Only on 5: Rash of attacks on MLGW workers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Only on 5: Rash of attacks on MLGW workers

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - With nearly 20 years under his belt, MLGW employee Curtis Washington is accustomed to solving problems.  But he felt "powerless" one recent night as he prepared to turn someone's power back on.

"It had to be two or three guys," he said Washington.  "Rushed me, threw me down, jumped in the truck, and took the truck, and kept going."

Basically, Washington was carjacked while on the job.

"And it happened so quick," he said.

That's the same way other crimes against MLGW employees have gone down.  At least four customer service technicians have been attacked in just the last two weeks.

Action News 5 is told one worker had a shotgun shoved in his face at an apartment complex in Frayser.  Two others were robbed at gunpoint at another complex not far away.  And a technician who did not want to be identified refuses to answer a call by himself at the Ridgecrest apartments after his work truck window was shattered.

Employees don't carry a lot of cash and are prohibited from wearing jewelry.  A lot of the stuff they keep in their trucks would not bring much on the street.

"We don't have a chance to call police to give us an escort and we don't want to do that," said MLGW spokesman Chris Stanley.

Stanley said the utility would rather encourage rate-payers to lend a hand.

"If you call a crew out to your neighborhood, keep an eye on us, make sure we're working safely, make sure there's no one around us who would do harm," he said. "If there are, call police."

Curtis Washington will watch his own back more closely from now on.

"Everybody's pretty much feeling on red alert right about now because they know it could be them sooner or later," he said.

Fortunately, no employee has been critically injured thus far.  Memphis Police are investigating.  It is possible some these crimes are connected, but they have been reported all over the city.

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