Sexual predators are exploiting the popularity of ride-sharing services like Uber to find their victims, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
Crime reporter Richard Winton of the Los Angeles Times claims that sexual predators are posing as Uber and Lyft drivers to find potential victims. Winton pointed to the case of 44-year-old Nicholas Morales, who has been charged with the rape of seven women that he encountered after posing as an Uber driver.
The report explains that predators are taking advantage of the fact that some Uber and Lyft riders will jump into the first car that pulls over to them after calling for a ride on their smartphone.
“These predators drive in areas where there are nightclubs and they prey on intoxicated victims or people they perceived to be intoxicated.” Los Angeles police Homicide Captain Bill Hayes said in a comment to the Los Angeles Times. “‘Did they call an Uber?’ the predator will ask. And when the victim jumps into the vehicle, they don’t realize that is not the one they called.”
Police say that ride-sharing services make this type of attack more feasible, as riders aren’t waiting for yellow taxi cabs, but rather regular cars.
Morales was charged with 27 felony counts for attacks dating back to October 2016. Winton laid out the specific charges against him in his report.
He faces nine counts of forcible oral copulation, six counts of rape, five counts of sodomy by use of force and four counts of sexual penetration by foreign object. He also faces one count each of assault with intent to commit a felony, attempted sodomy by use of force and attempted kidnapping to commit another crime.