Muggers Stole My Radio Show

radioCPRI have a perfectly good reason I didn’t make it to the station tonight for my Friday night show on Radio CPR. I got mugged on the way there.

I had a pretty good show planned, honest. Full of Halloween songs, psychobilly and old audio ads for horror movies. But I had barely gotten down the street with my bag of discs before a couple of guys punched me after passing me by, knocked me down and began slugging and kicking.

Or that is what I remember. Mostly I was doing my fallback mugging reaction: Yelling really loud. First HEY then HELP and then more HELP! One guy tried to put his hand over my mouth as I yelled. The kicking and hitting continued. What the hell.

I knew someone would come along to help pretty soon, and so did they, apparently. So they scampered up the alley, which is when I started cussing them out good. By then there were a lot of people around to ask if I was all right, and mostly I was, except for scrapes from being knocked to the sidewalk.

Dazed, I grasped around for the spilled CDS. My glasses were intact and not too bent (the cartoon superhero Atom Ant would have been relieved). I was patting down a pocket when I learned I didn’t have my phone. I had my wallet but they had gotten away with something they either yanked from the front pocket of my coat or it had spilled to the ground as well.

I borrowed a passerby’s phone to call 911 and they answered pretty quickly. They got some details and sent a squad car which got there fairly soon. I started repeating information as I could. A neighbor walking dogs who had seen these dudes going down the street just before they reached me had a pretty good description. Then I typed in my Apple ID into the squad car computer and they could track where my phone was — over a couple of blocks to the Columbia Heights Metro. I got in a squad car and was in pursuit. This was getting to be kind of exciting. But the screen froze and the car pulled over as the detectives showed up, wanting more information. They kept tracking the phone and it was making its way down the Green Line: U Street, Navy Yard.

One cop actually asked Metro to stop the train — for a phone! — and Metro said it would cost them too much money to stop it (they might have for a murderer, the cop told me later). Instead, cops were at an alert at each stations for these suspects, who had such vague descriptions it’d be a miracle if they saw them.

But they did nab a couple of guys who might fit the description in Anacostia, so we rode all the way down there. There were a few cop cars there and they brought these guys they had been holding for 20 minutes or so out in front of the headlights to see if they were the ones. Suddenly I was in a George Pelecanos novel.

The first one had red hair and white socks I would have noticed, and seemed too young. A second was too short, had a jacket that was too baggy, and again was too young. It was worth a try, a cop said.

By now the phone tracking had dried up; they had either turned off the phone or tossed it. Either way, no phone. I didn’t feel too terrible about it, though it is a supreme hassle. I’d backed up all the pictures and music. The contacts I will have to check again. My solitaire score was breaking 30000 and would have to start again at 0 when I get a new phone.

We drove back up town. The police radio was blowing up. There were more robberies this Friday evening than most nights — four so far — and here was one developing that involved a gunman. I felt bad about them spending time giving me a ride home.

They asked if I had lost anything more than the phone. My pride! I thought. No actually, I didn’t yet go through all my CDs to see if they’re still there.

So there may be a couple of thugs sitting around Anacostia listening to the Cramps and going: What is this crap? Serves them right.



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