BEVERLY HILLS—A Los Angeles man posing as a ride share driver was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a woman in Beverly Hills on May 13, officials said on Monday, July 31.
Carlos Omar Pichinte, 40, allegedly claimed to be an Uber driver when he picked up a woman in West Hollywood, according to Lieutenant Elisabeth Albanese, Public Information Officer for the Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD). He allegedly drove a short distance to Beverly Hills, where he sexually assaulted the victim, authorities noted.
“He was arrested during a traffic stop,” Lt. Albanese indicated in an email to Canyon News. “He was arrested around 2:40 a.m. on May 20, 2017 in the area of Santa Monica Blvd. and Fairfax.”
According to Lt. Albanese, Pichinte was driving a silver 2015 four-door Kia Rio at the time of his arrest. The vehicle had decals from both Uber and Lyft, though he is not employed by either company, authorities reported. Officials believe he may be connected to similar sexual assaults in the Los Angeles area.
“Our investigators are currently working with the agencies surrounding Beverly Hills to determine if he is connected to any additional assaults,” Lt. Albanese said to Canyon News.
Pichinte was arrested on suspicion of rape and kidnapping, in addition to several other offenses. He is being held at Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles in lieu of $1.3 million bail. He is scheduled to appear in court later this week.
Similar incidents involving ride-share service drivers have transpired in recent months. On June 23, a 46-year-old Uber driver picked up an intoxicated 24-year-old woman in downtown Los Angeles and allegedly assaulted her at a motel in North Hollywood. Alaric Spence, who has a felony record, was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and kidnapping. Authorities believe he may have assaulted other victims. Other assault incidents were reported in the Bay Area in June and in Orange County in April.