“This happened in broad daylight.”

by Prince Of Petworth April 3, 2017 at 1:40 pm 27 Comments

car break

Let this be another of our many, many, many, many, many reminders to never leave anything of value in your parked car even if for only a few minutes. Having said that, sorry this happened to OP.

A reader reports from Columbia Heights:

“This happened in broad daylight. Footage was given to the police.”



    Wow. I wonder what type of device he used to smash the window – it looks like it was small and that he used very little force. Also, the second guy’s reaction when looking into the car – like “there’s nothing left to steal” I hope they catch these turds.

    • RJM

      I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a tactical pen or glass break. I know of a few people that carry them for defensive reasons, but very effective at short range to shatter glass.

      • INWDC

        Interesting — and, yeah, definitely an effective device as demonstrated here.

    • anon

      its probably a window punch, typically used for emergency situations to break windows.

      • Dean

        Ceramic spark plug would do it

    • Hill Denizen

      You can buy a window punch at most hardware stores. I’m from Florida, and you’d always see news stories recommending people buy them whenever a car fell into a canal.

  • Satinger

    I would pay $1000 to have caught that second guy while his ass was in the air. That would be really really fun.

  • CoHi Resident

    Ugh, this happened to my brother when he was visiting a few weeks ago. at 12:30 in the afternoon just off 14th. Hoping this isn’t an ongoing trend in Columbia Heights.

    • Anon

      Car break-ins in CH? Naw….

      • FridayGirl

        Lol. Yes, hasn’t this been happening for years? I mean, I guess it usually happens at night but I totally wouldn’t doubt that some happen in broad daylight and that no one would have: 1) noticed or 2) cared.

    • DRC

      Is this comment serious? My car was broken into the first time I ever parked on the street in CoHi at 14th and Kenyon back in 2011. Lived there for 3 years and saw numerous cars with busted windows or piles of window glass on the sidewalks over the years. It’s a bad problem and apparently no end in sight.

    • KPS

      I’m sorry to say I’ve seen at least 4 smashed windows in CH alone in the past 9-12 months. I walked by one a few months ago and the owners had just walked out of a restaurant- it was daylight too – and I heard one saying to the other that “the backpack was empty”. He was just stunned. Terrible. That poor man had his window bashed in for an empty backpack.

      • Vicar

        That’s part of the problem – thinking someone would carefully go through and find valuables. It’s a backpack – it’s worth 5 seconds to pop the glass and run with it in case it has something of value. In a better world there would not be a problem, but in this one that’s ignorant (not meant as an insult, just unaware).

        • textdoc

          +1. Anything that could conceivably be _holding_ something worth stealing — a backpack, a gym bag, whatever — makes breaking into the car a worthwhile prospect for a thief.

    • Anonymous

      It’s pretty much a right-of-passage for every new kid living in his first CH group house to see a pile of glass next to their car plated with Ohio or Michigan plates. Welcome to DC!

  • cohidudeyeah

    This is just the double parking tax.

  • Anon X

    I’m enjoying the hi res surveillance recently. Keep them coming.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      Your tax dollars at work. I assume many of these systems were purchased with the rebate program.

  • anon

    Just as a reminder, it isn’t just about leaving *valuables* in your car. The cost of replacing the window could well be far more than the items taken. Anything can tempt. (Nothing can also tempt, if someone wants to rifle through your glove box.) While insurance can cover a window, if you’ve had this happen, you likely replaced the window at your own cost other than risk a hike in your insurance premium as I always did, even when a tree branch that fell in a storm broke my windshield.
    There are only two ways to avoid broken car windows. Decades ago I had a sign in a car window in Brooklyn that said “no radio, no money, no nothing” which worked effectively (luckily thieves can read) in a neighborhood where you’d see broken car windows every morning. (I made the sign after the first and only window break.)
    In my next car, after the little triangular car window in the back that cars used to have was broken in Greenwich Village, I fixed it with cardboard and duct tape and left it that way for many years. Though I also sometime left the glove box open, when someone wanted to search the car, they didn’t break an actual window – they just punched through my cardboard window, and it was easy for me to fix it again with cardboard and duct tape. Those little rear vent windows cars used to have served an additional and unanticipated purpose – I miss them.

    • John B.

      When we parked our crappy older car on the street while we lived in Adams Morgan (3 years) and 17th St. (7 years), after the first break-in (with nothing in sight and which netted only incidental items of little value) we never, ever kept ANYTHING, of value or otherwise, in the car. Nevertheless, our car was broken into approximately every 2 years while we lived there. This is because they know a certain number of cars will still have something worth stealing in the glove compartment or in the trunk. So aside from protecting your own property, another good reason to never leave anything in your car (even if it’s just some pocket change) is for all the other poor schlubs who have to park on the street: every time these thieves find something in a car worth stealing it rewards them and encourages them to keep doing it.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        It seems like you had pretty bad luck. I lived on 17th for 8 years and my car was never broken into.

        • John B.

          This was the 1990’s (1991 through 2000, to be precise) so maybe things have gotten better since then.

    • d

      We used to just leave our car doors unlocked when we lived in CH.

      • DCbyDay

        +1 my dad does this. His theory, go ahead and rifle through the car, there’s nothing in there and now I don’t have to replace the window. Some mornings it is obvious someone went through it (random trash or empty soda cans he left in the car have been slightly moved) but nothing is missing.

  • KPS

    I moved last week and did the car loading by myself. I was on high anxiety the entire time scared that someone would walk by and smash a window during the short periods I had to run back in and gather things to load. I just moved really, really fast and tried to have as much stuff as I could sitting right by the door so my inside time would be super short. Everything turned out fine, but what a shitty way to have to live. I feel so sorry for that car owner and all the other owners whose cars I’ve walked by with smashed windows.

    • anon

      Wow – Once when I was moving stuff from my apartment to car in anticipation of an upcoming move (I like to move breakables myself), a guy sat on the little wall in front of a brownstone across the street and watched my every move – for hours, it seemed like. I was very careful to lock my car every single time I went back inside (and the apartment door, too, lest he want to follow me in.) I was also scared the whole, but I managed to get it done without incident – but all that time it never occurred to me that he might break a window on my car while I was inside. Perhaps because by that time, 2 decades after I first moved into that neighborhood, car window breaking had largely stopped, finally.

  • Serenitynow78

    So annoying. Sorry this happened to you.
    Same happened to me a few weeks ago in brookland. Broad daylight, passersby, and construction workers right there. I went in a house for 5 minutes to pick up a kid. Most annoying was that they probably just dumped my bag in a garbage can somewhere. Some things can’t be replaced!


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