The Washington Post

Women attacked near Eastern Market, NoMa; police investigating if incidents are related

The Metropolitan Police Department is seeking the public's assistance in identifying a person of interest in reference to an armed robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon incident, which occurred in the 200 block of 8th Street SE on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. (D.C. Metropolitan Police Department)

A man who targets women walking alone at night and robs them after pressing a sharp object to their throats may have struck three times within a week near Eastern Market and the NoMa-Gallaudet Metro station, D.C. police said.

The attacks over the past week have sparked fear on Capitol Hill, and police are urging women to be vigilant. Two of the women were cut or stabbed, one seriously enough to require hospital treatment, according to police, who have posted a video of a possible suspect.

Police Capt. William Fitzgerald, of the criminal investigation division, said that while detectives have not definitively linked the three cases, they are all similar in method and time of occurrence. “We are coordinating the three investigations,” the captain said.

D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) said he plans to hold a community meeting after Memorial Day to discuss the attacks. “Obviously, someone targeting single women in the evening when you should feel safe walking through the neighborhood creates a lot of concern,” said Wells, who chairs the council’s public safety committee.

The latest attack occurred about 9:45 p.m. Wednesday at a bus stop near Independence Avenue and Eighth Street SE. A police report says the man told the 27-year-old victim to “be quiet,” demanded her wallet and said, “Don’t do anything.” Police said he then put his arms around her neck and forced her to walk across Eighth Street and into an alley.

In this case, police said the man tried to lift up the woman’s skirt, but she resisted. He then stabbed her in the neck and ran through the alley toward Ninth Street SE with her purse, credit cards, umbrella and a single dollar bill. The extent of the woman’s injuries could not be determined.

A half-hour earlier, about 9:15 p.m., Fitzgerald said a woman walking on M Street NE, near the NoMa Metro station, was attacked in a similar way. He said the victim, in her 20s, was walking alone when a man came up behind her, pressed a sharp object to her neck and took some property.

On May 15 near Eastern Market, D.C. police said a man grabbed a 67-year-old woman at Ninth and C streets SE and put a sharp object against her neck. “Do not say anything and be quiet,” he told her before cutting her and stealing her purse, credit cards, $50 and a cellphone. That robbery occurred about 10:15 p.m., two blocks from where the 27-year-old woman was attacked Wednesday.

Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. Anyone with information is urged to call 202-727-9099 or text 50411.

Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

Clarence Williams is the night police reporter for The Washington Post and has spent the better part of 13 years standing next to crime scene tape, riding in police cars or waking officials in the middle of night to gather information about breaking news in and around Washington.



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