Uber driver arrested in Berkeley on suspicion of kidnapping with intent to rape

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At about 5:30 a.m. on May 2, an Uber driver picking up a woman in the area of Shattuck Avenue and Essex Street told her that he was not going to take her to work and refused to let her get out of the car or use her phone, according to an alert from Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Byron White.

According to a declaration and determination document from Alameda County, the driver told the woman he was going to take her to a room and then take her to work. According to the document, the victim told him repeatedly to let her out. The victim opened the door of the car while it was moving and threw herself out of the vehicle, sustaining abrasions to her ankle and elbow. The woman ran to a nearby gas station for help, according to the alert.

According to the declaration and determination document, at about 7:40 a.m. the same day, a second victim was picked up by the driver in Oakland. The driver touched the victim on the thigh. According to the document, the victim demanded to be let out of the car, but the driver refused to let her out, saying he was going to drive her to work. The victim tried to unlock the doors, but the driver kept the doors locked. According to the document, when the victim threatened to break the window of the car, the driver released her.

Both victims identified the driver out of a photo lineup and provided documentation from Uber that listed the driver’s first name, the vehicle description and the license plate number. According to the alert, the driver was identified as a 23-year-old Oakland man named Gebrele Abebe Amare. The alert said Amare was located in the area of Ashby and Telegraph avenues at about 3 p.m. Thursday and was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping with intent to rape.

The declaration and determination document reported that Amare said he “kidnapped” the first victim because he wanted to “pimp” her and have sex with her and that he accelerated his car when he saw her open the door to escape. The document said Amare denied the incident involving the second victim.

Sabrina Dong is the executive news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @Sabrina_Dong_.