Man allegedly caught in security video robbing pizza patrons ordered held in jail

The Metropolitan Police Department released video showing a person of interest who appeared to rob a couple at gunpoint while they ate at a restaurant in May. (Metropolitan Police Department/YouTube/Metropolitan Police Department/YouTube)

The Northwest Washington man who police say was videotaped robbing two men as they dined at a Logan Circle restaurant was ordered held in D.C. jail Monday without bond.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Lori Parker ordered James E. Wade, 30, held until his preliminary hearing on Thursday. Prosecutors charged Wade in the May 17 robbery of two men as they dined on the patio of Pizzoli’s Pizzeria in the 1400 block of 12th Street NW.

Surveillance video that police say captured Wade striking up a conversation with the two men and then flashing a handgun and robbing them went viral last week after police released it to the media through YouTube in an effort to locate the robber.

Wade was arrested Saturday and charged with armed robbery. Court charging documents don’t detail how many people called police with tips but said “85 percent” of them identified Wade as the man in the video. Many of those people mentioned an apartment complex in the area of Sixth and N streets NW that Wade frequented, according to court papers. After his arrest, D.C. police removed the video from YouTube.

Wade allegedly stole a smartphone and wallet from one man and $220 in cash from the other diner. According to court documents, Wade admitted to detectives that he stole the items from the patrons but said he was brandishing a toy pistol.

When Wade was arrested, police found a plastic bag in his right front pocket, according to court papers. The bag contained a white powder that police said later tested positive for cocaine.

During his hearing, Wade, who was dressed in a white sleeveless T-shirt and jeans, stood behind his court-appointed attorney, Veronice Holt. Holt argued that her client should be released so that he could avoid losing his job.

Although Wade was ordered to remain in jail, the judge also ordered him to stay away from the 1400 block of 12th Street NW and to also stay away from the two victims, should he be released after a subsequent hearing.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of intern Chandra Levy.
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