K-9 tracks down pizza delivery robbery suspects

By: Linzi Sheldon

A pizza delivery man is recovering after being punched in the face and robbed.

It's the fifth attack for one store in just three months, and his co-workers say the job is getting more and more dangerous.

"Anytime that a driver hears that a driver is attacked, we're obviously concerned because the amount of crime in the area seems to be going up a little bit especially around driver attacks," co-worker and delivery driver Herb Adams said.

On a typical night at the Salvatore's Pizza on Dewey Avenue, a pizza delivery man can make 3 to 4 stops every hour.

"It's very busy," Adams said Tuesday night.

But every delivery can put a driver at risk.

"These guys have a dangerous job, and you know, they're just targets out there," owner Mike Del Gaizo said.

On Monday night around 7 p.m., one of his drivers stopped by an apartment building at 70 Lakeview Park to deliver pizza and wings.

Instead, two men attacked him, stole his money and food, and took off.

Rochester Police Officer Cuyler Mooney and his K-9 Bandit arrived just minutes later.

"He started barking and pacing around in circles and I had to tell him down, and then still continued barking and then I gave him a signal-- I said, "Go get 'em."

Soon Mooney and Bandit were hot on the trail. They found the two men inside an apartment building at 960 Dewey Avenue, with Bandit following their scent and the tracks they left in the snow.

"He went right to the back door and started barking at the back door," Mooney said.

Mooney and Bandit ran upstairs to one of the apartments, where even a human nose could smell the evidence.

"I was pretty sure we were in the right area," Mooney said.

For other drivers, the attack is no surprise. Herb Adams says delivering food is getting more and more dangerous.

"We know that it could be any one of us when we go out there, any delivery that we take," he said.

Adams said drivers do what they can to keep safe.

"I always carry my cell phone with me," he said. "I try to call the home owner or the apartment person so they can come to the door and just acknowledge that they did order it and it's not a set-up."

Drivers say people who order can help, too, by having outside lights on and keeping an eye out for the delivery man. Adams says that way, if anything happens, people can call police.

For the owner of this Salvatore's, the problem is hard to ignore. Five attacks in just three months means these drivers have to be on their guard.

"We have a group of people for whatever reason in this area, they're just predators," Del Gaizo said, "and they're waiting for these guys to take whatever they can from them."

Rochester police officers say they're glad the driver wasn't badly hurt and want to make it clear that they take attacks like this very seriously.

Both suspects are charged with robbery, assault and grand larceny.

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