The Street

Not So Special Delivery

A Domino's Pizza delivery guy had no idea the man who answered the door at a Maryvale home was an armed robber.

In fact, the terrified family who lived in the house near 66th Avenue and Palm Lane was being held at gunpoint in another room.

The family had ordered pizza about 9 p.m. One of the home's occupants was sitting on a couch on the front stoop waiting for it when a car came rapidly down the street and pulled up, right onto the front lawn.

But it wasn't the speedy delivery they'd been expecting.

Instead, two men jumped out, drew guns and forced the couch-sitter back into the house, gun to his head. The bad guys herded the family into a back room and proceeded to toss the house.

"Where's the money?" they kept asking.

All of a sudden, the doorbell rang. Pizza time! One robber went to the door and tried to pay for it, only to be told that it had already been taken care of with a credit card when the order was called in.

The pizza guy left, and a short time later a man who also lived in the house and his brother came home. They saw the car on the lawn and, growing suspicious, decided to go in through a side door.

Unfortunately, the robbers were waiting. At least one of the thieves opened fire and shot one of the men numerous times as he stood in the doorway, critically wounding him. The other guy managed to run away.

The robbers fled. The family called police. The medics arrived. The neighbors all came out to see what was going on. No one really knew why the robbers seemed so convinced that there was cash to be had inside the house.

"It's just another Friday night in Maryvale," one officer remarked to no one in particular.

Ferreting Out the Truth

A big police raid on West Medlock Drive recently made headlines and the evening news when 100 cops loaded onto a Valley Metro bus for the ride to the apartment complex. Quite the scene, as you can imagine. Drugs and guns were seized and 22 people arrested for drug trafficking and other crimes, including the apartment manager who appeared to be the main bad actor in the whole deal.

Now, add another sin to his list of offenses -- cruelty to animals.

It seems the guy kept a ferret in his office at the complex, along with a boa constrictor and a tank full of mice (snake snacks, undoubtedly). Undercover police who had made numerous drug buys during the six-month investigation say the man was often seen blowing crack smoke in the ferret's face when customers were in the room. As might be expected, this served to agitate the furry creature no end.

So officers who were called in to help serve the warrants were warned: Watch out for the ferret. It's really mean and that could pose a problem if it's out of its cage.

In fact, the ferret was safely locked up when officers crashed into the room, so no immediate problem there. Still, the animal was taken into police custody along with its owner and then turned over to animal control where it was reportedly euthanized -- which the ferret probably considered much crueler than being forced to smoke a rock.

No word on the fate of the snake or the mice or whether they were also the subject of forced drug usage (although those mice might have appreciated an altered state before, gulp, dinnertime).

Murder Gets a Holiday

Phoenix is in the middle of a murder epidemic. With at least 155 homicides so far this year -- up from 121 at this time last year -- detectives have cases stacked up.

But terrorists, it seems, no matter how invisible, still take precedence over cold-blooded killings. So one day last week, a white-haired officer dressed in his blues stood in front of the main cop shop at 620 West Washington, deflecting barbs from his fellow officers. The duty of guarding the front door that day had fallen to Alex Feminia, one of the Phoenix department's most renowned homicide dicks.

"Move along, move along," Feminia prodded fellow officers who couldn't believe they were seeing Feminia in uniform, let alone standing guard duty. "You ask too many questions, I can't keep my eye on al-Qaeda."

Though Phoenix is on pace to set a murder record, and Feminia is one of the most experienced detectives on the force, the department's version of Homeland Security dictates that officers who work in the main police HQ maintain a visible security presence and take a turn at the front door.

Luckily for the 50-year-old veteran, he still fits comfortably into his uniform, even though his black tee shirt stuck out below his dress-blue one, and he sneaked a puff or two of a cigarette during down time. Actually, the whole day was "down time," except for having to parry and thrust with his fellow officers.

The Big Bang

Phoenix police officer Cory Geffre was parked in his police cruiser Friday night, red and blue lights flashing in the dark, as he blocked traffic at the scene of an earlier accident down the street.

You really couldn't miss him.

And, in fact, an apparently drunken driver did not.

The man drove his older model Dodge van right into the front of Geffre's patrol car at what police estimated to be 30 to 40 miles per hour.

"I looked up and all I saw was lights," the injured officer told squad mates as he lay strapped to a medic's backboard on the sidewalk after firefighters had to remove him from the seriously smashed-in vehicle.

A nurse who lives near the accident scene at 77th Avenue and Osborn rushed out and tended to Geffre until fire department medics arrived. He was taken to the hospital but released after doctors determined he, luckily, sustained only minor injuries. The cruiser's airbag helped cushion much of the impact.

The other driver, who needed no help getting out of his vehicle and spent much of the evening in the back of a police car, was also transported to a hospital and treated for minor injuries. (You know what they say about drunks: They're never the ones who get hurt.) He faces charges of endangerment.

E-mail [email protected] or call 602-229-8433.

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Paul Rubin and Patti Epler