Cops are on the hunt for a man they allege posed as an Uber driver, picked up an inebriated woman in Hollywood and raped her.
The Los Angeles Police Department this week circulated an artist's sketch of the suspect (below), said to be in his mid to late 20s, 5 feet, 9 inches and 165 pounds. Authorities say the crime happened Jan. 7 but they're just now seeking the public's help because recently returned DNA tests did not identify a suspect, according to Det. Geoffrey Tavares.
On that date, "The female victim left a club in the Hollywood area and got into the suspect's vehicle, a late-model four-door car, believing it was the ride-sharing car she had ordered," according to LAPD. "The suspect drove the victim to a secluded location, where he sexually assaulted her. During the time the suspect kept the victim captive."
The woman was picked up in the 1300 or 1400 block of Cahuenga Boulevard when all the clubs and bars were closing, Tavares says. "At the time where she got picked up, there was a lot of traffic on Cahuenga because people were leaving the clubs," he says.
Police say the suspect gave his victim personal information: He said he lived or worked in Long Beach, owned an accounting businesses, has a brother who works with him, and had a brother-in-law in law enforcement. Tavares warns that it's not clear if he was telling the truth, but says some of it might ring a bell with someone out there. "Those things, if there's any truth to them, someone should say, hey this is the guy," the detective says.
So far police don't have reason to believe a suspect has done this more than once, he added. It wasn't clear if the driver's vehicle had a genuine Uber decal, Tavares said.
An Uber spokesman pointed us to the company's safety tips for riders, which include: "Get in the right car. Before you get in the car, check that the license plate, driver photo and driver name all match what’s listed in the app. Uber rides can only be requested through the app, so never get in a car with a driver who claims to be with Uber and offers a ride."
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"I also think it is worth pointing out," the spokesman said, "that when someone is not in the correct vehicle, they lose the safety features that are built into the app, like the GPS tracking of the trip."
Anyone with information on the driver was asked to call police at 213-473-0447.