A carjacking and an attempted carjacking that occurred 10 minutes apart in Northeast and Southeast Washington might be related to a string of so-called “bump and run” car thefts, according to D.C. police. In one, authorities say they now have video.
The incidents occurred about 10 minutes apart Oct. 4 — one on the edge of Capitol Hill, another about a mile away outside the neighborhood. In the technique, one vehicle hits another, and then someone drives off with victim’s car after the driver steps out to assess the damage.
D.C. police say that at least seven similar carjackings or attempts have occurred since late August. The latest was Oct. 9 at Seventh and K streets Northeast near Gallaudet University. In that case, the carjackers were not successful in stealing a Chrysler 300.
The Oct. 4 incidents started about 8:20 a.m., when a driver parked at a gas station in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Police said four men pulled up in front of the parked car in a black 2001 or 2002 Mercedes 500 series.
Cmdr. Daniel P. Hickson of the 1st Police District station posted on the department’s Internet bulletin board that one of the men jumped into the front seat of the victim’s car. A passenger was still inside, Hickson wrote, and the two struggled. He said another man then displayed a handgun.
Police said the man inside the car jumped out and all four drove off in the Mercedes. They said one of the men also was armed with a small pocket knife.
About 10 minutes later, police said a silver Infiniti was bumped from behind by a dark-colored vehicle — which they identified as possibly a black Mercedes — at 17th and C streets Northeast. Police said the driver of the Infiniti got out to inspect the damage and one of the men jumped in the Infiniti and drove off. Police said the Infiniti’s license plate is DC EJ 0362.
Police said they are investigating whether the attempted carjacking at the gas station on Pennsylvania Avenue is related to the theft 10 minutes later, or to the other “bump and run” incidents. It differs in that there was no accident, and it would be the first time a victim reported any of the men to be armed. But all the attacks, including the one on Pennsylvania Avenue, have occurred during the morning rush hour and involved between two and four carjackers.
The video released by police does not show the attempted carjacking; it shows two men standing beside the Mercedes, and then the vehicle being driven off the gas station parking lot.
D.C. police are advising people who get rear-ended to stay in their car, lock their doors and call police.