- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 8, 2003

Police were involved in a shootout with three armed robbers early yesterday at the International House of Pancakes in Marlow Heights.
A customer had used a cell phone to summon police to an armed robbery at the restaurant.
Officers arrived within four minutes after the 12:30 a.m. call as the gunmen left the restaurant.
"They were ordered to drop their weapons. They fired at least one shot at the officers," said Capt. Andy Ellis, a Prince George's County Police spokesman.
Police arrested one of the three ski-masked robbers within minutes. The other two escaped in a car.
Police questioned the 25-year-old D.C. man throughout yesterday. Spokeswoman Officer Debbi Sabel said the man's name would be released when he is charged.
As police arrived at the pancake house in the 4400 block of St. Barnabas Road, the robbers split up, and two ran behind a neighboring laundromat. Police ran around the other side. The third robber, who was later captured, had jumped into a white Mazda 626 bearing temporary plates. The other two fired their handguns again at the officers, who returned the fire.
"We're not sure if one was injured or not, but hospitals and emergency rooms were alerted," said Officer Sabel, confirming that police were not wounded.
Police called for a police dog and helicopter as they pursued the Mazda onto St. Barnabas Road for half a mile, then turned right onto Dallas Drive at Temple Hills, where it stopped.
Police dog Kelly, trailed by trainer Cpl. Tiffani Yuen and other officers, tracked the robber to a hideaway under a tractor-trailer.
The robbery occurred within minutes after the midnight IHOP crew began its shift. The day crew that relieved them yesterday morning had no information about the robbery.
Police interviewed about 10 patrons who witnessed the robbery and recovered a semiautomatic handgun and cash taken from the register.
Police are checking similar robberies that might be linked to the IHOP robbers. Ownership of the Mazda also is being investigated, but the temporary plates may cloud any involvement in robberies.
"Thank goodness for cell phones," one officer said.
"A patron inside the restaurant recognized what was happening," Capt. Ellis said. "Usually we get a call after the robbery, which means it takes a couple minutes to get there and the robbery is over."

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