A man who was severely beaten earlier this month near Eastern Market was robbed, District police said on Tuesday as they released a video from a gas station where authorities believe the robbers tried to use the victim’s credit card minutes after the attack.
The images from an Exxon in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Ave., SE, just blocks from where 29-year-old Thomas C. Maslin was found unconscious Aug. 18, shows a four-door gray or silver sedan with a sun roof.
In the video, the driver backs beside an island at the station, gets out and stands by the pump for more than a minute. Precisely what the man is doing is not visible on the video, shot from a camera mounted on a gas pump, with a time stamp of 12:57 a.m. on Aug. 18.
Police have said Maslin was last seen about 12:30 a.m.; his wife said he left a Capitol Hill bar about that time and was walking home. He was was found eight hours later lying unconscious on a front porch in the 700 block of North Carolina Ave., SE.
The victim’s wife told reporters that there were three men inside the car and that her husband’s cell phone also is missing.
“Please watch the video and share it with people you know,” Abigail Maslin said during a news conference outside MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where her husband is slowly recovering from brain injuries.
The details offered by 30-year-old Abigail Maslin for the first time indicate robbery as a possible motive. Before police confirmed that detail later on Tuesday, authorities had not commented on whether anything had been taken from the victim after he left The Tune Inn on Pennsylvania Avenue and parted ways with friends.
D.C. Police would not comment on the other details provided by Abigail Maslin, who said she’s been routinely briefed by detectives on the case.
Abigail’s Maslin’s public plea came hours ahead of a community meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening on Capitol Hill to discuss the rising number of robberies in the community.
The community meeting was scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE. D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier was expected to attend.
Last week, police said they were working to stem the increase and attributed most to non-violent snatch-and-grabs of cell phones.
First District police Cmdr. Daniel P. Dickson said at the time that the attack on Maslin, a solar energy analyst, stands out for its severity. He said the most violent of recent robberies in the area had involved punches to the face, but “nothing remotely like what happened” to Maslin.
Abigail Maslin praised police detectives and said she’s confident in their investigation. But of the video surveillance, she said, “It’s all we got.” She said the diligent police work “has allowed me to concentrate on my husband and let somebody else worry about who did this to him.”
But, she said, the attackers need to be caught: “It will happen again if we don’t find the people responsible.”
She has said her husband went to a Nationals game with a friend who was leaving town and then went to the Tune Inn. As the group parted, Maslin began to walk home alone along North Carolina Avenue, a route that she often took to her work as a teacher at Brent Elementary School, and one the couple often took while walking their 18-month-old son.
“There is nothing about that block that would have stood out to us as dangerous,” Abigail Maslin said.
She said her husband’s wallet was still in his back pocket after he was found unconscious but his cell phone and single credit card, which he had used to pay the tab at the Tune Inn, were not on him. She surmised that he put the card in his front pocket, along with his phone, after he paid his bill.
Maslin was found by a passerby on North Carolina Avenue. The person thought he was suffering a seizure and called paramedics. Police said it wasn’t until Maslin was examined at the hospital that doctors discovered he had been beaten in the head. Police have not said where they think the attack occurred.
Abigail Maslin said her husband underwent his third surgery, a tracheotomy, on Tuesday morning. She said two previous surgeries involved relieving pressure on his brain. Last week, Abigail Maslin said her husband would move a bit and squeeze her hand. He’s improved since then, she said, responding to voices with a thumbs up.
“That is a long way considering where we were when he was first admitted,” she said.