Last spring, the Washington City Paper ran a story about Capitol Hill’s “Stephanie” phenomenon (“Deconstructing Stephanie,” 4/30/99). A series of thefts by women claiming to be a neighbor who was locked out and ill had led the U.S. Attorney’s Office to sponsor a “Stephanie Task Force.” Last Friday, Bonita Piper became the second Stephanie to be put out of business. Piper pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court to three counts of first-degree burglary and three counts of second-degree theft of an individual over 60 years of age (yes, that’s really the charge, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office press release). Neighbor David Barrows says he feels vindicated. “It just goes to show she was a little bit more than minor trouble,” Barrows says. “Not everybody on Capitol Hill can afford losing $50….You can feel sorry for people, but you don’t have to play into their cons.” —Jason Cherkis

Please send your City Desk tips to Elissa Silverman at or call 332-2100 and ask for my voice mail.