CPD: Man kidnapped unsuspecting victim by posing as Uber driver

CPD: Man kidnapped unsuspecting victim by posing as Uber driver

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A 20-year-old Midlands woman claims she got into a car thinking it was her Uber driver and ended up being held against her will, according to police.

Columbia Police have now charged 44-year-old Andre Bouknight, with kidnapping.

WIS News 10 reached out a woman who says she is both an Uber driver and also uses Uber as a passenger.

Christine, who declined to give her last name,  says she double checks before getting into an Uber ride, even asking the driver to roll down the window just to make sure they match up.

She says if it doesn't feel right, don't take the ride. Christine says the company's newly designed stickers are just one way to make sure your driver is really with Uber.

"Now, the old ones were, of course, the clear with the little U but now they have these more reflective ones so it's easier to see."

Columbia Police say in the early morning hours of on April 20, a 20-year-old Midlands woman was in need of a ride home and got inside Bouknight's black Dodge Charger.

The victim says she mistakenly believed the suspect to be her Uber driver. Christine wants to help other riders avoid making this mistake.

"I check the make and model of the car. I walk around. I check the license plate. I look at the driver. I don't even get into the car before I confirm who the driver is. Come up to the passenger side front, have them roll down the window, ask them, 'hey is this your name.' They say, 'yes' and then from there, get in."

The victim tells police that instead of taking her home, Bouknight took her to various other locations in Columbia and refused to let her out of the car.

Christine says the Uber App will help you verify your driver's information.

"Do not hesitate to check and make sure that the license plate matches. If it doesn't match, or you don't feel comfortable, don't get in. Hey, if you have to, ask for our ID. It's not that big of a deal. We understand safety first. The same way we'll confirm your name and your destination."

The victim was able to reach out to friends on her cell phone who contacted police. The car was later found in the 900 block of Assembly Street.

The victim was found unharmed.

"At any point in time, if you don't feel comfortable, stop the ride, get out or don't even get in at all," Christine says.

Bouknight has since been released on a $25,000 bond. In addition to kidnapping, Bouknight is also being charged with possession of cocaine, open container, and driving under suspension.

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