Newspaper carriers victims of crime as they make the rounds

ARLnow.com | Charlotte Observer | The Express-Times
A newspaper carrier’s exceptional customer service may be the reason that she was carjacked Wednesday in Arlington, Va. The 73-year-old woman had gotten out of her car at 4:30 a.m. (I’ll give you a second to absorb two of those facts) to put a paper on a customer’s doorstep when two men drove up and demanded her car. ARLnow reports:

Police say both of the subjects, one of whom had a gun, pushed the woman to the ground. At that point, one of the men reportedly jumped into the woman’s car and threw her dog out of the vehicle, before driving off. The other suspect got back into the van and drove off. …

According to police, the victim said she never leaves her car except at this one residence.

Reporter Katie Pyzyk gets an A+ for noting that Sparkle, the dog, was unharmed. (So was the woman.)

Perhaps crimes like this are an occupational hazard when you work in the wee-est of hours. Last month, a carrier for The Herald in Rock Hill, S.C., was abducted when he stopped at a truck stop around 3:45 a.m.

Two men approached him and asked for a ride, according to a Fort Mill Police report.

The man told them that he couldn’t help them because of his paper route, the report says.

The carrier put his dedication to his job aside when one of the men took out a gun. He wasn’t hurt.

And a newspaper carrier for The Express-Times in Easton, Pa., was assaulted early one morning in June when he came back to his truck to find a man inside. Another man jumped him as he tried to get the man out, and a fight ensued. He went on to complete his route although he probably had a broken nose, the newspaper reported.

The incident prompted The Express-Times’ Jim Deegan to write about the rare breed of newspaper carriers:

In today’s age of instant accessibility and electronic delivery, it’s almost mind-boggling to think that a cadre of people every morning are out bringing your order right to your front door.

That’s service. That’s dedication. And that’s John Werkheiser, who didn’t allow a few scrapes and bruises and a couple of numbskulls to alter his responsibility to about 150 customers on South Side.

“He was insistent on it, and after all that he actually finished his route only a couple of minutes late,” said Circulation Director Jennifer Kelly.

Related: Robbers in California target journalists (Poynter)

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  • Anonymous

    I did it once for two and a half years.  Miserable work, and my employer never compensated me fairly.  But the customers were great.  Big tips at Christmas, and tins of cookies.  I got out of my car for one customer and place the paper in her screen door.  All good folks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roblimo Robin Miller

    Low pay, usually 7 days a week, eats up your car something fierce. No paid vacation, no health insurance, work in weather so bad the cops won’t go out. No union, and the Newspaper Guild NEVER goes to bat for these people about anything but whines about extra money for well-paid editors. I delivered the New York Times on Long Island until I discovered that I could make more money driving a cab Friday and Saturday night than in 7 days of newspaper delivery.