D.C. liquor store robbery ignored by customers

Customers stood idly by and even stole items while Singh's liquor store was being robbed. Photo: MPD

WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- The owner of a liquor store in the Takoma neighborhood of Northwest D.C. says several customers stood idly by while he was pistol whipped and robbed last Friday.

The robbery happened Friday afternoon at Sarbjit Singh's liquor store in the 6900 block of 4th Street Northwest, just south of that Takoma Metro station.

Singh says that the robbers pistol-whipped him and took money from his cash registers before ordering him at gunpoint to open the store's safe.

"Two men in black hoods, the gun pointed at me, came in like a bullet and jumped over the counter," Singh said. "He said, 'I'll count up to 10; if you don't open the safe, then I'll blow your head."

Singh told the suspects that he couldn't remember the combination and told them to just take the entire safe, which they struggled to do.

"Naturally, with a pistol at your head counting one to ten, nobody with a sane mind would remember anything," he said.

What stunned Singh further was the relative inaction of customers who were in the store during the robbery. He says that despite giving hand signals to call police, they did nothing.

"I think a child would know what's going on and nobody did anything," Singh said.

Amazingly, that's not entirely true. During the robbery, one customer stole a pack of beer. One of the suspects even came back after taking the safe to swipe a bottle of tequila.

"I never expected this behavior from citizens," says Singh.