Armed man robs FB Grocery

A man robbed the Foggy Bottom Grocery at gunpoint Friday afternoon and left with more than $500, police and witnesses said.

At about 1:35 p.m., a black male in his thirties attached a note to the door that said “Be Back in 10 Minutes” before placing a handgun on the counter and demanding money, said Metropolitan Police Department Sergeant John Mitchell and witnesses on the scene.

No arrests have been made in connection with the crime, MPD Public Information Officer Israel James said on Saturday. A University crime alert sent to members of the GW community Friday evening urged anyone who may have information on the crime to contact the University Police Department.

Jaime Molinelli, a veterinarian who lives in Baltimore, said she heard Foggy Bottom Grocery owner Meseret Bekele shouting from her shop’s door.

“I heard her screaming and I looked at him and said, ‘Hey, you!’ and he started running,” Molinelli said. “So I chased after him.”

Molinelli, the daughter of the late Foggy Bottom residents Jimmy and Lucille Molinelli, said she chased the robber from Foggy Bottom Grocery’s location at 2140 F St. to 22nd Street, but stopped when a bystander told her the man had a gun.

“I wasn’t going to catch him anyway,” she said.

Bekele sustained minor injuries, but she was otherwise unhurt, Mitchell said.

Kris Hart, a GW alumnus and owner of the nearby Relax tanning salon and spa, is in the process of buying the Foggy Bottom Grocery. He said Bekele, an Ethiopian immigrant in her 60s, was “shaken up.”

“It’s a terrible thing to happen to her,” said Hart, a former Student Association president. “She just doesn’t deserve it.”

Michael Akin, GW’s director of government and community relations, was also on scene and comforted Bekele.

“Meseret Bekele, the operator of the grocery, has been such an integral part of this neighborhood for so many years,” Akin said. “We are all so grateful that no one was injured.”

Nathan Grossman contributed to this report.

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