Police have arrested one suspect and are seeking two others in the unusual Wednesday night armed robbery of a downtown eatery.
Elijah Warren, 19, of Upper Marlboro, has been charged with assault with intent to rob, D.C. police said Thursday.
Warren and two other men, all wearing masks, walked into the Pret a Manger in the 1800 block of L Street NW and announced a robbery about 8 p.m. as the cafe was closing, police said. One customer was in the restaurant.
There was a “scuffle” between one of the robbers and someone in the store, police said, and an employee was struck with a gun and the firearm discharged. Nobody was hit by the bullet, police said.
About an hour and a half after the robbery, narcotics officers stopped Warren as he was walking in the 3000 block of Stanton Road SE, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said Thursday. He matched an official description of the robbers, according to police.
Warren had a gun on him that Lanier said was later linked to the crime. He also had “some change in clothing” when he was stopped, Lanier said, so it was unclear whether he was wearing the white button-down shirt with burgundy stripe that police broadcast in hopes of locating all three men after the robbery.
The victim who was hit with the gun suffered minor injuries and was released from a hospital, police said.
Police are looking for two other suspects in Wednesday’s cafe robbery, Lanier said. “We’ll get them,” she said.
The chief said robberies in that part of the city, a few blocks west of the Farragut North Metro station, are “unusual.” Citywide, she said, robberies are up 9 percent compared with last year, though the increase has slowed since February.
Police have launched a squad of undercover detectives targeting robberies in the Southeastern sixth and seventh patrol districts. They also recently announced an arrest in the August armed robbery of the City Beats shoe store in Southeast Washington, in which Irv Duff, 21, of no fixed address, was charged with armed robbery. A second suspect is at large.
Lanier said many robberies are driven in part by the desire for smartphones, and even though people know that, they often don’t take measures to protect themselves and their property.
“It’s a tough message to get people not to walk around with their phones in their hands,” Lanier said. “It’s part of our culture.”
This item has been updated.