Des Moines Police say they were bogus food orders that turned into robberies.
In each of the past four days, drivers from four different metro restaurants saw routine deliveries turn into their worst nightmares on the job.
Officers say the similarities between the cases are impossible to ignore.
“What has happened is food delivery drivers go to an address, they attempt to deliver the food, and they’re approached by several black males,” said Sgt. Cindy Donahue, an officer with the Des Moines Police Department.
The robberies all took place just north of I-235 and each involved three suspects.
Witnesses describe them as black males ages 18-20, armed with a small handgun.
In one case, the suspects made off with just $28.
“As police officers, we would hope that when delivering food at late night hours that they would just carry the minimum amount of money with them,” said Donahue.
James turner, an employee at Sarpino’s Pizzeria in Clive says he knows exactly what those drivers went through.
“I wanted out of the parking lot. That was the biggest thing on my mind. I wanted to get out of the parking lot,” said Turner.
He says he narrowly avoided a robbery three years ago when six males surrounded his truck and threatened to steal the food he was trying to deliver.
Now as a manager, he works with drivers to keep them safe.
The restaurant flags home that have caused problems in the past and drivers are urged to make contact with customers when arriving in areas they don’t feel comfortable.
In a worst case scenario, the well-being of the drivers comes first.
“If you feel threatened or they’re in your space, give them the pizza and walk away. Give them the $30-$40 and walk away,” Turner told Channel 13 News.
It’s advice that turner hopes will protect employees.
None of the victims were injured in the robberies.
If you have any information on the suspects, you’re asked to contact Des Moines Police at 515-283-4811 or Polk County Crime Stoppers at 515-223-1400.