Deliveryman shot and robbed in Glen Burnie

Attack on driver one of several in area since August

December 28, 2007|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,Sun reporter

A Chinese-food deliveryman was shot and robbed in Glen Burnie this week in the latest and most violent of similar thefts that have prompted employers to reinforce safe delivery policies.

The man, identified as a 47-year-old from Linthicum who speaks little English, was found about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the vestibule of an apartment building on the first block of Crain Court, suffering from gunshot wounds. He was transported to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Police had no information on his condition yesterday.

Because of a language barrier, police have unable to interview the victim, police said yesterday morning. But his employer, China Spring Carry Out, said he was dropping off a dinner order at that address when he was shot.

That would make him at least the eighth food-delivery driver robbed since August, many at gunpoint. County police issued an advisory Oct. 4 warning restaurants to be cautious when accepting orders from cell phones, noting a recent rash of robberies in the Severn area. They said armed suspects were demanding money upon the driver's arrival at the delivery locations.

Since then, several more robberies have taken place, predominantly in the Glen Burnie area. Police believe groups of teens are responsible in most instances - a 19-year-old and 13-year-old were arrested in the Nov. 9 robbery of a 45-year-old Chinese-food delivery driver in Laurel.

"I don't think there's anything to suggest any are linked, but it's definitely an easy mark for the bad guys," said Cpl. Mark Shawkey, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Police Department. "[The drivers are] responding out to delivery locations and being taken advantage of."

Businesses are cautioning their drivers not to get out of their vehicles when making deliveries to high-risk areas.

"My drivers have the customer sit down in the car. He pays the money in the car, and the driver gives him food in the car," said Masood Akhtar, a manager at the Glen Burnie Pizza Planet, which had a driver robbed in the 7100 block of Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd. on Oct. 14. Akhtar said the policy went into effect shortly thereafter.

Muhammed Babar, manager of an Annapolis Pizza Boli's, which had a driver robbed at gunpoint Dec. 7, said that for the past four years his drivers have been instructed not to get out of their car when making deliveries, day or night.

"We really try our best to explain to them, especially new drivers, that they shouldn't step out of the car, but sometimes they are rushing to be done faster and these incidents can happen," Babar said.

Shawkey said businesses should not take orders from cell phones, especially those that can't be verified. But with cell phones increasingly replacing traditional land lines, businesses are not sure whether they can make such a sacrifice.

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