UPDATE at 3:02 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, 2016: Uber responds, below. First posted at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 22, 2016.
An Uber driver apparently angry over a proposed tip robbed his passenger, Los Angeles police alleged.
The suspect was identified as 35-year-old Medhanie Meshesha. He was booked on suspicion of robbery last night at the Los Angeles Police Department's 77th Street Division station, according to authorities. Cops say the victim walked into the Southwest Division station Saturday afternoon to report the crime.
The passenger was dropped off, forgot his phone in the Uber vehicle, contacted the driver and got him to return with the device, cops said. The victim got a ride home from the suspect, they said.
“During the ride back, the victim offered Meshesha a tip for returning the phone,” the LAPD said in a statement. “Meshesha became upset and requested more compensation for returning the phone. The victim refused the larger tip and exited the vehicle.”
As he walked away, the suspect grabbed a large rock from a nearby yard and threatened the passenger, authorities said.
“During this time Meshesha demanded money from the victim,” the LAPD states. “The victim again began to walk away from him. Meshesha dropped the rock and grabbed the victim’s phone from his hands. Meshesha then ran to his vehicle and fled the scene.”
Sheriff's inmate records indicate Meshesha was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Investigators are still looking for witnesses. If you have info on the case, call detectives at (213) 485-2562.
UPDATE at 3:02 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, 2016: Uber says it has severed ties. Here's a company statement sent to us by a spokesman today:
All riders and drivers expect to be treated with respect and courtesy by one another, and this expectation extends to personal property as well. Upon learning of this incident, we immediately blocked this driver's access to the Uber platform, and we have offered our assistance to the authorities in their investigation.