DC police seek suspects in string of ‘unusual’ armed robbery-kidnappings

Police in D.C. are looking for three or possibly four suspects behind a string of brazen and violent armed kidnappings across D.C. over the past week involving people pulled off the street, roughed up and forced to withdraw cash from ATMs.

Since Tuesday, Aug. 24, at least six people have been robbed in similar fashion, according to John Haines, commander of the Criminal Investigations Division, with D.C. police. The kidnappings took place late at night or early in the morning when the victims were alone. Most of the victims were walking, but one was on an electric scooter, he said.

The kidnappers, who are armed with a handgun, have struck on Capitol Hill, near Logan Circle and in Petworth. In some cases, the victims were blindfolded and their hands bound with zip ties, Haines said.

“Essentially, they were blindfolding them in different ways, presented a handgun, forcing them into a vehicle and then taking them on a short drive around the city, taking their credit cards, cash, identification and phone cards,” he said.

The robbers were also able to gain the victims’ bank account information to withdraw money from stolen ATM cards.

Haines said police are concerned about the brazen nature of the assaults and about violence escalating.

“Typically in the District, we do experience a number of street robberies,” Haines said. “I don’t want to say they happen often, but they do happen. It is very unusual to have anyone kidnapped. And this is exactly what they’re doing.”

The FBI is assisting D.C. police with the case, he added.

The first incident happened Tuesday, Aug. 24, around 10:30 p.m. According to police, the suspects approached the victim in the 1300 block of Corcoran Street NW, near Logan Circle. One suspect had a gun out while the others forced the victim into a vehicle. Then they took the victim to multiple ATMs to withdraw money. The victim was dropped off elsewhere and the suspects fled.

The second was Wednesday, Aug. 25. Around 11 p.m., the suspects approached another victim in the 5200 block of 14th Street NW, near Rock Creek Park. One suspect brandished a handgun and ordered the victim inside a vehicle, then got the victim’s bank information. The suspects forced the victim out of the vehicle in a different location and then took money out of the person’s account.

The third kidnapping happened Thursday, Aug. 26, around 1:14 a.m., at the intersection of 14th and Allison streets NW, also near Rock Creek Park. This time, more than one suspect had a handgun out. And when the victim tried to run, police said the suspects assaulted him and forced him into a vehicle. The suspects got the victim’s property and bank account info, took him to multiple ATMs and withdrew money. They dropped him off at a second location and fled.

In the fourth kidnapping, on Saturday, Aug. 28, around 2:20 a.m., the suspects targeted a fourth victim in the 1200 block of 10th Street NW near Mt. Vernon Square. They brandished guns and forced the victim into a vehicle. They got the victim’s bank information, took them to an ATM, withdrew money, dropped the victim off elsewhere and fled.

The fifth kidnapping happened a short time later nearby around 3:45 a.m. in the 500 block of 13th Street NE. The suspects brandished guns, forced the victim inside a vehicle, took them to an ATM, got their bank account information and took out money. The victim was dropped off elsewhere and the suspects fled.

The most recent kidnapping-robbery happened early Saturday morning in the 700 block of Kenyon Street in Petworth.

Later that day, police recovered a vehicle they believe was used in the some of the kidnappings after it was involved in a traffic accident at Fourth Street and Evarts Street in Northeast D.C. The vehicle had been stolen in Prince George’s County on Aug. 2.

Haines urged people not to walk alone at night or if they do, to walk with a group and stay in well-lit areas.

His advice to anyone who finds themselves victimized: “Give them what they ask for. Don’t fight them. They are armed with a handgun. We don’t want to see anybody get hurt. Try to be as compliant as possible and try to remember everything you can about what’s occurred.”

D.C. police said they’re looking for three or four Black men, possibly 20 to 29 years of age. One is described to have a curly, high-top fade hairstyle.

Some of the suspects were captured by nearby cameras. In one of the videos, one of the suspects can be seen on camera fanning what appeared to be a large assortment of cash.

See photos and video below.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 202-727-9099. Info can be submitted to the D.C. police tip line by sending a text message to 50411.

A $10,000 reward is being offered for information.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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