L.A. Uber Driver Arrested for Kidnapping Woman
Update: No charges were filed against Frederick Dencer, the Uber driver who was arrested June 2, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office stated Wednesday. In a declination, the D.A.'s office stated that attempts to contact the woman who initially called police, leading to the arrest, had proved unsuccessful. "[S]he did not answer or return numerous phone calls. The complainant also gave police a false residential address," read the statement. "As presented, there is insufficient evidence to prove kidnapping or any felony sex act."
An Uber driver who picked up an intoxicated woman outside a Los Angeles nightclub was arrested for kidnapping for the purpose of sexual assault, authorities said.
The driver, Frederick Dencer, 32, was arrested June 2 after the unidentified woman, 26, called police after waking up in a motel room next to the man, a news release from the LAPD's Mission Division read. The night before, the woman had been at the Greystone Manor nightclub from where, police say, she apparently tried to call for an Uber driver to pick her up.
It is unclear if the woman used the Uber app to call a driver. A nightclub worker flagged Dencer, an Uber driver who was outside the Greystone Manor, to drive the woman home, police said, but the woman was unable to give her home address because she was intoxicated.
"So it looks like Dencer took advantage of the situation and drove her to a cheap motel, which he had visited before, and carried her into the room," Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer at the LAPD's Mission Division, said in the statement. "He slept the night in the room, and when she awoke, he let her leave, though he asked her to stay, according to the victim."
The woman woke up the next morning, June 2, at the Panorama Motel in Van Nuys and walked to a local 7-Eleven to phone police. "[T]hankfully she was not assaulted or injured," Vernon said in the statement. Dencer was booked with bail set at $1 million.
Uber released a statement a day after the incident, saying that it's "unclear" that the kidnapping incident is related to the ride app service and noting that Dencer was not signed in to the app at the time.
"The facts are unknown at this stage and it’s certainly unclear that this is an Uber-related incident, as the driver in question was not logged in, connected to or operating on the platform at the time," the statement read. "We have reached out to authorities and will work with them to help uncover the facts. It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver’s account following any serious allegations, which we have done. Nothing is more important to Uber than the safety of our riders."
When contacted by The Hollywood Reporter, an Uber rep said that the company could not disclose how long Dencer had been an independent contractor driver for the service. The rep also did not clarify whether Dencer had another fare for Uber during the same evening.
Asked about the Uber statement, Lt. Vernon reiterated that Dencer apparently had been solicited outside of the Uber app.
"She was an Uber client, he is an Uber driver by his own admission. However, the fare that he took to drive her was not assigned through Uber, which violates their policy and their business model," Vernon told THR.