similar bag dump situations in the last two months. We were able to contact one of the owners to give them their stuff back, someone had broken into her car and taken her gym bag. If you can, leave your bags in the trunk!

  • It has come to this:
    The 25 foot long DC Police Emergency Response Trailer needs to be permanently parked in Columbia Heights.
    Yes, it has finally come to this.
    We are witnessing the collapse of Columbia Heights while our council member is busy writing love letters to community service groups and the building managers of all the section 8 housing units in Ward 1.

  • I commute on my bike from 14th n Spring to Foggy Bottom every morning at 6 am n I see the nastiest dirtbag shits. Interestingly, and for the hookers who operate north n south of that area, you see (them n) their fucking drug-slinging garbage-ass pimps… It’s like a terrible movie. Cops need to swoop in n handle that. It’s sooo bad…

    • +1. I walk down Perry from 14th over to 16th most mornings around 6am. It’s terrible. I’ve basically started a daily reporting log into the police about the blatant drug use and prostitution. It may lead to nothing, but at least I feel like I’m doing SOMEthing and if anything ever happens to me on that walk I’ll point them straight back to that log (not that they’ll particularly care…:))

  • wow. I’m sorry it sounds like you had quite the day.

  • Wasn’t there something a week or two ago about a well dressed dude nearly assaulting someone in Columbia Heights/Mt P? Wonder if it was the same guy.

  • I guess i hit a never when i made a true statement about native american should been scare. 400 Years ago since peole go by looks they took my true statmen down it change nithing

  • I’m not in columbia heights often, but the other week I was picking up a friend in my car (which I rarely use, but am glad I did that day). She got into my car around 8:30am on a Saturday and said she just witnessed a man run up to someone, rip off the person’s backpack, and run off with it … then as we were driving, there was a separate man half in the street with his pants at his knees screaming at people. It’s becoming a serious problem.

  • T.S.- what in the world are you talking about???

  • I had a similar experience on 16th St NW, between Euclid & Fuller NW. I think this was back around 2008. My dog was peeing in the grass and some guy who was sitting on the steps in front of a building at 16th and Fuller got really angry because where she peed was 5 feet away from where he had parked his moped. He started ranting saying things like “I hate dogs! That’s disgusting! Why do you have a dog? When it poops do you pick it up? You should have a baby! I’m going to kill your dog!” He also threatened to kill me. He got on his moped and rode down the sidewalk straight toward me and my dog (as we were walking away) and almost hit us and as he passed by he leaned his head down and yelled at my dog (frightening her terribly). I thought he was on drugs of some sort. I called the cops and by the time they showed up he was gone. I never saw him again.

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