Teenage pizza shop employee robbed, beaten in Visalia during delivery

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Visalia police believe two men made an order to the Pizza Factory, saying they only had a $100 bill and needed change. When the driver arrived, they beat him - stealing the cash and his phone. (KFSN)

Police are on the lookout for a pair of robbery suspects who attacked a pizza delivery boy.

The robbery happened at around 5:45 p.m. Sunday night at an apartment complex on County Center near Noble in Visalia. The manager of Visalia's Pizza Factory says employees are like family.

So, when one of them was robbed Sunday, Ilene Gonzalez was heartbroken and felt partially responsible. It was a busy night, so she asked if anyone could deliver a pizza to an apartment across the street. Her teenage pizza maker said he could.

"He volunteered to take it, and it's kind of like I should have taken it myself, so I feel really bad for that," she said.

Gonzalez says the caller told them they had a $100 bill, so she gave her employee enough change, and he walked across the street to make the delivery.

Now she knows that was just the suspects way of making sure they would have money to steal. Police believe the suspects, two men in their early 20s, were the original callers and approached the pizza maker when he arrived.

"Both suspects then struck and beat the victim, taking the victim's cell phone and some cash off him before fleeing on foot," Damon Maurice with the Visalia Police Department explained.

Gonzalez says her employee called her, and thinking he was lost, she walked over to help him find the right apartment. That's when she found out he had been robbed.

"I said, 'Are you okay? Are you hurt?'" she said. "He said he was punched in the face, and I gave him a hug."

Gonzalez says he finished his shift and will continue working at Pizza Factory. She says she feels wronged that a member of her work family was hurt and just hopes it doesn't happen to anyone else.

"I worry about the safety of our drivers," she said. "Is this going to continue? Is this a one-time deal? That's my fear, you know?"

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