By Neil H. Dempsey
---- — SALEM — Police say a delivery driver for Tony Lena’s thought he’d found his customer when an elderly woman met him in the stairwell of an apartment building yesterday afternoon.
The driver asked the woman if she’d ordered the food and, though she didn’t speak English, thought she was “trying to say she did,” according to the police log.
So he handed over the food, she signed the $43 bill — and an hour later the customer who had actually placed the order called the restaurant to complain.
The owner of the restaurant contacted police and an officer responded to the apartment building at 271 Jefferson Ave. with the delivery driver in tow shortly after 3 p.m.
They found the elderly woman, who told them via a male relative that “she could not understand what the delivery driver was saying and she believed her daughter may have made an order,” wrote police.
The male relative said that when she came inside with the food, he immediately knew it wasn’t theirs, so he looked at the receipt, found the recipient’s correct address and went there to deliver the food himself.
But nobody answered the door.
“He relates he left the bags in front of the apartment door and left,” wrote police.
The investigating officer next went to the apartment belonging to the correct recipient — but the food wasn’t there in the hallway, and the people inside said they hadn’t received it.
The elderly woman, who was caring for her grandchildren at the time, allowed the officer into their apartment.
“There was no signs of freshly eaten food and there were no Tony Lena’s bags in the trash,” wrote the officer.
Police determined that an unknown party must have taken the food from the hallway.