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White House staffer Kalpen Modi -- yes, that's Kal Penn -- robbed at gunpoint in Northwest D.C.






Kalpen Modi. (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Kal Penn, the actor-turned-Obama-staffer, was robbed at gunpoint in Northwest Washington early Tuesday morning, an official confirmed today.

A D.C. police official told our colleague Paul Duggan that Penn (who these days goes by his birth name, Kalpen Modi) was accosted around 1:30 a.m. near 15th and S streets in the Dupont Circle area by a gunman, who walked up to him and took a wallet and other belongings.

It was "a basic street robbery," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the department typically does not discuss victims or witnesses by name. No one was hurt in the incident, which was first reported by TMZ.

Penn, 32, an ardent Obama campaigner, gave up his role on the hit series "House" last year to take a job as an associate director in the White House's Office of Public Engagement. But he's scheduled to return to Hollywood later this year, to resume his acting career with a role in a new "Harold and Kumar" Christmas movie.

UPDATED 3 p.m. with location of robbery.

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By The Reliable Source  |  April 20, 2010; 1:13 PM ET
 | Tags: Kal Penn  
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Comments

Been there, done that. It will sink in over the next several days.

Posted by: Geopolitics101 | April 20, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Harold & Kumar, spend the day in Washington DC & riding the METRO

Posted by: Robbnitafl | April 20, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Where was he?

Posted by: ChopMan | April 20, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Idiot should have stayed in Hollywood and continued his acting career. Perhaps he should cut his stay and go back sooner.

Glad he wasn't hurt though.

Posted by: Special_One40 | April 20, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes, where was he? NW Washington is a very big place.

This is a very incomplete article without at least reporting the neighborhood where it happened.

Posted by: tcal02 | April 20, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

dude! uncool!

Posted by: MarilynManson | April 20, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

how is it even possible to get a gun in DC? that would be illegal. they need another law against armed robbery. THAT would stop crime way better than arming private citizens to take responsibility for their own safety.

Posted by: scubaca | April 20, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

ChopMan and tcal02: the article has been updated; we didn't have that information earlier.

Posted by: The Reliable Source | April 20, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I would like to know what he actually does and how much is he paid? WTF is an associate director for the White House office of public engagement? It sounds like a made up position to fatten an actors wallet?

Posted by: sbf845 | April 20, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

sbf845: You really need to educate yourself in the ways of the world if you think a Hollywood actor would come to DC to fatten their wallet by taking a short term civil service job.

Posted by: surly4130 | April 20, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

15th and S streets in DuPont Circle
i do like how the writer left out it was NW had it be in SE it would have been type like this 15th and S streets "SE" in ANACOSTIA

Posted by: JeroRobson1 | April 20, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

For this to happen on 420 day is too, TOO IRONIC!!! Smoke 'em if ya got 'em, Kal...you deserve it!

Posted by: sigmagrrl | April 20, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Revealing the name of a crime victim through an anonymous tipster? Really classy there, Washington Post.

Posted by: tomveiltomveil | April 20, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to Washington Kal, now you see why so many of your coworkers live in VA and MD.

Posted by: mendelsonmustgo | April 20, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I think it was reported that Penn was making around $80,000 per year at the White House. He was probably making that much per episode of "House."
-------------------
WTF is an associate director for the White House office of public engagement? It sounds like a made up position to fatten an actors wallet?

Posted by: buffysummers | April 20, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

JeroRobson1 -- I hope you noticed that "Northwest" is in both the headline and the first paragraph.

Posted by: The Reliable Source | April 20, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

WTF is he doing out at 1:30AM on a school night? Also, since when is 15th and S St NW in Dupont Circle?

Posted by: cheno | April 20, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Cheno,

What other neighborhood would it be. It's below U and West of 14th St - it's Dupont Circle!

Posted by: antrob | April 20, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Any word on the ethnicity or sex of the attacker?
Lol

Posted by: aslater18 | April 20, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

15 & S street is no where NEAR Dupont Circle

Posted by: Robbnitafl | April 20, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Why is everyone in a snit about the location being DuPont circle??? The post said it was in the AREA of DuPont Circle...the important question is what is a guy doing out at 1:20am ALONE walking around????? There are only 3 things out that time of night....Prostitutes, robbers and Fools......

Posted by: pentagon40 | April 20, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Traveling around down there at that hour is an invitation to the indigenous populants to re-distribute your wealth.

As for why there, Dupont? 1:20 AM? Hey, big fellah! Going my way, Thailor? :)

Posted by: JamesChristian | April 20, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

A D.C. police official is violating policy by releasing the name of a victim? I hope Chief Lanier follows up on that with some disciplinary action.

Posted by: Voter4Integrity | April 20, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I wonder, was it an NRA member? A tea "bagger" or an inner city Obama supporter who robbed the person in question.

Maybe it was one of the Ft Hunt protesters who needed bus fare to get back to "jethro land."

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | April 20, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh, the humanity! On the very day that Dorothy Height left us. Kal Penn was the victim of our failure to fund jobs programs for our deprived youth.

Posted by: wagtdn | April 20, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

A psuedo official/crony of the Obama government that has set out to rob the American people of their hard earned money - is in fact robbed by an American because the fed gov has taken so much from him and each of us.

Oh, the irony - the humanity - the justice. Maybe he'll go back to holywood now and stop commiting his crimes against the American people?


Posted by: Jaymand | April 20, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Kal Penn, left-wing dipsh*t - your mugger was just making sure to "spread the wealth around" just like your boss Obama wanted!!

Posted by: pgr88 | April 20, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I have a theory!

Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | April 21, 2010 4:56 AM | Report abuse

"Dude, where's my wallet?"

Posted by: kahlua87 | April 21, 2010 5:54 AM | Report abuse

surley4130

I beleive I am educated enough to recognize a gratuitus political handout? Are You?

Posted by: sbf845 | April 21, 2010 6:02 AM | Report abuse

What was he doing around there at that hour? Trolling for sissies? Looks like he got jumped by a gangbanger preying on the local fudgepackers.

Posted by: Calabrese99 | April 21, 2010 6:17 AM | Report abuse

Gee, I wonder if the assailants were black?

Posted by: msg8568 | April 21, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

NW, SE, who cares. We know who is responsible.

Time for Day of Justice! Hunt them down and crack their skulls open. No More!

Posted by: Trout1 | April 21, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

What does the perp look like? People will be happy to assist police. Most people anyway...

Maybe the trick is to walk around in your shabbiest, dirtiest, oldest clothes with holes in them. Hair all messed up. 30-year old Converse sneakers on your feet. Talk to yourself as you walk down the street. Then when you get to your law office/big company then you change into your $1000 Armani suit & $500 wingtips.

All of the people that you don't want to have guns have them.

SE is a high crime area. Look at the facts/statistics. No one is making it up. Compare the Wards.

Don't be afraid of the truth/reality.

If it's so safe/peaceful/quiet/clean in SE then you walk around late at night & see how much fun you have with the locals.

If you don't want to do that then you're a RACIST.

Posted by: uncivil | April 21, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@SofaKing: Do you think it was a demon? A dancing demon?

Posted by: spyderjerusalem | April 21, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Spyderjerusalem, no, something isn't right there.

Posted by: dkp01 | April 21, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

This is exactly why we should be packing. If they know the good guys can't carry, it's open season on the law abiding people. A basic human right and responsibility is the right to fight back.

Posted by: mackmarks | April 21, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps ol' Kal's days as a dogmatic liberal, believing that every criminal is in fact a victim of America's oppressive and racist capitalist system, are now over.

Posted by: mckdarrenDC | April 21, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

For years now, 15th Street NW (north of P Street) has been a really dangerous place at night -- despite the fact that it lies directly between Dupont and Logan circles and their million dollar homes. My wife and I were robbed at gunpoint two summers ago in the early evening just off of 15th Street and Swann. Two years later, nothing has changed. The DC Police do not seem to care. All they do is ticket cars at 2 AM. No DC Police regularly walk the beat looking for crime near the projects at 15th and S and 15th and Q. 15th Street and its ajoining alleys remains a sanctuary for crime. It's no small wonder we locals call it "Boderstahn."

Posted by: Surething- | April 21, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

For years now, 15th Street NW (north of P Street) has been a really dangerous place at night -- despite the fact that it lies directly between Dupont and Logan circles and their million dollar homes. My wife and I were robbed at gunpoint two summers ago in the early evening just off of 15th Street and Swann. Two years later, nothing has changed. The DC Police do not seem to care. All they do is ticket cars at 2 AM. No DC Police regularly walk the beat looking for crime near the projects at 15th and S and 15th and Q. 15th Street, and its ajoining alleys, remains a sanctuary for crime. It's no small wonder we locals call it "Borderstahn."

Posted by: Surething- | April 21, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

surley4130

I beleive I am educated enough to recognize a gratuitus political handout? Are You?

Posted by: sbf845 | April 21, 2010 6:02 AM | Report abuse

LOL. Gratuitous political handout? The guy takes interest in democratic politics, likes Obama, probably wanted to take another route for a year (80K is far from gratuitous, and I'm sure he would've been ok with accepting less), took part in what he believed in (no matter if you think it's right or not) and you're calling the guy out on taking a "gratuitous political handout". I wonder if his political affiliation had been republican and he had done the same for the RNC you would be saying the same thing.

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | April 21, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say it but welcome to Washington! Like some of the other posters, been there, done that. Been robbed at gun point, had my car broken into (twice) and had my house burglarized. I'm a third-generation black Washingtonian and I love living in the City. Just wish we could get a better handle on the crime.

Someone should have schooled Mr. Modi not to walk alone in certain areas of the City at certain times of the day or night. I'm sorry he had to learn that lesson in such a frightening way.

Posted by: soulshadow55 | April 21, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Sad to say but the more out of state visitors that come to the city and are unaware of the surrounding areas. The more incidents will arise. The crazy thing is that the robber probably on stole a couple of hundred of dollars.... Was it worth it?

Posted by: pusha-d | April 21, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I guess even a stint on '24' doesn't take the pumpkin boy sissy out of a man.

A wolf was on the prowl when he saw a lamb (despite what Kal probably likes to think is his essence). And the wolf did what wolves do when they see a lamb. Strike without hesitation or the remotest fear.

Posted by: john_bruckner | April 21, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

This is precisely why I decided not to buy in Columbia Heights. Despite all the hype and the inflated prices of the condos there, it's still the hood and just not worth my aggravation to live in the city. I'd have to contend with break-ins in to my car, break-ins in my house, and/or street robberies.

Instead I chose to live in downtown Silver Spring. Sure there are some "undesirable" lurking around at night but it's still generally safe. It's 15mins away from the heart of DC. I can hope on the Metro to get to Dupont or U-street. Most importantly I don't have to contend with the dysfunctional DC govt for services.

Just a thought and not a sermon.

Posted by: jabreal00 | April 21, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Even the locals know you don't go out after dark in DC. The Taliban WISHES they had the firepower out on the DC streets!

Posted by: wrangler1 | April 21, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

What do posters mean by asking what he was doing out at 1:30 in the morning? Seriously? The bars are still open at that hour, the Black Cat is a block away (maybe he caught a show), and it's walking distance from the entire U Street nightlife area--lots of reasons to go out, although it's true that the side streets are sketchy at night in that area. However, DC is not a hellhole, in which you have to barricade yourself inside your house once the sun goes down or be inevitably robbed. Given that the guy went to school in and works in Los Angeles, he's hardly some small-town tourist who's never been out of his hometown and who wasn't aware that big cities have street crime. For all we know, he's been mugged before. Sheesh.

Posted by: Katya2 | April 21, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

And I'm SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURE that the criminal's gun was registered with the stupid city. Riiiiiight. I wonder if this Modi guy will quietly become converted to the concept of a citizen's right to self defense (for him of course, but probably not for the rest of us). While his attacker carried a gun without fear, the idiotic city would prosecute the victim for daring to put his own property in his own pocket to protect himself (assuming Kalpen Modi is even man enough to own a firearm).

Posted by: repeal17thamendment | April 21, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

was he trolling for hookers at that place and that time...

Posted by: DwightCollins | April 21, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

He wasn't robbed. He was taxed because someone needed his money more than he did. As an ardent Obama supporter he shouldn't have a problem with the concept of wealth distribution at gunpoint.

Posted by: politbureau | April 21, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

"a basic street robbery" is the DC police's comment! No wonder DC is the mugging capital of the nation. It is a TOTAL DISGRACE. Fenty, Holmes-Norton, Gray, should note that:

1) the criminal had the gun; good thing we have such strict gun laws in DC, huh? Guess they really work, huh?

2) The victim was threatened with LETHAL force, and the police call it, "basic."

3) The criminal walks away with the proper hard earned by the victim, with the criminal having done nothing but wave a gun.

4) the police show little concern or interest in the whole horrible event.

It's a good thing Congress blocks DC statehood. WE DON'T DESERVE IT.

Posted by: erucastle | April 22, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

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