DC Chocolate Shop Robbed (Twice) Before Valentine’s Day

The Chocolate House in Dupont Circle suffered robberies and vandalism at its busiest time.

Photo courtesy of The Chocolate House.

Just before Valentine’s Day, a man broke into and robbed the Chocolate House in Dupont Circle– not once, but twice.

According to police reports and Peng Xu, the shop’s co-owner and manager, the suspect shattered the shop’s glass door after 1 AM on the morning of Thursday, February 2nd. He allegedly threatened staff who were on the premises finishing work during the busy Valentine’s period, demanded money, and left with $200 from the cash register. He allegedly returned after 7 PM on Friday night and walked off with $10 worth of change, telling Xu: “You remember me! You reported to the police.” The shop sustained over $2,000 in damages. 

The Metropolitan Police Department has asked for the public’s help in locating the suspect, who may have robbed another 18th Street store on February 3rd before fleeing. A detective has since told Xu that the suspect has been arrested; Washingtonian is waiting on confirmation.

Such events might mean a temporary closure for a small local business. But for the Chocolate House, closing during one of the busiest times of the year isn’t an option. 

“We wanted it to have the least impact on our business, so we tried to reopen as quickly as possible,” says Xu, who worked quickly with fellow employees and reopened the shop after both incidents occurred. 

The team was present at both break-ins finishing work ahead Valentine’s Day. “It was really scary,” says Xu. “And we’re really angry. And so are a lot [of people].”

In recent weeks, a number of businesses in the area—the border of Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan—have been burglarized or vandalized. Neighboring Indian restaurant Bombay Street Food had its door smashed. Nearby Ukrainian-owned D. Light Café and Bakery had an estimated $5,000 worth of equipment stolen. This past weekend, a couple visiting their son from New York were held up at gunpoint a block from the Chocolate House, and were robbed of their expensive Canada Goose jackets.

 As a result of the crimes, several small business owners are banding together to communicate about how to stay safe in the area.  Xu plans to install more cameras in his shop.

“It’s just too much,” he says.

The community has rallied behind the Chocolate House—a small boutique selling bean-to-bar chocolates and colorful truffle boxes for over 15 years. Xu says customers who heard about the incidents are eager help. Additionally, chocolatiers from around the country have left messages of support over social media. Thanks to the outpouring, Xu says the Chocolate House team is looking forward to  Valentine’s season after all. He says the best way people can support the business at this time is, of course, to buy chocolate—and also offer kind words to the staff.

“That’s really good support,” he says. 

Julia Rosenberg
Editorial Fellow