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Police in the 109th Precinct said more than a half−dozen Chinese food deliverymen have been targeted in a string of robberies throughout Flushing during the last two months and they are calling on restaurant owners to exercise extra vigilance when sending their employees out.
Matthew Whelan, the 109th Precinct commanding officer deputy inspector, spoke to more than two dozen restaurant owners Jan. 14 to brief them on the string of robberies which they believe has been carried out by three Hispanic men between Dec. 2 and Jan. 8. Whelan said seven separate robberies have occurred at various locations around Flushing, each between the hours of 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
“They’re making calls for delivery from a number that comes up blocked and then waiting in or around the building,” Whelan said. “So the building of the location of the delivery is being staked out when the delivery people are showing up.”
Whelan said the robberies appear to be connected since each of them is occurring within the same time frame and all involve the delivery worker being held up at gunpoint or knifepoint and robbed.”
Little is known about the robbers, however, and Whelan stressed the importance of calling 911 immediately after the robbery. Police said no one has been injured in
“After the robbery occurs, you need to call 911 immediately. We’ve had situations where the deliverymen are making two or three more deliveries before returning to their restaurant and calling police,” he said. “That delay in calling 911 is a big hindrance in what we can do.”
Whelan also said the police have no interest in an employee’s immigration status.
“We’re not allowed to inquire about immigration status. We don’t care if you’re here legitimately or illegitimately,” he said. “We care that you’re the victim of a crime, and we want to solve that.”
Police Officer Anthony Levorme said restaurant owners should make sure their employees carry only as much cash as is necessary, try to make their deliveries to the front of buildings and call the number given by a customer prior to making a delivery.
“Bottom line: If you don’t feel safe making a delivery, don’t make the delivery,” Levorme said.
For more information, call the 109th Precinct Community Affairs Office at 718−321−2269.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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