Something unexpected might show up at your doorstep the next time you feel like ordering some pizza: a police officer. According to a recent announcement by the St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch, the department has concocted a new and unusual plan to send undercover cops to deliver pizza in certain parts of St. Louis in an attempt to deter crime against the delivery people.
Fitch said that in most cases those getting the pizza will never know that a police officer is the one at their door. The officers will be undercover and will not broadcast their status unless things go wrong. The point of the program is that if someone tries to rob a driver, the officer will be able to respond with a show of force, hopefully reducing the incidents targeting pizza delivery drivers.
The new law enforcement plan was devised after the recent death of an Imo’s driver who was killed last week while delivering three pizzas to a home in Dellwood. The driver was found dead in his car after being robbed of his pizzas and a cellphone.
Prosecutors have charged a teenager for the murder. Police said they found him in a house with the empty pizza boxes and the murder weapon. They also arrested three other teens and are pursuing charges against all of them in connection with the robbery and murder. The recent killing of a delivery driver was the second this year as another driver was shot and killed in May after delivering a pizza to a house in Hillsdale.
The delivery scheme has likely already begun as Fitch says undercover officers started making deliveries in parts of town where similar pizza robberies have happened in the past. The department has never tried such an approach before and is currently working with Imo’s and other local pizzerias that make deliveries in central and north St. Louis. Beyond infiltrating their ranks with undercover officers, the police will also be working with pizza shops to help them train their employees about how to identify possible suspicious customers.
Currently the program has no end date in sight, it will instead continue indefinitely as the city tries to assure those working as delivery drivers that they aren’t in danger. The department has said that all tips earned by officers will be turned over to the drivers whose place police took as the officers will be on the county’s payroll while making the deliveries.
If you’ve had a run in with the law and find yourself in need of a St. Louis criminal defense lawyer capable of fighting for your freedom, don’t hesitate to contact our St. Louis criminal law firm today at (314) 863-0500.
Source: “Warning to would-be thieves in Missouri: pizza guy could be cop,” by Kevin Murphy, published at ChicagoTribune.com.