Alert Bike Owner and Passersby Foil Brazen Attempted Bike Thefts on Barracks Row Monday PM
by Larry Janezich
An alert mother and two passersby foiled the brazen attempt of two youths to steal two $750 bikes virtually from the grasp of the woman who was standing guard over the bikes while her son was inside a Barracks Row eatery ordering sandwiches. The attempted theft occurred at about 5:00pm today, Labor Day, on the 500 block of Barracks Row, while the sidewalks were crowded with couples on their way to Barracks Row restaurants.
The woman and her son were biking back to Brookland having just left Nationals Park after watching the Nats vs Mets game. While the woman was seated at an outside table with the bikes leaning against the same table, a youth ran up and snatched one bike, leaped astride and started pedaling furiously away. The woman yelled, “Thief,” and pursued the youth. Two passersby, returning from Nationals Park on foot, also yelled at the thief and immediately gave chase. The woman, suddenly realizing the other unattended bike was at risk, turned and saw a second youth making off with the second bike. The youth was trying to lift the bike onto 8th Street between two parked cars. The woman grabbed the bike and wrested it from the thief’s hands, whereupon the youth ran to the corner of 8th and E Streets, following the path the first thief had taken.
Meanwhile, one of the assisting passersby continued pursuing the first youth while the second called 911. The call was placed at 4:59pm. After some confusion on the part of the 911 dispatcher as to the relationship between “Barracks Row” and 8th Street (telling the caller that her information showed Barracks Row was on 9th Street) the caller was told “Response in on the way.”
The first thief, seeing his partner running west on E Street bike-less, dropped the bike he was riding near the rear of the Barracks Row 711. The pair fled on foot and were last seen on 7th Street, heading toward the freeway. The first bike was returned to its owner.
At 5:10pm, MPD Officer G.L. Brown arrived to take a report on the incident. Witnesses were able to provide a detailed description of one of the suspects. Another witness to the attempted bike theft said that the pair of suspects had been hanging out near “bike depots” on Barracks Row for more than an hour.
Capitol Hill Corner has been advocating that the local ANCs strengthen relationships with MPD PSA officials in light of the recent increase in crime. It would seem that the Barracks Row merchants and restaurateurs and their representative – Barracks Row Main Street – have a substantial interest in the reduction of crime on Barracks Row and would actively participate in the effort to strengthen community policing by reinvigorating the PSAs – or at the very least to demonstrate their interest to the MPD by attending PSA meetings. To date, however, these entities – and other stakeholders in the Capitol Hill community such as the Capitol Hill BID – have been non-participants in the public undertakings to better community policing.