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Dear PoPville – “Female attacked and attempted abduction in Foggy Bottom on Monday 2/18”

by Prince Of Petworth — February 25, 2013 at 1:30 pm 64 Comments

UPDATE Tues. 4:30pm: Correction: Miscommunication between victim and OP. Said incident did not occur in parking garage, occurred on street in Foggy Bottom. No grocery store in Foggy Bottom was involved (though it was near a Trader Joe’s which lead to the miscommunication.) Was not reported at time of incident, victim is in contact with MPD now. All other details are correct.

UPDATE Tues. 1pm: MPD has spoken with the victim who now says it was not a grocery store. MPD detectives are following up to get more info.

Dear PoPville,

I wanted to make you aware that a friend of mine was a attacked and almost forced in the trunk of her own car at a Foggy Bottom grocery store.

She (my friend) was parked in the garage of the grocery and as she was loading her groceries into her trunk a man came from behind and bear hugged her. She started screaming and he put his hand over her mouth and continued to duck her head towards the trunk. Once his hand was around her mouth she bit his hand. Since she is 5’10, she was able to shift her weight around and kick him in the groin which caused him to fall to the ground. Once he fell a male customer was coming out of the store and heard my friend yelling. The male customer started yelling and the man ran and escaped up the ramp out of the parking garage. The store and police were alerted.

Apparently there have been no other reports of similar crimes in Foggy Bottom but I was hoping you could circulate in the event that this has happened to anyone else and to also spread awareness. The man was in all dark clothing with a cap. My friend did not get a description since he approached her from behind but did say that the skin that she could see on his arm between his glove and sleeve was white/light skinned. The struggle only last a few minutes max. My friend is grateful to the male customer who saw something wrong and decided to take action. Many people in DC do not take action when they see something or even when something happens to them.

  • Wow, very frightening. Glad to hear your friend is okay.

  • So was it Trader Joe’s? Why be vague with “a grocery store”?

    • Anonymous

      Right. This seems like really useful information.

      • Seriously. Is someone afraid of being politically incorrect or sued? Jesus, mention the location!

  • Anonymous

    This is terrifying! Which store was it?

    • Anonymous

      The Foggy Bottom Whole Foods garage is super sketchy.

      • Joking right?

        I’m pretty sure it was at TJ’s since the parking area for WF is WAY down underground. It would have been one hell of a run for the guy to effectively get away. TJ’s would be much easier.

        • Anonymous

          Have you been in the whole foods garage? It’s dark, isolated, quiet, and there’s only one slow elevator and no stairs.

          • Yes, I’ve been there (hence knowing it is “way down underground”). And while it does have the factors you mention, it also has a fair amount of foot traffic, although admittedly probably not that much at 9 pm on a Monday night.

  • Anonymous

    Holy Shit! How scary! I second the PP – which grocery store was it? Trader Joe’s?

  • Why no Run

    So she kicked him and he fell, but she didn’t run?

    Glad she is ok and escaped unharmed.

  • Anonymous

    It also might be relevant to know what time of day/night this occurred in addition to where. I’m glad your friend is ok…hope she’s not too traumatized.

  • Hopefully the garage has surveillance equipment! Ya this is crazy esp if he was trying to shove her into the trunk.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly, Hopefully someone will pass on info re the video

  • Wrack

    “I just wanted to make sure that you were aware that an unidentified person was almost abducted at an unidentified location at an unidentified time by an unidentified subject. Beware!”

    Okay, I feel a little bad doing the sarcasm thing, but really, a few details on time/place would make this post more helpful to people. Sorry to hear about the assault.

    • anonanon

      “Okay, I feel a little bad doing the sarcasm thing, but really, a few details on time/place would make this post more helpful to people.”

      Seriously, I mean it’s only an attempted abduction. Happens all the time, so stop bothering us with this totally not important info. I’m more interested in what new “edgy” burger place is opening this week.

      • BL1127

        It happened around 9 PM on Monday 2/18. She does not want the store named so it will not reflect badly on them. The police were alerted, the employees of the store were very helpful, there was a witness (who saw the man and some of the altercation, it was his yelling that scared off the attacker) and there is a police report. I posted this to make people aware. The lack of details is not to sound shady, its just what my friend has asked. I was groped on 14th Street 3 years ago and it was a very scary experience and the amount of people who told me that similar things have happened to them and they have failed to reported it is astonishing. I emailed POP to bring awareness and that if anyone in the Foggy Bottom has seen anything that they need to report it. This man was clearly waiting for someone and my friend seemed to be an easy target while her back was turned and she was loading her groceries into her car.

        • Anonymous

          christ, it’s not going to reflect badly on the store, maybe someone saw something and can help get this guy arrested.

          • Or maybe people realize that this can, and does, happen in every parking garage, and even surface lots, anywhere, anytime – when you have a predator determined to do harm. Of course there are ways to make garages safer – with cameras and lighting and lines of sight etc. But bad guys know where to go – where people will naturally be distracted.

          • JL

            It certainly won’t help naming them now since I’m sure she is probably going to be suing that store.

        • George W

          Without naming the store, this really doesn’t help anyone. A store is a business that has to deal with these issues.

        • Anonymous

          This is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.

        • Anonymous

          Thanks for the Post…You did a good thing in bringing this to everyone’s attention..indeed it would catch most people off guard.

          • Anonymous

            Agree! Thank you!

        • Anonymous

          I’m guessing Trader Joe’s. Only Trader Joe’s fans are fervently loyal to the point where they would care about the store’s reputation.

        • nofiction

          I’m shocked to hear this and my heart goes out to your friend. It is brave of her to come forward — Please assure her that sharing this sort of information is the best way to thwart (and hopefully apprehend) this awful person in the future.

          My kid goes to school in Foggy Bottom and I’d love to share this information with neighboring families and some local community leaders, including a couple GW students we know. It’s already been a week since the incident, but I’m reluctant to broadcast without knowing if this is Trader Joes or not. (Knowing the ‘hood, I would deduce it is.). I’ve done some searching as well and not finding anything that was obviously this event with DC police

          If it is TJoes, then neighbor awareness will hold TJoes accountable to better monitor/police their garage – as well as make neighbors more wary. Corporations can handle this sort of scrutiny (trust me, we love TJoes!). If it is not TJoes, then I wouldn’t want to libel them or imply that some other store had better practices.

  • houseintherear

    Very scary. Thank you for passing this along-

  • Mike

    Which store?!

  • Stanley

    I don’t see a report on MPDC’s twitter feed. If you’re going to tell us a story, you need to provide more details on what happened. That’s how witnesses come forward and help provide the evidence that will get this person off the streets.

    • Does the Twitter feed report everything, or is it only a selection of various crimes that have occurred? (I tried connecting, but couldn’t — maybe my work is still blocking it.)

      If the incident was reported to police, presumably it would appear in the crime summary for the Second District — not with an exact store name or street address, but with the street name, block number, and type of place where the incident occurred.

      It looks like the regular feed to the police district Yahoogroups is down, though:


  • Thank you for posting this. Very important to know. However, I disagree with your friend’s insistence on not naming the store. If the store did everything they could to help (and it sounds like they did), then naming them should not reflect badly. In contrast, I think it will help all of us to be more aware when we are that store. Who knows? That dirt bag might decide to try again in the not too distant future.

  • Mt P

    Doesn’t make much sense that he would come back to the exact same spot any time soon after failing in this attempt. This IS really important information for everyone even if the store is not named. Stop criticizing the victim– and hats off to her for kicking the crap out of this guy.

    • Anonymous

      asking for more info is criticizing?

      and everyone feels horrible for her.

      we just want to know more.

      • Anonymous

        I DIDN’T SAY ANYONE WAS BLAMING THE VICTIM and I’m not referencing people people who asked for more information.

        I’m just saying there’s no need to mock her and say she’s being unhelpful.

        • Rich

          We’re blaming he informant, who seems willing to go along with this ridiculous request. Stuff happens all over. Anyone who’d stop shopping here probably should move to Harpers Ferry and quit bothering the rest of us.

    • nofiction

      You really can’t assume anything about the thinking of a criminal. I’ve had burglars who returned to my aparment a week later (and were apprehended).

      • Happened to me, was a neighbor, left tracks in fresh snow.

    • logic

      Why wouldn’t he come to the exact same spot? He almost got away with it this time, if that guy wouldn’t have walked out, he might have gotten this woman into that trunk after a minute of more struggle.

  • DCRes

    No place in Foggy Bottom is “super sketch.” Sorry, but let’s be factual here. That’s like calling McLean “unsafe”.

    “UnSafeway” on Alabama Ave SE, or even further out, are “super sketch.”

    Have to agree with those that wanted the store named. Does zero good if you don’t know what you are getting into, and can’t BOLO for suspects, if you aren’t alerted to the right place.

    • Jeff

      I thought the UnSafeway was at Potomac Ave?

      • logic

        UnSafeway is in Hechinger Mall, even though none of these Safeways result in physical harm to anyone, they just feel unsafe to yuppies who are scared of poor black people in large numbers.

        • Anonymous

          Indeed, if it’s the Alabama Ave Safeway near Good Hope Rd that’s an “UnSafeway,” I’ve been there a bunch of times, and the only thing “sketch” I’ve seen is some dubious produce…not unlike at the AdMo Safeway. Otherwise, it’s pretty much just a regular grocery store, surrounded by a big parking lot where shoppers (gasp!) park their cars. (Ooh, and there’s a Post Office in that strip mall, too…badass!)

  • I don’t think naming the store would reflect negatively on the store unless one of the employees was the perp. I agree, it would be most helpful if she named the store.

  • Jane

    I don’t see why naming the store is helpful, he really would not try again at exact the same location but might try again in the same area (foggy bottom, which was identified). She gave adequate info. The point is to be vigilant around the foggy bottom area and in general, how would knowing the exact store really help?

    • Why wouldn’t he try the same spot again? He got away and next time he might choose a shorter woman. He obviously has a screw loose. Logic and rationality might not be functioning in this guy’s mind.

    • Rich

      You don’t know that. Past behavior is e best predictor of future behavior. Not every parking garage in Foggy Bottom will have the same opportunities for this. It wouldn’t stop me from going to TJs, for example. The garage here always seems to have people around, in part because there aren’t always enough parking spaces.

  • PeachyKeen

    OMGawd. I hope she is OK. Kudos to her for fighting back!

  • manimal

    the kick in the groin may have saved her life.
    how scary.
    good for your friend for her quick thinking and self defense!

  • Come on, Dan. Don’t post stuff like this that is not helpful when specific and relevant details are left out because someone doesn’t want to feel bad.

    • JB

      So you’d seriously rather not have any information at all simply because the exact grocery store isn’t named? There are only like two stores that they could be referring to!

      I think with the level of hostility and anger towards the person who sent in the note and the victim is a bit ridiculous. At least they attempted to get the word out– they didn’t have to say anything at all!

  • Anon

    Oh please.

  • MP

    Here’s a thought – why don’t we all just be careful in ANY PARKING GARAGE?! Who gives a crap what particular store this happened at … as if knowing which store offers protection as if this criminal is a troll under a bridge living in that particular parking lot? Criminals are mobile too and it would not be surprising if this dude GOES SOMEWHERE ELSE after nearly being caught at this one location.

    What is wrong with people. Jeez. Someone is almost abducted and the most intelligent comment you can muster is a complaint that the grocery store isn’t named. Would it feel neat if it was the one you shop at, like you are living it on the edge, closer to all the action? Jeez.

  • Jennifer Donelan

    To the original poster: I am a member of the local media and I most sincerely applaud your efforts at informing the community and I do hope your friend is okay. Unfortunately when incidents like this occur they generate a high level of concern and certain facts become necessary. While, as many have already stated, it is important that we are always aware of our surroundings no matter where are, the location of the offense is still a very important detail. There are several cases where a perpetrator frequented the same area/location. I contacted dc police and they are unaware of this incident. That is not to say it didn’t happen…but given the information available…there are no such incidents on the record for that date, time, or neighborhood. It may indicate the original report taken wasn’t pushed up the line at DC police but this is a case that is of serious interest. Also, I made contact with both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and the managers at both stores said they were also not aware of any incident like this in their parking garages. Your original reason for posting was to make residents aware and your efforts are appreciated. My motivation is exactly the same…when there is potential danger lurking in the community…it is critical the public is informed. Could you please contact me offline at [email protected]. Thank you much

  • KK

    “Many people in DC do not take action when they see something or even when something happens to them.”

    Interesting that Ms. Donelan of WJLA mentioned there were no police reports of this event. Can we really expect DC to be “safer” if we don’t bother to report incidents that light up PoPville message boards (e.g. near abductions, seemingly random assaults/muggings, iPhone snatchings, etc. etc. etc.)?

    I’m not writing this to blame crime victims and I realize MPD isn’t perfect, but seriously.

  • From what Ms. Donelan is saying, I’m wondering if the initial posting was a hoax.

    I certainly hope not, but it seems odd that the original post says “The store and police were alerted,” yet Ms. Donelan’s research found no corresponding incident reports and no corroboration from store managers.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      It was not a hoax. The email comes from a reader at a reputable organization with full name, title, phone number etc. I have emailed with this person before.

      • nofiction

        I’m happy that this post is receiving the attention — and scrutiny — it deserves. An attempted abduction is a very, very serious event and although the person who was attacked may feel that it is a very private matter, awareness of an event this creepy (indeed, life-threatening) is a matter of public safety.

      • Good to know — thanks for adding this.

        Then the question is why the police apparently don’t have their act together as far as having an incident report, and why store management is either clueless or covering up.

      • Anonymous

        That is heartening to know–I mean, not that the attempted abduction happened, of course, but that the report is reputable and not a hoax. I get so tired of people perpetrating random hoaxes for no real reason whatsoever, especially since the result is that people only get more skeptical and cynical about reports like these. Kudos to Ms. Donelan for getting involved. If the police and store management are denying any knowledge of the incident, either because of willful deception or just poor internal communication, that needs to be brought to light and rectified.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    MPD has spoken with the victim who now says it was not a grocery store. MPD detectives are following up to get more info.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    UPDATE Tues. 4:30pm: Correction: Miscommunication between victim and OP. Said incident did not occur in parking garage, occurred on street in Foggy Bottom. No grocery store in Foggy Bottom was involved (though it was near a Trader Joe’s which lead to the miscommunication.) Was not reported at time of incident, victim is in contact with MPD now. All other details are correct.

    • nofiction

      Thank you for dogging this one POP – this story is so scary, I think it is really important that accurate word goes out to neighbors and the community!

    • Thanks for the updates on this one.


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