Armed robber steals $2,300 from Spring Garden pizza shop

Thursday, February 15, 2024
Armed robber steals $2,300 from Spring Garden pizza shop
Armed robber steals $2,300 from Spring Garden pizza shop

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- An armed robber held up a pizza shop in Philadelphia's Spring Garden section Wednesday night.

It happened at the same location where an attempted robbery made headlines two years ago.

Aftab Haque, the owner of La Gustosa, said just before 10 p.m., a man walked into his pizza shop claiming to be a driver for DoorDash.

"It appeared very much like a normal Door Dash driver would do. He pulled out his phone and said he had an order to pick up," said Haque.

However, Haque said there weren't any pickup orders.

He said the suspect eventually made his way behind the counter, pulled out a gun, and held it up to an employee's back as she went to the cash register. Moments later, Haque said a customer walked into his business.

"He pointed the gun at the customer to say you also come back behind the counter," he explained.

"He got everyone to get into this area and then asked them to kneel. He took all the money, and then he asked everyone to give whatever they had. The customer had only the cards, no money... All the employees from the back gave almost $2,000 or so."

Surveillance video shared with Action News captured the suspect keeping the customer and two employees behind the counter as he raided the register and left the restaurant.

Haque said the man made off with about $2,300.

At this same address back on December 9, 2021, a suspect grabbed for the register from the clerk of what was then Bold Pizzas.

WATCH: Video shows 14-year-old open fire on pizza shop robber

Police say three men had just robbed a CVS pharmacy at North Broad and Spring Garden streets, when one of the suspects made his way into the pizza shop a block away.

In that case, the clerk's 14-year-old son grabbed a gun and shot the suspect, critically wounding him.

"That's surprising it happened twice in a few years at this location," Haque said.

Haque told Action News he opened La Gustosa about five months ago because it was a "great location" for a business - on a busy Spring Garden Street, just a block from Philadelphia Police Headquarters.

He said this incident is a sad reminder of how difficult it is to conduct business in the city.

"I was kind of prepared like it might happen. It's not very uncommon in Philadelphia, I guess," he said. All the businesses are prepared in their minds, I guess."

The 6abc Data Journalism Team found since 2019, there have been several dozen armed robberies every year in this section of Spring Garden. On this specific block, there have only been seven since 2010.

Haque told Action News he reached out to DoorDash to find out if the suspect was actually driving for the company at the time of the armed robbery.

He also said he is now considering a ban on face masks inside his restaurant.

Philadelphia Police say no arrests have been made. This remains under investigation.

RELATED: Check the 6abc Neighborhood Safety Tracker