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'I'm totally devastated': Hill cafeteria worker recalls carjacking

Justin Papp, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON — Willie Price has been delivering newspapers in the Capitol Hill neighborhood for nearly 30 years.

It’s a side job for Price, who also works at a cafeteria in the Library of Congress and said she lives paycheck to paycheck. She picked up the paper route to support her children.

“I’ve been out there for years. Usually nobody bothers me,” Price said in an interview.

That was true until the morning of May 8, around 5:30 a.m., when Price was approached by a masked man with a rifle on a quiet block not far from the Capitol. The man held up Price and her two passengers and made off with her car, her wallet and her cellphone.

Price was in the driver’s seat at the time of the carjacking, according to the police report. Her cousin was in the back seat, and her cousin’s husband had exited the vehicle to drop off some papers along Seventh Street Southeast. When he got back to Price’s black Hyundai Santa Fe and opened the door, the suspect approached, seemingly out of nowhere.

“I’m always looking in front of me and in back of me,” Price said. “We never saw him coming.”

 

It was an earth-shattering event for Price and her cousins, who were riding with her that day only because they were having car trouble. The deal was they’d help her with the paper route and she’d drop them off at work when the deliveries were done.

Price said she had some gift cards taken along with her debit and credit cards, plus a $1 coin that a pastor gave her at an Easter service. She also lost several $2 bills that came from her customers at the Capitol complex, where Price is a familiar face. For decades she has served up meals for staff and visitors, and her regulars like to give her the $2 bills because they know she’s a collector.

Her phone was discovered on the side of the road near where the carjacking took place, apparently tossed out of the vehicle’s window as the suspect sped away. But as of Monday neither her wallet nor the car had been recovered.

“I was totally surprised. I was totally caught off guard. And I’m totally devastated,” Price said.

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