Howard William Christy says he will never drive into Annapolis' public housing projects again. After all, the 38-year-old cab driver said, what good is a few extra dollars if he's not around to spend it?
Christy, a Reliable Cab driver, was one of three of the company's drivers robbed in the city Saturday. He is one of 12 cabbies who have been robbed in the last two weeks. No one has been injured in the stick-ups, police say.
"I will probably lose money this way," the Glen Burnie resident said.
"But I'd rather have my life."
Annapolis police spokesman Officer Dermott Hickey said the robberies are part of the usual increase in crime that comes with every Christmas season.
So far, police have made three arrests.
"The bad guys have to do their Christmas shopping, too," he said.
"Unfortunately, they go about it differently than the rest of us."
Christy said that at about 12:09 a.m., he received a call for a fare that was waiting at a pay phone on Tyler Avenue in the Robinwood housing project.
"There were two men who asked me to take them to Bens Drive," he said.
"When we got there, they wanted to go to 3 Marcs Court. Then they wanted to go 11 Marcs Court."
Christy said he was not suspicious at that point, even though there was no way out of the area without turning around.
He said he asked them for their $2.50 fare and one of the men took out a gun and put it against the back of his head. Christy gave them about $150 and the pair ran away.
At 1:43 a.m., another Reliable Cab driver was robbed after he pulled his cab into the parking lot of Annapolis Mini Storage in the 1900 block of Moreland Parkway.
The driver told police he was putting a table in the back of his cab when two men approached him from behind and forced him to lie face down on the hood of his cab.
The driver gave the robbers an undetermined amount of money and they left. The driver could not provide the police with a description of the robbers.
At 9:10 p.m., another Reliable Cab driver was dropping off a customer in the Robinwood community when a man pulled a knife, demanded $20 and refused to let him leave.
The man punched the driver in the face, police said, and took $20. When the driver began to drive out of the neighborhood, the man threw a bottle at the cab, breaking its back window.
Police have charged Antoine Leroy Green, of the 1300 block Tyler Avenue, with armed robbery, battery and destruction of property in that incident.
"The city police have been great," Christy said. "But what can we do to protect ourselves? The officers were there in three or four minutes after I called my dispatcher," he said. "But they (the robbers) were gone by then."
Christy said he doesn't think cab drivers should carry guns.
"The first feeling I had when I saw that gun was my life flashing before my eyes," he said.