COLUMBIA — A Domino’s pizza delivery driver was robbed at gunpoint on Mexico Gravel Road on Wednesday night.
The Columbia Police Department received a call around 11 p.m. from a 27-year-old Domino’s Pizza delivery driver claiming he was robbed while delivering an order to 2811 Mexico Gravel Road, according to a press release from the department.
The driver said that, when he reached the apartment complex, he stepped out of his car to figure out where to deliver the pizza, since an apartment number was not given with the order, according to the release.
Police said the driver was then approached by a man carrying a semi-automatic weapon, who demanded cash from the driver. The suspect took an undisclosed amount of money as well as the driver’s wallet and cell phone, before fleeing on footin the southwest direction from the apartments.
The suspect is described as a 20- to 25-year-old black man, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 160 pounds, wearing a stocking cap and a blue quilted jacket.
Columbia Police Capt. Brad Nelson said the delivery order last night was likely a setup, which is often the case when delivery drivers are robbed. Criminals simply provide a false phone number or address and wait.
“You’re basically calling someone who will come to you with money, and so if you’re a criminal that’s probably an easy thing to do,” Nelson said.
A day manager at the Dominos at 1621 Towne Drive, where the delivery driver worked, said the amount stolen was less than $50. He said drivers are never allowed to leave the store with more than $15, though they collect customers’ money on deliveries.
Store policy requires that all first-time customers provide phone numbers and apartment or house numbers, and there are other safety precautions encouraged as part of the training delivery drivers receive. The manager, who asked not to be identified by name, said the store itself was robbed six months ago.
Nelson said delivery places could take certain precautions to minimize the chance of a robbery, such as having drivers work in pairs or not delivering after certain hours of the night, though he acknowledged it would be financially difficult for a company to take these extra precautions.
Nelson said it would help investigators, though, for delivery places to require a customer’s traditional land-line phone number after certain hours.
“Certainly one of the first things the officers do is to ask where the call came from, and occasionally they get the phone numbers,” Nelson said.
A canine tracking team was dispatched to try to find the suspect but was unsuccessful.
On March 4, a canine team successfully found two teenagers charged with robbing another pizza delivery at gunpoint on 1612 Kitty Hawk Drive. The dogs tracked the two teens back to one of the young men’s houses a few blocks away, and both the cell phone used to call in the order and rifle used in the assault were found.