7th armed robbery possibly connected to recent spree

(photo: Google Maps)

by Yuliya Panfil

A seventh armed robbery, this one involving a handgun, took place at El Don Restaurant (4401 14th St NW) in Petworth on the evening of January 12th. Police are treating this robbery, which occurred at 11:30pm Friday night, as connected to the prior crimes, said MPD Captain Brian Bray

Related: Crime spree? String of armed robberies leaves one in the hospital (Jan 13, 2018)

Bray confirmed that MPD is investigating the possibility that all seven robberies are connected. 

"The physical descriptions of the suspects are very similar, and the mode of operation (M.O.) is also similar," Bray wrote in an email to Petworth News.

Bray said police have "some good evidence and leads" and are hoping to make arrests soon.

The robbery at the El Don, a Mexican and Central American restaurant located on 14th Street NW, involved two suspects.  After the suspects entered the restaurant, one suspect approached the DJ and pointed a black handgun at him.  The suspect then ordered the patrons to place their hands on the bar and tables. The suspects then demanded money from several patrons, however due to a language barrier, the suspects did not obtain any property from the patrons. The second suspect then demanded money from the manager, who opened the cash register and gave the suspect several hundred dollars in cash.  

The suspects were both described as African American males, 5’9”-5’10”, thin builds, wearing all dark clothing and black face masks.  The witnesses stated that only one of the suspects displayed a handgun during the robbery.  

MPD is conducting business checks along the 14th street corridor and alerting business owners about these crimes. 

Bray provided the below tips for residents wishing to reduce the risk of robbery or assault. Most importantly: do not resist. These robberies have involved deadly weapons, and one victim has already ended up in the hospital. Better to give up your property than your life. 

Personal Safety Tips on the Street

  • If possible, don't walk alone during late-night hours. Walk in groups whenever you can—there is always safety in numbers.
  • Let a family member or friend know your destination and your estimated time of arrival or return. That way, the police can be notified as quickly as possible if there is a problem.
  • Stay in well-lit areas as much as possible. Avoid alleys, vacant lots, wooded areas, and other short-cuts or secluded areas. They are usually not well-lit or heavily traveled.
  • Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. Walk close to the curb, avoiding doorways, bushes, and other potential hiding places.
  • If you have to walk in the street, walk facing traffic. A person walking with traffic can be followed, forced into a car, and abducted more easily than a person walking against traffic.
  • Walk confidently, directly, and at a steady pace. Don't stop to talk to strangers.
  • Wear clothing and shoes that give you freedom of movement. And don't burden yourself with too many packages or items.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. If you are wearing headphones, don't turn up the volume so high that you cannot hear outside noises.
  • Never hitchhike or accept rides from strangers.
  • Report any suspicious activity or person immediately to the Metropolitan Police Department at 9-1-1.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of cash, or displaying expensive jewelry in public.

Basic Street Smarts

  • Wherever you are—on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving, waiting for a bus or subway—stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings.
  • Send the message that you're calm, confident, and know where you're going.
  • Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave.
  • Know the neighborhoods where you live and work.
  • Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, and restaurants, or stores that are o pen late.

If Someone Tries to Rob You

  • Don't resist. Give up your property—don't give up your life.
  • Report the crime to the police. Try to describe the attacker accurately. Your actions can help prevent others from becoming victims.

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