18-year-old arrested in string of at least 18 robberies along DC trail

At least 18 separate robberies occurred along or near the Metropolitan Branch Trail in D.C. over the past month or so, according to police. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

An 18-year-old man has been arrested and charged in a total of 18 robberies that happened in the span of about a month near the Metropolitan Branch Trail in Northeast D.C., according to police.

D.C. police 5th District Commander Sylvan Altieri said the teen was arrested Tuesday and faces armed robbery and other robbery related charges.

Officers were patrolling the trail Tuesday afternoon — due to a pattern of robberies that had been taking place for over a month — when a robbery was reported nearby in Chancellor’s Row. As units were responding, Altieri said another robbery was reported in the 2800 block of Eighth Street Northeast.

As detectives spoke to victims, Altieri said investigators determined the suspects they were looking for were the same suspects in the string of earlier robberies. The robbers were targeting Apple iPhones and sometimes the phones were taken at gunpoint. The robbers usually fled on foot after committing the crime, according to Altieri.

One suspect, the 18-year-old, was found and arrested. Police are still looking for another suspect and have obtained a search warrant on a home they said they believe was being used as part of the crime spree.

“What I am asking people is this, if you see something like this or if you feel you might know who that suspect is, please text us: 50411, or call us at (202) 727-9099. You can remain completely anonymous, so we would really appreciate if the public has any additional information so we can get this other suspect apprehended,” Altieri said.

Most, but not all, of the robberies occurred between Rhode Island Avenue and Monroe Street in the evening or midnight hours. Altieri said users of the Metropolitan Branch Trail should be mindful.

“First of all, as a cyclist, I think the trail is awesome. I used to actually use it to come to work,” he said. “Part of the thing is, people use it at night, and in any city, no matter where you live, at nighttime, when you’re isolated, you can become a target. The trail is fairly isolated.”

Altieri said some people suffered minor injuries during the robberies, but no one was seriously hurt.

WTOP’s Nick Iannelli contributed to this report.

Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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