On two separate occasions only days apart, Kalamazoo Public Safety officers were called to investigate reported armed robberies of food delivery drivers.
On Feb. 7 around 10 p.m., KDPS officers were flagged down by a food delivery driver who reported being robbed in the area of 1200 Summit Ave, according to a news release by KDPS.
The victim described the robbers as three men, one armed with a handgun. Cash and personal property were taken.
On Feb. 9 around 11 p.m., KDPS was called to the area of 700 Summit Park Ct. where a different food delivery driver reported being robbed at gunpoint by one lone man.
In both incidents the suspect carrying the gun was described as approximately 20-years-old and around 5-feet-11 inches.
Officers conducted a thorough search during both investigations including the use of dogs to find the suspects, but no one was located on either occasion.
Authorities don’t believe the homes delivered to were involved and are still unsure if the two incidents are related despite the similar description of the gunman.
As a manager at Menna’s Joint in Kalamazoo, Jesse Rangel said that there’s no way to tell when something like that is going to happen. The best they can do is limit the amount of money our drivers carry because there’s no amount worth getting into that kind of trouble.
“We also refrain from delivering to the north quadrant of Kalamazoo simply because it’s not in our best interest, especially at night since we deliver until 4 a.m.,” Rangel said.
Delivery drivers face these dangers more often than people expect, Western Michigan University student Kyle Blanchard said.
Last year while out on a delivery, Blanchard stopped at a gas station where a man approached him and asked for money and a ride. Blanchard ignored the man and proceeded to his car, where the same man ran over and got into the passenger seat.
He demanded a ride to what was said to be a drug deal location and if Blanchard didn’t do it the man would “pop him in the mouth,” Blanchard said.
“When I denied him that, as I told him I was on duty, he said ‘I should’ve shot you, I could shoot you now,’” Blanchard said.
As a hostage, Blanchard was forced to give him the $30 he had on him and drive the robber to his location. After dropping the man off, Blanchard returned to the gas station and called the police.
“After two months of court dates, he got off no charge even though he was convicted of armed robbery. They claimed there wasn’t enough evidence,” Blanchard said.
Blanchard said that as cliché as it is, the oldest tip in the book is the most important: do not talk to strangers. That’s not your job.
Jimmy Johns on W. Michigan Ave. only delivers within a two-mile radius, however according to manager Chris Asmer they have insurance on each of their delivery drivers in case an incident was to occur.
“We tell them to give them everything they have. It’s not their money, it’s the store’s and that’s definitely not worth your life. If someone were to come inside the store and rob us at gunpoint it would be the same thing, the store is theirs. We are only worried about the safety of the employees,” Asmer said.