An Uber driver sexually assaulted a woman who requested a ride from downtown Los Angeles to Hollywood last weekend, cops say. They fear there might be more victims out there.
The attack happened around 3 a.m. Friday, and a suspect, a convict identified as 46-year-old Alaric Spence of North Hollywood, was arrested that night on suspicion of kidnapping to commit a sex crime, police said.
"During the early morning hours of June 23, 2017, a female entered an Uber vehicle in the downtown area of Los Angeles and requested a destination in the Hollywood area," according to the Los Angeles Police Department. "The victim was unconscious when the suspect drove her to a motel in the San Fernando Valley and sexually assaulted her."
Based on a warrant, cops searched the suspect's residence and "evidence was collected," according to the department.
The 24-year-old woman might have passed out in the car as a result of drinking, Robbery-Homicide Division Capt. William Hayes told reporters yesterday. She said she had been taken to a hotel on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood, where she was assaulted, he said. She woke up alone, wasn't sure how she got there, and then reported the crime, the captain said.
"He went to the hotel, rented a room, and then carried her from his car into the hotel room where he assaulted her,'' Hayes said. "To do something that brazen ... in my investigators' and my opinion ... we believe it is something he has done before ...."
Cops say the suspect had a record of drug-related convictions. Uber and Lyft — who say their driver screening is tops — have long fought legislative efforts to strengthen their background checks, which does not include the kind of Live Scan fingerprinting that almost assures an applicant is who he says he is. Live Scan also checks a federal criminal records database. Such screening costs about $151 per applicant.
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District Attorney's officials indicated that charges against the suspect could be filed tomorrow. In the meantime Spence was behind bars on $1 million bail.
Investigators distributed a photo of the suspect and of his car, a 2015 silver four-door Nissan Sentra with license plate number 7XUX293, in a campaign to determine if other victims are out there. Anyone with information on the case was asked to call police at (213) 486-6910 or 1-877-LAPD-24-7.