5 teens arrested in connection to armed robbery spree in DC

Five teenagers have been arrested in connection to a spree of armed robberies around the District that spanned a 12-day period, D.C. police said.

Four of the teenagers were arrested Wednesday when they were found sleeping in a vehicle. In announcing the arrests, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said property was visible inside the car, along with at least one firearm. At the time, police said they were still searching for one adult suspect in connection to car jackings and robberies.

Sometime later on Wednesday, police arrested 19-year-old Zharmel Blount, of Southeast, and charged him with unauthorized use of a vehicle and two counts of armed robbery.

The teenagers face charges in connection with 19 incidents that took place around D.C. between July 3 and July 14. Eight of the incidents took place within a two-day window between Tuesday and Wednesday.

The other four teenagers who were arrested are minors, so police did not identify them. They face the following charges:

  • A 16 year-old male, of Northwest, was arrested and charged with armed carjacking, assault with a dangerous weapon, unauthorized use of a vehicle, assault with intent to rob, assault with intent to rob while armed, two counts of theft one, two counts of robbery and eleven counts of armed robbery.
  • A 13 year-old male, of Southeast, was arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, unauthorized use of a vehicle, assault with intent to rob, assault with intent to rob while armed, two counts of theft one, robbery and nine counts of armed robbery.
  • A 16 year-old male, of Southeast, was arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, unauthorized use of a vehicle, assault with intent to rob while armed and eight counts of armed robbery.
  • A 15 year-old male, of Southeast, was arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, unauthorized use of a vehicle, assault with intent to rob while armed and 10 counts of armed robbery.

The teens were first spotted dressed in all black with masks on Naylor Road in Southeast D.C., armed with handguns, a rifle and a red shotgun.

Police then received calls for nine more robberies involving people wearing similar clothing and armed with weapons.

The last known location of an armed robbery was in the neighborhood of Pennsylvania Avenue SE around 5 a.m. on Wednesday.

Contee announced the arrests during a news conference introducing the newly-opened ShotSpotter HQ — a system which allows police to detect the sound of gunshots around the city.

“We’ve dealt with these individuals before,” Contee said. “And I think that’s where we really need to kind of focus [on] why are we still dealing with the same individuals that we’ve arrested before? … They’re no stranger to the Metropolitan Police Department. They’re no stranger with respect to the crimes that they’ve committed.”

WTOP’s Will Vitka and Nardos Mesmer contributed to this report.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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