The Senate Sergeant-at-Arms last Friday warned lawmakers and staffers to take precautions following a string of armed carjackings on members of Congress and their staff, Fox News reported.
DC Metro Police confirmed that a staffer for Alabama Senator Katie Britt was robbed at gunpoint and had her vehicle stolen last Thursday night about a mile from the US Capitol.
In a bulletin to chiefs of staff, chief clerks, administrative managers, and Senate staff directors, Sergeant-at-Arms Karen Gibson offered suggestions on how to reduce the risk of being carjacked in light of “an increase in carjacking incidents” in the District of Columbia and around Capitol Hill.
The bulletin reminded lawmakers and staff to keep vehicle doors locked and the windows up when driving. It urged them not to stop to offer assistance to a “stranger with a broken-down car,” but instead drive to a safe distance before calling the police.
The bulletin encouraged those driving to the Capitol to “park in well-lit areas near sidewalks” and always conceal any valuables in their vehicles. It also suggested that lawmakers and staff “avoid traveling alone” whenever possible.
In case they are confronted by an armed carjacker, the Sergeant-at-Arms recommended that they “surrender” the vehicle “without argument” and immediately “leave the area.” It encouraged them to take note of the carjacker’s physical appearance, including race, age, gender, hair and eye color, and clothing.
Last Thursday evening, Amanda Peper, a scheduler for Alabama Republican Senator Katie Britt, was robbed by a suspect who pointed a gun in her face.
Peper complied with the robber’s demands to turn over her purse and keys. The suspect then got into Peper’s Acura and fled the scene.
In early October, Texas Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar was robbed and carjacked by three armed suspects in Southeast Washington DC. Metro and Capitol Police later recovered Cuellar’s vehicle and his other belongings.