Cab Drivers Concerned by Rise in Robberies, Assaults

NORTH HIGHLANDS-

Cabbie Jim Stone endured some frightening moments Sunday night, when a “pick-up” in his cab turned into a ‘5-on-1′ hold-up at the corner of Oakhollow Drive and Walerga Road in North Highlands.

“I heard my door open and I looked and the guy just put a shot gun in my rib,” Stone said.

“I looked to the side and the gentleman… this guy was coming in the back door. He scooted right up between the seats, pulled a little pistol out and put it right up there to my head,” Stone said.

Sixteen years ago, the laid-back driver pushed the barrel of a gun away when a customer-turned-criminal tried to rob him.

He says things are different in the current climate on the streets.

“It was just hopefully ‘get out of the situation without any holes in me’,” he said.

That he did, even though he was forced out of the taxi.

He went back out driving the same night. Other aren’t so brave.

“They hit me here on this side,” said STA’s Mohammad Akhtar as he gestures toward the right side of his face.

That’s just part of the reason why he hasn’t accepted nighttime fares in 18 months.

For this 6-year veteran of the streets of Sacramento,  it’s worth missing out on money to avoid the fear and frustration he experienced the last time he was attacked by a supposed customer.

“They took my cash, they took keys, gps. They took everything,” he said.

And he’s not alone.

“Yeah it happened with me on Saturday too. Somebody almost kidnapped me at 4th & J,” Paramjit Bajwa said.

He’s been driving for Capitol City Cab for 13 years and says he never saw a gun that night, but that the suspect motioned as if he had one and threatened his life.

With two reported  cabbie attacks in the last month in and around Sacramento, drivers are feeling like each ride is a risk.

“It’s happening to cabbies more and more, yeah,” Bajwa said.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department is looking into the latest incident with Jim Stone, but many cabbies say when facing a dodged fare or a direct threat  they often feel on their own and unprotected.

“The police never show up. You say I’m cab driver..they never..they never come,” according to 15-year-cab veteran Rasul Ahmadzai.

He drives for Sacramento Cab Company.

“Taxi driver is not safe anytime when they’re driving at the nighttime,” said Akhtar.

Deputies want to hear from you if you saw anything suspicious in Jim Stone’s case, Sunday around 11:15 p.m. near Oakhollow Drive and Walerga Road.

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