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Four face charges in Tampa robbery of Pizza Hut driver

TAMPA — Bob Noriega is ready to end deliveries to Sulphur Springs.

The 20-year-old Pizza Hut driver was dropping off an order Sunday when, police say, five teenagers bent on a robbery lured the delivery man to a vacant home. They took the pizza they'd ordered, beat Noriega and took his money.

Police announced the arrests of four of the five suspects Thursday.

The attack was the second since Noriega started the job 10 months ago.

At Halloween, he said, he was walking to his car near E Waters Avenue and Mulberry Street when a man attacked him from behind. They ended up tussling on the ground. That time, the man got away.

On Sunday, Noriega arrived at 8102 12th St. N in Sulphur Springs around 10:34 p.m. A woman came to the door, took the pizza and handed him counterfeit money, according to Tampa police.

When Noriega demanded real money, Carol Hill told him to wait a minute, went inside the house and closed the door, police say. Through the window, Noriega saw that the house was vacant. He went inside and was attacked by Hill, 18, and four teenagers, police say.

The suspects beat Noriega and took all his money — almost $200. The suspects then took off, leaving him in a pool of blood. He was able to get to his car and drive back to Pizza Hut, where he called police. Noriega was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital with face and head injuries.

Officers later found blood on the door and inside the house, along with a bloody, 2-foot metal rod.

On Thursday, Noriega said he's still recovering from extensive bruising, shoulder injuries and has staples in his head. He said he's tried to discuss with his manager whether deliveries to Sulphur Springs after dark should continue.

"Now, it's a grave concern," he said.

A manager at the store, 902 W Busch Blvd., declined to comment. She referred questions to a corporate spokesperson. No one at the company returned calls Thursday.

Police say the attack was the last of three robberies by the suspects that day. According to Tampa police spokeswoman Andrea Davis, the suspects are also accused of:

• Pointing a gun at a man and demanding his wallet. The incident happened just after midnight as Michael Lachman, 49, was walking at N 13th St. and E River Cove Street. The teens hit Lachman in the face and he fell, causing minor injuries to his face.

• Robbing two newspaper carriers at gunpoint at about 5 a.m. at N 14th and River Cove streets. Mathew Hawk, 29, and Tasha Wisniewski, 24, were walking to work when the suspects approached them, pulled guns and demanded money. Hawk said he didn't have any money, so they pistol-whipped Wisniewski and took her watch. She was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital with swelling and cuts on her face.

Police tracked down the suspects using a cell phone number and they confessed, Davis said.

Hill was arrested late Wednesday on two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, and one count each of armed burglary, kidnapping and carrying a concealed weapon.

She is being held at the Orient Road Jail without bail.

Three others — Dorian Hill, 17; Brandon Pickens, 15; and Kevin Toliver, 15 — were taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center. They are each charged with three counts of robbery, one count of kidnapping and one count of burglary.

The juvenile suspects have been arrested before, state records show.

Toliver was charged in March with resisting an officer. Pickens was arrested in February 2007 on a charge of aggravated battery on a firefighter. Dorian Hill was charged a year ago with felony battery.

Hill, of 14009 Camden Court, was charged in December with carrying a concealed weapon.

Police said they are still seeking a fifth suspect, who is a teenager, in the robberies.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at rcatalanello@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.

Four face charges in Tampa robbery of Pizza Hut driver 04/16/09 [Last modified: Friday, April 17, 2009 12:18am]
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