Uber Driver Arrested in LA on Charge of Kidnap With Sexual Intent

By Jason Kandel and Joel Grover
|  Wednesday, Jun 4, 2014  |  Updated 5:56 AM CDT
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The NBC4 I-Team is looking into allegations that an Uber driver, who has now been arrested, allegedly kidnapped a woman with the intent of sexually assaulting her earlier this week. Joel Grover reports from West Hollywood for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

Joel Grover, Rene Luna

The NBC4 I-Team is looking into allegations that an Uber driver, who has now been arrested, allegedly kidnapped a woman with the intent of sexually assaulting her earlier this week. Joel Grover reports from West Hollywood for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

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A 32-year-old driver for the rideshare service Uber was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping a woman and taking her to a motel room, police said on Tuesday.

Frederick Dencer, 32, of Encino, was arrested on suspicion of kidnap for purpose of sexual assault, police said.

He was being held in connection with the incident, reported Monday at 6 a.m. A woman said she had just left a motel room where a man she did not know was lying next to her with his shirt off, said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon. She didn't know how she got there.

An Uber spokesman said the company learned of the incident through the media, suspended the driver's account and are cooperating with police.

"The facts are unknown at this stage and it's certainly unclear that this is an Uber-related incident, as the driver in question was not logged in, connected to or operating on the platform at the time," said Lane Kasselman, a spokesman with Uber. "Nothing is more important to Uber than the safety of our riders."

The case came to light after the woman had woken up in a low-rent motel after a night of bar-hopping in West Los Angeles, police determined.

Vernon said the driver was offered a fare from a valet at a nightclub. The fare was not assigned from Uber, he said.

Detectives believe the woman's ride was not arranged officially through Uber, Vernon said.

Had this been an official Uber assignment, Dencer would have received the victim's home address with the fare, but in this case, the victim was too drunk to tell him.

The investigation led to the Panorama Motel, where detectives found Dencer in a room, Vernon said.

"Dencer answered questions but his story didn't make sense," Vernon said. "So it looks like Dencer took advantage of the situation, and drove her to a cheap motel, which he had visited before, and carried her into the room."

He slept overnight in the room, and when the woman woke up, he let her leave, though he asked her to stay, Vernon said.

"He took advantage of  where he was at, what he was doing and saw an opportunity," Vernon said.

It was not immediately clear if the suspect had a lawyer.

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