“we were awoken to a man in the house at 3am yesterday night…the robber was wearing a police uniform”

Photo by PoPville flickr user KJinDC

“Dear PoPville,

Last week my neighbor’s home at 15th and Buchanan was robbed twice, likely by the same perpetrator within 12 hours! My husband saw the brazen thief exit through the back with the bike that was reported on your blog, as he was in the ally during broad daylight taking in the trash bin. He looked the guy straight in the eye and got a good description. He was wearing a construction uniform to blend in with the construction workers doing work in the ally.

Fast forward only 6 days, we were awoken to a man in the house at 3am yesterday night, who we chased out. Video surveillance at the back of our house caught the robber wearing a police uniform spending about 15 minutes using tools to manipulate the locks on a back window, and opened it an crawled in the house. This was the same man who broke into the neighboring house last week.

We estimate he spent almost an hour rifling through the house, carefully preparing bags full of liquor, snacks, electronics, etc. We caught him when he tried to enter the bedroom and turn on the lights at about 3am! We chased him out and he fled out of the back door and had to jump over our fence because the gate was securely locked. He got away with a wallet, credit cards, and a few items, some of which are likely TBD (we’re still going through everything to see what he took, because he spent so much time going through the entire house). He had to ditch all the large bags he prepared on the back porch in the escape.

Police arrived right away and collected the video, fingerprints, DNA, and other evidence. Stolen credit cards were used at several Columbia Heights locations right after the robber fled, and working with the cops at the house, we tracked the purchases, and dispatches immediately followed the robber, and two accomplices to apprehend them.

One of the police who immediately responded to our call came back this evening to tell me that they positively ID’d the man who had broken into our house, and found his fake police uniform in the car, with other stolen property. He will be arraigned tomorrow morning.

The police should be commended for their work in helping get this robber and his associates off the streets. He’s terrorized 16th St Heights, which has always been a quiet, safe neighborhood. Now, with the knowledge that the perpetrator of at least 3 recent incidents in the area is behind bars, we can all sleep a little bit better tonight.


25 Comment

  • Holy cow that sounds terrifying.

  • That’s really scary. You’re lucky the cops came straight away. My neighbor’s house was broken into during the day on Monday and the dogwalker discovered that the back door was smashed in. She called 911 (and me to come and get the dog), but a half hour later, the police hadn’t arrived and we didn’t even know if there was still someone inside or what was going on! There was a police car parked on the next block and I walked down there and asked them to come over and check it out. After that, things functioned well on the police end, but it seemed like a big disconnect from the get-go. This was just one of several robberies in Petworth earlier this week that I know about.

    • I had a similar thing happen. We were standing in the bitter cold, sick with dismay and fear, for almost an hour before the cops showed up. Then they just stood around harassing our cats for another hour while waiting for the fingerprint person to show up. At one point someone got bored, and pointed to what they claimed was pot residue in a hookah (it was shisha), and threatened to arrest us for it. After that experience I’d be reluctant to report anything ever again.

    • Unfortunately I have a feeling someone has actually seen that the burglar is still there or was just at the scene, they take their time. It’s terrible, but a break-in call is just too normal in this city. I’ve experienced it.

  • It is great to hear that DCPD was responsive. My house was robbed in July in broad daylight. I was out of town and my dog walker called around lunch to let me know someone had been in the house. I called a neighbor who has security cameras, which had footage of the thief. All of this was given to the detectives. By the time I returned from my trip later the next day, I noticed that my car was stolen. (He stole the keys and came back for the car the next day) Two days later, a detective called to ask for the security footage. It turned no one had ever filed it properly. For 48 hours they could have been searching for the guy. Luckily, the found him and remains in custody until sentencing in November. You MUST stay on top of the detectives. They are disorganized and lack organization.

    • I never ever thought to follow up to see if my burglarer was caught. I’m guessing he wasn’t, even though my neighbor overheard two guys at the corner store bragging about the crime.

  • That’s terrifying. Did you have an alarm set? I’ve always hoped that between the dogs and the alarm something would alert me to a nighttime break-in. I know from experience that window bars can be bypassed if the burglarer has the right tools.

    Regardless, I’m pleased and impressed that the cops were able to apprehend him so quickly!

  • I Dont Get It

    That’s crazy!

  • I wonder why the police uniform. Would you seriously have thought it was a police officer rummaging around your house at 3am?

  • Emmaleigh504

    Holy crap! That is terrifying! I’m glad you weren’t hurt and he was caught!

  • How terrifying. I’m so glad that you were able to chase him off and that they arrested the guy.

  • Sounds like good Police work. Props to the cops!!

  • Wow, what an experience! I am glad you are okay and hope that you don’t find much else missing.

  • So I’m not a detective or anything, but it seems fairly obvious that he’ll wear a Native American costume for his next break-in.

  • I was the one who was burglarized, and found the costume comment quite funny. It almost makes this whole situation sound so comical. It’s like the Village People! Maybe next he’ll be a fireman!? Or hopefully he’ll be staying in the slammer…

    Honestly, as frightening as this whole experience seems. It’s been quite funny. The burglar did so many stupid things, and it feels good to know that his candor and lack of sensibility led to his arrest, and hopeful demise.

    I want to recognize the work of the first police responder, M. Murdock, who also aprehended the suspect (who admitted to breaking in, so I guess that makes him more than a “suspect”). Her tenacity was amazing, and she should be rewarded. Cathy Lanier, are you listening!? How do I make sure that great police like this woman get the credit they deserve!?

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