Robberies plague area near Metro

Police believe the three early-morning incidents were committed by the same men

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

A 37-year-old man was robbed at gunpoint near the Silver Spring Metro early Saturday morning, and police are still looking for two men involved, as well as investigating other robberies that may be connected.

The man was leaving the Metro shortly before 1 a.m. through the main entrance and walking under the Metro tracks on the north side of Colesville Road, according to Montgomery County Police.

While under the bridge, a man approached the victim from behind and asked him a question. When he began to answer, the man walked in front of him and produced a gun, demanding his wallet, according to police.

The victim, who kept his cash separate from his wallet, handed over his cash. The man again demanded his wallet and the victim gave it to him. The man took his bank card and threatened to shoot him if he didn’t give him the personal identification number and come with him to an automated teller machine, according to police.

While the victim was being threatened by the man, a second man came up from behind and grabbed a book and notebook from the victim’s back pocket and kept walking, police said.

Both men eventually left without the ATM card, heading south on Colesville Road toward East West Highway. They were black, between 18 and 25 years old. The man with the gun was 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 150 to 170 pounds. He was wearing gray sweatpants and a white sleeveless undershirt. The other man was black, 18 to 25 years old and weighed 150 to 170 pounds. He was wearing a black and red shirt and hat.

Detectives are also investigating two other street robberies that may have been committed by the same men. One occurred shortly after 1 a.m. May 29 at the Metro station bus stop at 1171 Bonifant St. A 23-year-old Wheaton man was waiting for a bus when two men approached him. One of them produced a handgun and demanded money, police said.

The victim gave cash and one of the men took his wallet. The victim asked to have his wallet back. The men returned it and ran toward Colesville Road and East West Highway.

The other robbery occurred shortly after 2:30 a.m. May 13 at the same bus stop. A 22-year-old Silver Spring man was approached by two men who asked if he had any money, police said.

The victim said he did not, and the men didn’t believe him. The victim took out his wallet and one man took the cash inside and pushed the victim. Both men ran toward Georgia Avenue.

While there is no way to completely prevent being a victim of a crime, there are ways to be a less appealing target for criminals, said Lucille Baur, a spokeswoman for Montgomery County Police.

‘‘It’s always a good idea when you’re in a public place after dark to be aware of your surroundings,” she said, adding that’s not a good time to be multi-tasking.

People should also walk with purpose, she said, and make sure they have keys in hand if they are walking toward a car or home.

If someone demands money, it’s a person’s individual choice whether he or she wants to comply, Baur said. ‘‘The most important thing is to protect yourself. ...We suggest a person think about what they would do in advance.”

Anyone with information about these robberies is asked to call the Third District Investigative Section at 301-565-5835. Those who wish to remain anonymous should call Crime Solvers at 1-855-411-8477.