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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rash of taxi cab robberies makes kinda crappy job way crappier

Posted By on Thu, Nov 4, 2010 at 6:27 PM

If braving Atlanta's roads day in and day out wasn't terrifying enough, between October 17 and 24, six local taxi drivers were the victims of armed robberies or attempted armed robberies across Atlanta. Two of the drivers had passengers in-tow when the robberies took place; in once instance, the passengers were the robbers.

Here's a rundown of the incidents:
Oct. 17: Cab driver Kayode Adepegba was stopped at a traffic light at Hosea L. Williams Drive and Warren Street when he noticed that a white Chevy sedan had pulled up right on his back bumper. The light turned green and Adepegba pulled off, but the Chevy quickly sped in front of him and cut him off. A passenger exited the car and approached the taxi with a rifle (possibly an AK-47), broke out the window with the tip of the gun’s barrel and demanded money. Adepegba handed over what money he had, and the robbers headed east down Hosea L. Williams.

Oct. 20: Two attempted robberies took place, both by suspects in a white Dodge Charger. At around 3 a.m., Barry Richkin was sitting at a red light at Freedom Parkway and North Avenue, when the Charger pulled up in front of his taxi, blocking the lane. A man in a grey hoodie got out and approached with an assault rifle, but got back in his car and drove west on North Avenue when Richkin started feeling around for his weapon (which was in the passenger seat, apparently). Richkin had two passengers in the back of his cab at the time.

A little bit later, at around 3:45 a.m., Mathew Uzowihe flagged police down at Peachtree and Baker streets. He told them when he'd stopped near Piedmont Avenue and 15th Street because he thought something was caught in one of the cab's wheel wells, a Charger pulled up in front of the cab, blocking it, and a young black male exited wielding a "large gun." Uzowihe quickly hopped back in his cab, made a U-turn and sped off. He told police he later spotted the same Charger near the W Hotel in Midtown, where it was slowly cruising past a bank of staged taxis. He described his assailant as a black male in his early-to-mid-20s with short hair, no facial hair and wearing a khaki-colored shirt.

Oct. 22: Just before 3 a.m., Chukwuma Nwabeke picked up a man and a woman near Moondogs in Buckhead. The pair asked to be taken to Amal Drive at Pryor Drive, but when they arrived, the they requested that Nwabeke drive a little farther. At that point, the male pulled out a handgun and demanded money. Then they got out of the car and started walking down Amal. When Nwabeke though they were far enough away, he started yelling for help. The duo heard him, however, and the male turned and fired a round in Nwabeke’s direction. Luckily, he wasn’t hit.

At around 3:40 a.m., Daniel Maru picked up a fare at the Omni Hotel on Marietta Street downtown. When they stopped at the intersection of Windsor Street and I-20, a small, white vehicle cut him off and stopped, and a passenger approached with an assault rifle. When Maru refused to roll down the window, the man — a black male 5’6” and about 170 lbs., wearing a white shirt and cap — shattered the taxi's driver's side window and put the rifle to Maru's head, shouting “Give me money, give me money.” The passenger in the cab handed the guy 40 bucks, and the robber and his accomplices fled.

Oct. 24: Idowu Ladipo was walking back to his taxi after dropping off money at the Piedmont Road cab company by whom he's employed, when a man came from behind some bushes and pointed a pistol at him. The robber instructed Ladipo to the ground, took $200 from his pocket and whacked him in the head with the pistol. Ladipo saw the man get into the passenger side of an older brownish, four-door Cadillac.

APD Chief George Turner is holding a press conference tomorrow (Friday) morning to address the robberies and discuss what his agency is doing about it.

Seriously, though, where's Travis Bickle when you need him? The streets need a cleanin'.

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