A man posing as an Uber driver picked up a passenger in West Hollywood and raped her nearby in Beverly Hills, police said. It happened in spring, but cops are just now letting the public know because they suspect there might be additional victims.
"We're trying to get the information out there so that anyone who thinks he might have done this to them can contact police," says Lt. Elisabeth Albanese of the Beverly Hills Police Department. "There are possibly unreported incidents."
The reported attack happened May 13 when a driver identified by cops as suspect Carlos Omar Pichinte, a 40-year-old resident of Los Angeles, allegedly posed as a ride-share driver and picked up a woman who was waiting for a ride in West Hollywood, authorities said.
"The victim believed the suspect was the legitimate ride-service driver she had requested," according to a Beverly Hills police statement. "The suspect drove a short distance before he pulled over in the city of Beverly Hills and sexually assaulted the victim."
On May 20, cops who were conducting surveillance in the area where the victim was picked up — Albanese described it as a restaurant and nightlife zone in WeHo — arrested Pichinte. He was collared at 2:42 a.m., according to sheriff's inmate records. "We did find him in the same area as the incident," the lieutenant says. "I can't say what he was doing."
"In our crime he did pose as an Uber driver," she says. "We've confirmed that he's not an actual Uber driver."
She said other law enforcement agencies have been notified about the case. A West Hollywood sheriff's lieutenant said he wasn't aware of it, however.
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Pichinte was booked on suspicion of rape and "other felony charges," according to police. He was being held in lieu of more than $1.3 million bail. Sheriff's inmate records indicate he was assigned "permanent housing" earlier this week. He was scheduled to be in court Thursday.
The suspect, pictured below, was driving a 2015 Kia Rio sedan, also pictured, police said. Anyone with information on the case was asked to call police at (310) 285-2158 or (310) 288-2656 after business hours.