Two soldiers assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Washington state, allegedly kidnapped and robbed a pizza delivery driver this weekend, but were stopped when a police officer saw them driving the wrong way on a downtown street and pulled them over.
Pfc. Daniel Cano-Real, 19, and Pfc. John Jose Medina, 20, were arrested after midnight Sunday and charged with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery by Olympia Police. Both men are being held on a $150,000 bail at the Thurston County Jail.
Lt. Col. Neil Penttila, an Army I Corps spokesman, confirmed Cano-Real and Medina are both artillery mechanics assigned to the 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
The delivery driver, who worked for Domino’s Pizza, was found zip-tied in the back seat of the vehicle but was uninjured and safely released, police said.
The driver’s hands had red marks and indentations from the zip-ties, and he was left with “scratches similar to a knife cut,” reads a police officer’s affidavit describing the incident.
Cano-Real waived his Miranda rights and agreed to speak with police after he was arrested, according to the affidavit.
The two service members were at a hookah lounge in Tacoma when Medina brought up the idea of a robbery, Cano-Real told police. They then drove to Olympia and cruised “random neighborhoods looking for someone to rob,” the affidavit reads.
“As [Cano-Real] and Medina drove around, Medina prepped him by discussing a plan to commit the robbery as well as providing him gloves and the firearm,” reads the affidavit, citing Cano-Real’s account.
When they saw the pizza delivery driver leaving a house, the two men allegedly blocked his car and forced him out of his vehicle at gun point.
Medina searched the victim’s car for cash while Cano-Real kept a semi-automatic pistol pointed at him and held a knife to his body, according to the affidavit.
The two men allegedly bound the pizza delivery driver’s hands and placed him in their own car. Then they drove their victim’s car off the road and into bushes before fleeing the scene.
Police later spotted the trio driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street in downtown Olympia. Medina was driving, while Cano-Real was in the backseat with the zip-tied pizza delivery driver.
Inside their car, police said they found a Domino’s Pizza insulated carrier, piles of cash in different denominations, the pistol, gloves, a ski mask and an open folding knife.
One of the handguns recovered by police was allegedly stolen from nearby Tacoma.
The pizza delivery driver also had a dash cam on his car, “which was turned on and running during the entire incident,” the affidavit reads. The dash cam footage corroborated Cano-Real’s account of the robbery, police said.
Both men are expected back in court for their arraignments April 13.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.