Pizza robbery foiled by fast-thinking driver
It was a bizarre scenario in Clifton Monday morning when a pizza worker thwarted a robbery attempt after overhearing the customer's plan to rob him.
Cincinnati Police in districts one, three and five all worked together and fast, after driver Brad Lane and his manager at Toppers Pizza in Clifton called 911 after overhearing that conversation.
In about the time it takes to make and deliver a pizza, police had at least two of the people they're looking for in custody.
It was a sketchy phone call for a big order, $61-worth of pizza at 3 a.m.
"They tried to order four of them," said Assistant Manager Mathew Donnelly. "They said they were gonna pay cash with it.
"The driver went ahead and acted like he was getting of the phone, didn't hang up the phone, listened to what they were saying, and it was at that point he heard he was talking to his buddies how they were going to plan on jumping him in the parking lot once he arrived," Donnelly said.
"They started to talk about how they were going to rob this pizza delivery driver," Captain Wiesman said.
The caller wanted the pizza delivered to 908 Mound Street, and wanted the delivery person to meet them there.
"Our driver told him he had to re-make a pizza, probably be another 15 minutes, just to buy a little time," Fullerton told the 911 operator.
"Because of that quick phone call to police and the coordination of efforts," Wiesman said. "There was not a long time span so the bad guys didn't get nervous."
Police praised driver Brad Lane's fast thinking and sent an undercover officer right away.
"He put on a uniform, had a hat," Donnelly said. "Looked completely legit."
Officers surrounded the area.
"One of the officers laid the pizzas up on the hood of the car and started to have a conversation with him," Captain Wiesman said. "Bad guys grabbed the pizza, took off running, we were able to quickly catch up with them because we had kind of a net set up for 'em."
Police arrested Kevon Whitfield, 19, and a 14-year old.
"Bravo for him for being able to catch that," Donnelly said. "And just being right on the ball."
And Lane, kept on working his shift til close, not thrown off by all the excitement.
"I think he's fantastic," Donnelly said of Lane. "He's done a great for us so far and I didn't expect anything less from him."
Toppers said their drivers only carry $20 in cash on them and they do that for cases just like this.
And if a pizza call feels sketchy or something does not feel on the up and up, they say they just won't deliver there.
Lane said that the men involved in the incident had apparently tried to rob a customer at a Pizza Hut earlier Sunday night, but were not able to unsecure the car's emergency brake. So, the intention, he was told, was to get robbed, his car would have been stolen and lose the 4 pizzas in the process.
Police have arrested two people and are still looking for two others, known on the streets by their nicknames TEZ and SHARK.
Police believe they were acting as lookouts for the crime.
If you think you know these two men call Crimestoppers at 513-352-3040.
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