DC Police Leave Stolen Car in Traffic for Week

Here’s a story you don’t see every day:  A stolen car was left parked in traffic — even facing the wrong way — in a busy DC thoroughfare for a week. WaPo’s Mary Pat Flaherty reports.

The abandoned car in traffic lane at 15th Street NW. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

The abandoned car in traffic lane at 15th Street NW. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

For more than a week, the silver Mercury Grand Marquis sat abandoned in a traffic lane of 15th Street NW near the intersection with M Street.  Yet for a big sedan resting unattended in the nation’s capital less than a mile from the White House and directly outside the building housing the Embassy of Djibouti it did not seem to be attracting keen official attention.

[…]

The car faced southbound in lanes that all run northbound on 15th Street at evening rush hour on a busy commuter route, and for those of you who have been trapped in slogs home, that wrong-way car in the 1100 block of 15th has not been your friend. For a time, it had been snuggled up against a mountain of curb-side snow, but that mound had been cleared and in fine D.C. fashion, drivers eager to snag metered parking spaces had taken to driving around the marooned sedan and backing up into the parking spaces it was blocking.

Now the four-door with Texas tags sat as a giant, unmoving, unlit hulk in the middle of a major street in the middle of what I’d have thought was a spot where security would be heightened: big car, embassy, White House nearby.

Three parking tickets fluttered under the wiper: each from around 6 p.m. on Feb. 16, Feb. 17, Feb. 18. Each said a tow had been requested. Each carried a $100 fine.

It took one phone call to Fort Lee to get in touch with First Lt. Mohammad AlRomayan of Saudi Arabia’s National Guard, whose car it is and whose name appeared on that base parking pas son the dashboard.  He had reported his car stolen to District police on Feb. 13, he said and had a form and tracking number. He’d come to the District from Fort Lee, about 35 miles south of Richmond, where he is training at the quartermaster school. He had been shopping near 13th and M Streets NW and thought he’d been towed when he came back and couldn’t locate his car, he said. He called the numbers listed on parking signs, he said, and when he had no luck, filed a stolen car report.

Essentially, no one did anything about this car until Flaherty brought it to the attention of DC police supervisors — at which time prompt action was taken.

This was a block from my office, which is directly across the street from those of the Post.   Diplomatic plates are common in the area and cars so adorned routinely flout traffic laws. So, for that matter, do cabs, buses, and delivery vehicles.   And cars are routinely parked in lanes that convert to driving lanes at 4 pm well after the appointed hour.  And don’t get me started on blocking the box.  There’s just not much traffic enforcement.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DC Loser says:

    James – but the article said the car had Texas plates, not the diplomatic plates issued by the State Department. But we ARE talking about the DC Metropolitan Police, so I’m hardly surprised.

  2. JKB says:

    Let’s see, a car abandoned in the road, in front of a foreign embassy, within a mile of the White House, a block from the Washington Post, readily traceable to a foreign national from the country that gave us most of the 9/11 killers?

    Forget national security, just open up the towing industry to competition and this car wouldn’t have lasted an hour.

  3. Drew says:

    Of course, we need to increase government expenditures in the name of “vital public services.”

    I know. Cheap shot. But there is truth………..

  4. Triumph says:

    It took one phone call to Fort Lee to get in touch with First Lt. Mohammad AlRomayan of Saudi Arabia’s National Guard, whose car it is and whose name appeared on that base parking pas son the dashboard. He had reported his car stolen to District police on Feb. 13, he said and had a form and tracking number. He’d come to the District from Fort Lee, about 35 miles south of Richmond, where he is training at the quartermaster school

    You’re missing the real scandal from this story, namely, what in the hell is someone from the army of an Islamic Terrorist producing country like Saudi doing TRAINING at a US military facility?

    Most of the 9/11 attackers were colleagues of AlRomayan. During the Bush Administration, scumbags like this were on the run. Under B. Hussein Obama, he invites them to infiltrate the military.

    By the end of Obama’s reign our military is going to be controlled by the gays and the terrorists.

    Pure disgust.

  5. DL says:

    Splain to me how it’s facing the wrong way?

  6. James Joyner says:

    Splain to me how it’s facing the wrong way?

    The particular stretch of 15th street becomes a one-way street from 4-6:30 pm weekdays.