Martena Clinton drove to the Congressional Black Caucus dinner at the Washington Convention Center on Saturday with high expectations. A friend had arranged a ticket, and Clinton wore a special diamond pendant over her black dress. She parked in a handicapped spot close to the intersection of 9th Street and Mount Vernon Place and glanced in the mirror. She decided the diamond pendant didn’t go with her dress, took it off and put it in a console.
She displayed a handicapped tag prominently, locked her car and checked with a police officer who happened to be parked right behind her. He assured her the spot was legal. Clinton put her credit cards, cash and makeup in a pocketbook and left it in the trunk, carrying a small purse into the dinner. It was 5:30 p.m.
When she emerged from the dinner at 11:30 p.m., her black 1994 Lexus was gone.
The police officer who responded to Clinton’s distressed call told her that the Secret Service had done what many Washingtonians have grown begrudgingly used to: They ordered numerous cars removed from the area as a security precaution because President Obama was speaking at the dinner.