pizza

ALLENTOWN, Pa. | Allentown police have arrested a man they allege robbed three pizza delivery drivers at gunpoint since November.

Joseph Valez, of Gordon Street, faces robbery, theft and conspiracy charges in connection with the alleged gunpoint robberies on Nov. 9, Nov. 18 and May 1. District Judge Tom Creighton arraigned the 20-year-old Wednesday morning, setting bail at $40,000.

Police said the Nov. 9 robbery took place in the 1000 block of Walnut Street. The 20-year-old driver told authorities that he tried unsuccessfully several times to call the phone number used to place the order, according to court records. When he stepped out of his car, two men approached, one of whom was armed, according to records.

They allegedly stole his cell phone and about $44 worth of food.

On Nov. 18, police responded to the 400 block of North Church Street, where a second driver reported being robbed and pistol-whipped. The 56-year-old victim told investigators that she too tried to call the person who placed the order several times.

A man then approached her demanding money. When she told him that she didn’t have any cash, he allegedly hit her in the head with his handgun. As she fell to the ground and yelled for help, he struck her again. Her assailant made off with her cell phone and driver’s license.

Her head injury required staples to close the wound, police said.

On May 1, a deliveryman was in the 100 block of North Law Street, when an armed man in a hooded sweatshirt and medical mask approached him. The 54-year-victim said the robber, took about $40 in cash, his cell phone and about $47 worth of food.

Investigators said they called the number used to place the order, and the person on the other end refused to identify himself. Authorities secured a court order for phone records, which allegedly led them to Velez.

During an interview with police on Tuesday, Velez allegedly admitted to the robbery and that he split the money and food with a man he knew as “young blood.”

He also allegedly admitted to the Nov. 18 robbery and told police that he assaulted the driver because she refused to hand over any money and “was fighting back.”

As for the Nov. 9 stickup, Velez allegedly admitted to his role in that robbery and told police he sold the stolen cell phone a few days later.

Velez now faces three counts of robbery, two counts of conspiracy and one count of aggravated assault, all felonies. He also faces three counts each of theft and receiving stolen property. He failed to post bail and was sent to Lehigh County Prison to await a preliminary hearing.

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