Two days, two armed robberies, two Delaware cabbies

What started off as a rough week for one cab company appears to be making a turnaround. After two of its drivers were robbed at gunpoint in as many days, Dover Police announced Tuesday they arrested two suspects linked to those armed robberies, and several others, dating back to April 8th.

Detectives say they noticed the two because one of them wore clothes matching the description from the latest taxicab robbery early Tuesday morning. Police say they also recovered a gun matching the description by the victims.

One of the suspects is identified as 18-year-old Shakir Swain of Cheswold, Delaware. He faces four counts of Robbery, Possession of a firearm while committing a felony, Possession of a firearm by a person prohibited and Conspiracy. 

Police have not ID’ed the second suspect.

Both cabbie incidents occurred during the overnight hours in Dover. It involved cab drivers with City Cabs and involved handguns pointed at the drivers’ heads. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

The first incident occurred Sunday at 3 a.m., when police say a City Cab driver was dispatched to 165 Willis Road. Police say two black males got into the back seat and one of them held a gun to the driver’s head demanding money and his cell phone.

Then at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, a similar incident involving a City Cab driver occurred at the Town Point Apartments in Dover. When the driver picked up who he thought was a customer, investigators say the male suspect got in behind the driver, displayed a handgun and pointed it at the driver’s head.

“Everybody’s attributed it to all kinds of stuff — the economy, somebody says, ‘Oh, it was race weekend, they thought the cabs had a lot of money,’ but, you know, who knows,” said City Cab Owner Tom Antonio.

Antonio also serves as President of Delaware’s Taxi Owners Association. Prompted by the March shooting death of a Hope Taxi driver in Wilmington, Antonio says the organization has been brainstorming ways to make the job safer for cabbies, long before these two incidents.

“We’ve opted to put cameras in our cabs, so through the next couple of months we’re gonna be equipping every one of our cabs with digital cameras,” said Antonio, who hopes others will follow City Cab’s lead.   

Antonio does not believe robbing taxi drivers is a new trend, and says for the most part it’s business as usual. Still, Antonio says he reminded his drivers to be aware of their surroundings, “if you’re pulling up to a building, pull up to the lighted area, flash your lights, beep your horn, have ’em come to you… we’re basically just reiterating to our drivers things that they should be doing already.”

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