Police arrest two suspects in D.C. bike path robbery

WASHINGTON — Police have arrested two suspects who allegedly robbed a woman on a D.C. bike path in that has been the site of numerous crimes.

On Monday around 11:30 a.m., a woman was pushed and robbed along the Metropolitan Branch Trail near 3rd and R streets in Northeast, reports a witness who is a regular user of the trail. The suspects — described as two black males between the ages of 14 and 17 — stole her phone and wallet, the witness says.

The witness helped the woman, who he says was shaken up but otherwise OK — but not before snapping some photos of the two men he believes were involved before they fled.

“They gave me a little shove, and I thought for a second I did a really dumb thing,” the witness said of taking the photos.

Police arrested the suspects, both juveniles, Tuesday.

The witness says he and the victim called 911, moved to an easier location for police to meet them and were joined by an officer within five minutes.

The bike path has been the focus of a number of headlines over the last few years after a string of incidents involving robberies and assaults.

The eight-mile trail runs from Union Station toward Silver Spring, and as development in the area has increased, so has bike and pedestrian traffic on the trail. The witness says he hopes other riders won’t be scared by the trail’s reputation.

“I know I’m out there and I’ve made lots of friends in the bike D.C. community who are also out there riding, and we’re all looking out for you,” the witness says.

The witness says he handed over the images as well as a video to police.

Garrett Hennigan with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association says incidents like Monday’s may frighten some people from riding on the trail. He notes that there are many “regulars” on the trail, who wave hello as they head back and forth to work and home each day.

“If you’re saying hi to somebody, if you’re willing to stop and help them patch a flat tire, I know that it means you’re going to help them out if they’re running into trouble,” Hennigan says.

Hennigan has coordinated WABA’s Trail Rangers program. The rangers aren’t on area trails to act as police, but they do monitor trail activity, and provide another set of eyes and ears on regional trails.

“It really comes down to the safest trail, the best trail, is one with eyes on the trail.”

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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