NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Three pizza delivery drivers were mugged at gunpoint within three hours at the same New Haven address.
According to New Haven police spokeswoman Bonnie Winchester, who said in an e-mail to the Yale Daily News, the Feb. 21 crimes are the latest in a recent rash of armed robberies of delivery drivers.
At 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 21, a Domino's Pizza delivery driver was robbed at 231 Starr St. by a young male carrying a handgun, Winchester said. At midnight, two men robbed a Papa John's driver of money and pizza when he arrived at the same address. Finally, at 2:30 a.m., when a Pizza Empire driver arrived at the designated address, he was approached by one of two men seated on the steps of a house across the street. The man drew a gun, robbed the driver and both suspects then fled the scene.
Managers at all three pizzerias said their drivers weren't injured in the robberies.
Since that night, Winchester said several other delivery driver were robbed.
Frank Lorenti, the general manager of the Domino's on Whalley Avenue, said the restaurant has had four delivery robberies this year, two at gunpoint.
"In the last couple of months, there's been more than in the last couple of years I've been here," Lorenti told the Daily News.
Pizza Empire manager Senol Kahraman said his drivers have been held up more than 20 times since he began working at Pizza Empire four years ago and twice in the past two months. The Papa John's manager said his drivers have been robbed five times since Jan. 1. The driver robbed Saturday was robbed also in February and has since quit.
Two weeks ago, New Haven police sent out a business alert notification, advising restaurants with delivery services to adopt increased safety measures.
Lorenti said the driver who was robbed Feb. 21 was new and did not attempt to call the customer back before making the delivery.
"Basically, it was a bogus cell phone number," he said. "You've got to try to determine what's a bad order and what's a good customer in a bad neighborhood."
Mike Soliman, the manager at Yalie's Pizza on York Street, said he has heard of the robberies, though his delivery driver has not been robbed. Soliman said he won't send his driver to certain areas of the city. When his driver goes to a city housing project, Soliman said, the driver waits in the car until the customer comes out to get the pizza.
"If he goes inside, I don't think he's going to come back out," Soliman said.
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