CRIME

Friendship Heights robberies latest in a string of Northwest crimes

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(Photo: Samuel Corum)

Without discretion, they're happening on residential streets, near busy retail corridors and well-lit Metro stations.

In an area not quite used to a crime spike of this size, armed robberies are taking place with alarming frequency in D.C.'s Upper Northwest. Since the beginning of this year, ten armed robberies have taken place in the Tenleytown and Friendship Heights neighborhoods.

"People are frightened; they're changing their routine," Tenleytown resident Jonathon Bender says. "(They're) not going out as much at night and are more nervous when they are out."

The three most recent crimes occurred within a span of several hours on Monday night.

Last night's spree began at 7:15 p.m. in the 3800 block of Warren Street NW, where three suspects punched a man, robbed him and fled. Three hours later, police say the suspects struck again, robbing a woman in the 4300 block of Garrison Street NW.

The final robbery happened at the D.C./Maryland line in the 5200 block of Western Avenue NW.

In two of the robberies, police say the suspects were wearing ski masks to conceal their identity. It's a crime spike that Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh says is a constant concern.

"They have guns and then they run off," Cheh says. "In many cases, they park a car in an alley, or a couple blocks away, and then they run off."

Some residents of the neighborhoods are surprised by what the robbers are after.

"The stuff they're taking is so minor," Bender says. "A cell phone, some cash....I don't know why someone would be robbing someone else for something that's basically $100."

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