Pizza Delivery Robberies Concern Police & Drivers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/11/03

Pizza Delivery Robberies Concern Police & Drivers

So far this year, five pizza delivery drivers have been robbed. Domino's drivers have been hit twice, so that company is putting the brakes on some old delivery practices.

"These robbers that we have are just pouncing on our delivery drivers," says Domino's Area Supervisor Victor Portillo who is fed up with delivery robberies. Just last Friday, driver Chris Wood became the latest victim. It was Wood's first day on the job. "When I got out of the car, 2 guys came out. One pointed a gun and they took the pizza, money, my wallet and the Heat Wave bag," says Wood.

Wood says he's just grateful it was over before he knew it. "I was surprised. It went so fast that I wasn't as scared as I thought I'd be. It didn't hit me until later that night," says Wood.

Sgt. Tony Gribben with the Lubbock Police Department says robbing delivery drivers is a crime of opportunity that has been a problem for years and ranks at the top of the dumb criminal file. "It's not worth it. What are you gonna get? a $12 dollar pizza and maybe $10 bucks cash. I would hate to do 10-25 years in prison for $10 and a pizza," says Sgt. Gribben.

But that's exactly what could happen. It's a felony crime. In fact, last summer 18-year-old Anthony Gallagher got five years behind bars for aggravated robbery for attacking delivery man Reed Bethea with a baseball bat.

Despite ugly prospects of jail time, the disturbing behavior continues regularly and that's why Portillo is emphasizing safety now more than ever. "Two things that I've done. One, I've encouraged drivers not to put their advertisement or car toppers out, so they're not drawing attention to themselves. Second, we never let our drivers carry more than $20 on them," says Portillo.

Domino's also has computer software now that allows them to keep an extensive history on its customers. Call it Caller ID with the works. It even knows what size pizza and what toppings you ordered last. A little peace of mind for drivers like Wood, who had a rough first day, but isn't about to quit. "I need money right now, like most college students, so I'm gonna keep working, for sure."

Sgt. Gribben says right now the police are following up a few leads on Wood's case. He says these crimes are so serious because you never know what the criminal is capable of doing or what the driving force is behind the crime. He says sometimes it's someone drunk and stupid, at other times it's someone desperate and dangerous.

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