It appears as if the word has gotten out in the criminal underworld; if you’re looking for an easy target to rob, rape, or carjack, finding a victim is as easy as pulling out your phone.
We’ve been covering the rise in carjackings and other violent crimes committed against Uber and Lyft drivers for some time now, including the story of Cynthia Norman, a Cleveland woman and driver for Lyft who was cut loose by the company because she dared to defend herself against a pair of attackers with her legally owned and lawfully carried firearm.
Both Uber and Lyft have policies that require drivers be unarmed, and most of the folks contracting to drive for the companies abide by those restrictions (though clearly not all of them do). Still, violent criminals don’t seem to care that they’re not supposed to bring a gun along for their ride as well. One of the latest attacks on a rideshare driver took place just a few days ago in Gilbert, Arizona.
Court paperwork obtained by Arizona’s Family indicates the victim picked up 18-year-old Derrick Caver, who told her to pull over to a particular area. Once pulled over, the suspect strangled the victim from the back seat and placed a handgun into the side of her abdomen. The victim fought back while Caver hit her, took her phone, and fled the scene.
Caver left behind a grocery bag in the car which contained a Walmart receipt, an open box of condoms, and other merchandise. The merchandise was purchased with a bank card that belonged to Caver.
When police caught up to Caver, he claimed that it was actually the Lyft driver who was violent, alleging that she tried to attack him with a box cutter without provocation. Cops didn’t buy the young man’s story, and he’s now facing charges of armed robbery, kidnapping, and carrying a deadly weapon.
Just a few days before Caver targeted the female Lyft driver in Arizona, another Lyft driver in Milwaukee, Wisconsin used his own gun to protect himself from a pair of carjackers who posed as passengers before they demanded his valuables.
“I didn’t panic, I didn’t go into a shutdown thing. I just reacted,” the driver said. “I didn’t know what the guy behind me had in his hand, I knew he grabbed my knife out of my pocket. So I didn’t know what was next.”
The Lyft driver tried to stall him by talking, until he could get to his gun hidden under the driver’s seat.
“The first guy I pulled the gun out on I had it about two feet away from his face because I had already pushed and punched him, and punched him away to back him away from the door,” the driver said. “He threw his hands up in the air, started hollering and ran off.”
The suspects left their car and house keys in the Lyft driver’s back seat. The whole thing lasted about a minute.
“The guy in the back, the guy in the front, neither of them had a very good plan,” said the driver.
By day he’s an IT worker, but with a wife and five kids at home, he took this job four years ago to make extra money and to help people.
“I lost a friend years ago to a drunk driver and that really impacted me quite a bit… try to help people late at night from making bad decisions which is one of the reasons I started doing this in the first place,” the driver said.
With a five-star rating, he says he wants to keep driving and hopes to let the rideshare community know about the dangers they face.
“We just need to be more aware of our surroundings,” the driver said. “I would like to see these guys obviously brought to justice and hopefully this will help accomplish that, hopefully someone will see them on camera and recognize them.”
Note that the driver didn’t allow his name to be used by the local media. I can’t help but wonder if the driver reported the incident to Lyft, or is keeping quiet in order to keep his job. When Cynthia Norman informed the company about her own carjacking and the fact that she fired shots at her assailants, she was immediately informed that she could no longer drive for Lyft. The fact that this guy says he wants to keep driving indicates that Lyft might not know who this particular driver is.
It’s pretty sad that you’d have to keep something like this to yourself in order to keep your part-time job, but that’s a direct result of the asinine policies that Lyft and Uber have put in place; policies that lead to these drivers being targeted while being unable to protect themselves with a firearm.. at least if they want to keep driving for either company.