WASHINGTON - Viral video from a D.C. Wharf security camera shows the moment four suspects, appearing armed, rushed toward diners waiting outside a high-end restaurant.
The incident happened in a matter of seconds after a dark-color sedan slowly pulled up to the 600 block of Wharf Street SW.
The dramatic scene unfolded outside of Philippe Chow a little before 11 p.m. Monday, October 16. Online, it says the Asian restaurant just opened up at the Wharf over the summer, boasting a world-renowned chef. There are a number of other high-end restaurants and businesses nearby. The area is well-lit and there is security. However, an armed robbery still happened there.
D.C. Police tell FOX 5 they’re looking for a total of five suspects, believed to be 17-to-25 years old. Police tell FOX 5 they did not get any reports of gunfire but did confirm wallets, watches and other personal items were stolen.
Philippe Chow’s management told FOX 5 in a statement: "On Monday night, October 16 after leaving our restaurant a group of guests were the victims of an armed robbery. The safety of our staff and guests is our greatest priority, and we are working with the Metropolitan Police Department to aid in any way we can in this ongoing investigation. We urge anyone with information to contact police at tel: (202)727-9099."
"I don’t know, I just felt like being in D.C. you kind of expect for it to be kind of nice. You’re like, oh this is where the president is, like things like that in D.C. costing problems, things like that, you’re wondering what the public are doing, what’s going on with the people, is there somewhere to help?" said Brandon Harrington, who told FOX 5 he recently moved to D.C. from Baltimore and is shocked by the level of violence he’s been seeing in D.C. Harrington tells FOX 5 he works near where the armed robbery unfolded – and as a social worker, encourages those he works with to always stay vigilant.
FOX 5 also spoke with one person in particular who claims to be a resident and is "happy" the video was publicized. That person told FOX 5 this incident is one of about 20 similar incidents they’ve heard of at the Wharf. However, the person claims they never see any news reports of those other incidents or information shared online.
DC Police CrimeCards stats show there have been at least eight armed robbery reports within a 1,000 ft. radius of the restaurant area where the armed robbery took place. This figure is over the past months, compared to zero armed robbery reports in that same time last year.
"It’s certainly shocking that a brazen robbery like this would happen in such a well-popular area, where police frequent, where security staff are, where there are cameras, so it’s certainly concerning," said D.C. Police Captain Jeffrey Kopp, who told reporters he feels everyone should be concerned for their security, staying vigilant, no matter where they are in the city.
Kopp said he doesn't think the incident will deter people from going out in D.C.
I think that folks know that things like this do happen in the city, unfortunately we do our best to prevent them. We do our best to solve those crimes when they do happen," said Kopp.
Kopp said D.C. Police is continuing to shift resources where needed. He also spoke to D.C. Police needing help. An up to $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.