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Cab, delivery drivers targets of robberies
Official: Incidents are crimes of opportunity, hard to prevent
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A couple of taxi cabs park Tuesday at La Flor de Jalisco #2 on Atlanta Highway in Gainesville. There have been an number of armed robberies involving taxi drivers in the past few months. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Delivery drivers and taxi drivers are not often considered dangerous professions, but in recent days both have been targets of armed robbers in Gainesville.

A delivery driver for Domino's Pizza was robbed of nearly $100 about 7 p.m. Tuesday just after making a delivery at Lenox Park Apartments off Athens Highway, said Kevin Holbrook, public information officer for the Gainesville Police Department.

"The driver had just delivered a pizza when, in the breezeway, he was met by a short, slim Hispanic male who pulled a gun and demanded money," Holbrook said.

The victim was unable to provide police with a detailed description of the suspect, but was unharmed, Holbrook said.

Another incident on Sunday involved a cab driver being robbed at gunpoint. Two males approached the taxi on Dorsey Street just before 5 a.m. when one of the men pointed a gun at the driver and demanded money, Holbrook said.

Police are continuing to search for any clues leading to the whereabouts of both men. The suspect with the gun is described as a Hispanic male, 5-feet, 10-inches in height, and weighing 170 pounds. He was wearing a brown shirt, khaki pants, black jacket and a brown mask.

The second robber is also described as Hispanic, 5-feet, 3-inches tall and weighing 130 pounds. He was wearing a dark red jacket.

In recent months, reports of cab drivers being targets of armed robberies have become more frequent, Holbrook said.

However, he said robberies of pizza delivery drivers have remained steady, but are not a common issue.

In many cases, those robberies are considered crimes of opportunity and are often tough to prevent, Holbrook said.

"In law enforcement those types of crimes are the hardest to predict, so it does make it difficult to police," he said.

Holbrook, as well as employers, said they advise workers to cooperate with robbers when confronted by someone demanding money or other items.

"No amount of money is worth your life," he said.

Elaina Bryan, manager of Papa's Pizza in Northwest Hall, voiced those same words.

Employees of Papa John's are advised when hired of how to react in the event he or she is robbed, said Darryl Carr, spokesman for the company.

"Obviously, we don't encourage our drivers or anybody to put themselves in harm's way, so if somebody has a gun in your face you give them what they want," he said.

Carr said Papa John's employees are not often the targets of armed robberies, but with so many locations it's an issue that must be addressed.

The best way to protect against being targeted, Holbrook said, is to maintain frequent communication with dispatch or a supervisor, as well as carry small amounts of cash.

"We also educate them on when and where to make stops. If it doesn't feel right then it's probably not right," Carr said.

Many employers only allow drivers to carry certain amounts of cash, as well as require a cut-off time for deliveries.

And some pizza delivery companies will only deliver to certain areas they consider safe.

Bryan said Papa's Pizza delivery drivers "don't deliver to shady places" they don't feel comfortable delivering to.

"We're very selective as to where we deliver, but you really could be robbed anywhere," said Tracy Bright, owner of Johnny's New York Style Pizza off Dawsonville Highway.

Deliveries are only made to various neighborhoods and apartment complexes in the area of the restaurant, Bright said. She said drivers are also only permitted to carry $10 maximum.

The recent robberies have some owners considering taking further precautions to protect their drivers.

"Our employees don't have money on them but a robber doesn't know that," Bright said. "We're very selective and, of course, now we really will be probably a little bit more so."

 

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