Former D.C. Mayor Walter E. Washington, who lost his round-the-clock police protection along with the 1978 election, had another loss Sunday night.
After watching on a basement television as the Washington Redskins went down to defeat, the 65-year-old Washington was in his kitchen when a burglar, who apparently had been ransacking the former mayor's second floor bedrooms, burst past him carrying one of the Washington suitcases.
"It's an eerie feeling," said Washington yesterday, reflecting on the brief confrontation with the thief in his brick two-story home on T Street NW near Howard University.
"I wouldn't have tackled him, no matter what," he said. He added that he was even more reluctant to do battle because he spotted something in the thief's hand.
"I didn't know if it was a gun or a knife. It might have been a glove," he said. "We were all sort of frightened and shocked."
Moments before, Washington had been watching television with his wife Bennetta and his brother-in-law Joseph Bullock. At about 10 p.m., Washington said he came upstairs to the kitchen and realized he'd been burglarized when he spotted broken glass in the kitchen.
Shortly after he became mayor in 1967, a burglar stole about $200 worth of items from the Washington home. A man jailed on an unrelated charge later confessed to that crime, he said. After that break-in, police were assigned to guard Washington's home through his 11-year tenure as mayor.
Sunday, the thief, apparently as stunned as the former mayor at the unexpected encounter, raced out the kitchen door and clambered over a seven-foot fence. Washington, now a lawyer in private practice, said yesterday that his wife is taking inventory of their property to determine what was stolen.