Pizza delivery driver robbed in Cahokia

10:46 PM, Dec 29, 2012   |    comments
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Cahokia, Ill. (KSDK) -- Officials at Imo's Pizza in Cahokia say police have arrested 4 suspects in connection to the robbery of one of their delivery drivers Thursday night.

It happened on Westwood. The assailants suggested they had a weapon, though they didn't show one.

That incident comes exactly one year after another driver working for another delivery company right across the street was robbed in the same neighborhood.

DeShane Lewis has delivered for Cahokia Pizza Hut on Camp Jackson Road for seven years.

"I got beat up last year, December 29th," said Lewis. "Same neighborhood, one, two houses down."

Lewis described what happened.

"As you leave the car and walk towards them, they'll have one guy kind of circle around and keep a distance behind you and try to get between you and the vehicle," said Lewis. "At least that's what happened to me."

He said he's seen it all.

"They will actually go over towards an abandoned house. And then when you get out of the car to go towards the house on the receipt, they will say, 'No, they didn't order. We ordered over here, over here.' And they'll signal you across the street. And when you start walking across the street they'll have one guy sneak up behind you. That's to keep you from escaping and to put you in a choke-hold if need be. That's what they did to me- they put me in a choke-hold, like a Full-Nelson. So my head hit the concrete."

Pizza Hut shift manager Jason Hardin said their store has started sharing problem delivery information with two other pizza delivery retailers right across the street, Imo's and Domino's.

"So if there's a problem at Domino's, they'll give us a word up and give Imo's a word up," said Hardin. "If it's a problem at Imo's they call us and give us a heads-up on what's going on and we call and give them two a heads-up what's going on. We got numbers.  Addresses.  All that. The actual houses; we got all that."

He showed a reporter the tracking system on a Pizza Hut computer.

"So if we're taking orders, and we pull up a certain phone number, we get notes like... 'Vacant house.  Do no deliver to this address.' They give us a phone number, half the time the phone number is bogus. You know what I'm saying?"

Hardin said, "I tell my drivers- if you arrive at a vacant house, don't get out of the car. If you don't see anybody, give us a call here at the store and bring the food back."

Lewis shared more of what he's learned.

"I always try to avoid the driveway, which is company policy as well," said Lewis. "Because you can't really be trapped in. If they want to trap you in they have to park 2 vehicles to block you in. Instead of in a driveway they can only use one to block you in. Sometimes it's good if you're not sure, if you get weird vibes, drive by and look for groups of people; two or more people or somebody standing next to the house. Like if the street sign is very visible, drive by the house and see if there's somebody standing next to the house."

Despite the fact that he was robbed a year ago, Lewis said he still delivers to the neighborhood where he and the Imo's driver have now been targeted.

"I still deliver there," he said. "I still deliver to the area; I just keep an eye out. It's just part of the job."

Hardin said Cahokia Police have been very quick to respond to any kind of driver robbery incidents.  He said due there are certain neighborhoods around Cahokia where Pizza Hut will no longer deliver.


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