TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Tampa Police Department is investigating several delivery driver robberies in the 2200 block of Osborne Avenue that appear to be related.
On Wednesday around 8 p.m., a Papa John’s delivery driver was delivering pizza to an address listed as 2223 East Osborne Avenue, Apartment C, which does not exist.
When the driver failed to locate the unit, he called the customer, who told the driver to meet him at the back of the complex, where four juveniles were waiting.
One of the suspects had a knife and was described as wearing a black hoodie, a beige hat, and red sweatpants, according to police.
Officers said another suspect grabbed the order and all four juveniles fled the area.
“It’s unfortunate that we live in a time where you do have to be worried about something like this happening to you when you’re just doing a job,” Tampa PD Public Information Officer Joneé Lewis said. “And you’re doing it at the convenience of the customer.”
Another robbery that occurred Tuesday in the same neighborhood involved a Domino’s delivery driver and is believed to be connected to Wednesday night’s incident, the department said.
“Well, another delivery driver reported a similar incident, so that’s part of what we’re investigating to determine,” said Lewis. “Are these two incidents related, because they happened in the same general area.”
Police want to remind delivery drivers to be aware of their surroundings, be cautious of delivery locations that appear unsafe, never leave their vehicles, and never be redirected to another address or location after the order is placed, as customers should provide clear instructions for delivery in a well-lit area.
“As a result of this, we are going to increase patrols in this general area because we have seen this happen a couple times this week already and we just want delivery drivers to know that we’re there for them,” Lewis said. “You should be able to do your job and you should be able to feel safe doing your job.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Tampa PD at 813-231-6130 or by submitting an anonymous tip to Crimestoppers at 800-873-8477.
This remains an ongoing investigation.