NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– New Haven cab drivers are on edge after three have been robbed at knife-point in the last month.
Abdullah Ragwi drives a cab in New Haven and worries who is getting into his taxi.
“Now I’m scared, we can’t take anybody because we don’t have any cover in the back, we are scared to take somebody right now,” said Ragwi.
Ragwi is not alone; many of the drivers do not have a divider between the front and back seat, making them venerable to robbery. The most recent attack was early Christmas Eve morning. The driver, 48-year-old Mohammed Amjad, was threatened with a knife and held in a chokehold until he gave up $150 and his iPhone. He told police he’d picked up the fare at the La Quinta Inn on Long Wharf.
“He is okay, but they put the knife to his back, then they ask him for the money and everything,” said Ragwi, who knows Amjad.
While Amjad was not injured, he was shaken up. Two other drivers were robbed after picking up a fare at Union Station. Mohammed Uddin has been driving his own cab for 10 years. While he has never been robbed, he says it’s not worth arguing with someone with a knife.
“Just take the money, you know,” said Uddin.
Some drivers have been refusing fares in the area where the robberies have taken place; others, like Polo Rodriguez, say they will be ready for an attacker.
“Do you take precautions? Like mace?” we asked.
“Yes,” said Rodriguez.
“What kind of precautions?” we asked, but Rodriguez wouldn’t say.
Police are trying to see if all three robberies are connected and are actively working Wednesday’s case. They describe the crook as a black man with a lighter complexion in his mid-20’s. He has a muscular build and a “neatly trimmed goatee”. He wore a black hooded sweatshirt.
If you have any information on this robbery you’re asked to call New Haven police at 203-946-6316.