Police investigating string of transgender robberies - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Police investigating string of transgender robberies

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WASHINGTON -

In the last nine days, four different transgender women have been robbed along the D.C.-Prince George's County line. All of them have taken place in the early morning hours and some at gunpoint.

So far, two arrests have been made, but D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the pattern suggests others are involved.

Chief Lanier was so alarmed by what has been happening here along Eastern Avenue that she put out a statement to alert the community.

Perhaps more troubling is the descriptions investigators are getting have been so varied that they think there may be three to four different groups targeting transgender women.

Since June 10th, Chief Lanier said four different transgender women have been robbed in the 500 and 600 blocks of Eastern Avenue in Northeast D.C. as well as on some of the side streets.

In three of the police reports we have been able to see, one victim was slugged in the face and her purse taken. In another report, three men pulled up in a car, showed a gun and stole a purse and cell phone.

“It highlights that this community is still very much a vulnerable community as far as violence against this community and the attacks, and transgender women are just vulnerable in this community,” said Debbie McMillan.

McMillan and Earline Budd, both transgender women, work for the organization called HIPS or Helping Individual People Survive.

"It may not be exactly so much targeted, it’s just like a crime of passion,” said Budd. “We’re there and they just assume, some may not have money, they may not be out there for commercial sex work, they may be out there for whatever reason as we don't have places for transgenders to congregate anymore like the old brass rail we used to go to.”

Budd said just the fact the police chief sent out an alert and met recently with the transgender community says a lot about how far they have come.

A 17-year-old and a 16-year-old were arrested just after 2 a.m. Wednesday, according to a police report. The report says after they approached a transgender woman and told her “to get off my strip.” She was able to identify them to police which led to their arrest.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 202-727-9099.


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