Woman Says Uber Driver Kidnapped Her And Took Her To A Motel
An Uber driver was arrested on Monday after a 26-year-old woman accused him of kidnapping her and taking her to a motel while she was drunk.
The woman, who has not been named, called police at 6 a.m. from a 7-Eleven store in Panorama City to report that she had awoken next to a shirtless stranger in a bed at a motel nearby, according to KTLA. She didn't know how she got to the Panorama Motel in the first place. However, she wasn't injured.
LAPD investigators said that the woman had been bar-hopping in West L.A. the night before when she was allegedly picked up by the Uber driver, 32-year-old Frederick Dencer. However, her phone had died so authorities were unable to tell if she had actually requested a ride from Uber on the mobile app at the last club she was at—Greystone Manor in West Hollywood. What is clear is that Dencer does give rides through Uber.
LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon said that they don't believe that the woman's ride was officially arranged through the ride-sharing app, and that the ride was actually ordered by a valet at the club who offered the driver a fare. Authorities think that Dencer had been waiting around the club after he had dropped off another passenger earlier. Dencer hadn't received the woman's address, which would have made it an official Uber assignment, but she was also too drunk to tell him what it was.
Authorities went to the Panorama Motel and found Dencer in the room, matching the description the woman gave them.
"Dencer answered questions but his story didn't make sense," Vernon said. "Once the officers watched video from the motel, they realized the victim was carried into the motel, and that didn't jive with Dencer's several stories.
"So it looks like Dencer took advantage of the situation, and drove her to a cheap motel, which he had visited before, and carried her into the room," Vernon said. "He slept the night in the room, and when she awoke, he let her leave, though he asked her to stay, according to the victim."
Dencer was arrested and booked on suspicion of kidnap for the purpose of sexual assault with a bail set at $1 million.
UPDATE 4:55 p.m.: Uber issued a statement about the incident: "Uber became aware this afternoon of a serious incident in Los Angeles. The facts are unknown at this stage and it's certainly unclear that this is an Uber-related incident, as the driver in question was not logged in, connected to or operating on the platform at the time. We have reached out to authorities and will work with them to help uncover the facts. It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver’s account following any serious allegations, which we have done. Nothing is more important to Uber than the safety of our riders."