Cab Robbery Once Again Puts Iowa City Drivers On Alert

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Cab robberies within Iowa City have become a semi-common occurrence over the past year. The latest was reported Sunday morning when a Yellow Cab driver was hit in the head and robbed, according to police.

"I don't recall a time in the recent past that a cab driver has been injured during a robbery," Iowa City police Sgt. Vicki Lalla said.

The alleged robbery happened in the area of the 1000 block of 5th Ave. Last summer a string of cab robberies on the west side of Iowa City left drivers concerned for their safety. Police did make one arrest in connection with one of those robberies, but others remain unsolved. No arrests have been made in connection with the latest robbery.

"It's a small city, but I wonder if we need to be like New York or Chicago," said Rafat Alawneh, owner of Number One Cab in Iowa City. Alawneh said one of his drivers was assaulted last year and a suspect took the drivers cell phone and cash. "I am considering putting in glass dividers."

Alawneh said such a move shouldn't be necessary in Iowa City, but he will do it if the trend continues.

"I would say if you go to pick up a fare and something feels funny, it doesn't feel right, I would say you should leave," Lalla said. "Go somewhere well lit and have dispatchers make contact with the person by phone."

Alawneh said there are portions of the city he no longer serves at night due to safety concerns.

A representative with Yellow Cab said the driver who was injured has been released from the hospital and is recovering. She has not yet returned to work, the company said.
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