Police investigating the robbery of a Papa John's Pizza delivery driver last March had little to go on - no identification of the suspects and no physical evidence - but they did have the phone number used to order pepperoni and bacon pies and lure out the driver.
The day after the robbery, police got a court order and discovered that the owner of the phone was a Clyde Johnson from Parkville. Officers also discovered that Johnson, 23, had been arrested in connection with two prior pizza-delivery robberies and he had used his own phone to place the orders, according to Assistant State's Attorney Andrew Kowalczyk.
Police secured a warrant for Johnson's arrest based on the phone number and the similarities between the cases and on Wednesday Johnson pleaded guilty to armed robbery. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Last year, more than one delivery driver a week was robbed in Baltimore, according to police statistics, and in the majority of cases the order was placed as a ruse - in the others drivers were ambushed as they brought a legitimate order.
In the Johnson case, an order for the two pizzas and a Sierra Mist soda came in to the Harford Road Papa John's from Johnson's phone. The caller gave his name as John, according to court documents.
The Northeast Baltimore apartment given as the delivery address does not exist. But when the driver arrived he went up to the second floor and a man wearing a black mask, whose stature resembled Johnson's, told him the apartment was downstairs.
Another man appeared and pulled a knife while the first man punched the driver in the face. After a struggle, the two men took the pizzas, the driver's keys and $55 in cash and fled.
Johnson was convicted in connection with one of the previous robberies, which took place in August 2010, and sentenced to 10 years in prison, with eight years of the time suspended, court records show. He declined to address the judge Wednesday and his attorney also declined to comment after the hearing.
In October, The Sun's Jonathan Pitts traveled with a delivery driver to get a sense of the dangers he faced nightly.
One of the men in the Johnson case threatened to pull a gun if the driver did not stop struggling, but he did not need medical treatment. Other drivers have not been so fortunate: in October a driver was shot in the stomach as he was making a delivery.
At the end of May, 20-year-old Dayone Jackson was convicted of attempted second degree murder in connection with the attack, according to online court records.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun