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5 arrests made in string of armed robberies, all suspects under age 20

Those arrested are allegedly connected to 19 crimes, ranging from unauthorized use of a vehicle to armed robbery and assault, between July 3 and July 14.

WASHINGTON — DC Police made five arrests Wednesday after a series of violent crimes plagued the District Tuesday night into early Wednesday. All five of the suspects are under the age of 20, and in total, they are allegedly connected to 19 crimes ranging from unauthorized use of a vehicle to armed robbery and assault, between July 3 and July 14. 

Ten of the reported crimes happened Tuesday overnight into Wednesday morning, and DC Police Chief Robert Contee said Wednesday that members of the carjacking task force tracked down four of the suspects Wednesday. 

“They were asleep inside of the vehicle," Chief Contee said. "There’s property inside of the vehicle. There appears to be at least one firearm inside the vehicle that we can see.”

The crimes happened in D.C.'s first, third, fourth and sixth districts, according to DC Police. 

RELATED: Several armed robberies in DC appear to have been committed by teenagers, police say

Here's who was arrested and what the charges were.

  1. 19-year-old man, of Southeast, DC: Charged with:
    • Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle
    • Two counts of Armed Robbery (Gun)

  2. 16-year-old boy, of Northwest, DC, charged with: 
    • Armed Carjacking (Gun), 
    • Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Gun), 
    • Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, 
    • Assault with Intent to Rob, 
    • Assault with Intent to Rob while Armed (Gun), 
    • 2 counts of Theft One (Stolen Auto), 
    • 2 counts of Robbery (Snatch), 
    • 11 counts of Armed Robbery (Gun)

  3. 13-year-old boy, of Southeast, DC, charged with:
    •  Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Gun)
    • Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle
    • Assault with Intent to Rob
    • Assault with Intent to Rob while Armed (Gun)
    • 2 counts of Theft One (Stolen Auto)
    • Robbery (Snatch)
    • 9 counts of Armed Robbery (Gun)

  4. 16-year-old boy, of Southeast, DC,  charged with:
    • Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Gun)
    • Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle
    • Assault with Intent to Rob while Armed (Gun)
    • 8 counts of Armed Robbery (Gun)

  5. 15-year-old boy, of Southeast, DC, charged with:
    • Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Gun)
    • Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle
    • Assault with Intent to Rob while Armed (Gun)
    • 10 counts of Armed Robbery (Gun)

RELATED: Friday shooting marks disturbing milestone | DC hits 100th homicide of 2021, MPD says

“I'm not shocked, but I am disheartened," Tia Bell said of the teens arrested and charged. Bell is the Founder and CEO of the T.R.I.G.G.E.R Project, a youth-led youth gun violence prevention organization in DC.

“We're desensitized, we've been oppressed, we've been confined by COVID," Bell said. "So whatever is going to happen in the next few years is going to happen at a high magnitude, because there's been so much suppression.”

Bell said it's a trend for young people to do things that are not positive and credits that to years of manifestation of not being supervised or having a community pour into them. 

Bell said addressing social issues and injustices, treating gun violence as a disease, and informing young people of the risk factors can move the community in the right direction.

"It's not new what we're exposed to," Bell said. "Of course the culture of violence is starting to become more prominent, but it's okay because we can combat it. We can combat it.”

The total number of robberies District-wide year to year is staying steady, but more criminals are using guns, according to DC Metropolitan Police data that WUSA9 examined.

This year from Jan. 1, to July 14, there were 897 robberies throughout the city. Last year for that same stretch of time, there were 890 robberies according to the crime stats. When it comes to robberies using a gun, MPD reports 102 more this year compared to last citywide.

In MPD's 4th District alone, which includes upper Northwest and most of Northeast D.C., there were four armed robberies Tuesday. So far in 2021, that area has seen 66 armed robberies, which is more than twice what it was in 2020.

To view crime in your DC neighborhood, click here.

D.C. also recorded its 100th homicide of the year on July 9, which is the earliest the city has hit the grim milestone since 2003, according to the D.C. Police Union. 

D.C.'s homicide rate has increased 3% since this time last year, according to DC Police statistics, but 2020's numbers had seen a 19% increase from the year before.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was at the White House Monday, joining President Biden and local leaders from around the country who are scrambling to deal with a surge in murders in a number of cities.

The president said one key is stemming the flow of firearms used to commit violent crimes. 

"You and I, mayor, have talked about this before," he said, nodding to Bowser.

Biden pointed to billions in the American Rescue Plan that state and local governments can use to put more officers on the street, including $59 million for D.C. to help reduce gun violence and build safer neighborhoods. 

The White House said $3.4 million will be used to hire 100 new police cadets, $11.4 million to help returning citizens and $7.8 million for more violence interrupters.

 You can get yourself or a child involved with the T.R.I.G.G.E.R Project HERE.

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