D.C. police search for serial armed robber, accomplice targeting local businesses

Metropolitan Police believe the man in this surveillance still is responsible for seven serial armed robberies in D.C. (Metropolitan Police Department)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – Metropolitan Police believe there is a serial armed robber on the loose in the District who has struck five times in the last six days—seven times total.

Local businesses are on alert, because until the thief is off the streets, they don’t know where he will strike next. He has already hit a Capitol Hill Papa John’s twice, and police say all seven of the recent armed robberies may be linked.

D.C. police believe the heavyset black man wearing a white tank top who pulled out a gun in a surveillance video is the same man who hit seven different stores in the city at gunpoint. In at least one case, he threatened to kill one of the store employees if he called police.

ABC 7 News has confirmed that in one instance, the thief told a victim, “No hard feelings, I just need to buy school supplies for my kids.”

The robber’s size is distinctive and sometimes he wears sunglasses, or even a mask. Most of the time, he has an accomplice with him whose job appears to be putting the stolen money in a bag; police also believe the same accomplice is involved in the string of robberies. So far, the two have managed to walk out and escape capture.

ABC 7 News combed through each police report. The stores robbed include a Subway restaurant, mom-and-pop convenience stores and two cellphone stores. The time of day varies; the armed attacks have occurred as early as 2:30 a.m. and as late as 11 p.m.

The Papa John’s that was robbed twice is near a school, and parents are worried the violence could escalate.

“That definitely makes me very uncomfortable, I mean I have a daughter, I have two other children. I certainly don’t want them to be in that environment,” said Franklin Owens. “I certainly don’t want to be around if it’s more than just a robbery.”

The victimized businesses are all over MPD’s First, Fourth and Sixth Districts. Most were in Southeast D.C., while one happened in Northwest. The armed robberies began on Aug. 14 and picked up speed, with the gunman attacking five times in the last six days.

Police say if you recognize the thief, call 911 and do not approach him.