Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Beware of the Shoe Bandit!

From "Jo Fu":
I was at Greenbelt Station at 1 p.m. Tuesday. It had been a pretty stressful week, so I was pretty on edge.

I got on the train and sat down, called up my mom to tell her about my doctor's visit. Four minutes into the call, a small, squat black woman came into the car, looked around, and walked straight up to me. I was in the very back seat of a car, and she blocked my path of escape.

"GIVE ME YOUR SHOE," she yelled.

"What? No!" I replied.

I was still on the phone with my mom, and let out a pretty profane, "Jesus Christ."

Two other people on the train start looking our way.

"GIVE ME YOUR SHOE," she yelled, louder this time.

"No, you can't have my shoe."



Panic sets in.

I glanced really quickly at her feet and she had one pristine sneaker and one completely bare foot.

I stood up to protect my shoes (I've had another shoe-related incident on the Metro before), and she lunged at my lunch bag.


She grabs at it, I fall down, and get dragged a couple feet.

The bag spilled, and a Honeycrisp apple fell out.



She grabbed the apple from off the ground and, without running, sauntered onto the next car.

After casting a terrified glance at the two others on the train, both of whom were getting out of their seats, I chased her to the other car.

No one came running when I yelled, so instead of staying on the train (She wasn't much larger than me, but a citizen's arrest was out of the question), I ran down to the station manager's booth to report the incident. I was hysterical, somewhat asthmatic, and in tears.

Three men were there, and they reported it immediately, though I did end up standing outside sobbing for about five minutes, until another Metro employee offered to open up the bathroom for me so I could get my knee cleaned up.

Then he stayed by me and chatted, apologizing profusely while we waited for the Metro police.

The officer, R. A. Sanchez, showed up after a while. He took my statement, hung out with me, and and we waited while dispatch tried to track down the train and perpetrator.

I was close enough to hear the radio chatter, and I have to admit they put a bunch of effort into my missing apple (and the assault.)

They dispatched units to several stations, looking for the woman.

Officer Sanchez stayed with me until they found her, thanks in part to the discovery of another victim--one whose shoe was actually stolen.

This woman was caught due to a very detailed description, and yes, two mismatched shoes.

Thanks to the efforts of the Metro police and the WMATA  staff who stood by the whole time (I'm sorry I didn't catch his name.)

The station manager was genuinely concerned about the lack of WMATA employees on the platform itself.

I'm glad, at the end of the day, the woman was caught, or else this might have been a real Cinderella story. 

Other items:
Brace for a fun evening commute (WaPo)
Metro wants to cash in on Inauguration Day (Examiner)
Metro ridership still down (Examiner)

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