CPD searching for suspect offering rides to female USC students, then holding them against their will

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia Police continue to search for a man they say has been hanging around the USC campus and offering rides to female students. The problem is once they're in his car, police say he refuses to let them out.

WIS-TV spoke with students who said the suspect is known to hang around several popular areas on campus and doesn't necessarily stand out from the other students.

Still, University Police said he's no student. He's a 28-year-old man with no ties to USC.

Tuesday, USC Police tweeted a photo of Farris Kaloti. He is suspected of offering female college students a ride home and then refusing to let them out of his car.

Students said they were informed through social media and by staff in the dorms.

"I just heard about it about two days ago. There were some tweets going out," USC sophomore, Nick Papadimas said. "There's been a ton of discussion about it. Over at East Quad and also at Cola Hall, there RM's came in last night and said, 'hey, lock your doors because we don't know what's happening but stay safe."

"I heard about the incident I think a day after – it was like two days ago," USC Freshman Kristina Matthews said. "Someone messaged us – I live in Women's Quad, so, someone sent it in our GroupMe."

The bulletin posted by University Police said the suspect has a history of violence, drug, and alcohol use, as well as a history of sex offenses.

"You never know where this guy could be. He could end up being at a bar in Five Points. He could end up being at the Library. He could be anywhere," Papadimas said.

"The fact that he's older than us also scared me because I work here on campus and my employees told me that he has showed up at our table before while we were working and he pretends to be a junior here," says Matthews.

Students say they'll be extra cautious when accepting a ride, even if they're using a well-known ride-sharing service.

"Make sure that the license plate that's listed on the Uber App, matches the same license plate that's on the back of the car," Papadimas said.

"Just make sure it's a validated Uber. Make sure you see the "U" sticker on the front of the car. Just take really big precautions because the world's crazy and just hearing about this just really scares me," Matthews said.

Columbia Police are now investigating while University Police remind students not to accept rides from strangers. They also encourage students to use their RAVE Guardian Safety App, this will send University Police vital information instantly if you contact them in an emergency.

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