Two Robberies Reported on National Mall

By Clarence Williams and Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, July 12, 2006; 2:41 AM

Six people were held up late last night on the National Mall in two separate attacks similar to those that provoked a furor at the end of May. One of the two women robbed in the first incident was also sexually assaulted, U.S. Park Police said.

Both of last night's robberies took place near the grounds of the Washington Monument, and in each robbery, two men took part. At least one of the men was armed with a gun, authorities said.

The condition of the woman who was sexually assaulted could not be learned immediately. But police said early today that none of the six robbery victims had been transported to a hospital.

The descriptions of the assailants and the location and times of the robberies resembled those that had occurred a few blocks to the east in a period of little more than 48 hours in May.

In the first holdup last night, the two women, both from Texas, were accosted by the robbers about 10 p.m., police said.

After the attack, police said, the women hailed a cab. After reaching their destination, they telephoned 911 to notify police.

About fifteen minutes after the women were robbed, a family of four was held up in the same vicinity, police said. A man, woman and their two children, all from Missouri, gave police a description of the robbers that was similar to the one provided in the first holdup, said Sgt. Scott Fear, a spokesman for the U.S. Park Police.

The women had said the robbers both were in dark clothing and both wore ski masks, Fear said. The family members told police that only one of the robbers was masked.

Those descriptions roughly matched those given of the robbers in the May incidents. Those robbers were also said to have dark clothing. In at least one of those attacks, the robbers were said to be masked.

Robbers targeted couples in each of the May robberies, two of which occurred on May 25, and one on the 28th. In each, the woman member of the couple was physically attacked. In one, the woman was groped; in the second, she was beaten and kicked. The woman in the third attack was sexually assaulted.

The robberies prompted new attention to security on the Mall, which had been regarded as a location virtually immune to violent crime.

Police from several agencies said then they would look in their records for reports of similar attacks around the city to try to identify suspects in the holdups.

Fear, the park police spokesman, said his agency had increased patrols on the Mall since the May attacks. He said early this morning that additional resources would be mobilized.

"Our number-one priority is to prevent this from happening again and to get some suspects developed and make some arrests," Fear said.

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