News 12 at 11, September 24, 2007
Hephzibah, GA --- Delivery drivers from Pizza Hut, Dominos, and Oriental China, have all been robbed after being directed to three abandoned houses on Basswood Drive, Buffington Court, and Bennington Drive, all in Hephzibah.
"I really wouldn't have expected it. I mean I know people get robbed. I know a lot of people mess with the delivery drivers," Jennifer Machado said.
Richmond County investigators said the suspects order food to be delivered to an abandoned house, and then they come out and rob the driver of their food, money, and cars.
Managers at Pizza Hut tell their drivers to lock their doors and be aware of their surroundings.
"We have noticed prank calls before like if we get several calls from a certain address we'll stop taking orders from a particular address, unfortunately it's not very easy to tell which houses are abandoned and which ones are not," Machado said.
The delivery man from Domino's Pizza was directed to a vacant house. The subject asked him to come in, he refused, and a second subject came up behind him and picked him up and carried him in the house. The subject threatened to shoot him. They then took his car keys, money, and pizzas.
According to incident reports, the subjects pushed the Pizza Hut delivery man inside the abandoned residence, robbed him, and threw bricks at him.
A delivery man from Oriental China was also forced into a vacant house at gun point. The subjects stole his phone, blue tooth, food, money, military access permit, and vehicle. When the delivery man went outside, the suspects tried to hit him with the vehicle.
"We got a call this morning, a lady saw a strange vehicle around her driveway that she hadn't seen before and two individuals around that vehicle. She called us, that vehicle turned out to be the stolen Mazda Tribune," Lt. Scott Peebles said.
That was the car that the Oriental China delivery man was driving, and this helped investigators link all three crimes to five people.
"They are all connected. They all knew the plan. They all participated in one way or another in the crimes that they are going to be charged with," Peebles said.
Five people have been taken into custody. They are as young as 15 and 16-years-old. Richmond County investigators are still working out charges.