“be wary of having delivery guys show up to your house when you haven’t ordered any delivery… the delivery guy will get robbed.”

by Prince Of Petworth February 2, 2017 at 10:40 am 48 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Lorie Shaull

“Dear PoPville,

For the second time in less than a week a delivery man was robbed on my porch by an armed man.

What the suspect is doing is calling for delivery from local restaurants (Olga & Manny, NY Pizza) and giving them the address of [unit block of] W Street NW (last Sunday robbery) and [unit block of] W Street NW (tonight’s robbery), when the delivery person shows up for the delivery, no one answers the number that called for the delivery. So the delivery person leaves the car and proceeds to knock on the door of the address. At that time the suspect comes from the corner of North Capital and W street and robs the delivery person at gunpoint.

Myself and my neighbor never called for delivery…. the suspect is giving an address and then robbing people when they arrive.

The police said this is the 5th time it has happened

and like I said it happened to me and my neighbor within a week. The police are having a hard time tracking the number because the suspect is using Voice Over IP numbers, and the online company providing the service is some small mom and pop shop overseas.

Can you please get the word out to the Bloomingdale neighborhood to be wary of having delivery guys show up to your house when you haven’t ordered any delivery… the delivery guy will get robbed.

DC offers up to a $500 reimbursement for home security cameras as well. I wish I had one but after this week have one coming in the mail very soon.”

  • anony-mouse

    Thanks for the heads-up… but not really sure what any particular denizen can actually do… I typically don’t sit on my couch in my free time looking out my window and awaiting delivery drivers I didn’t call.

    • textdoc

      “but not really sure what any particular denizen can actually do…

    • textdoc

      ““but not really sure what any particular denizen can actually do…” — If nothing else, turn your porch light on at night. More light makes the area safer for passing pedestrians and prevents people from being able to hide in the shadows.

    • L.

      I see what you’re saying– my takeaway is making sure to tip well when you do get delivery because obviously that job really, really sucks.

      • TX2DC

        +1. I always tip delivery drivers well. There’s not telling what they’ve seen in this city.

  • Just a suggestion

    The delivery companies should start requiring registration then so the identity of the person who ordered is known.

    • Ben

      Huh? If a person is using a hard-to-track overseas voice-over-ip # then I presume they can easily make up a name and email address.

      • Worried delivery driver

        Why huh? Pretty sure requiring registration with a credit card would prevent this type of fake ordering and lead cops right to the dude if he did try it. Pay in app is safer anyway cause less risk of robbery.

      • NoVaMan

        Require credit/debit payment. Raises the bar. And it’s possible to block prepaid cards, depending on the processor.

  • Ava16

    I thought the call to action was weird too. I think I get what the poster is trying to say…maybe its “be wary of delivery men that you didn’t call.” ??

    • anony-mouse

      It’s not more of a call to action for most people, but instead should be a call to action for deliverymen.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        And what are delivery people supposed to do? Make guesses as to which deliveries are real and which are fake. That delivery person will be out of a job real quick.

  • Truxton Thomas

    How about: if a delivery driver knocks on your door with a delivery you didn’t order, communicate that to him and call the cops?

    • Marty

      yeah, because I really want the police out chasing every prank call from a middle-schooler.

      • Truxton Thomas

        Oh, I thought this had to do with preventing robberies in your neighborhood. Thank you for the correction.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think pretending to be a food delivery driver is a prank that middle-schoolers do, is it? How many pranks of this nature have you experienced?

        • Anon Spock

          Middle schoolers are calling in fake deliveries not pretending to deliver food…..

    • dcd

      Wait – your suggestion is that, in an area with multiple armed robberies, I should open the door for ostensible delivery people when I know, for a fact, I haven’t called for a delivery? Not likely.

      • Truxton Thomas

        No, I didn’t suggest that.

        • dcd

          “if a delivery driver knocks on your door with a delivery you didn’t order, ***communicate that to him *** and call the cops”
          I’m just supposed to yell through the door at him? “YOU MAY BE ABOUT TO BE ROBBED AT GUNPOINT!! BE CAREFUL!!”

          • Anonymous

            LOL. Come on, think outside the box. Move to a window and mime it at him. Or have a pre-loaded banner on the porch that you can unfurl at the click of a button.

  • DCbyDay

    the call to action is weird… but the time an uncalled delivery man begins to approach my house… it’s too late.
    but this is great info for those who work and own/operate local delivery places/services. I wonder what safety measures they could put in place. if it’s the same number being used, Police circulating that number to local restaurants could be helpful.

    • MadMax

      They’re throw-away, one-use numbers.

  • Anonymous

    I think the issue is that the delivery guy is carrying around a lot of money. If they weren’t, the robbers would be wasting their time on this.

    • Emmaleigh504

      I would think the delivery guy wouldn’t have a lot of cash b/c of the use of credit cards.

      • MadMax

        There are still way too many places that are cash only, and even the ones who do take CC often won’t add the tip amount to the CC (presumably so they don’t have to claim it in taxes, like hair salons).

    • dat

      i’m also surprised that delivery people would be carrying more than $20.

      maybe the robbers are just hungry?

  • stacksp

    I guess the one thing people can do is provide surveillance footage from your cameras if you have one installed. If the OP has a camera, I would pull the footage and provide to the police especially since they seem to be using your block and of course leave your porch light on.

  • Anonynon

    how do you register to get the $500 reimbursement? Would that work for one of those nest cameras?

  • ShawRenter

    This is kind of an aside, but my house doesn’t have a porch light, and my landlord is less than responsive to requests like that. Are there any good options for an outdoor light that I could install myself that doesn’t require wiring?

    • spookiness

      Lots of solar options now, with motion sensor.

    • stacksp
    • dat

      they make battery powered, motion sensing, LED flood lights. You definitely want LED if you’re running on battery. You may also be able to get something with a solar charging panel you could put on the porch roof.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Yes. Google “Mr. Beams.” They make several motion-activated ones that are very good and cost $30-$60. If you come and go a lot at night, or have a lot of animals coming onto your porch and stuff, you’ll end up spending a lot of money on batteries, but under normal circumstances (light comes on a couple times a day for 30 seconds at a time), the batteries should last for 3-4 months at a time.

  • asdf

    Here’s something we can all do to help out delivery drivers and prevent robberies like this – Pay for food deliveries ahead of time with a credit card (using Uber Eats, or similar order/delivery apps, even small restaurants will take CC payment over the phone). Delivery guys wouldn’t need to carry any (or much) cash. Problem basically solved.

    • stacksp

      How does that potential robber know that the food is paid and that the delivery person does not have any cash prior to approaching the delivery person with a weapon?

      • joysbrother

        Right. And what happens is the delivery guy loses his cash tips instead of the restaurant’s money. Not that the restaurant losing money is a good thing. It’s just better than the victim (delivery driver) being twice victimized.

        • asdf

          You can tip within most order/delivery apps. We’re not trying to cure cancer here. We can solve this one pretty easily.

      • asdf

        If customers overwhelmingly pre-paid with CC only, robbers would stop targeting delivery guys for cash pretty quickly. Many delivery cars/trucks have signage saying “this driver does not carry cash” or something similar. In other words, take away the incentive and the robberies eventually stop.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          But don’t they? I haven’t used cash on a delivery order in literally years. And like you said, many places only take CCs for delivery orders.

          • stacksp

            Yeah I dont know. I seldom have the cash on hand for my orders and always pay with my check card online or over the phone. Maybe the robbers are targeting the cash tip money. I have no idea but from just an anecdotal experience, would be robbers dont need much incentive to risk their freedom these days.

          • asdf

            Likewise. I stopped paying for deliveries with cash many years ago when a pizza guy told me he had no change for a $20 when my bill was less than $15. He walked away with a 33% tip, but I digress.

            I have no idea, but obviously at least one robber in DC is banking on delivery guys carrying cash, and having some success with it. Maybe some socio-economically challenged areas of the city don’t commonly use apps or pre-pay with credit cards for food deliveries.

          • HaileUnlikely

            When ordering from a restaurant that actually delivers their own food (I mean as opposed to UberEats or GrubHub or similar), I suspect that paying cash, even if less common than it used to be, is still way more common than you might expect, and that most of the drivers will have more cash on them than the average citizen walking down the street. Last time I paid cash for some Chinese food I had delivered from a good local place in upper NW that has no website, the driver pulled out a big wad from which he made change.

          • stacksp

            I guess part of the hustle is tell the delivery service that you are paying cash to assure yourself that they bring change.

      • NoVaMan

        Because the robber would have to use a credit card to initiate this particular method.

  • Jeremy Gifford

    This is happening on my block. The unit of 2100 North Capitol. I’m happy to work with neighbors on co-ordinating a neighborhood watch for deliveries we want. Not sure the best way to create a neighborhood watch, but I’m going door to door on my block so we can work together. If we are all out on our porches during a specified time these punks won’t continue to threaten our community.


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