The Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office is investigating three recent robberies of food delivery drivers by criminals hiding behind technology.
A Papa John’s pizza delivery driver went to Brittany Commons but found a vacant apartment and was robbed of cash. A Pizza Hut delivery driver went to a vacant townhouse and was robbed. The third robbery occurred two weeks ago.
“The third one was actually at a hotel room that nobody was registered to,” Capt. Mike Harvey said.
That victim was robbed at gunpoint.
The culprit or culprits used a technique called “spoofing” -- blocking their cell phone numbers and borrowing somebody else’s so the calls ordering food can’t be traced.
And yes, there is an app for that.
“It makes it much more difficult for us to track down those numbers because it's going through this application to disguise who is actually calling,” Capt. Mike Harvey said.
The Spotsylvania County sheriff called it a modern equivalent of wearing a mask to commit a robbery.
“It is a new challenge,” Harvey said. “In 2009 the federal government actually passed a law to make it illegal to use these types of devices for criminal purposes. In Virginia we don't have a specific law but we are looking at the possibility of using identity fraud, identity-theft-type statutes.”
The sheriff’s office will conduct a food delivery safety awareness program next month for all businesses in the county.
None of the victims has been hurt.