Teenage Suspect in More Than 20 Robberies Is Arrested

Michael Richardson, 18, turned himself in.
Michael Richardson, 18, turned himself in. (Courtesy Of Metropolitan Police - Courtesy Of Metropolitan Police)
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By Clarence Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 27, 2008

A teenager being sought by D.C. police in a string of robberies in the Columbia Heights area turned himself in yesterday, ending a two-day search in a case that generated a police-led e-mail campaign and much community attention.

Police said they have charged Michael Richardson, who recently turned 18, as an adult in a robbery on the grounds of Cardozo High School. A similar charge was filed last week, but the case was dropped by prosecutors, who said evidence was lacking. Richardson was released after that charge was dropped, in what D.C. officials called a mix-up.

Since then, police officials said, they did more investigation to bolster the case and once again obtained a warrant to charge Richardson as an adult. He called police yesterday and met them at 13th and Irving streets NW at 3:30 p.m., when he was taken into custody. Police were questioning him last night, officials said.

Richardson, whose alleged offenses have provoked outrage in Columbia Heights, is suspected in about 20 robberies this year, police said. He was released twice this year after Superior Court proceedings. After he was picked up last week as a suspect in three cases, a police inspector put a notice on a community e-mail discussion group urging residents to send e-mails to authorities urging that he be kept locked up.

D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles expressed outrage Monday when he learned that Richardson had been released after an appearance in D.C. Superior Court. Although the U.S. attorney's office decided against pursuing charges against Richardson as an adult, U.S. marshals should have kept the youth in custody for further proceedings as a juvenile, Nickles and others said.

Soon after Richardson's release, police launched a search to put him back in custody. Asking for tips, they sent out fliers including a photo of the suspect.

"I'm pleased he's back in custody and hopefully will stay in custody," Nickles said last night.

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