Arrests made in Eastern Market assault

ABC7 has learned that police had possession of Thomas Maslin's cell phone for a month after his brutal beating near Eastern Market before figuring out it belonged to the victim.

Maslin, 29, was struck with a BB gun, punched to the ground and robbed of his credit card and cell phone, according to court papers filed Thursday that charge three people in the attack and that credit a citizen's tip with helping to crack the case.

The three suspects are also accused of robbing two other men in a separate neighborhood hours after attacking Thomas Maslin, who was assaulted near Eastern Market while on his way home from a bar after attending a Washington Nationals game with friends, police said.

Authorities recovered Maslin's cell phone after that second robbery, but it was difficult to trace because the battery was dead and the "SIM card" - a chip that identifies a phone to a wireless network - had been removed, said Chief Cathy Lanier.

Tommy Tyrone Branch of Fort Washington, 21, Michael Moore of Landover, 18, and a 17-year-old male now face armed robbery charges in Maslin's case.

During a Thursday court appearance, the suspects were denied bond.

Several hours after allegedly beating Maslin, the three suspects, according to court documents, armed with a black BB gun robbed three other men of their cell phones and wallet.

The three suspects were charged with armed robbery in that case and were being held on home confinement before being brought back into custody.

On Aug. 18, Maslin was found unconscious on the doorsteps of a home on North Carolina Avenue.

Friends say Maslin, who also goes by "T.C.", was heading home from Tune Inn bar on Pennsylvania Avenue around 12:30 a.m. that night.

Police believe Maslin was possibly mugged in a park near Eastern Market during his walk home. Sources say police found some of his belongings in the park across the street.

During the course of their investigation, police released surveillance footage of a 2005 silver Hyundai Sonata that may have been used during Maslin's assault. Police say the video shows the three occupants trying to use the victim's credit card at an Exxon station, located in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE, after the assault.

Maslin has undergone two brain surgeries since the attack.

Three weeks after Maslin's assault, 26-year-old Casey Adams was attacked in the same area. Adams told ABC7 he was outside taking a call when he was attacked. According to the police report, one suspect knocked Adams' cellphone out of his hands.

A second suspect came between two parked cars and pointed a silver-colored handgun at him. Both suspects then knocked Adams to the ground, kicking and punching him in the face. They fled the area with his smartphone.

While the vehicle descriptions in both cases were similar, police have not said whether the two cases are connected.

Maslin's wife, Abigail Maslin, issued this statement Wednesday night:

"The news of tonight's arrests brings great relief to my family. We are indebted to the hard work of DC detectives and police...While we are greatly relieved that the justice process is unfolding, the effects of this senseless act have left an indelible mark on our lives. TC's recovery will be long, arduous, and uncertain. He has suffered in unthinkable ways as a result of the actions of these young men. It is our deepest hope that this incident will serve as a reminder to all people in the community that it is our social responsibility to look out for one another, to be alert to suspicious situations, and to keep our eyes and ears open for information that may assist in providing justice."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.