Metro Transit Police are investigating a woman’s account that she was was robbed and held at knifepoint by a group of men on a Green Line train last month, the transit agency said Wednesday, in a case that was not previously detailed to the public.
Dana Lucas, 27, of Temple Hills, Md., said she was riding the Green Line toward Branch Avenue when a group of men attacked her and fled with her belongings. She said one of the men punched her multiple times in the ear and jaw, and another held a knife to her throat.
The attack began near L’Enfant Plaza about 9:30 p.m on Dec. 15. After The Post inquired about the case Tuesday, a Metro Transit Police captain emailed Lucas seeking further details. Metro listed the incident in its weekly police blotter, but the details — including suspect descriptions — were not disseminated to the public.
Lucas said she had just finished shopping at the H Street Walmart when she boarded the train at Gallery Place, intending to take Metro to Naylor Road. Around L’Enfant Plaza, Lucas said, she noticed a group of men — some of whom were wearing ski masks — toward the back of her car. Later as she she was sitting down, one of the men began tugging on her purse, she said. When she resisted, noticing her bag was unzipped, she turned around and noticed the attacker smirking. Finally she began pulling her purse away, and he became angry.
“He smiles, he stood up and was like ‘this b—- think she’s strong,'” she said.
When she again reached for her purse, she said, two other men walked toward her. Then, she said, one of the men punched her near her left ear and jaw. The other men took her grocery bags and grabbed for her purse.
The last one held a knife to her throat, she said.
“Stop fighting and give them what they want,” she recalled him saying.
At Waterfront, Lucas said, the men fled the train as another female passenger screamed at them to leave her alone. Lucas said she got off at Anacostia and sought help. At Anacostia, Lucas said, a Metro Transit Police officer directed her to a station manager, who bounced the case back to Transit Police.
Finally the station manager took down her name. Lucas reported the incident to Transit Police early the following morning; the report lists 7:06 a.m.
“This case is being actively investigated and detectives are working with the victim to get additional information,” Metro spokesman Ron Holzer said. “A review of camera footage at Waterfront Station, where the victim reported the suspects exited, did not show persons matching the description provided, based on the information detectives have at this time.”
Lucas said she was frustrated that Metro didn’t publicize the incident in an effort to find her attackers. She said she provided details, such as the clothing the attackers were wearing; a man with mismatched gloves, another with a red jacket and a chain.
Metro said it disclosed the incident in its police blotter the week it happened. The case is classified as a robbery with a dangerous weapon, and the incident report shows Lucas lost at least $200 in addition to $60 in groceries from three Walmart shopping bags.
Lucas is a facilities assistant at Georgetown law firm Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.
“Obviously you go anywhere in society and things can happen, but it just seems like we’re seeing so many things happen on Metro and their response is just so scattershot and haphazard,” said Mindy Pava, a Kelley Drye attorney who has helped Lucas. “Anything could happen, but it’s just troubling that that was the response especially when the agency says ‘we’re gonna have this new policy in place to try to report crimes and give publicity.’ Well they certainly didn’t follow that stated goal in this case.”
Last spring, Metro instituted a policy of reporting violent crimes on the day they happen after riders and elected officials were outraged that the agency did not disclose that a woman was allegedly raped on a Red Line train during the morning commute April 12. That incident didn’t come to light until court proceedings a month later.
In the Green Line case, Metro said the first report didn’t come until the following day.
Lucas said her injuries sent her to the doctor after her ear began “popping.” And now, she says, she’s afraid to ride Metro alone. Her five-year-old daughter fears for her mother.
“Now every time I leave my house my daughter is like ‘Mom, are you going to be alone?’ Lucas said. ‘”I don’t want you to get robbed and hurt again, that hurts my feelings a lot.”