Store hit by theft spree during zoo stabbing

Just before 6 p.m. Monday, a group of nearly 20 young men enter the trendy - and pricey - G Star Raw store at Connecticut Avenue and R Street near Dupont Circle and began helping themselves to whatever they wanted.

The store is down Connecticut Avenue from the National Zoo and this incident occurred about an hour after the stabbing there.

During their minutes long flash mob theft spree, video, exclusively obtained by ABC7 News, shows the suspects hunting through the merchandise as if they were looking for the right size, sometimes even leisurely. Other kids can be seen outside on cell phones and appear to be acting as lookouts for the police.

The store manager can be seen taking back some of the merchandise from some of the suspects.

According to store manager Gregory Lennon, the thieves made off with around a hundred items worth "thousands of thousands of dollars" from a store that is known for trendy and expensive styles of jeans, shirts and jackets.

"They helped themselves to whatever they wanted," said Lennon. "They had no fear, they weren't concerned. They were on their cell phones inside the store talking to their friend outside the store who were watching for the police."

"There were no police on the street," he said. "I looked outside and in both directions and couldn't see any officers."

The manager says he called 911 shortly before 6pm. There is a 10 minute gap between when the manager is seen on the phone and when an MPD officer entered the store.

Chief Cathy Lanier provided ABC7 with the MPD call log of the incident showing two 911 calls were made, and officers were dispatched about four minutes after the first call and reported on scene "canvassing" about three-and-a-half minutes later.

Chief Lanier told ABC7 News Reporter Kris Van Cleave by phone that the second call to police gave a direction the suspects were heading and officers went that way first

Via email, Lanier said for the type of call she referred to as "theft1": "This response was very quick."

Witness Dan O'Neill had just left the store and was trying on a jacket in a neighboring Benetton store that connects to G Star Raw when he heard an alarm and watched two men come from G Star Raw and exit through the front door of the Benetton.

MPD call log:

17:59:43….. 1st Call

18:01:36……2nd Call

18:03:48……Dispatched to 2084/Kelvin Rodriguez & 2085/Rochelle Reid

18:08:09……2084 on the scene via I-mobile 2085 canvassing

18:18:11……2085 available via MDT

18:25:50……2084 obtains CCN numbers for Theft 1

MPD commander Michael Reese said the 2nd District has had six similar thefts since July of last year. In March, they arrested suspects believed to be connected to several of the thefts.

He said the police presence is adequate but will be readjusted as needed.

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