The police in Alabama are deeply concerned after a 61-year-old man was caught posing as an Uber driver with an unconscious university student in his backseat. The suspect, later identified as Tommy Beard, has been taken into police custody. Even more alarmingly, the student later told authorities that she remembers being at a bar, but she doesn’t recall getting into the vehicle with Beard.
The whole ordeal allegedly began near the University of Alabama campus. The 22-year-old told authorities that she’d been drinking at a bar with friends, but at some point, she blacked out. She has no recollection of what occurred next. Authorities spotted the suspect’s vehicle sitting along the road about seven miles away. The deputy thought the situation looked suspicious, so he decided to investigate.
When he approached the car, the deputy saw the 22-year-old unconscious woman in the backseat. He also took note of the vehicle’s Uber sign. Eventually, the suspect confessed to what happened. He told police that he posed as an Uber driver by purchasing the fake sign online. It’s unclear what he did or what he planned to do with the unconscious woman, but authorities did find pictures on the suspect’s cell phone of at least two passed out young women in the backseat. The 61-year-old was arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping.
This alarming situation has authorities warning the public about safe ride-sharing practices. Always arrange rides through the Uber or Lyft authorized app, which has a few safety features built in. Never get into a vehicle that doesn’t match the description in the app, and never get into a car with someone whose name doesn’t match.