Two JBLM soldiers arrested for robbing, kidnapping a pizza delivery driver at gunpoint

Pfc. Daniel Cano-Real, left, and Pfc. John Medina virtually attend their preliminary appearance in Thurston County Superior Court on Monday, March 29.


By ROSE L. THAYER | Stars and Stripes | Published: March 30, 2021

Two Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers were arrested Sunday in Olympia, Wash., after using handguns and a knife to rob a pizza delivery driver and force him into the backseat of a vehicle, according to local police.

Pfcs. Daniel Cano-Real, 19, and John Medina, 20, are charged with first-degree robbery and kidnapping and were listed Tuesday as inmates at Thurston County Jail with bond set at $150,000.

Officers with the Olympia Police Department pulled over a vehicle at about 12:45 a.m. Sunday for driving the wrong way on a one-way street in downtown Olympia and found the two soldiers and a 19-year-old man inside, said Lt. Paul Lower, a police spokesman. One soldier was driving with a Domino’s pizza box sitting in the passenger seat. The other soldier was in the backseat with a man wearing a Domino’s T-shirt.

“The driver was being almost overly friendly, but wouldn’t make eye contact,” Lower said. “The two back passengers wouldn’t make eye contact.”

The patrol officer called for another officer to come to the scene. From the passenger side of the car, the second officer noticed the man in the Domino’s shirt had his hands bound by a zip tie, so the police asked everyone to get out of the car, Lower said.

Once police separated the men, the delivery driver “broke down and said he had been kidnapped,” Lower said. A search of the vehicle found handguns and a knife.

The pizza delivery driver was “traumatized,” but uninjured, Lower said.

“There was some luck here, but you have an officer who [had] everything going fine, but there was something not right at that car stop. He poked around in polite conversation,” he said.

Further investigation revealed the two soldiers, both armed with a handgun, accosted the driver after he made a pizza delivery at a residence and stole his money. They then forced him into the backseat of their vehicle while one of the soldiers drove the delivery driver’s car into a ditch.

The people who received the pizza observed the car crash, as well as someone fleeing the scene, and they called police, Lower said.

Police are continuing to investigate the crime and are contacting other departments in the area about similar crimes. Olympia is located about 20 miles west of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where the soldiers served as artillery mechanics in the 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, said Lt. Col. Neil Penttila, spokesman for the base.

Twitter: @Rose_Lori