Police are investigating six robberies along the Eastern Avenue corridor and side streets in Ward 7 in which five of the victims are transgender women, many of them sex workers on that street, which is known as a destination for prostitution. The robberies occurred between June 10 and June 18 between 2 and 6 a.m.
Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier posted on an email group for that police district Thursday that officers arrested two juveniles in connection with the June 18 robbery. She wrote that police do not believe the robberies are connected.
On June 17, one of the victims says she entered the vehicle of the suspect soliciting prostitution favors when the suspect drove for two blocks and then asked her to give him her purse. After she refused, he put a gun to her head and she gave him her purse. She then jumped out of the moving vehicle, according to a police report, suffering severe injuries to her face, arms, and, legs.
Another woman says she was approached on the street by two men with a club-like object asking her to give them her purse. One of the suspects took the purse from her while the other one “stood by menacingly,” according to the police report.
In the June 18 robbery, in which the two suspects were arrested, the victim says that two men approached her telling her to “get off my strip” and “drop your shit we are goin to bust your ass,” while making gestures to their waistbands suggesting that they had weapon. The suspects fled on foot, were stopped, positively identified by the victim, and arrested.
None of the police reports for these incidents states that these incidents were hate crimes or suspected hate crimes. Lanier said detectives are working with the MPD’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit and police in Prince George’s County to increase patrols and investigate the crimes.
In 2011, two transgender women were shot at in this area—-one of them was killed——in two separate incidents. At the time, advocates said that while this is an area that transgender prostitutes go for business, a lot of these women simply go there to socialize and are not prostitutes.
Anyone with information on these latest robberies can contact MPD at (202) 727-9099.