D.C. police raid electronics store, seize what they say are more than 500 stolen items

October 8, 2013

A man associated with an electronics store near downtown Washington is facing criminal charges after D.C. police raided the store Monday and seized more than 500 items they believe to be stolen.

The items include iPhones, iPads, cellphones, laptop computers, Kindle e-book readers, bicycles, tools, musical instruments and electronic games, according to a statement from D.C. police.

Authorities said they raided 12 Volt Electronics in the 300 block of H St. NW, just off Massachusetts Avenue, about 10:45 Monday morning. David Brown, 49, of Capitol Heights, was arrested and charged with felony trafficking of stolen goods. Police did not describe his relationship with the store.

Police have long targeted shops they believe responsible for reselling stolen items, particularly cellphones, which are targeted in about half the District’s robberies. D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier testified before a D.C. Council committee in May about preventing cell phone thefts.

On Oct. 1, the D.C. Council made permanent a law previously enacted under emergency legislation to allow Lanier to shut down stores that deal in stolen property. It will work the same way in which she’s allowed to shutter liquor stores and bars — the stores would shut for a period of time and could reopen after a public hearing is held.

The legislation was sponsored by council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward-6), chairman of the public safety committee. He said in a statement that the new law will help put “an end to these illegal markets” and prevent “the opportunity for criminals to profit from robberies and thefts.”

Just recently, the District recorded it’s 3,000th robbery of the year. About one-third were armed, and roughly one-half of all robberies involved the theft of cell phones, Wells said.

As of Monday, D.C. police said there have been 2,097 unarmed robberies and 1,027 armed robberies in the District. That’s down about 3 percent from last year’s numbers.

D.C. police are trying to determine who owns the items seized from 12 Volt Electronics. People who have been victims of robberies can e-mail the department at 5DDetectives.admin@dc.gov. They are asked to provide a description of the item, a serial number, a police report number and any other identifying marks.

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