Takeaway food thieves emerge in Rīga

A criminal group has started to operate in Rīga, whose aim seems to be getting a few portions of takeaway food in the loot, Latvian Television reported February 9.

The criminals sometimes claim to be food delivery couriers, sometimes police officers.

Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, cafes and restaurants only sell food for takeout. Tables are empty, some people pick up  the food themselves, some send a courier. Unfortunately, fraudsters are also adapting to the changed habits.

As seen in CCTV footage, on Sunday evening, a woman with a Bolt Food delivery courier bag arrives at the pub-restaurant Ezītis miglā, using a moment when no one is behind the bar, she collects the food that has been left out for the courier, and walks away calmly.

“She quickly entered, found the order, took it and walked away. She even met the real courier in left the door, but walked past him. The real courier came in and realized that his order was nowhere to be found,” said Ernando Gamarra, co-owner of Ezītis miglā.

“Obviously it tasted very good, because less than an hour later the girl returned and tried to do the same thing again – to pick up an order and leave, but then our colleagues began to ask her, wait, what are you trying to take here? The girl began to mumble, she had no answer. At that moment a man came in, who pretended not to know the woman, turned the attention of the barman away, and she did not miss a beat to escape,” Gamarra said.

After a while, the café's employees spotted the two driving away in the same car.

“And then there's a phone call from an unknown number to our work phone. A man pretended to be a police inspector and says it makes no sense to call the police at all for this incident, it's a little thing. And if we go to the police anyway, someone will be waiting for our staff. Essentially, that was a threat,” Gamarra said.

In order to avoid such theft, the representative of the Bolt company in Latvia recommends that caterers hand over each shipment to the courier, and use the possibilities offered by the app to make sure that the recipient is the right one.

“Both the courier name and the picture are visible to the restaurant. Unique code for each order that the courier sees in his app, restaurant in his own. Just to avoid a situation where an unauthorized person takes an order, or where there are multiple orders at once, so that each courier takes the right one,” said Bolt representative Kārlis Ķezeberis.

Despite the threats received, the company turned to the police, who have identified the alleged perpetrators. These people have been seen by the police in the past for other types of offences.

Theft, threats, impersonating  police, and a series of smaller offenses – all this criminal saga resulted in a loot of salads, a small chicken burger, tater tots, juice packs and sauces – a meal worth a little over ten euros. Moreover, according to witnesses, the thieves were certainly not poor people who could not afford to buy food.

 

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