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:
— Kenyan R. McDuffie (@CM_McDuffie) February 1, 2014
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
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.