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BREAKING: Santa shot at toy giveaway in southeast DC, transported to hospital

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Santa, a moment before getting shot in the back.

Santa, a moment before getting shot in the back.

While making the rounds in southeast DC today, Santa was shot by a pellet gun.  The incident, which was captured by cameras from WJLA Channel 7, shows a jolly Kris Kringle walking down the street, then bending over & wincing in pain, while the cameraman keeps rolling and repeatedly asks, “Want me to call 911?”

Santa was transported to a local hospital, but no word on how this incident will affect his rounds tonight. He was in the neighborhood for a local toy drive.

The video, from WJLA:

 

Stay classy, DC.

MPD Catches Suspected Package Thief in the Act

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MPD Chief Cathy Lanier

MPD Chief Cathy Lanier

Over the weekend, an alert citizen called police about a suspicious person, leading MPD to nab a person suspected of stealing packages on the eastern side of Capitol Hill.  From MPD:

Today First District Officers responded to a report of a suspicious person suspected of stealing packages in the area of 11th & Constitution Ave NE. Officers canvassed the area and later located a subject at 11th & PA Ave SE, who matched the description of the suspicious person. When the Officers contacted the person, they recovered a package and contents, which appeared to be a gift for a child. There was no address label found, so we cannot yet identify the owner of the package. The package/gift is apparently a gift from the child’s grandparents. If anyone in the community learns of a theft of a package that is similar to this, please email me directly at daniel.hickson@dc.gov.

Great lesson- if you see something odd, you can always call 911.  Great work, MPD!

The latest on last night’s shooting

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MPD Chief Cathy Lanier

MPD Chief Cathy Lanier

A police officer and suspect were shot in the 1300 block of Queen Street NE just after 9pm Tuesday evening.  Neighbors reported hearing from “7-8” to “over a dozen” shots, and many neighbors noted a swarm of police officers in the area soon after. In addition, a helicopter landed near Trinidad Recreation Center to help evacuate one of the injured persons.

As of this morning, we have learned that the officer is expected to recover, but that the suspect has died.  The details of the shooting are under investigation and unclear at this time, but the officer is a member of the Metropolitan Police Gun Recovery Unit.

We have not received an official statement from police, but an officer stated confidentially that the city’s Shotspotter gunshot detection system recorded at least some of the shooting’s audio with what sounded to be approximately 20 shots as well as pinpointed the shooting location. The audio recording is said to contain a series of approximately 19-20 evenly-spaced rapid gunshots, though echoes and the nature of the recording make it difficult to immediately discern the exact number of total shots in the incident, or the person firing them.

Many neighbors also heard the shooting and reported the events on Twitter:

 

Boom: DC Government Seizes Local Strip Club

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When local bar/restaurant TruOrleans closed, they left behind sizable debt, including a lot owed to DC government for back taxes.  By DC’s count, TruOrleans owner James Redding is liable over $100,000 in unpaid sales taxes, and DC wants its money.

As it turns out, DC has seized local strip club Stadium Club, an asset of Mr. Redding.

A DC government official tells us that the strip club will be closed, with the seized assets to be sold off to pay the debt. A neighbor reports that a crew of “about a dozen” police officers and government tax officials were present to close the club this afternoon.  No word on whether they’re open tonight (no one picked up when we called). They were supposed to have no cover for government workers tonight, which may seem appropriate considering the DC government seized the business.

 

From the DC Office of Tax and Revenue:

The Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) announced today that it has seized the Stadium Club (The Stadium Group, LLC), located at 2127 Queens Chapel Road, NE, to satisfy a debt owed by owner TBM Holdings, LLC/James Redding. See attached lien.
Mr. Redding owes the District more than $100,000 in sales and use taxes for his former restaurant TruOrleans Restaurant and Gallery, located at 400 H Street, NE. In September, OTR seized TruOrleans sales and use tax certificate, essentially shutting it down, for  unpaid taxes.
Under DC law, Mr. Redding is personally responsible for the delinquent sales tax debt and OTR is able to take enforcement action against any of his assets, in this case the Stadium Club.
OTR made numerous attempts to collect the outstanding taxes from Mr. Redding without success. When he failed to respond to multiple collection notices, OTR was forced to take  action.
OTR encourages businesses that are not in compliance to immediately file missing returns immediately, pay any liability due or to contact our Collection Division to arrange a payment plan. The Collection Division can be reached at (202) 724-5045.

Kathy Henderson’s Hatred of Hearty Hawkers Hikes the Heat’s Heedfulness

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Kathy Henderson, ANC 5D Chair (file photo)

Kathy Henderson, ANC 5D Chair (file photo)

An update from an issue covered previously in May– local ANC Commissioner Kathy Henderson is back at it, warning citizen to not order from mobile meat vendor Capital Meats, which she claims employs potential burglars who are unlicensed for selling meat.  Capital Meats is a mobile meat delivery service, serving the greater DC area.

There have not been any public reports by police of criminal activity by the meat vendors, but Henderson’s ire has raised the attention of law enforcement.  And now, the police want you to call 911 if you see one of the familiar mobile meat salesmen.

From Kathy Henderson:

Good Afternoon:
Please be advised that we are still receiving complaints regarding Capital Meats aggressively hawking their meat products in our community. Residents here have told us time and time again they do not want these unlicensed meat peddlers from Virginia knocking on their doors and pestering them to buy whatever they are selling. One of my neighbors was very concerned because the unlicensed seller “simply would not take no for an answer even when I told him no thank you…” This neighbor is home alone with a toddler and felt “very unsafe”. These individuals have been known to peer into windows to see if anyone is home. We are being subjected to a rash of break-ins and burglaries and these individuals could be culpable.
Again, we do not want them here, they are unlicensed in Virginia where they are from and they do not have a DC license. We want peace, order and quiet and prefer to purchase our products from reputable retailers, not unlicensed meat peddlers. We respectfully request our law enforcement partners to move them on when they see them anywhere in Carver or Langston Terrace and issue a citation for vending without a license. Thank you.
Commissioner Kathy Henderson, 5D05

khenderson029@aol.com

 

Apparently, Henderson’s persistence in tracking the meat peddlers was enough to elicit a response from MPD:

Caveat Emptor “Let the Buyer Beware”

Capital Meats Inc. is based out of Winchester, Va. The District’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), last reported that its salesmen aren’t properly licensed to do business here in the District of Columbia.  To operate legally, the corporation would need to register with the city, and the salesmen would need licenses. There’s no record of Capital Meats.

Capital Meats relies on subcontractors to sell its products and subcontractors operating in eight states—Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Kentucky—but currently does most of its best business in the Baltimore and Washington Metropolitan Areas.

 

Corporate Headquarters:

TEL: 866-247-0020

Mailing Address:

Capital Meats, Inc.
P.O. Box 1210
Stephens City, VA 22655

Should you see or be approached by unwelcomed meat vendors, call 9-1-1 and report it to us.  We ask that you also provide the vehicle with tag number, make, model and color being operated and how many sales reps are aboard.  You may also post that information here as well but we prefer that you call 9-1-1 for immediate follow-up.

 

Mark Beach
Assistant Patrol District Commander

Metropolitan DC Police Department
Fifth Police District

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Capital Meats, they even have a Youtube channel with videos of their products:

 

MPD Investigating String of Car Break-Ins at Costco

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costco

 

From a local resident on MPD-5D listserv:

Beware when you park your car at Costco. There have been numerous thefts. My window was broken and the radio was removed Friday. They had to have watched me go in because I was only inside minutes 30 minutes. Would not surprise me if the guys who collect the carts are involved.

And it seems to happen even if police are nearby.  From another resident:

Ironically, I was at Costco Friday afternoon.  I had walked down for the bus and saw a police car (547) sitting on the side by the road.  When I came out about 1 hour later, while walking through the parking lot I saw car window glass on the ground, but no car there.
It is a shame that this is occurring especially if it happened with a police presence.  Whether or not the police are present, customers should remember to hid purses, change, money, other purchases before you come to the parking lot. Also remember to lock your car doors.  I wonder if cars are also being stolen while customers shop.

MPD responds that they’re on it:

MPD is on top of this issue dealing with members Costco security team.  Please remember not to leave anything valuable in site as you park and leave your vehicle anywhere in the District of Columbia.

Lt. Corinne Hughes

 

And Assistant Patrol Commander Mark Beach provides the following statistics:

 

As you can see from the table below we are experiencing an increase in the number of Thefts from Automobiles in/around Costco.  Please review the information provided below and assist us in reducing the odds that you or a loved one is victimized. 

Month Total TFA
January

1

May

2

June

2

July

4

August

7

Total

16

One of the biggest misconceptions about auto theft is where they occur. Did you know more than 33% of all vehicle thefts occur near the car owner’s residence and around 20% of thefts occur in parking lots?

All auto break-ins usually have one thing in common: there’s something left in the car worth stealing. Most thefts from cars are “crimes of opportunity” that could be prevented by taking some or all of the following preventative steps.

  • Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle: You’d be surprised how often this happens, but individuals leave valuable items in plain sight all the time. If you leave items in your vehicle and they’re visible, the chances your vehicle will get broken into, increase greatly.
  • Place items out of sight BEFORE reaching your destination: Someone may be watching when you put your valuables under a seat or in the trunk and the moment you’re gone, a thief could break into your car. So place those items in a safe place before you get to the park, shop, restaurant, baseball game, etc. Valuable items that thieves target are GPS units, MP3 players, credit cards, money, packages and so forth. If you can’t take the items with you, secure them in a safe place in your vehicle, like a locked glove compartment or your trunk.
  • Avoid leaving packages or shopping bags out in the open: Lock them into your trunk, if you have to leave the vehicle unattended. Never open a trunk, fill it full of valuables, close it, and then just walk away.
  • Lock ALL of your vehicle’s doors: This is true even if you plan on only being gone for “just a second”. Remember, it only takes seconds to steal items from your car. It’s not uncommon, for thieves to walk down a row of parked vehicles, looking for unlocked doors. Also, make sure car windows aren’t left open.
  • Park in busy, well lit areas: Pick a parking spot where there is a lot of activity. Auto thieves prefer breaking into cars in isolated areas.
  • Don’t leave a trace: Don’t leave any sign that there might be valuables “out of sight” in your vehicle. For example: the suction cup on your dashboard, might tell thieves, that you have a GPS system in your vehicle. Leave nothing in plain view. Very few auto break-ins are “random”. The thieves usually see something out in the open or hints of possible hidden valuables.
  • Alarms or anti-theft devices work: Thieves are usually looking for the “easiest” target. If your car has an alarm, it could act as a deterrent. But don’t make this common mistake: Just because you have an alarm, doesn’t mean thieves won’t break-in, IF you leave valuable items in plain sight.
  • Don’t leave spare keys in your vehicle: An experienced thief knows all the hiding places. Store spare keys elsewhere, possibly your wallet or purse.

One of the “hottest” items that thieves are targeting both locally and nationally, is the GPS system in your vehicle. It’s very simple “if you leave a GPS system in your car, the chances are it will be stolen”. Here are few tips to prevent your satellite navigation system from being taken:

  • Take the whole unit out of your vehicle including the mounting bracket. Don’t leave your vehicle unattended with the GPS system in plain sight.
  • Wipe the windshield so that the suction marks left from the system are wiped away.
Mark Beach
Assistant Patrol District Commander
Metropolitan DC Police Department
Fifth Police District

Feds’ guidance on marijuana is good news for DC’s medical program

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Not the actual memo.

Not the actual memo.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice issued new guidance on the prosecution of marijuana offenses.  The guidance essentially asks federal prosecutors to look the other way when a state or locality has a regulated marijuana program with tight controls.

Mike DeBonis reports in the Post:

There is a catch, the memo makes clear: Localities with legalized marijuana industries must have “strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems to control the cultivation, distribution, sale, and possession of marijuana.”

“A system adequate to that task must not only contain robust controls and procedures on paper; it must also be effective in practice,” the memo continues. “Jurisdictions that have implemented systems that provide for regulation of marijuana activity must provide the necessary resources and demonstrate the willingness to enforce their laws and regulations in a manner that ensures they do not undermine federal enforcement priorities.”

By that standard, the District should be in good stead. The city’s medical marijuana system is among the nation’s most tightly regulated, with a strictly limited number of cultivation centers and dispensaries; tight security and handling requirements; and recommendations limited to patients certified by a doctor to be suffering from a small number of maladies.

Real DeBonis’ full piece on the potential effect on DC’s medical marijuana program here.

Meet MPD’s Newest Member of the Force: Sam the Bloodhound!

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From MPD:

Chief Lanier greets the newest member of the Force, Sam. Sam is a bloodhound and is trained to track human scent. While we have several dogs that are trained to conduct human tracks, this dog’s sole purpose is to track people- even over long distances. This will be especially helpful when looking for missing persons.

mpd lanier bloodhound

mpd lanier bloodhound 2

Racist Anti-White Graffiti in Brookland: “If you white…run to Maryland”

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From a reader:

Hey Titan,

Not sure if you have seen this yet, but a  Redditor submitted this picture to DC’s Reddit page showing really really racist anti-white grafitti in Brookland.

Wow! This is the first I’ve seen this, and the post doesn’t indicate the exact location.  However, the graffiti does reference the
“12th and Hamlin” gang.  Anyone seen this before?

The original post is on Reddit here.

Ask ToT: “Is there a rash of mob store robberies?” edition

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From a Reader:

Hi ToT,

I heard about an incident recently where a bunch of robbers flooded a Ward 5 store at the same time to steal all they could.  Do you have any info on where this was?  Is there a rash of mob store robberies?

Thanks!

Unfortunately, there have been a couple of “flash mob” robberies of local stores in the past week. In these types of events, a group of thieves typically rush into a store at the same time, steal what they want, and run off together.

The one you’re referring to seems to have occurred at the Yes! Organic Market in the Brookland neighborhood of Ward 5.  A resident apparently asked MPD about this at the recent Brookland neighborhood meeting, but the MPD representative wasn’t aware of it.  Later, the resident forwarded MPD’s follow-up to a local listserv:

I promised you that I would get back with you in reference to an incident that took place at the Yes! Organic Market (3809 12th St. NE) last Sunday, July 14, 2013. At approximately 12:49 pm, a “flash mob” of about 10 juveniles stormed the market, vandalized and stole items within. When approached by the manager, he was threatened to have his “head bashed in.” The juveniles fled the location south on 12th Street, making good their escape. They were not apprehended and no one was hurt. A theft and threats report was made bearing CCN# 13-098-072. If you have any information that would help MPD solve this crime, please let me know.

Thanks,
Alexia L. Austin
Sergeant
PSA 504
FTO Coordinator
Fifth District Station

It seems odd that the representative sent to the local neighborhood meeting did not know of this crime, and makes us question how much coordination and information sharing occurs, even within MPD. If a first-line supervisor over the area where this crime occurred wasn’t aware of this attack, that’s certainly concerning.

Curious, we went back and looked through the crime data released for that day. MPD classified the crime as “Theft 2nd Degree,” with no mention of destruction of property or the threats made to bash the head in of the manager. So, for the purposes of crime stats, MPD classifies a destructive, 10-person violent theft mob the same as if a kid had stolen a single candy bar:

PSA: 504
CCN: 13098072
RPT DATE: 07/14/2013 13:05
OFFENSE: Theft/Other
METHOD: Theft 2nd Degree
BLOCK: 3800 – 3899 BLOCK OF 12TH STREET NE
LOCATION: Grocery/Supermarket
START DT: 07/14/2013 12:59
END DT: 07/14/2013 13:02

Of note, making threats to seriously injure a person (threatening to bash someone’s head in, for example) is a felony in DC, punishable by up to 20 years in jail.  Instead, MPD used a misdemeanor (2nd-degree theft) for the crime’s primary classification, leaving this felony unreported.

In addition, since the mob took the items by force, we’re left wondering why the police classified this incident as a second-degree theft rather than a robbery (taking property by force or threat of violence).

It’s difficult to say how many of these events occur, as the police department doesn’t release very much crime data. If we had more open data in DC government, including the “narrative” section of police reports, we could tell you how often this occurs. Instead, the police tell us only what they want us to see; since it’s to MPDs advantage to make crime appear lower, it’s no wonder that such whitewashing of crimes occurs.

However, we are aware of at least one other incident of this type happening the past week (in the 1500 block of U Street SE), and the MPD posted a YouTube video of the event (oddly, they didn’t post one of the ward 5 Yes! Organic Market incident):

 

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