Category Archives: Crime

MPD Commander Responds To Brookland Police Petition – Please Sign And Keep Spreading The Word

This morning MPD District 5 Commander Solberg sent out the message below via Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) president Tom Bridge, in response to our petition to increase police forces in Brookland. At that point, we only had 65 signatures. I know, like, and respect Commander Solberg. But, at this point it is clear that criminals are exhibiting brazen behavior in our neighborhood. If the “crime patrols” that Commander Solberg describes where enough, 5 masked gunmen would not have felt confident enough to rob a 12th Street business at 8:00 pm on a Friday night.

However, the issue of adequate police coverage is really out of his hands. Commander Solberg can only work with the amount of officers he is given by  MPD Chief of Police Cathy Lanier and Mayor Gray. That’s why it is so important that we stay on top of this.  Lets continue to clog the inboxes of these decision makes with our petition. Please share this petition with your neighbors and sign it if you haven’t done so. The spike in crimes that we have seen would not be acceptable in other neighborhoods, and it shouldn’t be accepted here. Also, please consider showing up at the next BNCA meeting – MPD Lieutenant Durand will be on hand. The meeting will be at 7:00 pm on February 18th and Howard Divinity School, 1400 Shepard Street NE in the Faculty Dining Room, (Basement Level, room 78). Here is the petition, it takes a few seconds to fill out and will land directly in these decision maker’s email inboxes.

Recipients:

  • 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,

[signature]

323 signatures

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 Commander Solberg’s response:

As you are President of the Brookland Civic Association, I would like to ask that you relay my message below to the over 65 people who have sent the identical email to the group here. It would take me too long to reply to each sender; I would much appreciate it if you can post the reply to the Brookland listserv, or to any other organizations whose members may be among those posting this message. Perhaps the ANC commissioners also included here can help to spread this reply.
 
The incident involving the theft of the ATM at the CVS reflects a trend that DC and PG County have seen recently. A group (or groups) of men uses a pickup truck or van, usually recently stolen, to make off with the stolen machine. MPD and Maryland police have found a few of these stolen vehicles, in some cases with the machine still inside. While there has been video recorded of some of the thefts, we have not identified any suspects or made any arrests.
 
The robbery this past Friday night at Silvestre Café on 12th Street also is not solved. In this case, a group of men wearing masks and carrying handguns entered the restaurant about 7:45 pm and robbed people inside. We believe we have recovered the van they used as their getaway vehicle, but we have not yet processed it.
 
I understand that these two crimes, and the burglaries you mention in this message, cause worry and concern. I want to reassure all of you that we do, and will continue, to patrol the 12th Street Business corridor and the residential community.
 
We have officers who are dedicated to walking and patrolling the community as specific “crime patrol” officers whose main mission each day is to provide the type of proactive response the community is asking for. We have officers on each shift whose job this is, and I know that many residents and business owners know and interact with them on a regular basis.
 
I also want to point out that the Fifth District led the city in crime reduction in 2013, and PSA 504 showed a reduction in most property crime categories, with, unfortunately, an increase in burglaries in 2013. We have taken steps to address the increase in burglaries in PSA 504, and there are officers who work in a burglary task force during the hours we see most of our burglaries, which is during the week when many people are at work and away from their homes.
 
We will continue to work hard to address all the concerns mentioned below, and I am confident that our downward-trending crime pattern will continue in 2014.
 
Andy Solberg
Commander, 5D

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.

Recipients:

  • 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,

[signature]

323 signatures

Share this with your friends:

   

Video – Police Seek Info In CVS ‘Smash And Grab’ ATM Theft

Yesterday Brookland was abuzz about the crazy ‘Smash and Grab’ theft at the CVS at 12th and Newton Streets, NE. If you missed the calamity – a van rammed into the CVS, smashed through the glass and made off with the ATM machine around 4:00 am on Monday morning. Here is coverage of the story on ABC 7 WJLA:

Now that the store’s surveillance footage is available, DC’s Metropolitan Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the crooks in the video below. It’s worth watching the whole video, as it shows the theft twice, from different angles. Bonkers. If you have any information contact the police at 202-727-9099.  Additionally, information may be submitted to the Text Tip Line by text messaging 50411.  DC Crime Solvers currently offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for a burglary committed in the District of Columbia.

Can You Identify This Armed Robber? MPD Releases Video Of Newton Market Theft

This came across from the Metropolitan Police Distict 5D Listserv last night. Scary stuff, that is a really big gun. If you have any information that could help solve this crime, contact MPD at (202) 727-9099 or text to 50411.

August 12, 2013

Person of Interest Sought in an Armed Robbery:

3600 Block of 12th Street, NE 

(Washington, DC)- The Metropolitan Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating a person of interest in reference to an armed robbery which occurred at the Newton Food Mart located in the 3600 block of 12th Street, NE, on Friday, August 9, 2013 at approximately 8:08 pm.

The suspect is described as a black male, with a medium complexion.  He was last seen wearing a gray shirt, beige shorts, white shoes, white baseball cap, and sunglasses.  He was armed with a black firearm.

The person of interest is shown in this video: 

For those of you that can’t open the video, click here. Anyone with information that can assist in the identification of this subject is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099. Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411. The Metropolitan Police Department currently offers a reward of up to $10,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for a robbery, committed in the District of Columbia.

National Night Out Comes To Langdon Park This Tuesday

National Night Out began in 1984 as “an effort to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships,  neighborhood camaraderie and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.” We learned from Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie that the MPD’s 5th District will have a National Night Out event at Langdon Park this coming Tuesday. Hope to see a lot of you there.  Here is the flyer:  National Night Out -Flier-2013

Updated: Saftey Walk/Rides Friday and Monday On The Met Branch Trail – We Need More Eyes, Not Less

Met Branch Trail Brookand NE Washington DCThis morning we posted about a vicious attack on the nearby Metropolitan Branch Trail. While a natural reaction would be to avoid the trail, what we actually need to do is the opposite. The MBT is a fantastic resource and a lot of hard work has gone into it making it a reality, and many people are working to continue improving it. So if we are going to make the trail safer for all we need a greater law-abiding presence on the trail. Here are two events you could participate in to do just that.

From the Washington Area Bicyclist Association:

On Fri., June 15, area ANC commissioner Tim Clark will host a safety walk on the Metropolitan Branch Trail in light of the attack on a cyclist there earlier this week. Those interested in participating are encouraged to meet at the trail entrance at 3rd and Randolph streets at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

From Life on The Edgewood:

Then, on Monday at 6:30 pm the Friends of Edgewood is teaming up with the Eckington Civic Association, MPD, and the Guardian Angels for a safety walk/ride on the trail. More details to follow.

***There was an update to the Monday Saftey Walk/Ride on the Brookland listserv as follows:

Safety Walk & Bike Event
Supporting safe use of
The Metropolitan Branch Trail

Please Join Us!
Monday, June 17th, 2013
6:30 pm

Wear WHITE shirt!

Meet at Either:
The Edgewood Recreation Center
or
Entrance to Trail at L & 1st/2nd Streets NE

Agenda:
· Two above groups convene at pocket park at 4th & S NE at 7:15pm

· Hold a Moment of Silence Honoring Victims of Violence on Trail

· Walk trail with the MPD to identify strategies to improve safety!

· Share Coffee and cookies, care of Big Bear Café

· Kids and Pets Welcome

Big Bear Café & Restaurant
Eckington and Edgewood Neighbors
Eckington Civic Association
Friends of Edgewood Recreation Center
The Guardian Angels
Metropolitan Police Department

Reported Met Branch Trail Attack Appears Random And Senseless

On Tuesday afternoon a biker was brutally attack on the nearby Metroplitan Branch Trail. While this story has been widely covered on other blogs and on WJLA ABC 7 News, we wanted to make sure we covered it as well, in case some folks had not heard about it. Here is a link to the WJLA story as well as an video with a phone interview of the victim. Beyond the reported information that the assault took place in broad daylight, and was a “15 on 1” attack, the sad fact is that the motivation seems to simply be voilence, as nothing was taken from the commuter. I have ridden on the MBT many times without incident, but a story like this really gives you pause. In the interview, the victim said that he hopes he “can regain the courage to keep riding.” We hope so too.

Violent Assault In Brookland Thwarted By Catholic U Students

Fort Bunker Hill Park. Image Courtesy of Brookland Avenue Blog.

Ugh. More bad news on the crime front.  WJLA (Channel 7 News) is reporting a violent attack on a woman headed home from the Brookland Metro Friday night around 6:00 pm. The attack took place near 14th and Newton Streets NE. From the video posted on WJLA and the witnesses comments that  “he was beating her and pulling [her] up the hill'”, we assume that the suspect was attempting to drag the victim into Fort Bunker Hill Park. Luckily, two Catholic University students, Nina Curto and Kerstein Anderson heard the victim screaming for help and came to her aid. According to the WJLA report, the suspect,  a 22 year old man was arrested on the scene. Props to Nina and Kerstein! Glad to have you as neighbors.

MPD Addressed Brookland Crime Concerns At BNCA Meeting Last Night

Lieutenant Edward Bernat, Captain Morgan Kaine  and Captain Andre Wright. at the BNCA Meeting
Lieutenant Edward Bernat, Captain Morgan Kaine and Captain Andre Wright at the BNCA Meeting

Recently Brookland area crimes have been in the news and the topic of discussion among neighbors and on listservs. Commander of MPD’s 5th district, Andy  Solberg, addressed these concerns at last night’s Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) meeting; along with officers Bernat, Kaine and Wright of Patrol Service Area 504. There were roughly 45 residents in attendance and overall, we were informed that crime is actually down in the 5th District over the last 30, 60, and 90 days. Although assaults with dangerous weapons and sexual assaults are slightly up, all other crime categories down. Other good news is that there have been no recent incidents on the Met Branch Trail. Nonetheless, three types of crime seem to be of most concern to Brooklanders:

  1. Shotgun robberies –  Between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, there were 5 armed robberies where the victims were threatened with a shotgun. The suspect is a tall (about 6’1), thin, African-American male. Sometimes the suspect acted alone and other times with accomplices. These crimes were alarming since usually smaller hand guns are used in robberies and guns are not normally pointed directly at victims, as was the case in these robberies. Commander Solberg explained that his response was to deploy evening area officers in the areas where the crimes occurred  in addition to 15 undercover officers patrolling the area. In the 16 days since the last shotgun robbery, no similar crime has occurred and they have not made any arrests related to these robberies. No similar crime has happened recently in DC or in Prince George’s County either.
  2. Robberies – On Friday there was an attempted robbery and a robbery at 9th  and 7th and Monroe Streets. On Saturday there was an attempted robbery at 10th and Evarts Streets. Tuesday morning there was a robbery near the Brookland Metro. These crimes may be related.
  3. Home Burglaries – For example, a recent one on Jackson Street at 3 am.

The officers offered up tips to avoid being a crime victim, including:

Commander Solberg and BNCA President Caroline Petti
Commander Solberg and BNCA President Caroline Petti
  • Don’t walk while using a gadget like a smart phone. This sends the message to criminals that you have something of value and you not paying attention to your surroundings.
  • Walk home with someone else. People walking alone, especially women, are targeted most.
  • Walk like you have a purpose and try to stay in well-lit areas.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, criminals are looking for an easy target.
  • At home, close your blinds, and lock doors.

Lieutenant Bernat described the steps being taken to prevent crime around the neighborhood. For example:

  • Constant patrols on 10th and 12th Streets NE, and the Brookland Metro.
  • Midnight and 1:00 am patrols of  parks (18th and Otis Street park, Langdon Park) where loitering and drinking occur.
  • Increased presence on 10th Street NE near Turkey Thicket.
  • Engaging with business owners.
  • Cracking down on college parties. There is a new “noise at night” law that prohibits unreasonable noise from 10 pm – 7 am. On the first offence, student names are reported to CUA’s Dean.  On the second strike the student must pay a fine or their grades are withheld.
Lieutenant Bernat speaking to residents
Lieutenant Bernat speaking to residents

Lastly, the officers shared advice if you are a victim of a crime or suspect a crime is occurring:

  • If you have a smart phone, enable the tracking feature. This way if it is stolen officers can locate it, and hopefully the thief, if the phone hasn’t been turned off.
  • Call 911 if you see anything suspicious or feel uncomfortable about a situation. Do not worry that it is a bother for the police to respond. By calling, it creates a record, when they see a spike in related calls, they can allocate resources there. Also, you don’t have to give your name.

Residents are encouraged to contact Lieutenant Bernat if you have any questions or concerns, he can be reached at (202) 359-4240 or Edward(dot)Bernat(at)dc(dot)gov. Many thanks to the BNCA for putting together an informative meeting and to the 5th District officers for answering the community’s questions.