That French phrase, deja vu, is often applied in this country to something we have seen before. The robbery that occurred in the heart of downtown Washington on Monday could then qualify as deja vu all over again.

It was the third daytime robbery of a smartphone store in the District in 11 days. And the techniques in each case seemed to have much in common.

On Monday, a smartphone store was robbed in the 1300 block of F Street NW, according to D.C. police, by two men who motioned toward employees as if they had a gun, and made off with a substantial haul of phones.

And like the phone store robberies Dec. 1 in the 1500 block of Benning Road NE, and on Dec 3 in the 1300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE, two robbers lugged their loot out of the store with something they found in the store.

A trash receptacle.

In each case, the receptacle was different. In one case it had wheels, making it easier to maneuver. But always a trash receptacle.

In the Monday robbery a detailed inventory of the items taken was given. The robbers took 51 phones, with a retail value that appeared to be at least $40,000.

Police did not indicate Monday that they have determined the same robbers to be involved in each incident.