May 02 2011

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Those who work alone run risk of workplace violence

By Dan Wallach, The Beaumont Enterprise

Workplace violence can strike anywhere, and no one is immune.

Joyce Cross, who Wednesday confronted the man who beat her with a baseball bat during a 2010 robbery in Orange, said it would take years for her emotional scars to heal.

“I go around in my daily life with fears I’ve never experienced,” Cross told 22-year-old Joseph Edward Roberts Jr. following his conviction Wednesday for capital murder in the bludgeoning death of 76-year-old Michael “Mickey” McNamara. McNamara ran into Roberts as he was leaving the insurance office after the attack on Cross.

Some occupations put people into potentially harmful situations – small offices with just one or two people in them, a real estate agent showing a home or a pizza delivery driver who was set up for robbery by a caller.

Cross worked as a secretary in her uncle’s Orange insurance office. According to court testimony, Roberts intentionally targeted Cross on April 21, 2010, because he knew she was alone in the office.

But criminals do not just target women.

On March 23, a Beaumont pizza delivery driver was lured to a vacant home where he was robbed at gunpoint by three men. The crime remains unsolved.

Brown and Brown Pizza Inc., an Orange-based operator of Domino’s Pizza stores, employs 60 or more delivery drivers, though the exact number varies, said company co-owner Kathy Brown.

She said new delivery drivers receive safety training when they are hired.

“They are told if a house is vacant, drive away, call the store and call the customer because it might be a bad address. They do not carry more than $20,” she said.

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