911 tapes, police report shed light on how thieves ambushed, kidnapped UPS driver

A gunman who stole several packages from a UPS truck in northwest Atlanta this week had help from at least two other robbers, according to a police incident report.

The alleged carjacker climbed aboard the 18-wheeler and kidnapped the driver at gunpoint moments after the tractor-trailer pulled out of a UPS hub along Fulton Industrial Boulevard early Tuesday morning.

The driver was bound for Macon and had a full load of packages that he was scheduled to deliver to a UPS facility there. But he got intercepted less than a mile into his long haul around 3 a.m.

One of the gunman’s accomplices was a man who crossed the street and stopped in front of the big rig as it approached the intersection of Fulton Industrial Boulevard and Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, according to the report. The 56-year-old driver told officers that suspect, who later helped unload the stolen cargo from the UPS truck, distracted him while the armed suspect opened his door and quickly jumped into the passenger’s seat.

Once inside the truck’s cabin, the gunman pointed a gun at the driver’s head and ordered the victim to pull to the back of a vacant property along Maynard Court just off Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, the police report indicated.

That’s where police say the three suspects zip-tied the driver, then took about a quarter of the cargo. According to investigators, they transferred the stolen items to another vehicle that was waiting in the abandoned lot. One of the men then took the victim’s cellphone.

Atlanta police released audio from the driver and his supervisor’s 911 call Tuesday morning. The victim told a dispatcher he was not injured during the incident. He was only a little chilly from being locked inside the back of his tractor-trailer for several hours until co-workers traced his location.

“They never harmed me other than zip ties,” the driver said. “They zip-tied my hands while they were throwing stuff off the (truck).”

According to the police report, the suspect initially ordered the driver to merge onto I-285 heading northbound and told him to exit at Bolton Road. The driver told officers they wound up doing a big loop and ended up back near Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, where the ambush originated. Eventually, the gunman ordered the driver to turn left on Maynard Road, onto the former grounds of Bankhead Courts, a public housing project demolished in 2011.

That’s where the other two suspects were waiting at a gate, according to the driver.

The victim’s co-workers, who became suspicious when he did not make it to his delivery point in Macon, used GPS to track the abandoned 18-wheeler. After seeing packages strewn around the outside of the truck, UPS managers discovered the victim bound and locked inside the trailer cabin and called 911, according to police.

In a statement, a UPS spokesperson said, “The safety of our employees is our highest priority and we’re thankful that our driver is safe, but we don’t comment on active investigations or share our security protocols.”

The driver told officers all three suspects wore dark clothes and he wasn’t able to provide descriptions of any of them, the police report states. The suspect who handled the gun wore a ski mask while the other two sported face masks.

Police have not identified any of the suspects.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police. Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website.