Pizzalante Justice

So have you read the saga of the gun-toting pizza delivery guy in Des Moines?

A week ago, William Spiers, 38, was delivering a a pie for Pizza Hut when his would-be customer abruptly turned into an armed robber and reportedly put a gun to Spiers’ head. The bad news for the robber was that Spiers has a permit to carry a concealed weapon and was indeed packing more than just a piping hot pizza.

Spiers disarmed and shot the robber, according to press accounts. The wounded bad guy lived to be arrested for first-degree robbery.

The Des Moines Register has been all over this story here, here and here.

And on Wednesday, State Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, threatened to stop ordering from Pizza Hut if the chain fires Spiers. Although he wasn’t breaking any laws by carrying a gun, he was breaking Pizza Hut’s corporate policy.

From the Register story linked above:

“I think what he did was the right thing,” Zaun told fellow senators today. “If was in a situation to protect my family, protect myself, to continue being a father, I would’ve done the same thing.”

Personally, I have mixed feelings about gun-toting delivery men.

I understand why a delivery guy would want protection. Just Google ‘pizza delivery robbery’ and you’ll get a long string of scary stories stretching from Spingdale, Ark., to Columbia, Mo., The Enterprise newspaper in Beaumont, Texas, carried a story about a woman who “brandished a weapon” after furniture delivery men refused to take of their shoes as they entered her home.

Delivery drivers are vulnerable to violence. And I think they have a right to take legal steps to protect themselves. Gun ownership is as American as pizza delivery, as long as you abide by the law.  

But I guess I can also understand Pizza Hut’s reluctance to send an lightly-trained, armed force into the nation’s neighborhoods.

I have a buddy who used to deliver pizza in Ames while he was in college. He has lots of stories about students trying to play malicious pranks on him and other delivery drivers. It was mean and frustrating, to be sure. But if you allow drivers to carry heat, do you raise the possibility that a prank or non-violent harassment would end in gunfire?

One thing is certain, if I knew my pizza guy or girl was armed, my tips would become more generous in a big hurry.

What do you think? Do you like your pizza armed or unarmed?



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5 responses to “Pizzalante Justice

  1. John

    This brought to mind the 2002 murder of Greg Wells, a pizza delivery driver for the area. From 2004 Gazette archives:

    The Iowa Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Brandy Byrd, who along with David Keegan, lured a pizza deliveryman into Keegan’s Marion apartment where they bashed him in the head with a hammer and slit his throat.

    Byrd, 23, was convicted of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the Jan. 6, 2002, slaying of Greg Wells, 31. She is serving a life sentence.

    Keegan, 20, also was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. …

  2. Self defense is a right afforded to everyone.. even delivery men. Unfortunately Iowa makes it very hard for citizens to legally carry firearms for these kinds of events.

  3. MV

    I’d like to see the statistics on what the real level of danger is to the nation’s pizza delivery artists. I’m guessing the prominent news stories about these high-profile pizzajackings cause people to overestimate the threat, and I sure as hell don’t think just anyone should be allowed to carry a firearm based their own subjective sense of their safety or lack thereof. I don’t buy the logic that the more people who carry guns, the safer we all are. Somehow I suspect that were guns to proliferate for everyday protection in this manner, it’s not just would-be robbers who would get shot. Just a hunch.

  4. Dot

    The pizza delivery man had a legal right to carry his gun — but he CHOSE to work for a company that has a policy against carrying weapons. Legally, end of discussion? I think so. Make no mistake, I am not anti-gun. And, I don’t blame Spiers for wanting to carry a gun. I’d like to see a pizza place offer Spiers a job and give him and all employees a giant magnet for their vehicles that says “I deliver hot pizza with armed with cold steel.”

  5. Once you get past a certain time frame, pizza delivery on the S.E. Side of Cedar Rapids becomes non-existant. There are cab companies that refuse to pick up in the lower S.E. side later at night as well. Now, if there is a threat felt by pizza companies and cabbies, then why don’t the police address this concern? Could it be the same thing that happens in housing in Cedar Rapids is also going on with these two services? I know there would be some houses I would be concerned about delievering to if I was a pizza man and being a cabbie with your back turned to your customer would make me a nervous wreck, hence, I don’t do either of these jobs. Carrying heat would be something of a comfort, but to have to pull it after someone pulled a gun on me would make me expect a bullet that would beat me to the trigger.

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