Pizza deliverer robbed at gunpoint near Mount Vernon, Hydraulic

05/01/2014 12:48 PM

05/01/2014 12:48 PM

Wichita police say a woman delivering a pizza late Wednesday night was fortunate to escape unharmed after she was robbed at gunpoint.

The 34-year-old woman was taking the pizza to a group of fourplexes in the 2100 block of South Minneapolis at about 11:20 p.m., Lt. Dan East said, when two men she didn’t know approached her. The complex is southeast of Hydraulic and Mount Vernon.

One of the men pointed a gun at her and they forced her into an empty apartment, East said, where they took the pizza and a small amount of cash. They then left the area.

“More likely than not, it was probably a fraudulent delivery to begin with,” East said.

Police do not keep statistics on how often people delivering pizzas are robbed. It is the second time in two months that a person delivering pizzas was robbed in that area, however. Three male robbers pulled a knife on a pizza delivery woman and took pizzas from her in the 2000 block of South Kansas in late March.

Anyone with information about the incident is being asked to call detectives at 316-268-4177 or Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111.

East called the robbery “concerning.”

“It can be a very traumatic experience,” he said. “That delivery driver is very fortunate.”

Pizza deliverers for Papa John’s are told to watch for “red flags” such as newspapers or junk mail piled up on the lawn or driveway, said Terry Newman, CEO of Papa John’s in Wichita. For sale or for rent signs are another cause for concern.

The message to deliverers is simple, he said: “If you feel uncomfortable, leave.”

“We have orientation every week,” Newman said. “We tell them, ‘I’d rather call them back and give them a fresh, hot pizza than you ever be robbed.’ ”

Pizza deliverers carry very little money these days, he said, because 80 percent of pizza orders are not cash transactions.

For deliveries after dark, customers are encouraged to leave a porch light on. Calling a customer to confirm an order is not uncommon, either.

“We coach it daily,” Newman said of delivery safety.

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