Why you should tip your pizza delivery guy more

A map of attacks on food delivery people, 2008-2011.

This past weekend in Albany's Center Square neighborhood a pizza deliveryman for Soho Pizza was the target of what must have been a terrifying attack. From the Albany Police Department press release about the incident:

At approximately 1:10 a.m. James Kehoe, 25, was attempting to make a food delivery for Soho Pizza to 172 Jay Street. He was approached on the street by the first suspect who told him "hold on my brother will be right out with the money". A second suspect came from across the street and wrapped his arm around the victim's throat and threw him to the ground. A third suspect then walked up behind Kehoe and placed what appeared to be a handgun to his neck and told him not to scream or he would get shot. The first suspect then reached into Kehoe's pockets and stole his money and cell phone.

The APD says the suspects fled the scene after getting the money and phone. A search of the area, including a sweep by a K-9 team, came up empty.

You might not think that being a food delivery person is a dangerous job, but attacks on them are not uncommon in Albany and other Capital Region cities. In fact, there have been six incidents just this year.

Concerned and curious about about the frequency and locations of these attacks, we gathered reports of the crimes from the past four years, organized them by date, and mapped them.

How we gathered this info

We collected the incidents from police department press releases, as well local media reports and archives. It probably not a complete list, but we think it captures many of incidents. If you know of an incident to add, please let us know -- either via a comment or email.


Here's a zoomed out map of Albany, Schenectady and Troy:

A larger map is embedded at the top of this page.

Totals and patterns

Total attacks found over the last four years: 22 -- 15 in Albany, 4 in Troy, 3 in Schenectady.

As mentioned above, we gathered reports of six attacks/robberies on food delivery people this year. All occurred in Albany. Three of the incidents are connected to the same crew of suspects, according to the APD.

2010: The rash of attacks in Albany this year contrasts with last year, in which we could find no reports of such attacks in the city. However, there were two in Troy and one in Schenectady in 2010.

2009: That year saw 8 attacks -- 6 in Albany and 2 in Troy.

2008: 3 more attacks in Albany, 2 in Schenectady (one which involved a delivery person being held up with a taser). Fox23 reported that year that some pizza shops stopped delivering to some neighborhoods because of the attacks.

Reading through the incident reports, you start to notice a pattern:
+ Many of the attacks come late at night.
+ The calls are often made from blocked numbers.
+ The deliveries are often called to addresses that are vacant or otherwise uninvolved.
+ The attackers almost always hit in groups, often as large as four people (a Troy incident included a report of as many as 8 attackers).
+ The attackers are often armed.

A spokesman for the APD recently recommended that food shops stop deliveries to orders from blocked numbers, and to areas that are not well lit. The APD also suggested unmarked delivery cars and having delivery people work in pairs. [Fox23]

Incidents by year

2011 (6)

2011-07-18: Albany, 172 Jay Street
APD says a deliveryman from Soho Pizza was attacked and robbed by three men, one with a gun

2011-06-17: Albany, 29 Wilkins Ave
APD says the same deliveryman from New Yorker Pizza (2011-06-06, 29 Second Street) was robbed again, just after midnight, by the same suspects. APD says suspects arrested June 18.

2011-06-06: Albany, 29 Second Street
APD says a deliveryman from New Yorker Pizza was robbed at 11 pm. It says two suspects were arrested following another robbery on June 17.

2011-05-31: Albany, 44 First Street
APD says a Soho Pizza deliveryman was robbed by two suspects with a rifle at 1:25 am. APD says the suspects were arrested following another robbery on June 17.

2011-01-27: Albany, 51 Westerlo Street
APD says a deliveryman from Number 1 Chinese was robbed by three men on the street just after 11 pm; one of the men had a handgun. [TU]

2011-01-15: Albany, Sherman Street
APD says a deliveryman for Mild Wally's was robbed by three men, one of them with a handgun. Residents at address said they didn't order food. [ASP]

2010 (3)

2010-12-07: Schenectady, Steinmetz Homes
SPD says a China Dragon Restaurant deliveryman was arrested after a man allegedly called in fake order, and then robbed the deliveryman using a fake handgun. Suspect arrested. [TU]

2010-09-18: Troy, Corliss Park Apartments
A man delivering pizza and wings reported being attacked by four men at 9:45 pm (address given for the delivery was vacant). [Troy Record]

2010-09-15: Troy, Corliss Park Apartments
A deliveryman reported being attacked by 7 or 8 men around 10:15 pm. [Troy Record]

2009 (8)

2009-12-30: Albany, 429 Central Ave
A deliveryman from New Yorker Pizzeria reported being attacked by three men who tried to get him to enter an apartment (phone number didn't appear to be connected to address). [TU]

2009-12-22: Troy, 3 121st Street
A deliveryman from Spring Garden (a Chinese restaurant) reported that two men wearing scarves over their faces, one of them with a gun, mugged him. TPD said robbery wasn't connected to robbery the day before. [Troy Record]

2009-12-21: Troy, Cottage Street
A deliveryman for I Love Pizza of Troy reported being robbed by two men, one with a handgun. [Troy Record]

2009-10-29: Albany, 91 Kenosha Street
APD says a deliveryman from Romeo's Pizza fought off two attackers around 2:35 am. [TU]

2009-09-05: Albany, 600 block of Morris Street
APD says a deliveryman from Shun's Kitchen, while riding his bike to a delivery at 4 am, was attacked by one man. [Fox23, TU]

2009-08-31: Albany, 18 Rutland Street
A driver for Soho Pizza reported he was stuck by two men with a gun just past midnight -- APD says the delivery address did not appear to be connected. [TU]

2009-06-25: Albany, Tampa Ave and Greenway
A deliveryman for Spinner's Pizza reported that he was mugged by one man with a knife. [YNN]

2009-04-13: Albany, Myrtle Ave
A deliveryman for Shun's Kitchen reported that he was hit in the head with an object while riding his bike for a delivery around noon, an attacker then appeared and stole his money. APD says the attack appeared to be random and not a setup. [Troy Record]

2008 (5)

2008-12-20: Albany, 561 Second Street
A deliveryman for I Love NY Pizza reported being attacked by four men, who threatened him with a knife. APD says the address called in (on a blocked number) for the delivery was abandoned. [CBS6,TU]

2008-12-17: Albany, 6 Sand Street
A deliveryman for Soho Pizza said he had been called to dark house, called the order number and person refused to come to the door, and then three people attacked him -- and two of them pulled guns. [YNN]

2008-12-08: Albany, 217 Spruce Street
A pizza deliveryman reported being robbed by two men with a gun. The same address had been used to call two cab drivers who had also been robbed. [TU]

2008-05-20: Schenectady, Maplewood Ave in Mont Pleasant
A deliveryman for Chubby's reported that he was robbed by multiple people, one who threatened the driver with a taser. After the robbery, a string of earlier incidents, pizza shops said they would stop delivering to Mont Pleasant. [Fox23]

2008-04-28: Schenectady, 1 Barney St
A deliveryman for New York Pizza and Chicken reported that two people with a gun told him to hand over his food and money. [TU]

And, of course, there's a history of these crimes that pre-dates 2008. For example: Schenectady experienced a rash of the robberies in 2007. [TU]


I was only a block away when this happened, sitting on my porch reading, like there was nothing wrong with the world. I didn't hear anything, which is surprising to me, unless nobody actually yelled. But I didn't see any police lights or hear any aftermath ruckus either. I was shocked when I saw it on the news the next day.

The attacks on food delivery people are horrible and need to stop, along with people coming to Center Square to prey on its residents (and in this case, businesses). I've had to start locking my back gate with a padlock because people have attempted to enter my yard on more than one occasion.

Sorry, but if I ran a business, I would NOT cater to poor neighborhoods and would instruct my drivers to walk away if they felt threatened or a feeling of uneasiness with customer or location.

A business does not have to be politically correct at the expense of safety.

Various chambers of commerce should also instruct the many delivery restauranst to have the driver carry no more than $20 in change

I didn't see this before, and I just HAD to bring it back from the dead.

"Sorry, but if I ran a business, I would NOT cater to poor neighborhoods..."

@James: I'm sure you meant dangerous neighborhoods, right? You sound like a snobby aristocrat from Downton Abbey. Coming from experience, I can say that during this economic downturn, small businesses hardly have the luxury of picking and choosing where they deliver food. Yes, it's easy to avoid some of the really bad areas, but 172 Jay Street is actually a nice area. You can never predict where it'll happen, especially if the thieves are willing to travel to different locations.

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