(WJLA) – After three violent robberies – two with knife attacks – in this normally quiet neighborhood, even tourists are on edge.
The first happened one week ago at 9th and C Streets in Southeast at around 10:15 p.m. as the victim walked home from the metro station.
Then at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday night at 4th and M Streets in Northeast near the Harris Teeter supermarket, another woman was robbed at knifepoint – but not injured.
Just a half an hour later at 8th and C Streets in Southeast, the third victim was standing at a bus stop on 8th Street just steps away from Eastern Market when a man came up and said to the 27-year-old: “Be quiet, give me your wallet…don’t do anything.”
They were almost the exact same words he uttered to the first victim last week just one block away.
The man forced the victim to a nearby alley, where police said he stole her purse and cell phone before attempting to lift up her skirt. She resisted, and then he stabbed her in the neck with an unknown sharp object.
“He's going to keep doing it unless someone turns him in, unless he's get caught,” are the cautious words from the first victim, a 67-year-old woman who knows all about it.
Police believe that the suspect is this man seen in this surveillance video, who is still on the loose after he stole her purse and slashed her throat.
“If he had been more towards the center of my throat, I would've been dead," says the victim.
“We all ran down the alley to look if we could find the guy,” said one of the several men who heard the third victim’s screams and ran out of their homes. They said he took off down 9th Street, where neighbor Mark Noecker made a possibly huge discovery on Thursday morning while walking his dog:
“In this tree box there was a military assault style knife that was laying on top of the leaves that was open that looked like an obvious throw down. There's no reason for this type of knife to be in this neighborhood."
Police now suspect the same man may be behind all three attacks.
"Because of the MO approaching the females, the similar lookouts, and the severity of the attacks, we're coordinating the investigations," said Capt. William Fitzgerald with the D.C. Police.
Residents are hoping he is caught – and soon.
Surveillance footage of suspect (YouTube):