Victim robbed, threatened by fake Uber driver in Manhattan speaks out

MANHATTAN (WABC) -- Police are looking for a man who posed as an Uber driver before robbing and threatening a woman in Manhattan last month.

The incident happened around 1:30 a.m. on May 15, when the victim got into a car that she thought was an Uber she had requested near Mangin and East Houston streets. As they started driving, she realized they were not heading toward her home. She spoke with Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson Wednesday.

"I was like, 'Why are you going uptown?'" she said. "He said downtown was a mess, that he's going to take another route."

Then, as they passed the 96th Street exit on the FDR Drive, she said the suspect demanded money while threatening to shoot and sexually assault her.

"He started with 'give me your phone,'" she said. "Then 'give me your money.' Then 'give me your pin.' He was just, like, 'If you don't do give me this, I'm going to shoot you. I have a gun here. I'm going to shoot you. I'm going to rape you.'"

She handed over her iPhone and wallet, $20 in cash, a debit card, a MetroCard, a jacket and a pair of gold earrings before the driver exited the highway. She was able to escape the vehicle when it stopped at a red light on Park Avenue.

"I was just, what are the chances that the door is open?" she said. "The door is open, and I just jumped out and ran."

The victim was not injured, and the man fled.

"This is a wake-up call not just for me, but for all my friends," she said. "None of my friends check their Uber license plate...they don't think twice, they just get in the first black car that pulls up."

He is described as a black male in his 30s with short hair, dark skin and a beard.

"I'm just happy to be home, honestly, because that was my biggest fear, just never coming back," she said. "I'm a little broken about the situation. I'm trying really hard to move forward."

Uber said that as a precaution, customer automatically get the driver's name, picture and license plate number, as well as the make and model of the vehicle, when the car is ordered.

"In a rare situation where a photo is not suitable, we will disable the driver's access to Uber until a new photo is approved," a spokesperson said.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.