ORMOND BEACH, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Ormond Beach police are searching for a man claiming to be an Uber driver, who tried to pick up three women from a local bar.
Police say they did the right thing in double-checking their app, and realizing he wasn't the right guy. The police say the three women were leaving the Kona Tiki Bar in Ormond Beach on Friday night. They were standing on the sidewalk waiting for their Uber taxi to arrive.
"A person pulled up and asked if they called Uber, and they said yes. He tried to talk them into the car," says Keith Walker, Ormond Beach Police Public Information Officer.
The women described him as a muscular Hispanic man, with tear-drop tattoos on his face. He was driving a new-model Chrysler 300 that they called "tricked out."
"After a few seconds," Walker says, "one of the ladies looked up on her app and the driver didn't match and the car's description didn't match. He kept trying to get them into the car."
Soon their actual driver showed up, and the first guy left. Now, cops are on the lookout.
"We don't know what his intention was," says Walker, "was it just to meet some ladies? Was it to rob them? Was it to do worse than that?"
Kevin Wakefield, the Kona Tiki Bar's owner, says they do their best to protect their customers. "We have cameras all over the property, in the parking lot. The safety of our customers is of utmost importance to us."
When using Uber it's always important to make sure it's the right driver in the right car who comes to pick you up.
"When you're using Uber - I use the app myself - know who your driver is, know what kind of vehicle it is, and make sure you're dealing with the right person," Wakefield says.
Janet Roberts, a customer at The Grind restaurant near the bar, says it's a sad fact of life that you've always got to be on your guard.
"Don't go out alone," she advises, "if your instinct and your gut's telling you not to do something, don't do it. Follow your intuition and your heart. It always leads us in the right direction."
Uber says there's steps they take to keep passengers safe:
- Never accept a taxi on the street claiming to be an Uber driver - only book trips through the app.
- Use the app to double-check the driver, car and license plate once they arrive.
- Keep in touch with friends or family during the trip so they know where you're headed and when you should arrive.
- And afterwards provide Uber with feedback on the driver and the trip.