Five teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19 were arrested Wednesday and charged in a string of armed robberies, assaults and other crimes that lasted about 10 days in Washington, D.C., police said.
At least one of the teens is tied to 15 robbery cases, including 11 armed robberies, one assault with intent to rob and one case where a victim was kidnapped at gunpoint on the 4200 block of Connecticut Avenue Northwest, then forced to withdraw cash at a bank, D.C. police said.
Police believe the teens were involved in 19 incidents since July 3 and these arrests will help solve eight of the dozen robberies reported in the District over 12 hours between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.
In one of those incidents, two victims walking down East Capitol Street Northeast about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday were approached by two armed suspects, according to a police report.
One suspect holding a pistol grabbed the victim's purse, then hit her face with the gun. The other suspect was allegedly holding a rifle and pushed the second victim, causing the gun to hit her face, the police report said.
The suspects got into a car driven by a third person and got away with IDs, a debit card, a Go-Pro camera, cash and other items, according to the police report.
The next day, four teen suspects were taken into custody Wednesday after they were found asleep in a car in an alley off I (Eye) Street Southeast on Capitol Hill, D.C. police chief Robert Contee said.
“We think that this particular group has been involved in multiple robberies in the last couple of days,” Contee said.
A 16-year-old boy from Northwest D.C. was charged with carjacking a victim at gunpoint in the 2300 block of Minnesota Avenue Southeast on Monday. He faces additional charges including two car thefts, two snatch robberies and 11 armed robberies.
A 13-year-old boy from Southeast D.C. faces nine counts of armed robbery, plus theft and snatch robbery.
A 15-year-old boy from Southeast D.C. is charged with ten counts of armed robbery.
A 16-year-old boy from Southeast D.C. is charged with eight counts of armed robbery.
The four boys each face charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and assault with intent to rob.
Zharmel Blount, 19, of Southeast D.C., is charged with two counts of armed robbery, police said. He had also been accused of a separate carjacking in January.
All five teens are accused of driving a stolen vehicle.
Contee said on Wednesday that police officers are familiar with the suspects accused of these crimes.
“These individuals, I should say, are known to us,” Contee said. “We’ve dealt with these individuals before, and I think that’s where we really need to focus. Why are we still dealing with the same individuals that we’ve arrested before?”
Stay with News4 for more on this developing story.