U Street 'flash mob robbery' hits convenience store, clerk assaulted

A large group invaded the U Street Southeast store Saturday night. Photo: MPD

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Detectives in the District are looking for several suspects who robbed the King Convenience Store in Anacostia en masse and then assaulted the store's clerk.

The robbery happened just after 10 p.m. on July 20 at a convenience store at the corner of 16th and U streets SE, MPD officials say. Surveillance video shows several suspects walking into the store, grabbing items and leaving without paying.

The suspects appeared to be in their teens.

As the suspects left, police say that one person hit the clerk with a large piece of lumber.

"So he's got a hole behind this leg," the store manager says. "I took him to the hospital."

The only suspect described by police - the one who assaulted the clerk - is a 5-foot-8-inch black man who was wearing a blue shirt with a Nike logo, a short-sleeve jean jacket, a white sweatband, jean shorts and tennis shoes.

Neighbors noticed the mob as they gathered one block away.

"I was in the Laundromat washing my clothes," says Sean Shere Jackson. "It was about 20 to 30 of them. It just doesn't make any sense. It's terrible."

So-called "flash mob robberies" were once a common occurrence in the D.C. area. In late 2011, a Northeast Washington corner store was hit twice in the span of four months. Other such crimes, during which a large group of people invade a store and take low-priced items on a large scale, happened throughout Montgomery County in August and November of 2011.

Anyone with information about the robbery and assault is asked to contact detectives at 202-727-9099.