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Man Charged in String of District Robberies

By Clarence Williams and Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, March 8, 2009

A man spotted by plainclothes police in Georgetown on Friday night was arrested and charged in three of a series of recent store robberies or attempts that have been linked to a single person, D.C. police said.

The first of the crimes occurred Feb. 22, when a man attempted to rob the City Sports store on Seventh Street NW in the Chinatown area. The latest was Thursday, when the Bandolino shoe store on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown was robbed.

Those two incidents, and eight others in the intervening period, all appeared to involve a man who waited until a store clerk was alone, then approached and demanded money, police said.

Friday night, police posted a robbery detail in Georgetown, supplied with a photo from a store surveillance camera. A man on M Street resembled the person in the photo, said Officer David Jackson of the 2nd District vice unit.

Officers followed the man and watched him peer into windows and put on gloves, Jackson said.

He turned a corner and police took him into custody, Jackson said.

The man was wearing a blue jacket with a stripe, Jackson said. "It was one of the few times I've seen . . . that the suspect was wearing the same clothes" as in a photo, he said.

Police said Ezra Mathis, 29, was arrested near Potomac and M streets about 8:50 p.m. and charged with the Bandolino robbery and the March 1 robbery of a clothing store in the 1500 block of U Street NW. Police said he was also charged in the attempted robbery of the sporting goods store.

They said they would investigate whether Mathis, whose address they said was not known, was connected to the other incidents. Among the places those occurred were Connecticut Avenue and F, K and M streets NW. Another was on Capitol Hill.

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