Police say two suspects were involved in an armed carjacking earlier this month on Astor Place SE. The name of the street alone is evocative of a major fortune made in America’s early days. (photo from surveillance video via DC police)

An account of WHAT happened is probably the most important thing about a crime, but sometimes, as in an armed carjacking in the District earlier this month, WHERE things happened seems fascinating in itself.

In the incident, a man is sitting at the wheel of a vehicle. Two people, whom the police are trying to find, approach. One of the two has a gun, and the driver is ordered out of the car. It happened on the rainy afternoon of Feb. 4, a Sunday.

The site was Astor Place, the 4900 block of Astor Place SE.

Police have surveillance video. They released it Monday. It showed two assailants, one pointing a pistol, coming up to the car The driver gets out, and surrenders property. One of the assailants gets into the car. Then he gets out again.

Police said the suspects tried to take the car but “were unsuccessful.” They fled, the car went nowhere, t the incident was described as a carjacking.

But it was on Astor Place. There may be a dozen or more streets in the United States named Astor Place. But probably the most famous of all is in New York City, in lower Manhattan, near the East Village.

That Astor Place was named shortly after the death in 1848 of the legendary John Jacob Astor. In the early years of the United States, Astor made millions in the fur trade and in real estate. His name became a synonym for riches.

By one estimate, he amassed a fortune that might have amounted to more than $100 billion in today’s dollars.

But, for all his 19th century wealth, there was something that Astor could not buy. That, because it had not been invented, was an automobile.

And, based on the surveillance video released by D.C. police on Monday, the suspects, for whatever reason, could not get the automobile they apparently wanted. In the surveillance video, the two can be seen fleeing the site of the incident on Astor Place. The car remains where it was.