Attempted Robbery Ends in Group Hug


July 13, 2007

A robbery in Washington, DC began with a handgun pointed at the head of a teenager and ended with the robber enjoying wine and a group hug with his victims.

A group of friends was enjoying a dinner on the back patio of a home when a hooded man slid through an open gate and pointed a gun at a 14-year-old girl.

The robber reportedly demanded money and threatened to start shooting.

One quick-thinking guest came up with an idea to defuse the situation. "We were just finishing dinner," Cristina "Cha Cha" Rowan, 43, told the man. "Why don't you have a glass of wine with us?"

The intruder had a sip of their Chateau Malescot St-Exupery and said, "Damn, that's good wine."

The girl's father told the intruder to take the whole glass, and Rowan offered him the whole bottle.

The robber, with his hood down, took another sip and a bite of Camembert cheese. He put the gun in his sweatpants.

Then, witnesses report the robber said, "I think I may have come to the wrong house. Can I get a hug?"

Rowan, who works at her children's school and lives in Falls Church, Va., stood up and wrapped her arms around the armed man. The four other guests followed.

"Can we have a group hug?" the man asked. The five adults complied.

The man walked away a few moments later with the crystal wine glass in hand. Nothing was stolen, and no one was hurt.

Once he was gone, the group walked into the house, locked the door and called 911.

Police classified the case as strange but true. Investigators have not located a suspect. The witnesses thought he might have been high on drugs.

"We've had robbers that apologize and stuff but nothing where they sit down and drink wine. It definitely is strange," said Cmdr. Diane Groomes, adding that the hugs were especially unusual. "The only good thing is they would be able to identify him because they hugged them."


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