SEATTLE – A 34-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of raping a Seattle woman who thought he was her Uber driver, police said.
The arrest came days after a University of South Carolina student was killed after getting into a car that she thought was her Uber ride.
The Seattle arrest was made Wednesday after the King County Sheriff’s Office shared images on social media taken from surveillance video.
A judge on Thursday found probable cause to hold the man on investigation of third-degree rape and ordered him held in lieu of $750,000 bail.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Ryan Abbott said the man’s name hasn’t been officially released yet, pending formal charges.
He said the woman was raped Dec. 16 after she left a Seattle bar to catch an Uber that had been ordered by her friend.
The sheriff’s office says a man in a black vehicle led her to believe he was her driver before pulling the car over and raping her. Abbott said a relative saw a photo on television news and told the suspect that he was being investigated for rape. The man reportedly said he was going to go to the sheriff’s office to clear his name.
The statement of probable cause outlining the sheriff’s case said the man provided his information to authorities then left a precinct.
He and his wife then drove to the home of the victim and knocked on her door and her neighbors’ doors, the statement says. Someone called police and the man was arrested.
Police say he claimed he thought the woman consented to sex, but he acknowledged she was intoxicated.
In the South Carolina case, authorities say Samantha Josephson was killed after getting into a car thinking it was her Uber ride. A 24-year-old man charged in that case is accused of using the childproof locks in his car to imprison her.
Safety advocates advised that ride-sharing services will send a description of a vehicle, its license tag number and a photo of the driver. They recommended passengers check the information before getting inside a vehicle.
They also suggest requiring the driver to give the name of the person requesting the ride as an extra level of safety.
Uber also advises people to match the license plate number and driver’s photo.
Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com