Robbery Trend Hits Columbia - DatelineCarolina

Robbery Trend Hits Columbia

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A pizza delivery man was robbed on this block outside of Capstone. A pizza delivery man was robbed on this block outside of Capstone.
Marked cars can help thieves identify potentially vulnerable workers. Marked cars can help thieves identify potentially vulnerable workers.

By: Brian Rauf

Some pizza delivery drivers know they could be robbed every time they leave the store.

The U.S. Bureau of Safety Statistics reported 1,150 work-related deaths for transportation and material-moving occupations in 2012, up from 759 deaths in 2011, most of those came from pizza delivery robberies.

This growing trend hit USC's campus earlier this month when a delivery man was robbed on the 800-block on Barnwell Street near Capstone House. USCPD turned the case over to the Columbia Police Department, where it is still under investigation.

"The suspect... checked the victim's pockets and stole a wallet, his cell phone, and whatever cash he had on him," said CPD's Public Information Officer Jennifer Timmons.

USC junior Bishop Shipman delivered pizza for Papa John's for a year and a half, but quit due to safety concerns.

"We're just by ourselves," he explained. "They're not expecting us to be carrying a weapon or anything, so it's just easy."

Timmons described the case as a "crime of opportunity", but said many others around the country in this growing trend aren't.

"We have had instances in the past few years where the bad guys will call for a pizza delivery service and then prey on the victims."

Shipman said that Papa John's has a policy that limits delivery workers to carrying only $20 at a time, and they can come back to the store if they feel they're in danger. He still felt the need to take personal precautions.

"I'll call the person when I get there to let them know it's me coming up to the door," he said. "Sometimes I'll have them outside to wait on me if I do feel terrified, or I'll call the store and ask them if I can come back home or not."

If anyone has any information regarding the robbery, call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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