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Girlfriend of Nats Player Is Robbed

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 5, 2006

Washington Nationals outfielder Jose Guillen had a big night at the plate Wednesday. But while he was at RFK Stadium, a $10,000 chunk of his paycheck was stolen in a robbery a mile away.

Guillen's girlfriend was attacked as she left a check-cashing business in Northeast Washington, police said. The mugging took place at 5:30 p.m. -- about 90 minutes before the Nats' game -- just after she cashed part of Guillen's weekly paycheck. She was not injured.

Guillen said last night that his girlfriend went to the business to get cash and send money home to the Dominican Republic. "She's all right," Guillen said.

Police did not identify the girlfriend because she is considered a witness. No one has been arrested, and police have no suspects.

Authorities said the crime occurred outside the Money Mart in the 1100 block of H Street NE.

Guillen's girlfriend, who is 24, entered the shop about 5 p.m. and went to a back room to cash a portion of Guillen's check. It took about 30 minutes for a store manager to count out $10,000 in cash, police said.

She put the money in a Louis Vuitton purse, which already contained $2,000, police said. As she walked outside, the robber sneaked up from behind and pushed a sharp object -- perhaps a knife -- into her side, police said.

He grabbed the bag and fled. Besides the cash, the purse contained her cellphone, tourist visa and passport, police said. They quoted Guillen's girlfriend as saying that the bag itself is valued at $2,000.

At least two wives of Nationals players were waiting for Guillen's girlfriend in a car outside the check-cashing business, police said. They also were unharmed.

Police said they recovered a black hat in the 700 block of 12th Street NE that they believe belonged to the assailant.

Investigators said Guillen told them that he and his girlfriend routinely use the Money Mart to cash checks and send money home to relatives.

Cmdr. Diane Groomes of the 1st District said robberies are common in the area but have diminished recently because of increased foot patrols. She called the robbery a "crime of opportunity," adding that the assailant apparently watched the woman enter the store.

Police urged anyone with information to call 202-727-9099. They offer rewards of up to $5,000 in robbery cases.

Guillen went 2 for 4 with a double Wednesday in the Nationals' 6-5 loss to the Florida Marlins. The right fielder will make about $4 million this season.

Staff writers Daniela Deane and Barry Svrluga contributed to this report.

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