Phony Uber Driverarrested for kidnapping, rape

Apr 11, 2016 10:00 PM by News Staff

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles police have arrested a man they say posed as an Uber driver to kidnap and rape a woman he lured into his SUV.

Dartanyun Smith was arrested Saturday and remains jailed.

Authorities say Smith pulled up to a woman on a street before dawn on April 3, asked if she was waiting for Uber and claimed to be a driver.

Police say he drove a short distance, parked and attacked her. The violent attack happened in the Westlake area.

Chief Charlie Beck says she fought back, was choked unconscious at least three times, and her screams alerted neighbors.

Police arrived and broke the SUV's windows, but the driver fled before they got inside. An officer fired a shot that missed. Police reportedly praised the victim, saying she fought “valiantly” against her assailant, despite being choked into unconsciousness three times and brutally sexually assaulted.

The woman was later dropped off. Police say DNA evidence helped lead to the arrest.

Police say Uber was very helpful during the investigation.

Investigators say there’s no blame to the victim here, but it is important when you’re using a ride application like Uber, to make sure the person you’re getting into the car with is the person they say they are.

The Uber app tells users the license plate of the driver's vehicle, as well as a description of that vehicle. Sometimes the app includes a photo of the driver as well.

The suspect was being held on $1 million bail.

Smith is a documented gang member, according to LAPD.


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