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Four Holdups Reported at Hotels in D.C.

Robberies Occurred Over Two Months; Victims Accosted in Elevators or Foyers

By Nicole Fuller
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 2, 2004; Page B04

A robber appears to be targeting some of Washington's busiest hotels, accosting people in elevators and foyers, sometimes at gunpoint, D.C. police said yesterday.

Police said they are investigating four robberies at hotels within the past two months, including one Tuesday night in which two women and a man were robbed of cash at gunpoint in the foyer of the Wardman Park Marriott Hotel.

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No one has been injured in the holdups, all at hotels in heavily traveled parts of Northwest Washington. Police said they have stepped up patrols of uniformed and plainclothes officers and issued an alert through the Hotel Association of Washington, D.C.

"The individual approaches victims in the elevators or lobbies of hotels, and that's how the robberies are taking place," said Cmdr. Robert J. Contee, who heads the 2nd Police District. "They have not been conclusively linked, but we have found some similarities."

The latest episode unfolded about 10 p.m. Tuesday at the Marriott in the 2600 block of Woodley Road NW. The robber approached the three victims as they waited for an elevator in the foyer, and he escaped after taking cash, police said.

A similar holdup took place about 8:45 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Days Inn Hotel in the 4400 block of Connecticut Avenue NW, police said. In that case, a gunman robbed two men in an elevator.

Another robbery occurred about 5:45 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Melrose Hotel, in the 2400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW, police said. A woman was robbed at gunpoint in an elevator, they said.

The first of the four robberies took place about 12:35 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Savoy Hotel, in the 2500 block of Wisconsin Avenue NW, police said. In that case, too, a woman was robbed in an elevator, but no gun was displayed, police said.

Hotel officials provided few details yesterday.

Marriott officials said they would not publicly discuss security procedures. "We take the matter very seriously," said Lisa Stewart, a spokeswoman for the hotel. "The safety of our guests is a top priority, and we're working closely with the police in their investigation."

Representatives of the Melrose and Savoy hotels did not respond to requests for comment. A representative of Days Inn declined to comment and referred calls to the Hotel Association of Washington.

Three messages left at the association went unanswered yesterday.

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