Fake Uber driver charged with kidnapping in U.S.

A university student was found unconscious in the backseat

An Alabama man is charged with kidnapping by pretending to be an Uber driver to pick up a university student who was found unconscious in the back seat of his car, police said Monday.

Investigators found multiple images on the driver’s cellphone of at least one other college-aged woman who appeared unconscious in the vehicle, said Capt. Gary Hood, commander of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit.

Tommy Beard, 61, was released on bond Friday on a first-degree kidnapping charge, court records show. The records don’t list an attorney for him, and calls to a phone number listed for him in those records went unanswered.

“It’s alarming, absolutely,” Hood said.

READ MORE: Airports feared losing revenue to Uber and Lyft. Here’s what happened.

“He had a fake Uber sign that he bought online, and he admitted that he wasn’t an Uber driver,” Hood added.

Various Uber decals and lights for vehicles — many featuring the Uber logo — were available Monday on Amazon.com. A representative for Amazon said late Monday she was looking into the matter.

Uber LED signs were also available Monday through Walmart.com. Walmart representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hood said Beard picked up the 22-year-old woman near the University of Alabama campus and drove her about 7 miles (11 kilometres) away. A deputy noticed a car alongside the road and stopped to investigate, which led to his arrest March 2. Court records say the woman remembers being at a bar in Tuscaloosa but nothing else until the deputy woke her up.

A loaded handgun was found in Beard’s vehicle, but he had a legal permit for it, Hood said.

READ MORE: Proposed class action against Uber can proceed

Hood advises Uber users to arrange their rides through the company’s app, since it has certain safety features built-in. Users are given the driver’s name and a description of the vehicle before they get inside, for instance.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UFV introduces first mindfulness graduate program in Canada

Most of the University of the Fraser Valley program is offered online

Missing man from Chilliwack was riding a silver mountain bike

RCMP investigators are asking the public to keep an eye out for the 70-year-old man

Enjoy the enchanting and powerful sounds of the cello at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Join cellist Beth Root Sandvoss as she performs Cellicious, a concert full of energy and intensity

Mounties hunt for missing Langley man

The public has been asked to help locate David Grainger, last seen on March 19

Lagoon improvements, but no safety audit recommendations, coming to Harrison

The lagoon will see electrical upgrades, a new flag pole and fencing, but no life jackets or signs

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Vancouver Giant named to Western Conference first-tier all-star team

Young hockey defenceman Bowen Byram is once again lauded for his outstanding efforts on the ice

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Punching Parkinson’s in the Fraser Valley

Rock Steady Boxing program, designed to help battle symptoms of Parkinson’s, coming to Abbotsford in April

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Most Read