Police investigating carjackings of Uber drivers and passengers

Police are investigating a string of robberies targeting drivers and users of rideshare apps, including Uber and Lyft.

Baltimore Police have arrested six teenagers in connection to nearly 40 carjacking incidents involving drivers and customers of rideshare apps in the area.

‘These criminals often carjack an active rideshare driver and in some cases, will use the app to respond to calls and then rob unsuspecting riders,’ Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said.

The robbers frequently force unsuspecting passengers to transfer them money on mobile payments apps like CashApp, or drive them to an ATM.

‘We know that it is important for our riders to be able to get around, especially in colder months to buy groceries, to go to work, to run errands’ Harrison said. ‘Therefore, this is absolutely a top priority.’

Harrison said they currently have 39 total cases involving rideshare robberies – including cases where victims were ‘essentially kidnapped’ after being forced into stolen vehicles.

A total of six suspects have been arrested so far, for involvement in 12 of the 39 cases. The suspects are all teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18.

There are also currently 2 open arrest warrants for suspects in these crimes.

Harrison said he could not go into details about the suspects, but did say that the crimes are typically perpetrated by ‘juvenile males and females often working in pairs or groups.’

Baltimore Police confirmed that they are working closely with the District Attorney, the US Attorney, and the FBI to prosecute these cases.

Harrison said rideshare app customers should always confirm the car’s license plate, make and model, and the driver’s photo before getting in a car. ‘We encourage all rideshare app users to cancel a trip if they don’t feel safe.’

‘Give the criminals what they want – whether it’s your cars, your keys, your wallet,’ said FBI Special Agent in charge Thomas Sabocinski. ‘It is not worth risking your life.’

‘Detectives have also connected with vendors to have payments refunded when applicable,’ Harrison added.

‘Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the incidents described are deeply troubling,’ a spokesperson for the rideshare app said. ‘We have reached out to each of the impacted drivers to offer our support and have been in touch with law enforcement to assist with their investigation.’

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