- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Metropolitan Police are looking for a possible serial bandit who is robbing guests in some of the city’s finest Northwest hotels.

Detectives reported four similar robberies since early October, including one Tuesday night in which the bandit robbed three people in the foyer of the Wardman Park Marriott Hotel in Woodley Park.

“Right now, we’re not saying they are all connected,” said police spokesman Officer Junis Fletcher. “There are some similarities to the crimes, but we can’t definitively say they are all connected.”

Officer Fletcher said that police recovered a video-surveillance tape from the scene of one robbery and that they have a “person of interest” in the case. He said investigators have not been able to link the person to all the crimes.

Police would not identify the person of interest.

The robbery on Tuesday occurred at about 10:10 p.m. in the foyers of the Wardman, 2660 Woodley Road NW, when a black man in a gray sweat shirt produced a gun and demanded money.

The bandit was described as 25 to 30 years old, about 6 feet tall, 170 pounds, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair.

Bill Wallace, director of marketing for the Wardman, declined to comment on whether he knew about the series of hotel robberies before the one at his hotel on Tuesday night. He referred inquiries to police when asked whether guests were informed about the robbery.

However, Derrick Lockhart, the hotel’s director of loss prevention, said guests were being made aware.

“It’s all over the news,” he said.

When asked about the robbery in the lobby of the hotel, most guests said they had not heard anything about it.

The descriptions of the suspect and the robberies have been similar in all four cases, except on Oct. 3, when no gun was used.

In that case, a woman was robbed at about 12:35 p.m. in a dimly lit mahogany-and-mirrored elevator at the Savoy Suites in Georgetown at 2505 Wisconsin Ave. NW.

The elevator takes guests from the upper levels down to the parking garage.

The robber was described as a black man, 20 years old, 6 feet 1 inch tall, 180 pounds with a dark complexion.

Richard Spigler, president of Great Addresses, which owns the Savoy, said the hotel felt restricted as to how much information it could offer guests.

“We’re in a difficult situation because there is an investigation going on, and our first concern is to catch this guy,” he said.

But a general manager on duty last night, who gave his name only as “Walter,” said he was unaware that there was a robbery at the Savoy.

“You’re the first to tell me about it,” he told a reporter.

On Nov. 8, an armed bandit robbed a woman riding an elevator at about 5:45 p.m. in the Melrose Hotel, 2430 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The robber was described as a black man, 25 years old, 6 feet 1 inch tall, 190 pounds with braided hair. Police said the robber made off with cash and valuables worth about $1,400.

On Nov. 17, an armed bandit robbed two men who were riding an elevator at the Days Inn Hotel, 4400 Connecticut Ave. NW. The robber was caught on a surveillance videotape in that case.

He is described as a black man, 20 years old, about 6 feet tall, 200 pounds, with a dark complexion. A general manager on duty yesterday declined to comment on the robbery or give his name.

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