Hunt on for cabbie who sexually assaulted customer

January 30, 2008 4:45:15 PM PST
Police are searching for a cab driver they say sexually assaulted one of his customers. The victim reportedly hailed the cab after her birthday party at a bar in the Lower East Side. The cabbie took her to her home in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where she says he forced himself into her apartment and assaulted her.

Eyewitness News reporter Phil Lipof has details.

The 38-year-old real estate agent says she was partying at a club on Bowry until all hours of the morning and eventually asked a bouncer to get her a cab around 4 a.m. He did, and she says that was the beginning of her nightmare fare.

From the club, it was over the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn, to her apartment.

It's there that she says the driver offered to help her to the door, pushed her inside and fondled her.

"I never heard a story like that before," Jessica Dickler said.

And she's certainly not alone. Every woman we spoke with said until today, they felt safe in a cab.

"I think that 99.9 percent of these drivers are honest, hard-working people," Fernando Mateo said.

Mateo is president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers. He says if it was, in fact, a yellow cab, the new GPS technology should help police in their hunt for the driver.

"If he had GPS, he's going to get caught," Mateo said. "Whoever did this, if he's a legitimate yellow cab driver, he's going to get caught."

And that would certainly put a lot of women at ease. Including Dickler, who takes cabs all the time.

"It's always a good idea to be aware," she said. "Anything can happen."

TLC officials say they are cooperating with the investigation. Police say they cannot confirm if the vehicle involved was a yellow taxi. They will only say they are still investigating.