This is a crosspost from the Bloomingdale list.
See the message from a Bloomingdale resident who was victim to an atttempted theft, with a brief update -- followed by a few assorted comments by neighbors.
a) First, the 8-7-2011 message from the resident.
Today (Sunday), a friend and I were going to the Big Bear Cafe and Bloomingdale Farmers Market at 10am. As it was hot and humid out, and shady in the alleys, we used the alley behind 1st St NW between Seaton Place NW and S St. NW to walk towards Big Bear. In the middle of the alley, a young African-American man (late teens/early 20s) passed us, then walked in front of us, stopped, and asked me the time as we passed him. It was 10:10am. He noticed I had my phone in my hand and then asked me if I had an iPhone. After basically ignoring him, he continued to ask me about my phone. I finally told him it was an iPhone but that it was three years old and a crappy phone (because I thought he might be trying to steal it from me). I turned and my friend and I walked out onto S St, crossed the street, and then turned towards 1st St. The man had followed us out of the alley, and when I was only about 30-40 feet from 1st St, he told me that unless I wanted to get popped, I would stop walking and drop my phone. Basically, he insinuated that he had a gun and was trying to get me to drop my phone. I think I was in disbelief that this was happening so close to a busy street with people on it that I didn`t respond to him. After several repeat threats with no response from me, he finally gave up and left down the alley behind 1st St between S St. and Seaton Place. My friend called 911 and I walked back slowly to look down the alley and now saw two guys together heading away from us.
First, I`d like to thank the police for their quick response. They responded very quickly, and both suspects were apprehended. After a positive ID from my friend an I, one of them was arrested for attempted theft and for inciting fear (for attempting to scare me by making me think he had a gun). It was a bit of an ordeal but the police made it easy and were great.
Second, in the process, I learned that there has been an outbreak of these sort of incidents. Younger people are targeting the elderly, people leaving church, and people like my friend an I walking in isolated places like alleys. This happened at 10am Sunday morning. Therefore, try to avoid walking in out of the way place, don`t carry your phone or wallet in your hand for people to see, and keep your eyes open for suspicious activity. More importantly, if something does happen, call the police. In my case, it led to an arrest.
b) Now see this 08-08-2011 update from the same resident:
Here's an update. I got a call from someone from the DA`s office today. He gave me the name of the defendant, and it turns out he lives in the neighborhood (on the 1800 block of North Capitol), and has a prior conviction for carjacking.
The defendant was supposed to appear before a judge today and the DA`s office was going to request that he be held in custody. Then, he will go before a judge again on Thursday for the judge to determine if there is enough evidence for a trial and if he will be held in custody or let out on bail.
He is being charged with Assault with the Intent to Rob, Armed. The assault charge carries a possible penalty of 2-15 yrs in prison. The armed charge carries a possible penalty of 5-30 yrs in prison. They did not find a gun on him, but will charge him for it because he made a threat to me and intimidated us into making us think he had a gun.
To be honest, when I called the police, I had no idea that this guys attempt to steal my 3+ yr old iPhone, worth probably <$50, could result in a sentence of 5-30 yrs in prison. How sad!
c) Now here are some assorted comments from neighbors:
- From a Quincy Place NW resident: "I sure hope that doesn't mean the person regrets filing a police report! I'm not sad at all, I hope all the defendant's delinquent friends hear about it and learn the appropriate lesson."
- From a Seaton Place NW household: "I'm sure they perpetrator won't get anything approaching 5 years, let alone 50. We have a "neighbor" who was arrested last year carrying a loaded pistol and -- based on our regular sightings of him -- it appears that he was not at all inconvenienced at all by any so-called sentencing guidelines."
- From a Randolph Place NW resident: "So someone is threatened and robbed in an alley of a not-very-valuable item, and he/she says "how sad" the perp, also a carjacker, could do a long time in jail for it? Really? "How sad"?! I think we should all be done with having any sympathy for these thugs. I've been threatened and had a gun waved at me (in this neighborhood) one too many times for that."