Pizza delivery drivers and police share safety tips after Wednesday night’s robbery

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A local Dominos Pizza delivery driver was beaten and robbed on Wednesday night after being led from the delivery address to a different one by a suspect. This is the third delivery robbery so far this year, following 14 reported cases in 2017.

“That’s a pretty scary number,” said Rhiannon Smith, a Rockford resident. “I mean, just one is too many. I couldn’t imagine being a delivery driver and having to worry about that.”

“That’s a reality for all delivery drivers,” said Nathaniel Hegge, a delivery driver for Jimmy John’s. “It doesn’t matter where you’re at. Robberies do happen.”

Rockford Police say that many times, the suspects in these cases have been in their late teens to early twenties. They say that highlights the fact that these are crimes that police call ‘high risk, low reward’ types of crimes.

“The more immature the offender, the more likely they’ll take…high risks for very little money,” said Lieutenant Kurt Whisenand of the Rockford Police Department.

When a job involves going up to unfamiliar residences day and night, officers say there is always a potential for the situation to turn dangerous.

There are some precautions drivers, like John Vance of Villa di Roma, take to stay safe while working.

“If you go to a house and there’s no porch light, or it’s in a street where it’s really dark or you don’t feel comfortable, then just call the customer,” he said.

Vance also says keeping the amount of cash carried to a minimum by dropping extra off at the restaurant when possible, helps.

That’s a policy several restaurants that offer delivery in the area shared.

It also helps to be discreet when necessary, Vance said.

“If you do end up having a couple deliveries that you do have a little extra cash on you, don’t pull it out in front of all the customers…so they see everything you have,” he said.

And when it comes to someone finding themselves in a robbery situation, both police and drivers agree: don’t try to be a hero.

“We really recommend that anyone, not just a pizza delivery driver, but anyone who’s a victim of a robbery, that they just give up the money,” Lt. Whisenand said. “It’s not worth trying to fight back. Most of the time, that turns out worse for the victim than it does the suspect.”

Police are still looking for the two men believed to be responsible for last night’s robbery. Both are said to be around 20 years old.

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