Rideshare Driver Accused of Kidnapping, Sexually Assaulting Pass - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Rideshare Driver Accused of Kidnapping, Sexually Assaulting Passenger

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(FOX 11 / CNS) A driver for a rideshare company was in custody today on $1 million bail, accused of kidnapping a woman and taking her to a motel room in Panorama City.

Frederick Dencer, 32, of Encino, was arrested Monday and booked on suspicion of "kidnap for purpose of sexual assault," Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon said.

The alleged victim, a 26-year-old woman, called 911 about 6 a.m. Monday from a convenience store in Panorama City to report she had just left a motel room where a man had been lying next to her with his shirt off, Vernon said. "She did not know him, and did not remember how she got there," Vernon said.

Detectives learned that the woman had been bar-hopping in West Los Angeles the night before, and she had an account with the Uber rideshare company, which employs Dencer, Vernon said.

Vernon said it was unclear if she had called the company for a ride, or if a worker for the Greystone Manor nightclub -- her last stop of the evening -- had asked Dencer to give her a ride home.

Detectives believe the woman's ride was not arranged officially through Uber, Vernon said. "Had this been an official Uber assignment, Dencer would have received the victim's home address with the fare," Vernon said. "But in this case, the victim was too drunk to tell him."

The investigation led to the Panorama Motel, where detectives found Dencer in a room, Vernon said. "Dencer answered questions, but his story didn't make sense," Vernon said. "Once the officers watched video from the motel, they realized the victim was carried into the motel, and that didn't (match) Dencer's several stories."

Police then arrested Dencer, Vernon said.

"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," Vernon said. "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."

Officials with Uber said they were still investigating the circumstances of what had happened, but said "the driver in question was not logged in, connected to or operating on the (company's) platform at the time."

"We have reached out to authorities and will work with them to uncover the facts," according to Uber. "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."

From Sandra Endo:

Los Angeles police say an off-duty driver for the ride-sharing company "Uber" is suspected of kidnapping with intention of sexual assault" after taking a drunk woman from a West Hollywood club to a motel in Panorama City Sunday night.

The driver, 32-year old Frederick Dencer had just dropped off a customer at the club Greystone Manor and was hanging around, according to police. That's when a valet asked him to take home a 26-year old woman who had too much to drink.

Dencer told investigators different stories and said the victim was "too wasted" to tell him her address, so he took her to a low budget Panorama City Motel and carried her inside.

The woman called police from a nearby 7-11 the next morning after waking up in bed next to the man, who was shirtless.

The uninjured victim told police Dencer allowed her to leave the hotel, but he asked her to stay.

LAPD's Paul Vernon says "the man touched the woman over her clothes, and when you take a person somewhere and they don't know where they're going - it's kidnapping."

Uber says passenger safety is their top priority and has suspended the driver. The company says if the woman used their service directly the driver would have had her home address through the booking.

Denver's bail is set at one million dollars.


Update from Hal Eisner:

Police say that on Sunday night a 26-year-old woman barhopping on the west side ended up at the Greystone Manor Nightclub. According to Lt. Paul Vernon the valet thought she was too drunk to drive and picked a driver he knew from Uber -- a car rideshare service. When arrested the susepct confirmed he worked for the company, but wasn't on assignment at the time - 

Vernon says that upon the suspect's interview, "He confirms he is an Uber driver, but he explains at the night club that a valet solicited him seeing her so drunk. Knowing he was a driver he asked him if he would like to take her home. So, he did. Once in the car she couldn't express her address."

Police say the driver 32 year old Frederick Dencer, from Encino, took her far from the West Hollywood nightclub to the Panorama Motel in Panorama City. Vernon says there is survellance video actually showing him "carrying her in the car ... picks her up and then helps her into the motel room."

The next morning she calls 911 from a nearby convenience store. And, Dencer is arrested at the motel. Vernon says "When she expressed the fact that she wanted to leave the motel he didn't stop her, but the fact is when you're dealing with a person taking them place to place without their knowlege and taking them to a place where they have no intent to go your crossing the lines into kidnapping."

Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend says "Uber became aware this afternoon of a serious incident in Los Angeles. 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.  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.”

Meanwhile, police say Dencer is in jail on 1 million dollars bail facing a charge of kidnapping with intent to commit sexual assault. Vernon says, "It happens to be he wasn't assigned by the company but he is still a driver for that company, for a rideshare company and given the circumstance or the opportunity to take advantage of a woman who couldn't stand up for herself or speak for herself. He took that advantage."

Hal Asks: Given that an Uber driver, though off-duty, is now facing serious charges of kidnapping with intent to commit sexual assault, we wanted to know what kind of background checks do drivers go through to work for Uber? Here is there response:

All Uber driver partners must go through a rigorous background check that leads the industry. The three-step screening we’ve developed across the United States, which includes county, federal and multi-state checks, has set a new standard. These checks go back 7 years, the maximum allowable by California law. More about our background checks here.




PANORAMA CITY (CNS) - A driver for a rideshare company was in custody Tuesday on $1 million bail, accused of kidnapping a woman and taking her to a motel room in Panorama City, authorities said on Tuesday.

Frederick Dencer, 32, of Encino was arrested on Monday and booked on suspicion of "kidnap for purpose of sexual assault," Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon said.

The alleged victim, a 26-year-old woman, called 911 about 6 a.m. Monday from a convenience store in Panorama City to report she had just left a motel room where a man had been lying next to her with his shirt off, Vernon said.

"She did not know him, and did not remember how she got there," Vernon said.

Detectives learned that the woman had been bar-hopping in West Los Angeles the night before, and she had an account with the Uber rideshare company, which employs Dencer, Vernon said. Vernon said it was unclear if she had called the company for a ride, or if a worker for the Greystone Manor nightclub -- her last stop of the evening -- had asked Dencer to give her a ride home.

Detectives believe the woman's ride was not arranged officially through Uber, Vernon said.

"Had this been an official Uber assignment, Dencer would have received the victim's home address with the fare," Vernon said. "But in this case, the victim was too drunk to tell him."

The investigation led to the Panorama Motel, where detectives found Dencer in a room, Vernon said.

"Dencer answered questions, but his story didn't make sense," Vernon said. "Once the officers watched video from the motel, they realized the victim was carried into the motel, and that didn't (match) Dencer's several stories."

Police then arrested Dencer, Vernon said.

"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," Vernon said. "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."


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