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“Cops response..just cancel everything..that was an area where people got shot”

by Prince Of Petworth March 21, 2016 at 1:00 pm 107 Comments

do not enter
Photo by PoPville flickr user Rob Cannon

“Dear PoPville,

A group of friends and I were at the bar [Rock n Roll Hotel] on Friday night, hanging out on the second floor. We placed our jackets and purses on the chairs against the wall and were dancing close by. It was a group of 10 with us, and one person was close to the jackets and purses at all times. However, three of our purses were still stolen. We alerted security and used “find my iPhone”, which showed that our phones were still on property. Security luckily took us seriously and started searching around. They said they had someone in holding that they thought knew were the purses were and took us to look (turned out, they weren’t ours). They also said that this same thing happened last weekend, as well.

The cops were contacted and we met with them outside of the bar. Showing them the “find my iphone” app again, our phones had moved a few blocks to Benning Rd NE, between 18th and 19th. All of the iPhones were showing the same location. The cops response after they saw were the phones/purses were located was that we should just cancel everything and not bother going to try to get out purses back because that was an area where people got shot. They refused to go in the area as well.

After dealing with that not-so-helpful cop, I found another one on my walk home (with two guy friends) and told him what happened. He, at first, seemed very concerned and helpful; but then also repeated the same “just cancel everything, people get shot in that area” when I showed him where my phone was as well. He said that wasn’t really his district and he would dispatch someone to meet us at my friends house.

At this point, it was 3:30am, and we still talked to two more cops. These ones were a little more helpful and said they would go to the area and look. They took down my login information for the find my iphone app so that they could continue tracking it.

The next morning, I called the district 1 police office to follow up. The guy audibly laughed at me for following up and said “so you want us to find it or something?”. He said it looked like cops had gone by late last night and looked in the street, but didn’t find anything. They weren’t allowed to go in an apartment just because they thought a stolen phone and purse might be in there.

That afternoon (Saturday), my friend was contacted by a random number who found a phone on craigslist. The gentleman told my friend he had driven up from Ashburn to buy this phone and was very sketched out by the place. The guy selling him the phone said it had been his sisters and she didn’t want it anymore. It had been disabled; but since the buyer works for AT&T, he was able to re-enable (made up word, I know) it. He sat with the seller for 10 minutes while he re-enabled it, saw the text asking for my friend to be contacted if found, wrote down the number, and then gave the phone back to guy, saying he didn’t want to buy it. He called my friend and gave him all of the contact information.

I’ve been unable to get the contact information to the police yet (no one has answered the phone and one lady who did, said that wasn’t her job). I know it won’t get my things back at this point, but it can help with tracking down who is responsible and prevent it from happening there again. I just wanted to make people aware so that maybe they can be a little more mindful of their belongings when going out around there.”

  • Philippe Lecheval

    F**king cops. Every time.

  • SilverSpringGal

    It’s kind of standard – cops don’t go after lost iPhones. And they can’t enter someone’s home for no reason – your find my iPhone app notwithstanding.

    • Marty

      I does suck that in small town USA, many cops would be willing to do a “knock and talk” at an address if they had reason to think that it was involved in criminal activity (such as seeing it on your iPhone tracker). They can’t bust in the door, of course, they can see if anyone there will answer their questions. I suppose small town police officers have more time to do things like this.

      DC cops are busy people, i guess.

      • siz

        i still don’t really get what this would accomplish. if someone in the home had stolen the phone, they wouldn’t talk to the cops. what’s the cop going to do, ask nicely and hope the potential criminal complies? they’re overstepping their bounds if they enter the home to do anything more than that and i don’t think anyone wants them crossing that line.

        • Josh

          I dunno. At the minimum, it would let the occupants know that they had fallen under suspicion for stealing. True the cops can’t go in for a stolen phone, but it might be enough to make the person on the inside think twice next time.

        • dat

          there are plenty of legitimate sources discussing the effectiveness of knock-and-talk investigations

        • FP

          you’d be amazed at the stupidity of some people.
          A few years ago, I was in an apartment in Dumfries. There was a knock on the door. I looked out, saw it was a cop, and stepped into the hall to talk to him. He was there to ask one of the residents whether he had carved his name into a jail cell wall. I returned to the apartment, asked the resident if he wanted to talk to the cop there to see him. He walked out to the hall. The cop said “did you carve your name into the jail cell wall?” and the guy replied “yeah, I did.” He was arrested immediately.

          • prgkmr

            I enjoyed that story. tell me one more!

          • FP

            um… about this guy? I have enough stories I’ve thought about writing a book on him.
            There was the time he was hanging out with his sister and me. He was 21 or so. There was plenty of beer in the fridge and he was welcome to it. Instead of taking her up on her standing offer, he went to the neighborhood 7-11 with a couple of his friends. There, he filled his recently stolen Starter jacket with beer. His friends bolted out the door. The 7-11 clerk asked him if he was stealing beer. He said “yes” and the clerk told him to stop where he was because the clerk was calling the police. This guy patiently waited for the cops to show up and arrest him.
            Actually, that was the night he ended up in jail and somehow had sneaked some sort of blade into the jail to carve his name.
            Why carve your name into a nice clean wall when you’re the only person who could have done so? My only answer is stupidity.

          • Emmaleigh504

            et up with the dumb-ass.

    • dat

      Even assuming that location data from “find my iPhone” is insufficient to get a warrant (and it probably is) (and even if it wasn’t, the cops probably wouldn’t invest that much time/energy in recovering a phone), nothing prevents the cops from knocking on the door and asking the occupants what’s up.

      • SilverSpringGal

        And nothing prevents the occupant from saying ‘not a thing’ and slamming the door in their face.

        • siz

          yeah again, i honestly do not see the point in this (i’m also very skeptical that you can narrow down to one address from the find my iphone app).

          • eva

            I’ve tested this out of curiosity when my iphone has been in my own house. It gets the block right (and the side of the street, but has been off by as many as 6 or 7 houses).

        • dat

          I think you would find that the number of criminals who voluntarily consent to be searched or voluntarily give permission the police to enter their home startling.

          Also keep in mind that this is likely this person’s mother’s/grandmother’s home – you can’t assume that the person answering the door was complicit in the crime in the first place.

          Finally, just as stop-and-frisks for marijuana often lead to the discovery of other crimes (such as weapons charges), there’s also the possibility that knocking on the door/speaking to whoever answers may lead to evidence of another crime and/or provide sufficient exigent circumstances to enter the premises.

    • KPS

      What difference does it make that it’s an iPhone? It’s stolen property, and the victim had it tracked to a location.

      • Anon Spock

        There seems to be debate that an exact location was found initially. If that is the case, then there really was little the cops could do right away. Once there was an id, they certainly should have investigated. I went to buy the stolen property at this apt seems like enough info to go on.

  • Anon Spock

    One person was tasked to watch 10 jackets and bags? Yea, don’t leave your stuff unattended. They actually have a coat check, so I’m shocked that was even an issue.

    On the cops, that’s ridiculous. How is a homing beacon leading to that apartment not probable cause to search for that item?

    • Jim

      Classic case of blaming the victim. And I suppose the people who stole the purses are just upset about not having a good job?

      • Anon Spock

        I appreciate the troll, but no, I’ve never apologized for criminals. Growing up poor doesn’t justify crime in my book. With that said, the people who stole the purses saw an easy opportunity where the watcher was, I assume, not watching the bags. Having someone watching your bags means you understand how crime works, so either get someone who’ll be 100% attentive or don’t leave your bags over there.

      • Dan

        No. My iphone lives in my pocket. It’s never been stolen from a bar. I like to avoid wild goose chases like the OP describes. How many times have we seen this happen on this blog? Secure your $500 personal computer devices, or they will walk away.

        Ever had a theft at your office? What’s the FIRST thing HR will email you after a theft? “Please make sure to lock up your belongings.” etc etc.

  • Anonymous

    Similar experience. Robbed and then tracked the iPhone MYSELF and located it on three separate occasions. MPD refused to do anything. Said wee aren’t going to waste our time over an iPhone. I said it’s not about the iPhone, it’s about catching the person who robbed me. They said it wasn’t a priority. This happened in MPD District 4. PSA 404.

  • Booty Goon

    H street police are a joke

    • tom

      Are they any different than the I Street Police?

      It is fustrating when your stuff is stolen. But, the DC cops can’t call out the swat team to recover cell phones. Cops see phones stolen pretty much nonstop, so its not suprising they are desesitized to it.

  • MarkQ

    Similar thing happened to a friend. Police told her to just sit tight as the “find my phone” app was able to track down the theives to a specific house address, which was easily searchable online to find the owners who were easily found on Facebook, pictures and all.

  • DCDuchess

    OP needs to escalate this with the Station Commander and get every single one of those cops written up. I know its theft of purses and phones, but its just indicative of the laziness from all sections of the public servants. So sick of the crappy services in this city!


  • Shawz

    It has been my experience that cops in this city are extremely loathe to investigate property crimes. Even when I had over $10,000 stolen in fraud (luckily reimbursed) trying to get the cops to investigate – and I provided the phone number/name/address of where the stolen items went – was an (ultimately futile) exercise in pulling teeth.

  • Cassie

    This seems like a prosecutor’s dream case. You’ve got a witness who can report that the thief claimed the phone was his sister’s, which can be proven to by a lie!

    • SWDC

      Very few prosecutors would bother with this. Even if they caught they guy, he would just get a plea deal and be back on the street the same week. Repeat offenders are a huge problem here, and the court system is to blame as much as MPD.

  • SWDC

    This is the most common reaction by MPD when tasked with actually performing their jobs. It doesn’t surprise me at all. Sure, they can’t perform a search without a warrant, but they could at least attempt to give a cra*p and investigate.
    You cannot rely on MPD to help you (there’s actual legal precedent that they have no “duty” to protect specific citizens…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia).

    Lesson learned, be more careful of your belongings next time….

    • Philippe Lecheval

      This is why cops basically pick and choose their response to reported criminal activity or requests for aid. They are well aware that they don’t really have any obligation to lift a finger.

  • istreettoistreet

    Cops are right to ignore this. So you left your phone and your stuff (basically) unattended in a bar on a Friday night. No one wants to babysit everyone’s bags at a bar. Pro tip: don’t bring all that shit to the bar and keep your phone in your pocket.

    • Toin


    • Anon

      Yeah I sort of agree with this. You and your (likely drunk) friends realize your shit’s been stolen in the club after raging at Rock and Roll Hotel and then freak out, find out your phone is in a shitty part of town, and get mad when the cops don’t go and retrieve it? And then when the first cop won’t do it, you just hit up every cop you find on the way down H street bc you want your iPhone 6 back. Meanwhile, they are all giving you separate and consistent advice on how to cut your losses given the immediate threat. Seems like we should all file this under “life’s not fair” and remember to put your phone, ID and some cash in your back pocket while you’re dancing.

      I say this as someone who has totally been there, done that–for what it’s worth.

      • OP

        Yes, we had some drinks and probably should have been more careful, but we weren’t “raging”. When we realized our stuff had been taken, the phones were still on property. Yes, it sucks losing an iPhone, but I was more concerned that the people also have my wallet, keys, etc, but an iPhone is easiest to track.

      • dat

        Wow. So where do you draw the line with this reasoning? Legitimately curious.

        Is your opinion that no crimes should be prosecuted where less than $1000 is at stake? Or just that these crimes shouldn’t be investigated? How about crimes involving bodily injury? Is there a line there too? If so, where is it?

        How about the broken windows theory? Do you really think these offenders are going to stop with iPhones?

    • Anon


    • sam-g

      In her defense, I’ve brought stuff to the bar and hung it up on the hooks (purses, jackets) and sat with friends on either side of the hooks at the bar. Despite this, I still caught a 20 something woman in a nice cocktail dress crouching down and rifling through all of the purses looking for something of value. I caught her holding my GFs wallet about to remove its cash. When I confronted her, she claimed to be looking for her own bag as it was lost. I told her it wasn’t located in my girlfriends wallet and it was time for her to leave before I called the cops. She was very good at diffusing the situation, claiming to be very innocent. After this, I have no trust in leaving anything that’s not chained down, guarded by an armed officer or on my person. It’s unreal how brazen some of these folks are.

  • siz

    so – people have actually, honestly been able to get the find my iphone app to give them a specific address, and not just an approximate area of a block? i have used this function a few times and have never gotten an actual address, just a dot that could be one of maybe 3 or 4 houses.

    • bob

      Did you not bother reading the second half of the post or something?

  • mmm

    truly infuriating and the PD should be utterly embarrassed. You basically handed them a solvable crime on a silver platter. Most of these quality of life crimes are not solvable, but clearly this is one that the cops could do something about they and simply chose not to act. Shameful and embarrassing.

    • yup

      “solving” a crime doesn’t matter unless it leads to a successful prosecution, which this would not have. The police know it, and so do the criminals. So they don’t waste their time. You want to blame someone, blame the council for setting a lax approach to all but the most serious (rape and murder) crimes, and the prosecutors for going along with it.

      • dat

        while there is some truth to what you say, it’s not the whole picture.

        ever heard of criminal forfeiture?

        • Anon

          I’m not sure what your question is leading to, but I’m curious. You may not be aware that criminal forfeiture (aka civil asset forfeiture), while never as prominent in DC as it has been in some other parts of the country, has been drastically — and in some cases rightfully — curtailed here and around the country in the past few years.

  • Caleb

    Soooo, all of those appalled by the police response…you want your MPD Officers tracking down stolen/lost cell phones on the ‘Find My Phone’ app?

    • OP

      It was three different purses and cell phones. They didn’t need to necessarily go right then, but at least act like something was going to be done or attempted. They also had purses stolen the week before, so it was not an isolated incident.

      • Anon Spock

        Yup. Even if they can’t search based in the app, laughing at someone trying to report a crime isn’t the way to go.

      • Caleb

        I hear what your asking OP, but I don’t think we have enough resources as a city for this type of criminal detective work. If this were a violent crime where someone was attacked or even physically threatened and the phones/purses stolen, I see that as a priority. However, bags and phones left in a corner of a bar stolen should not be. That sounds like a chapter in a life lesson.
        I appreciate how fucked up it is and how violated it may make some feel, but again, if we had more police to tackle the “petty crimes” division, then sure, I would be all for it…but we don’t.

    • neighbor

      I guessing the people stealing iPhones are the same ones who attack people in the metro. If it puts them in jail, then yes.

      • yup

        but it won’t put anyone in jail, because the penalties are very low and prosecutors won’t waste time with them. hence the cops don’t bother. point being, its not on the cops.

  • titus pullo

    Am I correct in thinking that if you have even a simple four digit passcode on your iphone it is completely impossible to hack and resell?

    • Anon Spock

      Didn’t the almost buyer reenable it? Can it be disabled again?

    • Anon

      If the iPhone owner set their phone data to be erased after 10 failed logins, then it would be impossible for someone to access the data after the fact, but that phone can be completely wiped and used again, I believe. It might take some special tool, but those are readily available online.

  • anon

    As someone who used to live off Benning Rd between 18th and 19th, I can attest that the police do not like to go there. My neighbors and I called the police on almost a daily basis to report unruly/dangerous behavior/gun shots/ mobs of people in the street playing loud music/ drug deals on the corner, etc. and if they even showed up, the most that would ever happen is they’d roll through with their lights on and not even stop.
    I agree with the OP it’s outrageous police officers would refuse to go to a certain neighborhood because “people get shot there.” What about the law-abiding neighbors who would greatly benefit from police presence? Completely unprofessional and unacceptable behavior by the police in my opinion.

    • anon kingman park


      I live a few blocks from here. Given the amount of crime and loitering that regularly happens on that stretch of Benning, it’s ridiculous police won’t go there. In this case, it sounds like the police didn’t even drive by.

  • Caleb

    How was it re-enebled with the data on it? Isn’t that what Apple is in federal court against the FBI about?
    Based on this story, Obama should have his people call AT&T….

  • KPS

    This isn’t the first time a POP reader/citizen has commented about a cop laughing at her. I don’t know if they enjoy laughing at women in distress in particular, or if it’s coincidence that the people mentioning they were laughed at were women, but I distinctly recall at least two other stories – those were involving women reporting being sexually harassed/threatened – in the past several months where it was mentioned that a cop laughed or smirked at them. THAT makes me even more sick than the cops refusing to help find stolen property. It’s terrifying, in fact, the thought of a police officer finding any person’s distress a cause for joking or mockery.

  • ColHeist

    The police response is completely inappropriate and unprofessional. I definitely sympathize with OP on that point. I was once threatened in Columbia Heights – a man walked up to me and said he was going to stab me with his knife until I died – and tried to get the attention of the 4 cops on the other side of the street and they all rode off on bicycles. It’s infuriating.

    This is why I always check my items at coat check. My friends think it is crazy that I would pay to have everything checked, but I’d rather be out $5-10 than hundreds.

    Sorry this happened to you OP.

    • Anonymous

      Even when I check my coat someplace, I don’t leave my phone (or anything of value) in the pockets. But maybe I am just more paranoid than the average bear.

    • Caleb

      A physical threat against your life feels very different from the OP putting down her bag and having it stolen after she walked away to dance…

  • stacksp

    At that time of night, its about a 100% chance that their are several armed individuals in that immediate area. It is an extremely rough neighborhood.

    • anon kingman park

      I wouldn’t say it’s an “extremely rough neighborhood,” but that is a bad block. Considering that it’s a known problem area and someone was recently shot and killed there, though, there should be at least some patrol, and the police reaction described is inexcusable.

      • Anonymous

        Let’s not sugar coat it. The area is very rough and I would not recommend walking around alone – man or woman – at that hour of the night. Lots of bad stuff goes down within a 3-4 block radius.
        Many areas EoTR are safer and quieter.

        • anon kingman park

          I wouldn’t walk there either at 4am, but the cops should.

          • anon kingman park

            Also, not “sugar coating.” I live within a 3-4 block radius and know the area well.

      • dchawk0303

        I was wondering where you got your info for the neighborhood. I recently moved near 18th and Benning and saw the crime scene the other night but was just wondering if there were any great local resources for news, etc. Thanks!

  • AnonAnon

    If it was in carver-langston projects, it is kind of a no-go area to pursue a petty crime. Cops really do have to evaluate their risks there, and whether or not it’s worth it.
    Also this should be common sense in DC, don’t leave your crap unintended, this includes with someone else to “watch”. The lack of street sense some time is pretty astonishing.

  • Q

    Stupid, BARELY relevant question: how does one use the Find My iPhone app when their iPhone has been stolen? I’m completely serious. I’ve luckily never had to do this and am curious.

    • OP

      Since we were with a group of people, not everyone’s phone had been stolen. You download the app on theirs, if they don’t have it already, and login with your apple ID

    • Anonymous

      Go to the iCloud section in the Settings app on your iPhone and turn on the Find My iPhone feature. When that is enabled you can log into your iCloud account and use the Find My iPhone feature to locate your phone (or iPad). The specificity of the location is another matter. Your device may be at the address shown in the app, or two or three addresses away. And if it is at the address shown, there’s no information with respect to which room or apartment it is located in.

      • OP

        I will say ours was just giving a general area. It showed them all at Rock and Roll Hotel, and then moved a few blocks to Benning NE; it did not show a specific address. I didn’t expect them to go to a random house, but I also didn’t expect to be written off so rudely

      • Q

        Right, I have the app on my phone, but how do you use it if you don’t, like, actually HAVE your phone. Answer from OP: use someone else’s. Makes sense! I told you it was a stupid question. :)

        • ExWalbridgeGuy

          Just curious, but what purpose did you think this app served if you thought it could only be used to find a phone that you were already holding in your hand?

          • Q

            I thought I’d have to go home and check through my iPad or computer. It didn’t occur to me that you could use someone else’s phone. Like I said, stupid question, but I honestly did not know.

  • Anonymous

    I think this is less about police inaction and more about police attitudes.You can tell a person why he or she should not go to a particular area looking for their stolen property and also explain why police resources can’t be devoted to that search and do so in a way that is not dismissive. So I don’t necessarily fault the police for their response but I do fault the officers who were flippant or rude.

    • anon

      Absolutely. I agree 100% with what you said. Even if ultimately the police officers’ inaction wasn’t inappropriate, their treatment of the OP and her friends was.

  • marybindc

    I have learned a lot about the ease and profitability of stealing purses/phones. Apparently you don’t even have to go to Benning Road with it, the cops aren’t going to look for you no matter where you are.

    If it makes you feel any worse, OP, Commander Contee was at an ANC meeting and said that they had no procedure whatsoever for reuniting owners with their property. So if someone finds your purse and hands it directly to the cops, you still won’t get it. I was appalled when I learned that, but I now know the reason – they don’t bother to make a report so they have no way of knowing what’s been stolen.

  • Anonymouse

    I had a similar problem. I thought my phone was stolen on the bus — I tried calling Metro Transit Police (useless) I also called DCPD to tell them I was tracking the phone’s location and needed an officer to assist. However they said they couldn’t do anything unless I filed a report. They seems a bit annoyed that I was even calling. It turned out that a Good Samaritan had found my phone and it was at her house waiting for me to pick it up.
    I’ve also been a victim of a car break-in (right around the corner from a police station) and a stolen wallet (within view of security cameras) and MPD has not been a help in either case. I believe MPD thinks it has bigger fish to fry. Which it does, but that doesn’t mean it can just refuse to help people who know exactly where their stolen property is.

    • yup

      people don’t know “exactly” where their property is especially when the location is an apartment block.

      • Anonymouse

        Well in my case it wasn’t.

  • Anon

    I can understand the unwillingness to show up at someone’s house based on information from the app (especially considering how many stories there are of that app directing people to the wrong house), but the police should definitely have tried to track down the phone once they had the information from the person who tried to buy it. Also, saying they won’t go to Benning Rd makes them look pathetic, even though I would imagine it was meant more as a warning to OP not to go vigilante and try to get the phone back herself.

  • Ty

    There is no way to pinpoint civilian gps to a particular apartment or even an apartment building for that matter. You can probably narrow the location to a particular block but maybe not even that.

  • Lauren

    I actually had my Iphone stolen at Rock and Roll Hotel two weekends ago. Same story – except I was actually wearing my purse at the time, and someone literally reached in and grabbed it. It was packed that night, and everyone was pushing on the dance floor and to get to the bathroom, so I didn’t even feel someone’s hand go into my purse. I realized 15 mins after it happened.

    I did the Find my Iphone thing and it said my phone was on Maryland Ave NE, between 12th and 13th. As a single female I was too nervous to go over there myself – so I gave all of the information to the cops, and they had a similar response. Essentially, your phone is gone. Really really frustrating. Looks like they have quite the operation going on at Rock and Roll Hotel.

  • zed

    My wife had a bag and phone stolen from her car within the past year, and we tracked it to the same exact location: Benning Road between 18th & 19th. I don’t expect the police to go looking for phones, but the tracking location might actually be useful to them. At least put it on record and see if this is a frequent destination for similar stolen items.

  • John

    I have a feeling this sort of thing is very common on H St. (and probably other areas too). My friend had her bag (with laptop stolen) right off the back of a chair when a group of us were at a bar on H St. a few years ago.

    H St. is basically a bad area (surroudned by far worse areas) that happens to have a bunch of cool bars, and those bars attract people from nice areas. It’s hugely attractive to criminals. I always keep my phone/wallet/etc. on my person and don’t understand why everyone else wouldn’t do the same when they’re dancing in a crowded bar.

    Can’t blame the cops for their response either.

    • anon

      This “sort of thing” is common all over the city- even the aforementioned “nice areas.” When I was new to the city (very long time ago) I had my bag stolen from under my chair in Foggy Bottom in broad daylight. This isn’t an H St problem- this is a city problem. It sucks, but you just can’t leave valuable items unattended/within easy reach no matter where you are.

  • Lisa

    For comparison — I left my bag unattended at a reception in the Rayburn House Office Building. The next day I started getting notifications from my bank and credit cards that they froze my accounts due to suspicious activity. Turns out my wallet was stolen from my bag and I hadn’t yet noticed. I notified the Capitol Police – they assigned a detective, followed up with me several times, and actually recovered my wallet! They found video footage of the thief using my credit card to purchase Metro cards. The guy was prosecuted, and I was offered (but declined) the opportunity to testify in his trial. Then 3 years later… I received a check for $20 in the mail from the Capitol Police in “victim restitution”. Amazing.

    • On Capital Heels

      Wow! Stolen at a congressional reception? I guess that goes to show that you have to keep your guard up at all times in a city.

    • Bitter Elitist

      “The guy was prosecuted, and I was offered (but declined) the opportunity to testify in his trial.”

      By not doing your part, you keep thieves on the streets and their records clear.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I do not think this is true. The testimony of the victim might be considered at sentencing, but in the case when the victim did not witness the crime (note that she did not become aware that her wallet was stolen until much later), it’s not as if the victim can contribute to the prosecution by identifying the perpetrator.

      • Lisa

        I did my part by reporting this to the Capitol Police and cooperating with their investigation. They caught and prosecuted the guy. They had ample evidence, including records from my bank, video footage of him using my credit card at a Metro station consistent with my credit card reports, and my physical wallet and IDs in his apartment. He was found guilty. He was required to pay me $20 in victim restitution. I don’t know what else happened to him after that and I don’t really care. It was a minor, non-violent crime. What would my testimony have accomplished? I had no additional information or sad story to contribute to the trial. The impact to me as a “victim” was annoyance at having to replace my IDs and credit cards. It would have been even more annoying to take leave from work to testify about going online to request a new driver’s license from the DMV. He didn’t stay “on the streets” with his “records clear”.

        Thankfully the Capitol Police took this seriously and did an awesome job investigating such a minor crime. No thanks to you and your pointless comment.

    • Anonymous

      Federal property = federal crime. Plus, I’m betting the Capitol Police have way fewer of these kinds of thefts to investigate and can afford to throw more resources at each incident.

  • enough_is_enough

    Two comments:

    Some locations on H street have started to draw some “sketchy” characters on Friday and Saturday nights.

    Secondly, this lack of help on the part of the police is going to lead to vigilantism at some point in this city. Sooner or later we are going to have groups going to knock on the doors of these theifs and force entry. Maybe then the police will respond. I already have friends that are talking about riding the Metro in a “Guardian Angel” fashion to thwart these groups of teenage thugs. The next level is arming up and going to these neighborhoods where “people get shot”.

    And before I get bashed with the victim blaming or this is “city living”, I’ll tell you this is total lack of respect for common decency.

    Flame away.

  • Anonblueblood

    Cop here.
    Sorry this happened, it really sucks losing not only your phone, but your wallet as well.

    This is a Theft case. Property wasn’t taken from your person by force. Therefore when you call the police to notify them, all they’re going to do at that time is take a police report. Patrol officers aren’t going to investigate it. The report would be passed on to detectives for further review. If you have your phone tracking to a certain area, at best an officer can go to the area and sweep for your property to see if it was ditched somewhere.
    Patrol officers aren’t going to sit at that location trying to solve this theft case. One, there is no lookout for any suspects for patrol officers, and two, they’re not going to go out of service for these type of theft cases. They’re not going to knock on houses and try to get consent from owners to search for stolen prop.
    Once again this is a theft case, and would be passed on to detectives.

    Now if this was a robbery where a phone was taken, more resources would be used to get these guys.
    Personally, I have chased iPhone locations throughout the city and chased suspects after locating them using iPhone locations, but all of these events were majority of the time related to robberies. I have also conducted undercover buybacks of stolen phones , where we then arrest the suspect for RSP.
    I mention all this because I want people to know, things do get done.

    The owners of this bar need to file a report if there have been a pattern of thefts. Once they do that, and they start getting more and more and more victims, police could do more. I.e like a sting op inside the bar, or next time a theft is reported and a active track of stolen prop is given, resources could be pushed to that location to try to get the suspects.
    But all that depends on the owners of the bar and that case being assigned to a specific detective that gets notified each time a theft in that bar occurs.

    Also, iPhone ping locations of it self, is not probable cause for a search. It does help build your reasonable suspicion though. So you can’t just go into a house and search it, if an iPhone pings to that house.

    Hopefully the owners of this bar work with police to address all the thefts that are occurring in their business.

    • On Capital Heels

      Thanks for clarifying and thank you for your service.

    • Bitter Elitist

      I’ll be cynical. A thief doesn’t dissuade people from partying at a bar. The thief will likely spend $ while looking for opportunity.

  • MPD Fail

    This seems like the result of the police continually trying to keep demonstrating a reduction in crime statistics. When crime isn’t actually going down they have to deploy tactics to avoid filing police reports that would mess up the statistics (and are pressured to do so by supervisors). This has happened to me twice – once with an iphone and once where someone tried to smash open my basement door. In the first case the officer told me I “lost” the phone, even though it was in my possession moments before and I was now tracking it moving away from my location. The second case the officer said there was no evidence that someone had tried to break in – the door could have been “smashed by something falling from the sky.” The door is covered by a concrete staircase from above so this is absolutely impossible. In both cases they refused to take a police report coming up with ever more ridiculous reasons why. I didn’t push it the first time and only by escalating it in the second case did they agree to take a report. Don’t fall for this!

  • OP

    On a semi related note: does anyone know of a good locksmith DC?

    • On Capital Heels

      Pop-A-Lock does good work


    • HaileUnlikely

      I use Sure-Fit Security just across the border on Fenton St. in Silver Spring.

  • swifty
  • Anony

    Call Fairfax county police since it sounds like that’s where your phone is now. Look up the non emergency police number. Fairfax Co cops will defiantly go to that guys house/contact him if possible.

  • Mary Geralyn

    The exact same thing happened to me – only my bag was stolen from downtown at Chef Geoffs (now closed). The cops were entirely disinterested in helping, despite the fact that I still have the screenshot of the exact location of my phone and a clear video of the thief taking my purse.

  • Anonymous

    A better lead for this story would have been “Be Careful of Leaving Your Belongings Unattended at Rock and Roll Hotel.” Same thing happens two weekends in a row and they don’t have a clue, based on who is entering and leaving, who is responsible? Crime happens everywhere but if the same thing keeps happening in one place, people should be warned.

  • kellzbellz

    I think the bigger picture here is the sole purpose of police officers… “to serve and protect”.. what kind of response is not going into areas where people get shot?

    Glad I live on 17th and Isherwood :)


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