Fernando Mateo Says Alleged Rapist Was Likely Illegal Driver

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police said a livery cab driver raped a woman last week in Brooklyn, but was the suspect really a legitimate cabbie?

As 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported, Fernando Mateo, president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers said it was more likely one of the thousands of illegal, unlicensed cabbies in the borough with nothing to lose.

“You go to the shopping centers in the Bronx, you go to Queens County Hospital; Brookdale Hospital – they’re lined up like they own the street,” Mateo said.

Mateo said the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission is failing the riding public by not cracking down on the dangerous drivers, and said passengers can protect themselves by looking for the hallmarks of a real livery cab.

“Diamond on the windshield, stickers on your car; you have to have TLC plates,” Mateo said. “And if you didn’t see any of that and you get in the car, look for the hack license of the driver and look for your bill of rights.”

TLC spokesman Alan Fromberg released a statement in response to Mateo’s remarks.

“The TLC has broken all records for seizing illegal livery vehicles — over 1,000 one in recent month and 7830 in the last fiscal year, we’ve issued 58,000 field summonses for illegal activity in the last year, performed over 30,000 car stops and, in terms of personnel, we’ve more than doubled our enforcement capacity in the past two years,” the statement said. “Our inspectors are deployed throughout the city 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have always welcomed intelligence on particular problem areas from communities, and will continue to do so.”

Police said the 35-year-old woman hailed a sport-utility vehicle livery cab around 5 a.m. on Sept. 17 in Brownsville. Once inside the car, she was raped by the driver, police said.

She was eventually able to get out of the cab on East 95th Street and Avenue B, police said.

Police released a surveillance image of the suspect, who authorities described as a black man, 20 to 25 years old, about 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing between 175 and 210 pounds.

A suspect who police say is wanted for an alleged rape in Brooklyn. (credit: NYPD)

A suspect who police say is wanted for an alleged rape in Brooklyn. (credit: NYPD)

The New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers is offering a $2,000 reward for information in the case.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visit CrimeStoppers.com or by text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

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