DELIVERY drivers are being urged to go cashless or beef up security measures after yet another driver was robbed at knifepoint.
Eight drivers, from a mix of pizza shops, local restaurants and even taxi drivers, have been hit by armed offenders since mid-March – the latest on Friday night.
The crimes aren’t centred on one particular area, with robberies reported in South Tamworth, Oxley Vale, Westdale and Coledale.
Illoura St has been targeted twice, with the most recent incident when an 18-year-old pizza driver attempted to deliver the goods about 8.30pm on Friday.
He was set upon by a man who was dressed in a dark-coloured hoodie, with a white skivvy pulled over his mouth and dark pants, who jumped out from a nearby bush.
The driver handed over a small amount of cash before the offender fled into Belah Close.
It’s the latest in a string of investigations for Oxley detectives.
The drivers have only suffered minor injuries or shock, but Oxley crime manager Inspector Phil O’Reilly told The Leader next time someone might not be so lucky.
“There is the potential for someone to be seriously injured,” Inspector O’Reilly said.
“If someone was injured in the conduct of that activity we are obliged to report it to WorkCover, who would also investigate the circumstances, ensuring that business owners have taken every reasonable option to maintain the safety of their staff.”
Detectives are investigating every report and trying to identify any possible links.
One recurring theme in some of the robberies is the delivery drivers are lured to the area to deliver the goods – only to be targeted after residents say they never placed any such order.
Inspector O’Reilly said the offenders were on the hunt for cash and were making false orders to locations before targeting the drivers.
He said if drivers worked empty-handed there would be nothing for the offenders to steal.
“One (strategy) which we believe (would work) is that delivery drivers don’t carry cash and orders are taken by card only. That should minimise the risk of them being targeted for robberies,” he said.
“There are other crime prevention strategies used, including call verification, however I hope that businesses adopt the approach to go cashless, to minimise the risk to their staff.” Local police have tried to get the jump on the offences, with a robbery crime-prevention workshop for local businesses last week.
However, police were disappointed when very few of the invited pizza shops, convenience stores, delivery businesses or taxi operators turned up.
“It was not well attended, however Oxley Local Area Command staff have crime-prevention packages we would like to distribute amongst those businesses,” Inspector O’Reilly said.
“Primarily, though, we have crime-prevention tips that should enable business owners to ensure the safety of their delivery drivers.”
Domino’s Pizzas has had four delivery drivers robbed by armed offenders since the start of the year.
A Domino’s spokesman confirmed local staff attended the crime-prevention seminar last week.
“Our guys are heavily involved in ensuring the safety of staff and have been working closely with police,” the spokesman said.
“They’re doing all they can to make it a priority.”
The spokesman refused to comment on any cashless measures it could take but said the company was constantly reviewing procedures for staff members.
“Things like doing call backs to confirm addresses and they’ll continue to do that,” he said.
THE HIT LIST
Mar 10 – Bourne St, Coledale
April 17 – Matheson St, Coledale
May 16 – Green St, Coledale
June 19 – Susanne St, South Tamworth
Aug 1 – Brolga Cr, Oxley Vale
Aug 4 – Illoura St, South Tamworth
Aug23 – Flinders St, Westdale
Sept 13 – Illoura St, South Tamworth