3 Brookland Businesses Robbed/Burgled In Two Weeks – Speak Up For Them!

Sign in Little Ricky's window last week.
Sign in Little Ricky’s window last week.

Last week we posted about the ultra-brazen smash and grab attack on the CVS at 12th and Newton Streets, NE. In that burglary the thieves made off with an ATM machine. So far, we haven’t heard about any arrests made in that case.

Then, we got word from Chase, the owner of popular Brookland restaurant, Little Ricky’s, that they were burglarized in the early morning hours of Friday January 24th. Fortunately in that case, the thieves didn’t get away with much.

Now, less than two weeks since the CVS theft, we learned about a very scary and again, very brazen, robbery at neighborhood restaurant Silvestre’s. According to reports, masked gunmen entered the restaurant around 8:00 pm on Friday night, January 31st and robbed the patrons and employees at gunpoint. NBC 4 Washington broadcasted a story about the crime, see the video here. We visited Silvestre’s Saturday to inquire how the employees are doing. While the staff put on a brave face, they were clearly shaken by the event. What they told us was harrowing. They said 5 men with rifles entered the store, pointing the guns at patrons and at them. Once they robbed the patrons and the cash register, they went the extra step of forcing an employee at gunpoint into the basement to check if there was a safe down there they could rob as well. Needless to say we are disgusted by this violent act perpetrated against our neighbors. We reached out to Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie and the Metropolitan Police Department via Twitter and McDuffie responded with the following Tweet:

McDuffie’s office also released this statement:

It was disheartening to learn of the robbery that occurred last night at Silvestre Cafe on 12th Street.  I’ve reached out to MPD5th District and have asked for increased police presence. I’ve spoken to Chief Groomes and MPD has pulled the video of the robbery and are canvassing the area to seek additional evidence. They have also increased patrols in the area, more officers are on foot as well as having the Latino division assisting. Recently, MPD closed the cases of a nearby cleaners that was robbed and have made an arrest in the string of cabs robberies in the 5th District. I urge anyone with information relating to last night’s callous robbery of Silvestre’s to immediately contact MPD. In addition, I just spoke to the victim (restaurant employee) to ensure them that MPD and law enforcement are vigorously pursing all leads in this case.

Well, we thought that it is about time that we, as neighbors, stood up for our Brookland businesses and demanded more police presence on 12th Street and around the neighborhood.  The CVS and Silvestre’s crimes were well coordinated and bold – obviously the pack of cowards who would point rifles at unarmed victims at 8:00 pm on a Friday night on our main street felt they could get away with this attack. Between the armed robbery of of the Newton Market in August and the robbery of Yes! Organics in July – that makes 5 burglaries/robberies of our businesses in 7 months, just over a half mile apart.  If there isn’t a swift, prominent and proactive police response, what will these criminals think of next? Here’s where you can make a difference. If you want to send a message to our Councilmember and members of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police that we demand additional police resources dedicated to our commercial district, please take a second and fill out the letter to them via the form below.


  • Executive Office of the Mayor, Vincent Gray
  • Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie
  • Chair, Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, Councilmember Tommy Wells
  • MPD Chief of Police, Cathy Lanier
  • MPD District 5 Commander, Andy Solberg
  • ANC5B 01 Commisioner Shirley Rivens-Smith
  • ANC 5B-02 Commissioner Ursula Higgins
  • ANC 5B-03 Michael Morrison
  • ANC 5B-04 Commssioner Carolyn C. Steptoe
  • ANC 5B-05 Commissioner Jenese L. Jones

Petition Text:

As I am sure you are aware, there has been a recent uptick in crimes in the Brookland neighborhood of North East DC. Two of these, the “smash and grab” theft of an ATM at the CVS, and armed robbery at Silvestre Cafe at 3601 and 3000 12th Street NE, respectively, were particularly coordinated and brazen. All tolled, there have been at least five burglaries or robberies of 12th Street businesses in the last 7 months, and just over a half mile apart. Without a noticeable, proactive, sustained and increased police presence, on and around our commercial district, the perpetrators of these crimes will get the message that Brookland businesses continue to be easy targets.

For Brooklanders, the night of December 18, 2010, when Newton Foodmart owner Raj Patel was killed in a botched robbery is etched in our consciousness. We will not stand idly by while our neighbors and those that have invested in our community are threatened and robbed with deadly weapons.

I stand with my fellow neighbors and the businesses of the Brookland’s main street, 12th Street NE, in asking you to do everything in your power to address the unsolved crimes that have taken place in our neighborhood and increase the presence of MPD officers on our streets.

Brookland Residents Request Increased Police Presence

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,


323 signatures

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17 thoughts on “3 Brookland Businesses Robbed/Burgled In Two Weeks – Speak Up For Them!”

  1. A mere presence is not what we need. I see them. In fact, the night of the robbery I on my way home from work and saw a cruiser parked in the parking lot at the Franciscan Monastery. A lot of good that does (nothing was happening at the Monastery that night).

    What it takes is smarts, something the MPD generally does not have. What is needed locking people up, one-after-the-other until the threat is neutralized for at least a generation. This can only come about with intelligence, undercover operations, and perseverance.

    Overworked my ass. These MPD chumps don’t know what hard work is. And we must pay their pathetic asses for another 20 years after they “retire” at 50.

    I’ve heard this shit over and over again. My son was working at Colonel Brooks up until a couple of months before the robbery and murders there. What has happened since then? Plenty of crime.

    To hell with Solberg, and the chief too. They have no concerns about our neighborhood and simply do not care. 5-D is the pits. The fire station lady at the RI station is a sorry-ass metaphor for the entire force serving NE. And we pay for this pathetic shit. They work for us. Sorry for my cynicism, but I’ve been here more than half a century and know what we are dealing with.

    I’m not signing any petition. They can kiss my ass

    1. Hi John,

      I respect your opinion and your expeciemces. Perhaps I am too optimistic, but I eat at Silvestre’s a lot and it could have easily been me or my wife at gunpoint, so I can’t just sit on the sidelines anymore.


  2. My feeling is that Brookland/Woodridge deserves a substation. I personally have been impressed by with the MPD officers I’ve encountered, and just think that if there was a substation on or north of Rhode Island Avenue then response times would be faster. Our neighborhoods are going to see an increase in population in the next couple years in particular and it seems like the right time for some additional investment in security.

    A possible fix might be to have the 1700 RI Avenue office be a hybrid office – serving as both a substation and a Family Violence and Child Protection office. If you look at the location of all these crimes they have all been approximately 2 miles from our primary 5th district station on Bladensburg Rd. NE.

    There’s also an environmental cost savings play. Four miles back and forth to the Brookland/Woodridge patrols, let’s assume that there are 40 patrols north of Rhode Island Avenue a day, that means we have approximately 2336 gallons of unnecessary gas burned a year, at a cost of $7700 a year. Not a huge amount of money for a Government with a $1.8Bn cushion, but just one of the many small benefits of a substation.

    1. This is a very good point and observation. Brookland and surrounding neighborhoods are becoming more densly populated. Between new condo developments on 12th Street, the Monroe Street Market development, 901 Monroe, and the new anticipated development at the Metro, we need police coverage that adequatey covers our existing population as well as new residents.

  3. Our ANC should be helping the community with this. I guess they are too busy protesting everything under the sun to worry about crime. This is not right, how hard can it be to patrol 12th street? Police all over the neighborhood yet they never seem to be around to stop anything? Have they heard of proactive verses reactive?
    Something doesn’t add up here.

  4. I’m not signing a petition to tell cops to do their jobs. How about this to start – get out of your cars. I see cop cars all over this neighborhood, yet not a single cop outside of a car. Get some cop feet on 12th. Show your faces. Know your neighbors. The Monroe Street Market is just going to turn into another ghetto hellhole as long as people think they can commit crimes without abandon in Brookland. Oh yeah, and this probably wouldn’t be a problem if the ANC focused as much effort on crime as they do on denying white people liquor licenses.

  5. Any thought that this currently elected ANC would be effective in pressing MPD for a response and action is laughable.

    This ANC (Rivens-Smith/Jones/Higgins/Steptoe/Morrison) regularly parades MPD 5D into their meetings to give updates that amount to nothing — and then they sing their praises for 5D’s actions. Cmd. Soberg has stood there and routinely told the community that officers will be on foot, on bike, undercover, in marked and unmarked units — making a presence in/around Brookland. As well, they would be instituting a stop-and-chat technique in which they would be ‘making contact’ with as many people that they come in contact with as possible so as to get to know the community and know who belongs there and who doesn’t.


    All I see is a few uniformed officers in marked squad cars sitting in their cars with the windows up — and on a cell phone almost 3 out of 4 times. There is no effort to get out and get to know people. There is no effort to meet/greet residents and businesses. It is just constant lip service.

    And ANC 5B makes a big show of how active the ANC is in community issues by trotting MPD out at each of their meetings.

    ANC doesn’t care about what’s happening to you. They care only about keeping their seats and getting their blackberries paid for and having their pictures on DC letterhead.

  6. I hope this frustration with the ANC results in Election Day turnout. In November, voters have the opportunity to replace of some of the more notorious ANC5B members with people who genuinely support the diversity of greater Brookland and are willing to listen and work with ALL of their constituents.

    As for the police, I know many fine members of the MPD. The change in approach and focus needs to come from the top down with an emphasis on effective community policing techniques.

    1. The change needs to come from the bottom up starting with us. I think the police are working within the framework that we’ve given them. When something happens to us we want help. But when somebody complains that they’ve been roughed up during an arrest we want them fired.

      As an aside, it doesn’t help to have major money flowing into areas that recently were quite poor.

  7. I am just as concerned as everyone else for our neighborhoods and for the businesses that have gracious come to our Brookland Neighborhood. But my biggest concern is our Councilmember, we have not heard (a walk through our neighborhood) or seen (physicially) him in our neighborhood near Providence Hospital, we have issues every day that need to be address. Who is he? I only remember one time that I have seen him in a MPD convoy, going through the alley between 12th Street and 12th Place, NE to Varnum Street, NE (check out the damage) when we were out of power for 4 days (no assistance for elderly from this Councilmember) and drove away leaving the same route; at first I thought it was the President and found out that it was our Councilmember (WOW). We will band together as a neighborhood to keep our businesses and homes safe. Some elected official(s) are just that elected and they do nothing else. Where is the ANC representative (haven’t seen them either until a crime is committed; how about seeing you before — being proactive). We want to live peacefully too. So I know this email does not address the immediate issue but we seriously need to think about electing people who care about us (Brookland and surrounding neighborhoods). We have halfway houses and drug rehabilitation homes, all in the Brookland area and no one told us. Do you know where they are located. Mr. Councilmember tell us what you have done to make our neighborhood and our business safe — not just an update because the news knew first.

  8. I have given up on the gun crimes in this city. I’ll tell you this right now, this robbery wouldn’t have happened in Texas, Florida, or even Virginia. I used to not believe this, but after sitting on a jury of a gun trial now I do: the gun laws in this town only protect the criminals from the law abiding folk. I will continue to follow them because I think the laws exist for the betterment of society, but I’m telling you, when we have a robbery clearance rate of 14% there is a problem. For a person to have an 86% chance of getting away with a robbery is just sad. We’ve rolled over. When the police actually are able to make an arrest the juries fail to convict. I can’t blame the police for not doing a better job. Either the U.S. Attorney’s office will plea the case down to almost nothing or the jury won’t convict. Why should they risk their lives when the suspect will be back on the street almost immediately?

    I am totally in support of gun control, but it has to occur at a federal/large-regional level. As long as we have guns at Virginia Wal-Marts, by imposing such strict firearm regulations in this town we are surrendering to the small percentage of non-law abiding citizens. There should be some personal risk for the armed robber when they pull these stunts.

    Case in point: Tow truck driver gets robbed at gunpoint on Kenilworth Ave. Tow truck driver gets in truck and hits armed robber. Tow truck driver gets charged with a crime. Something isn’t right with that. Does it expose a potential rage issue in the wrecker driver? Maybe. But it also says a lot about us that we charge him with a crime when he takes action against his attacker.

    Sorry about the rant…I’m watching a Peckenpaugh western at the moment.

    1. Disregard my tow truck driver example. Details seem to indicate that the wrecker driver hit the attacker 20-30 seconds after the robbery. That’s really no good. However, I do stick by the theory that if the “victim” of the tow truck driver wasn’t out armed robbing people he would be here today.

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