NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police say an Uber driver attempted to kidnap a woman who fell asleep in his car and woke up to find him in the back seat with her, touching her while pulled over by the side of a road.
Harbir Parmar, 24, of Howard Beach, is charged with one count of kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
On the kidnapping charge, police say on Feb. 21 at around 11:30 p.m., Parmar picked up a rider from Manhattan to take her to her home in White Plains, N.Y. After she fell asleep in the vehicle, Parmar changed the woman’s destination to an address in Boston and proceeded to drive toward Massachusetts.
When the female passenger woke up, police say Parmar was in the backseat with her with his hand under her shirt touching her chest. He then returned to the driver’s seat but refused to take the woman to White Plains or to a police station as requested.
The criminal complaint says Parmar dropped the victim off on the side of I-95 in Branford, Conn., where she went to a nearby convenience store to get help.
Authorities also allege Parmar had been changing rider’s destinations in the company’s app at least 11 times from December 2016 through February 2018, and also charged three riders cleaning fees based on false information. Investigators say these instances ran up $3,600 in improper charges to customer accounts.
“As alleged, Harbir Parmar was hired to transport a woman from Manhattan to her home in White Plains. Instead, Parmar kidnapped, terrorized, and assaulted the woman before dumping her on the side of an interstate,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman in a statement Tuesday. “No one — man or woman — should fear such an attack when they simply hire a car service.”
Rideshare company Uber called the allegations “horrible and something no person should go through.”
They say as soon as they became aware of Parmar’s alleged behavior, they removed his access to their platform.
“We have fully cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to support their investigation,” Uber continued.
Police say there may be more victims of this alleged conduct. Anyone with information should contact the FBI’s Westchester Resident Agency at (914) 925-3888.